SEO Doctor

The SEO Doctor makes house calls!

Digital Marketing is often driven by SEO.  One Google change and it impacts billions of results.

Enjoy a great podcast with guest Marcus Howling, a seasoned veteran in SEO.  Worked in the industry before the back-linking days and survived.  

Now he is sharing what is next in Search Engine Marketing, but, let's look at the main reason organic is so important.

  • No extra cost to get leads and clicks. 
  • The game has changed and print is out 
  • Organic search and Organic Social media are creating a generation of new millionaires. 
  • If your business isn't online you're behind.
  • The longer you take to shift the harder it will be to win.
  • What do you have to loose?

Listen in for SEO in for tomorrow.

Transcripts are also below!  If you would like to be a guest, learn more and schedule your podcast with Jeff Stanislow here.

Also, if you like this and want to up skill your in digital strategies in SEO, check out:

The Host:  Jeff Stanislow, CEO of Chief Internet Marketer

The Guest:  Marcus Howling

Transcript of the Digital Marketing Podcast focused on SEO:

Jeff Stanislow:                     00:02                       Hey, this is Jeff Stanislow, The Chief, at Chief Internet Marketer. Today we're with Marcus Howling. Marcus is this SEO doctor. He's the owner of Amuse star, PMD, which is a parent company as several Search Engine Optimization, strategy companies, and clients. How are you doing today, Marcus?

Marcus Howling:               00:22                       I'm doing great, Jeff, thank you.

Jeff Stanislow:                     00:24                       And thank you for taking the time to meet with us. And you're kind of one of those hot areas of the Internet marketing search engine optimization.

Marcus Howling:               00:32                       Yeah, I like to call it unknown fear. Like, people don't really understand it, but they want it.

Jeff Stanislow:                     00:39                       Yeah, I like that. It's like going to the ice cream store and just saying give me something. The hottest flavor. That's what I want, but you don't know what it is. Anyways, so what in the world of search, I mean we know it evolves, we know it changes. you've been doing it for how many years now?

Marcus Howling:               00:58                       About seven years now.

Jeff Stanislow:                     01:00                       About seven years. So there's on page and off page SEO and you'd probably have touched them all, but just in a nutshell, where have you seen it come from in the past and, and where do you think it's going in the future? Just larger scale like some of the evolution stuff?

Marcus Howling:               01:20                       Yeah, sure. So when I first got involved in SEO, while I was still kind of the transition of like moving away from you know, like heavy strong back link focus where it was just all in and shoot the gun and try to land every backlink you can land. As far as the strategies that were there. So a lot of rankings, a lot of trying to move the needle was done with, with spammy back linking, you know, get a link from anywhere you can get. Now I've seen that phase into where content was starting to take over even with the content is king for awhile link-building was still king in the presence of search and all the links are still valuable. I saw that transitioning to where you want a ton of links to now the more valuable links, quality over quantity kind of thing. Then with that shift I've also seen now a higher focus in a blend of where now a user experience is dominating the experience that you serve the users on mobile opposed to desktop and site speed and all of those things now are the biggest kind of influencers in your search presence. Then as far as where I think is going the ultimate goal I think of Google was to get away with link building at all and have the AI models kind of really be able to predict from your experience that the user has in the content on your site to kind of really get away from some of that spending link and making link so valuable is what I think Google's end goal is. Then I also look at things like a voice search and how device are getting smaller. So those are things that you have to think about how devices are changing because those changes in devices are going to really impact what you're doing in search.

Jeff Stanislow:                     03:10                       Yeah, I think you're spot on some of that Marcus, for sure. I mean, you take a look at back in the day when everybody was jamming pack keywords in their pages and then all the spam leaking sites and just trying to get as many back links even if they weren't relevant. I mean that algorithm changed by Google really messed a lot of people up. I mean I think it was the right thing to do, but it's unfortunately even really started that way, you know just because we all know that stuff is bought and sold. I mean, every day I get email messages from different people. It's usually the same one. I'll get you the top page, DEA ranking, already page rank this, and you're back to square one. You know what I mean? If you're not smart about like, who you're linking to and looking at what they're linking for and disavowing bad links it's definitely going to penalize you for sure.

Marcus Howling:               04:10                       Oh yeah. For sure. Google was getting way advanced at all of that stuff, I mean, to the point now where like it doesn't even do that. They're not even wasting the time and telling you to waste your time of like going in and disavowing all of your links. You know, of course that's something that you should do, but now Google is just ignoring those links. So they let you build all those links and making you think that you're winning but in reality, you're not moving anywhere and trying to figure out why. The reason why is because they're not valuing those links that you're doing. So although you may not get a manual action in your search console the value of your site's not getting any better. So that's some of the things too, that they're changing. You know, they're saving themselves time just by, hey, we can just ignore these links. We don't even have to penalize you, so to speak. Like we just ignore the links and your site won't get any better.

Jeff Stanislow:                     04:59                       Right, right. That's really interesting too. I mean, that the algorithms are going to really play this role and then, you know, the back linking strategies and stuff like that, they're all going to change and I think it's all going to be based on, like you said, the human interaction and the automate AI that's built on top of it where people are going from, and to the site. People won't be setting back links for Google search engine optimization down the road. Artificial intelligence will do that automatically and it'll glean where people are going in the value proposition of what they're finding.

Marcus Howling:               05:39                       Yeah, I really do believe that. I really do believe it, that that is their goal. They don't want SEOs, especially to be able to trick the system and influence you in any way. And so, like, that's happened so