Boldly Navigating the Future of SEO with Robert Rose

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This is a podcast episode titled, Boldly Navigating the Future of SEO with Robert Rose. The summary for this episode is: <p>Robert Rose, AKA the Captain Kirk of SEO, is a highly sought-after consultant, best-selling author, keynote speaker, and one of the world’s most recognized experts in digital content strategy and marketing. In this episode, Robert takes us on a journey through the history of SEO, starting in the Y2K era of flash animations into the cutting-edge frontier of generative AI.</p><p><br></p><p>Don't miss his <strong>key takeaways</strong> on:</p><p>(*) <u>The Evolution and Formalization of Content Marketing</u> - Why a better understanding of transformations in content marketing helps improve modern digital strategies.</p><p>(*) <u>Navigating Modern Content Marketing</u> - How to avoid the biggest mistakes and pitfalls made in content marketing today.</p><p>(*) <u>The Future of Generative AI in SEO</u> - Advice for challenges and future strategies.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Contact Us:</strong></p><p>We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us at <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a>.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Sponsor:</strong></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">DemandJump</a>. Tired of wasting time creating content that doesn’t rank? With DemandJump, you know the exact content to create to increase 1st-page rankings and drive outcomes. Get started for free today at <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a>.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Links &amp; Resources:</strong></p><ul><li>Don’t be a stranger. Follow <a href=";lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_search_srp_all%3BPfAKa8%2FFT9upo5uhUt0BAw%3D%3D" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Robert</a>, <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Ryan</a>, and <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Drew</a> on LinkedIn.</li><li>Learn more about <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Content Advisory</a>, which has helped global brands such as Salesforce, Facebook, NASA, Hilton, CVS Health, McCormick Spices, Whirlpool, and The Bill &amp; Melinda Gates Foundation.</li><li>Blast from the past: you can still <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">visit the original Space Jam site</a> from 1996!</li><li>We discovered that Robert is a fellow Trekkie. <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Listen to the original 1960s Star Trek theme</a>, and get in the spirit of boldly going where no man has gone before.</li><li>Ready to rank on page one? Learn more about <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">DemandJump</a>’s marketing tools.</li><li>Dive deeper into Pillar-Based Marketing with Ryan’s new book, <a href=";qid=&amp;sr=" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Pillar-Based Marketing: A Data-Driven Methodology for SEO and Content That Actually Works</a>.</li></ul>
What was SEO like in the Y2K era?
02:53 MIN
The formalization of SEO during 2010-2013
01:38 MIN
How competitiveness drove the democratization of content
01:47 MIN
The biggest mistake content marketers make today
01:09 MIN
The fearless future of generative AI in SEO
01:03 MIN
Lightning Round!
03:01 MIN

Ryan Brock: I'd like to think that all of us in content marketing, in a good 10, 20 years, are basically going to be the command crew of the USS Enterprise in the next generation.

Drew Detzler: So Star Trek has entered the chat. So, okay, so I'm a Star Trek fanatic.

Ryan Brock: I didn't even know that, for the record. I did not know that.

Speaker 3: Welcome to Page One or Bust, your ultimate guide to getting on page one of search engines. In this episode, we're talking to one of the world's most recognized experts in digital content strategy and marketing. Robert Rose is a highly sought after consultant, bestselling author, keynote speaker, and his firm, The Content Advisory has worked with hundreds of brands, including Fortune 100 organizations. Also, as we found out, he's a big Star Trek fan too. In this episode, we take a journey with Robert through time and space to talk about the formalization of content marketing and look ahead to the future by learning from our past experiences. You don't want to miss what Robert has to say, but before we jump into it, here's a brief word from our sponsor. Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Get insights, drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started creating content that ranks for free at demandjump. com today. And now, here are your co- hosts, Drew Detzler and Ryan Brock.

Drew Detzler: Welcome back to Page One or Bust. This is your host, Drew Detzler. As always, I'm joined by my co- host, Ryan Brock. Ryan, how are we doing?

Ryan Brock: Yo? Oh God, I'm doing so great today. It's a cool day in Indianapolis. The sun is shining and I feel like I can breathe again.

Drew Detzler: I'm with you. It's beautiful. And it's an exciting day because we have a man who really needs no introduction, but here I am doing it anyways. Robert Rose. Robert, welcome to the show.

Robert Rose: Hello. Hello. Oh, thank you very much for having me. It is also cool here in Los Angeles, so I feel like I can breathe again. It's good. It's all good.

Ryan Brock: I feel like we need to have a quick sidebar to know what cool means to someone who lives in LA versus what cool means to someone who lives in Indiana.

Robert Rose: Fair enough. And the key here is that September... We've had the weirdest weather here in Los Angeles for the last six months. I mean, it actually rained in August, which is crazy down here in LA.

Ryan Brock: Absurd.

Robert Rose: But cool here in Los Angeles is a nice 72, 73 degrees, actually.

Ryan Brock: Wow. I wish you could see my watch listeners. We're not even going to put this on. So it's exactly 72 degrees here in Indianapolis and sunny. So I think we're all on the same page. Wow. West Coasters, Midwesterners. We're more alike than you might realize.

Robert Rose: We're coming together, we're bringing the world together guys. I'm very, very pleased about it.

Ryan Brock: Oh, I feel good about humanity now. Let's have a great show, guys.

Drew Detzler: All right. That's where I come in. Let's find some differences. All right, so Robert, let's dive into SEO and really when SEO first came on your radar.

Robert Rose: I would say probably 2001, 2002. So I came out of the agency world and then previous to that I was in the television business. But as the internet started to really get its feet underneath it and Google started to come out and we were thinking about Yahoo still, it wasn't a lot of SEO as it pertained to Yahoo, but Google was the first introduction to trying to start to rank against all this content we were putting out there, really for the idea of trying to find buyers. This was even pre the idea of them offering a paid search. Before that even existed, the battle was on to try and get to the top of Google search rankings and we were full into content production mode to try and do that.

Ryan Brock: Wow, okay. So you talk about that era and my brain goes back to what I was doing in 2001, 2002. Which-

Robert Rose: I'm old. Yeah.

Ryan Brock: For reference, I was 14 years old at that point in time but I was just screwing around on GeoCities.

Robert Rose: inaudible.

Ryan Brock: Making websites that were a little more than collections of under construction gifts and horrible things. So I would love it if you could transport us through time, Robert, and maybe we can get Taylor, get a producer to play some inaudible and we could welcome everybody to Y2K SEO with Robert Rose. What was that like? What are some tips? Let's say I get in a time machine, I want to do SEO in 2001, what's your best advice for me?

Robert Rose: Well, it's really easy. Certainly a lot easier than it is today. The key, and this was everybody's job, was to build big websites. It was build deep, big informational websites that could answer every question that you could possibly think of around your product or service. I mean, it was when Marcus Sheridan's whole answer all your customer's questions ideas actually was useful. I don't think it's terribly useful today. But many of the companies we were dealing with had 25,000, 30, 000 page websites because simply it was easier to rank if you just had a ton of content. And so it was literally throw as much as you can against the wall and a lot of it would stick. And what really drove it was the efficiency that you would get because Google search paid search started to really take front and center stage because it got competitive really fast. And so as Google search, and paid search more specifically, got really competitive, the idea was how much money can I save by appearing organically on page one versus how much do I have to spend to be on page one? So that was the battle of the day, was how much content that you could create to create a more efficient ad spend.

Ryan Brock: Interesting. And so, again, welcome to AI SEO with Robert Rose. We've come full circle in some ways, but we'll get back to that later, I'm sure.

Robert Rose: Yeah.

Drew Detzler: Yeah. We will. So there's definitely been this shift from early on of quantity to quality in today's world, certainly. So what kind of formalization did you see there and when did that start to take place? And then we'll dive into what is quality?

Robert Rose: Sure. Well, my observation is that that really happened after the last financial crisis, when we started to see the 2009, 2010 to ... I'd call it the 2010 to 2013 timeframe, which was... Okay, social media now was really driving a lot of traffic and it was starting to drive a lot of our efforts in marketing and search. And this is especially true when we start thinking about the idea of content marketing, of creating that high value content. And interestingly, it was really a US challenge. We got wrapped around the axle of SEO and how content and content marketing was really going to drive business. And so it was this idea of how do you start creating high quality useful content? There was so much of the early days was snack- able content versus meaty, long pieces, long valuable pieces that really started to emerge in that timeframe. And how we could, not just answer the questions, not just answer the questions that our customers were asking, but actually start to provide the things that they didn't know the answer to. In other words, how do we start ranking for the things that are getting asked that don't need an immediate answer but need an in- depth journey idea? And that was that 2010 to 2013 timeframe where we really saw the birth and growth and hyper- growth of content marketing and blogging and the use of social media to drive SEO.

Ryan Brock: See, now we're getting into a more comfortable timeframe for me anyway. I started my content marketing agency, Metonymy Media, actually on this very day of recording, September 13th, 2011.

Robert Rose: How about that?

Ryan Brock: At the time, I didn't know anything about content marketing. I just wanted to be a writer and I wanted people to pay me to write. But in a certain way, as we went on from 2011 and I found out that nobody knew about content marketing, everyone was just trying to figure it out and everyone was just like, " Oh, you do content? We'll throw a few hundred dollars your way to write something for us." It is fascinating for me to hear about the before times because I feel like I've got a certain bit of snobbishness having come up in the wild west of content marketing 2010, 2011, 2012, but Wild West probably doesn't even scratch the surface of what it was like before that.

Robert Rose: Well, it's exactly right, because I mean, it was the kind of thing where God help you if you were in real estate or the credit card business or some other commoditized area where just the sheer volume of content. If you were selling some sort of specialized seed or you were selling some sort of widget that nobody knew about, you were golden in those days, right? Because nobody was talking about your stuff. And so it was all about how do you actually just create it? So you can own an entire category by doing that. And what really happened in that 2010 to 2013 timeframe was that you had to create categories in order to actually create some sort of unique thing that people would be searching for. The quintessential example of this, of course, is inbound marketing created by HubSpot. Everybody was searching for marketing automation. Everybody was searching for the idea of email marketing and drip campaigns and those kinds of things. And when they invented inbound marketing, they actually created a search term that would create a category and they would be able to dominate it.

Drew Detzler: Yep. Let me ask you one more question around that, Robert, around the shift from quantity to quality that we saw... call it 2009, '10 to 2013. Because I think it may be applicable to what we're seeing today. Why? Why did we see that shift? Why did that happen?

Robert Rose: Competitiveness I think. I mean, it became too easy. I mean, a lot of people... It's funny, because one of the conversations we have a lot is the" democratization", and I'm using air inaudible there, and I know we're not on video. But the idea is the democratization of content. And what happened was the ease of use, and I use that term with a huge tongue in my cheek, the ease of use of content management systems and the growth of things like blogging and the ability for us to manage content, creating content didn't get any easier. Creating ideas and expressing those ideas and really doing that in a creative and qualitative way didn't really change. What changed was the ability and the rapidity with which we could publish stuff. So social media, the growth of social media, the growth of content management systems, blogging tools just enabled anybody. And so we were no longer just competing with, for example, other companies. We were competing with people posting their breakfast on Facebook and people posting blog posts talking about their last vacation and mommy bloggers and, I mean, everybody was producing content. And so the sheer volume went up, the quality went way down. And so the Google algorithm, whether it was butterfly or hippopotamus or whatever zoo animal they had at those times, were actually trying to focus in on how to surface great high quality content. And we can ... It's fun to debate and probably harder drinks than we're having now over how effective that was. But that was the real driver of it was the sheer voluminous of content.

Drew Detzler: Wow.

Ryan Brock: Yeah, you're making me think about my own personal history as a content marketer and probably that of many people who were in this field of watching your job just completely change as technology adapts and evolves.

Robert Rose: Exactly. Yeah.

Ryan Brock: I distinctly remember starting my business and saying, " We're just going to be writers." And I hired creative writers who had sometimes advanced degrees, and I was like, this is the way that we solve this problem. We write as a group, we learn, we build processes around engaging with subject matter experts. And it worked really, really well. But I found myself very quickly going from, " I want to be a writer and write," to, " I'm managing a team and effectively becoming a web designer myself."

Robert Rose: Yeah. Exactly.

Ryan Brock: Because at first I was like, oh, the problem is there's a lot more customers out there if I could get them to build a website. So then I've got to find a partner to build a website. And then I start seeing these guys charging$10, 000 to build a website that literally is almost a default theme from WordPress, even back then, which was plenty good. So the first step in this was for me being like, oh, I could just add on a few thousand dollars and do that myself and get it done in half the time. That was a prodigious, profound moment for me. And eventually that happened with SEO too. Even in the early days of content marketing, SEO felt like this arcane art, this technological, difficult to understand black box. Which it is, but for a different reason than what I thought. Because I thought these guys knew something I didn't. And by 2016, 2017, I was like, oh, we're doing SEO. We are SEO. I get it. That's interesting. So just being a writer, just writing good words isn't enough. But it is interesting to think about how far we've come in just the last 10 years.

Robert Rose: And what's interesting, and you said something really important there, which was it was also in that 2010 to 2013 timeframe. People forget that pre 20... let's call it 2008- ish, pre financial crisis, and I'm using that a bit arbitrarily, but it's a good marker. Websites up until that point were art projects. Every company wanted to differentiate with some cool, really far out, interesting double column, heavy, heavy, heavy imagery website, and they were all art projects. And they were beautiful. The websites of those days were absolutely spectacular and beautiful and interactive and all kinds of things. And then what people realized was, yeah, they're beautiful, but nobody can find them. It's lovely that you have this beautiful flash animation and that'll bring back some memories, but you've got this wonderful flash animation or shockwave application on your website, and it's beautiful, but nobody can find it. So once those blogging templates and templating generally started to become the order of the day, it became about how readable, how inaudible was your website versus how beautiful it was. And so they stopped becoming art projects.

Drew Detzler: Yep. We'll drop the Space Jam website in the show notes. That's the first one that comes to my mind.

Robert Rose: All your inaudible belong to us. There we go. Okay.

Ryan Brock: You guys remember DVD menus? This is another thing my brain-

Drew Detzler: Of course.

Robert Rose: Oh, yeah. A hundred percent.

Ryan Brock: It's the same timeframe. I'm thinking about, oh, I found an Easter egg as I hit up on the damn remote three times and-

Robert Rose: Yeah. Exactly.

Ryan Brock: What a weird little-

Robert Rose: CD-ROM menus. I mean, that'll take you back if you want to go back. Yeah.

Ryan Brock: Yeah. These things that are lost to us. I'm sad now.

Drew Detzler: Yeah. I'm going to go whip out the DVD player after this. I've got to buy one first I think. Well, Robert, what you said there earlier about volume and volume versus quality, that's why we needed to seek out what was actual quality because of the sheer volume that was being input. I believe we're going to be seeing something similar here in current day. So let's talk a little bit about content creation and how we create quality content. So Robert, what do you consider to be one of the most common or most significant mistakes that can be made by marketers when creating content? What should be avoided?

Robert Rose: So I'll speak to two, which we see the most often, and the first is you actually set it in the question, which is the business, and marketers in particular, don't define what quality means. In other words, they don't set an objective or a goal for their content, so therefore, it's really hard to know what high quality means. And when you ask somebody, " What does high quality content... What is high quality content?" Well, it depends very much on who you're asking. Ask a TV producer what high quality is and it'd be that which puts butts in seats. So is it any wonder that you get a show like the Kardashians, which is high quality content, because what does it do? It puts butts in seats. But if you ask an educator that same question, it is that which actually provides value and teaches a lesson effectively. If you ask an auteur, some author or some novelist or a film director, it is that which expresses art in a meaningful way, et cetera, et cetera. So everybody has their own objective and definition about what quality is, but businesses so rarely define it.

Ryan Brock: Preach.

Robert Rose: And it's really a critical thing.

Ryan Brock: This is something that I feel like... You did such a great job of explaining that but I want to zero in on that for our listeners specifically.

Robert Rose: Sure. Yeah.

Ryan Brock: If you are in the business of selling content, any sort of creative marketing content. And I don't mean selling it to a customer necessarily, you're selling it to an internal stakeholder, you're selling it to a sales team who wants to see the value, or you're buying it from somebody. Having this discussion, it seems so obvious to say it out loud, but it is absolutely not. I can't tell you how many times-

Robert Rose: It never happens. Yeah, it doesn't happen.

Ryan Brock: No. And then I'll be working on a project with a customer of ours, doing our pillar based marketing thing, where I think it's obvious because I wrote the freaking book on it that the first thing we're doing with our content is we're building topical authority. We're not really worrying about is this the highest traffic generating keyword we can rank for? It's more about is this really critical to Google's understanding of what authority is on this topic?

Robert Rose: Great advice.

Ryan Brock: And so I'll tell people, first, I don't really care about what you're trying to sell or what traffic you're trying to get. I'm trying to build you an authority foundation for which you could start publishing anything you want and get the rankings, get the organic traffic, get them on the higher converting terms, get them on the higher traffic terms. But I can't tell you how many times I've been at the end of the process looking at the results that we've gotten with building that topical authority and someone says, " Yeah, but my traffic hasn't gone up very much." And I'm like, "Okay, okay, we'll get there. That's phase two. That's phase two." But the point is, it's just even if you think you're being explicit about this, all parties involved, you're probably not, and doing so is huge.

Robert Rose: You're not. And by the way, that conversation doesn't happen internally either. I mean, that's probably the biggest failure is that the marketing team doesn't actually set acknowledgement with sales, with the C- suite, with everybody else in terms of what is the actual objective of this content marketing, content project, content initiative? What is it we're actually trying to achieve here? Is it higher conversions? Is it more traffic, more reach? Is it broader awareness? Where are we actually focused on as a success metric? Basically what ends up happening is more. That is the goal. More. Well, more what? Well, more everything. That ends up being the goal. And so then you end up having that conversation that you just described, which is, " Well, I'm not seeing my traffic go up." Well, that wasn't the initial objective.

Ryan Brock: It didn't work.

Robert Rose: Exactly.

Ryan Brock: It didn't work. Yeah. Okay. So yeah, I definitely cut you off. There was a part two to this. You had another angle, right?

Robert Rose: Yeah. Well, the other thing which is actually looking at the content as a set of connected experiences. So you're touching, I think, a little bit on this, at least from my limited understanding of pillar based content and building those things out. Which is how do we start connecting those experiences together? So in so, so many ways, what we see with businesses is the reason that they fail is because the internal teams compete with each other even on the same website. So the PR and comms team is competing with the demand gen team. And the demand gen team is competing with the sales enablement team, and the sales enablement team is competing with the brand team. They're all competing weirdly for the same keywords, same key phrases, same content ideas. All producing them, even to the extent where many of them have different SEO agencies or different SEO freelancers or people working for them in conflict with each other. And so there's not a conjoined business strategy around what we're doing with content. It becomes an individual part of the funnel. So I'm seeing so many amazing content experiences get created at the beginning only to be fed into an awful sales enablement thought leadership experience where everything you're doing there is basically self- sabotaging yourself against what's going on in the next step.

Ryan Brock: Yeah. And the bigger your organization, the more likely this is going to be a problem.

Robert Rose: Totally.

Ryan Brock: And so this is something that you need to start thinking about, even if you're still in growth mode, even if you're not at a point where-

Robert Rose: Hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah.

Ryan Brock: -you even have a sales enablement thing to worry about. It's like, how do I start understanding... The way that we like to talk about it is choose your own adventure. That's the label we put on this. Anyone who's doing content right needs to let their audience choose their own adventure. In my opinion, that doesn't mean you only have one page on your website that's about the one thing that's important to everybody else or whatever. What it means is that no matter how someone finds their way into your content, it's not the beginning, it's not the end, it's not the middle. It's an entry point and there's so many other places to go.

Robert Rose: And what we always talk about is the best next, what's best next? What I mean by that is when I create a piece of content, any piece of content, whether it's at the customer service level or whether it's at the very top of the journey at the awareness level, my question for at the end of every piece of content and throughout as a backbone is what's going to be the best next experience for them to have? Because what I don't want to create is what I call inaudible content, which is... yeah, it's findable, but then somebody finds it when they're going, " What was the name of that thing where we had to do the... Let me Google that. Ah, yes, here it is. And yep, that's it." And then they put their phone back in their pocket. What you want is that experience to be as, " Oh, these guys want me to actually download this thing or go to this other experience. Oh, I want to do that." Bookmark it for later or whatever it's going to be. What's the best next experience that should happen after every piece of content?

Ryan Brock: Again, I want to underscore something for our audience. Those of you who have been following along and hearing us talking about pillar based marketing for, I don't know, two years now. The reason pillar based marketing is effective is because we're looking at data in a completely different way from traditional SEO, and we're saying, statistically speaking, we think it's possible to understand what the next best is. We think we know based on what question led someone to our website, which page they landed on, we believe it's possible. We're at a point now, the data that we're ourselves accessing, it's very, very possible to know that not every time, but most of the time, somebody who asks this question, this is the next one that they're going to ask you.

Robert Rose: Exactly, what's the intent? What's their intent? And as a marketer, that's all you can hope to ever know. That's all you can hope to ever know is what... If you know intent, you are 90% of the way through great marketing.

Drew Detzler: And 95% ahead of other marketers out there.

Robert Rose: Oh, totally. Oh, wow. A hundred percent. Yeah, a hundred percent.

Drew Detzler: Beautiful. So, all right, Robert, I'm glad we're not in the same room, so you can't reach across and choke me, but how sick are you of discussing AI?

Robert Rose: That's funny. I'm not sick of it yet. There's definitely a fatigue setting in, there's certainly in the 440 yard dash. We're right around that last turn there and I can see fatigue starting to set in a little bit. But I think what I'm sick of, I would say, is the whole notion of, and it's a bumper sticker, and people that I really respect are actually out there still saying it. Which is this idea that basically AI won't replace you but someone using AI will. It's like I really hate the whole fear thing. I hate the whole using fear to drive the adoption of a particular technology or tool set. It's really annoying to me to remove our humanity from it because basically saying that the tool is what's everything, and we are minimized in that, and I just prefer to look at it the other way around.

Ryan Brock: I've beat this metaphor to death on this show and other places, but when you first are allowed in math class to use a calculator, there are rules for how you use that calculator.

Robert Rose: Of course.

Ryan Brock: It is the worst case scenario for a teacher to know that you're going to shut your brain off, you're not going to learn the theory behind what you're doing, and you're just going to start typing buttons into a calculator.

Robert Rose: A hundred percent.

Ryan Brock: For the first time, writers and creatives in general have a calculator.

Robert Rose: Have a calculator. Yeah, I love that metaphor. Love that.

Ryan Brock: I am an idiot when it comes to math and 90% of everything. But particular, like math, I also happen to love astronomy. Does that mean that because I have a calculator, I'm going to figure out something just mind- blowing about quantum physics or astrophysics? No, it's just a tool. And I do believe to a certain extent, not to disagree with you, Robert, because I agree a hundred percent. I do believe to a certain extent that if I'm trying to make that kind of a discovery, and I do have the brain for it, but I'm choosing to use an abacus, I'm dumb for that. But I also don't believe that generative AI is as universal a tool as a calculator in the first place.

Robert Rose: Yeah. Well, and here's... I'll clarify that just about my statement for just a moment. First of all, it's the fear that I dislike most of all. It's the spreading of the FUD, fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the whole thing. But to be really super clear, the way that often expresses itself is that it's going to erase 30% of jobs. And so what we have to realize is that jobs are not people. It is activities, jobs are made up of activities. So will 30% of the activities that writers do get either enhanced or replaced by AI? A hundred percent. The same as Photoshop, the same that happened with digital photography, the same with happened with xeroxing, with typing pools. The same that happened with cameras more generally. The thing that happened with every single content creation technology that has ever emerged since the printing press. Yes, activities have been replaced or made more efficient, and the same is true with generative AI. Activities and jobs will be replaced and enhanced, and it is up to us as people to enhance ourselves. That's why I love the metaphor of the calculators so much. Writers now have a calculator. That's a great way to think about it.

Ryan Brock: I like to think that all of us in content marketing in a good 10, 20 years are basically going to be the command crew of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek in the next generation. These dweebs are out there, captaining, piloting a spaceship, and each one of them is like, " Oh, yeah, when I'm not fighting aliens, I like to play the clarinet. I like to read archeology books. We're going to be inaudible around just making ourselves better because the actual hard parts of our job are going to be replaced, and then we could spend our time with jazz," or whatever.

Robert Rose: Star Trek has entered the chat. Okay, so I'm a Star Trek inaudible go fanatic.

Ryan Brock: I didn't even know that, for the record. I did not know that.

Robert Rose: And so one of the things that I've been talking with people about recently is to say, imagine for a moment that you're in Star Trek, and one of the most used tropes within Star Trek is the fact that they have this food generator. Literally, you push a button, you want chicken soup, and chicken soup comes out. And basically imagine what that technology did to the professions of food preparation and chefs. The number of jobs that were completely eliminated with the idea of a food generator. And think about that. Is that a good thing or is that a bad thing? If we had the technology today to have a food generator where you could literally, at the push of a button, create and materialize food today, would that kill the job of a chef? And the answer is no, of course not. It just changes the way that we think about creating the abundance that we want to create. And so it changes us, it changes the way we behave, but it doesn't necessarily replace the thing that we love to do.

Drew Detzler: Well, I'm glad you gave that calculator horse one last kick while it was down, because that took us down a good path.

Ryan Brock: Dare me to do it again, Drew. I'll do it next week. I don't care.

Drew Detzler: I know you will. I know you will. All right, so that's great. Robert, one last question before you out of here. What you just covered there is great and it discusses a little bit about how the writer and the content marketer will be assisted with AI in the future. How do you see this new technology influencing the customer or consumer experience?

Robert Rose: Yeah, that's a tough one to answer right now because it can go sideways. Because not everybody's going to be so wonderfully sanguine about the whole situation and there will be dumb decisions that are made. It's not lost on me that bad decisions can be made here, but I'll say two things, which is one, at the end of the day, when we think about marketing and content teams and the way that it's integrated is ultimately AI is a process problem. Like every other technology, it's a process challenge, not a technology tool challenge. And so the biggest challenge we see for marketing teams is how do we integrate this into our workflow? How do we integrate the right kinds of generative AI functions? As I've said many times before, creating content is the least interesting thing that generative AI does. Research assistant, calculator, writers' calculator. Those are interesting things that it does and how do we integrate that into the workflow? That will help improve, theoretically, our ability to spend time on higher quality content, the human oriented, high quality content. Now at the same time, I think the bad decisions could be made. And as we start to get more and more vomitous levels of AI generated content out there, and you're starting to already see this with a lot of news sites that are being literally auto- magically created by AI, where news is just exploding with content because AI can just take news items and create stories and stories and stories. It makes it really hard. And I think you're seeing counterbalance to that with companies like the New York Times and CNN and many of those places that are saying, " Look, we're not going to let ChatGPT bot spider our websites." I think that's a foolish move. I think that's a little bit like trying to stick your finger in the dam of something where there's already 400 million other holes with the damn. So all of that I think is at a really big tipping point right now. And it comes back to your point of are we sick of talking about AI yet? I think what we haven't really explored are the nuanced discussions about the decisions that are going to get made about the use of AI. And I think that's still very much a story to be written.

Ryan Brock: And I'm afraid of what we're going to start training ourselves as people, as consumers, to do in the meantime.

Robert Rose: Exactly. A hundred percent, yes, exactly.

Ryan Brock: I mean, allegory for you. Let's say that there are two grocery stores within two miles of my house, and this allegory, I'm going to say is partially based in reality. And one of them, which has the stuff I like better, their selection is better, it's a better store. They didn't get Apple Pay until about a month ago. So I, being supremely lazy and a piece of human garbage who refuses to reach into his pocket for his wallet, decides instead to drive to the other store with less stuff that I like so that I can just double click my button on my watch and pay for it that way. So the lesson here, number one, I'm a scumbag. Number two, I can see in my own psychology patterns of, well, if this new shiny thing that actually saves me some time or makes my life better, even if it's in the smallest of ways like in this allegory, I'm going to start changing my behavior to go that path. And I'm wondering how quickly we're going to get to a point where if there's a question somebody wants to ask online. And the little barred response isn't a sufficient answer, and it is never going to be a sufficient answer. Does that mean I'll just give up on trying to learn that thing and I'll just move on to something else that's easier to find because I'm used to that instant gratification? That's what keeps me up at night.

Robert Rose: A hundred percent. I mean, it's a great point. As well as, as AI starts to get integrated into search, where instead of getting a range of answers, there is one answer. And it's the acceptance of that as gospel is going to be a very, very big challenge in the near term. I think they can ultimately fix it in the long term. But what we just have to realize is that from a consumer perspective, asking generative AI a question and looking for Google for a range of options, just they're two very different use cases in how Google and Microsoft and others start to merge those ideas, those use cases, and start to try and balance those things, boy is it going to be interesting to watch.

Ryan Brock: Boom.

Drew Detzler: That'll be great in there. Robert, this was a great conversation. I really appreciate you coming on. Before we let you go though-

Robert Rose: Thanks for having me.

Drew Detzler: Absolutely. Before we let you go though, we will hit what we call our lightning round. And it's just-

Ryan Brock: Lightning round.

Robert Rose: Ooh, lightning round. All right. Here we go.

Drew Detzler: Robert, what was the last thing that you searched for?

Ryan Brock: Don't lie, be honest.

Robert Rose: Well, I'm just trying to remember. The last thing I searched for was probably... It was last night. It was something about Apple syncing iTunes. It was an Apple iTunes syncing issue that I was having with my new iPhone-

Drew Detzler: Oh, new phone?

Robert Rose: -andI was searching for basically customer help to try and sort all that out. It wasn't syncing right.

Drew Detzler: Got it.

Robert Rose: And I couldn't figure out why.

Drew Detzler: A new phone already. Ryan, are you jealous?

Ryan Brock: Well, I was waiting for the 15.

Robert Rose: It's not a new 15.

Ryan Brock: So there's no way it's a 15.

Drew Detzler: Oh, okay. Okay.

Robert Rose: No, it's a new... I had an upgrade coming for an old line that I had, so I was like, oh, I'll just get an old iPhone 13 and make it my burner phone, just that I can have around. So I was trying to get them synced up and all that. It wasn't working very well.

Ryan Brock: Did you find the answer?

Robert Rose: I did. I did indeed.

Ryan Brock: Was Apple the one who gave you the answer?

Robert Rose: It was indeed, yes. It was one of their... When you search for challenges on Apple and they have the community answers. So technically I think it's not an Apple person because it's always a community manager who inevitably says, " Reboot or check your router," which just annoys the hell out of me. But other than that, it was actually a useful answer.

Drew Detzler: I love it.

Robert Rose: All right then. Good job, Apple.

Drew Detzler: All right, let's hear this one, because this is why I like asking marketers, because there's no two marketers that are the same. So Robert, what are your favorite offline hobbies?

Robert Rose: I'm a piano player, so I play music, and then I love to hike. My wife and I love to hike. Southern California's a great place for that.

Drew Detzler: Beautiful. We'll have to get you and Ryan playing together sometime. Ryan on guitar, Robert on piano.

Robert Rose: Right on. Yeah.

Drew Detzler: I love it.

Ryan Brock: I'll bring my guitar to DC here. I think this episode will probably come out a few days before Content Marketing World, I think.

Robert Rose: Okay. Yeah.

Ryan Brock: Yeah.

Drew Detzler: Robert, are there any books or movies that have made you a better marketer?

Robert Rose: Oh. Oh my God. We could do a whole show on this. I am a business book junkie. The one that I would... There are two... There's so many. So the one that I would point to, I'll point to an author, how about an author. Rita Gunther McGrath is... she's wrote a book called The End of Competitive Advantage and it's probably my favorite business book. And also Youngme Moon, who's a Harvard business professor, she wrote a book called Different, which is a great book on differentiation, but I could regale you with a book list. Yeah.

Ryan Brock: Throw links to those in those show notes, right?

Drew Detzler: Yeah, we will. Yep. We'll throw some links in there and I've already jotted them down myself. So. Beautiful. And last question here, Robert, what is a marketing SEO or content myth that you've busted in your career?

Robert Rose: Content myth that I've busted in my... Oh, well, I would say that quantity matters over consistency. Basically what we've seen year after year after year after year is that it doesn't matter how much content you produce, it matters how consistently you produce it, and high quality wins the day, just as we were talking earlier in the show, over quantity every time.

Ryan Brock: Love it. Yep.

Drew Detzler: Well, Robert-

Ryan Brock: A great conversation.

Drew Detzler: -thanks again. This is a beautiful conversation. We really appreciate it and we'll do it again.

Robert Rose: Wonderful. Absolutely my pleasure. This was a totally fun conversation. I haven't talked this much about SEO in a long time.

Ryan Brock: Hey, me neither. That was a joke. Anyway.

Drew Detzler: Beautiful. Well, thanks again, Robert. And that's it for this episode of Page One or Bust.

Speaker 3: Are you ready to dive even deeper into pillar based marketing? Here's your chance. The brand new book, Pillar Based Marketing, a data- driven methodology for SEO and content that actually works, by co- host Ryan Brock and Christopher Day, is now available in paperback, hardcover, and ebook editions. Find it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or look for the link in the show notes.


Robert Rose, AKA the Captain Kirk of SEO, is a highly sought-after consultant, best-selling author, keynote speaker, and one of the world’s most recognized experts in digital content strategy and marketing. In this episode, Robert takes us on a journey through the history of SEO, starting in the Y2K era of flash animations into the cutting-edge frontier of generative AI.

Don't miss his key takeaways on:

(*) The Evolution and Formalization of Content Marketing - Why a better understanding of transformations in content marketing helps improve modern digital strategies.

(*) Navigating Modern Content Marketing - How to avoid the biggest mistakes and pitfalls made in content marketing today.

(*) The Future of Generative AI in SEO - Advice for challenges and future strategies.

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Today's Host

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Drew Detzler

|Chief Marketing Officer
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Ryan Brock

|Chief Solution Officer

Today's Guests

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Robert Rose

|Chief Troublemaker, The Content Advisory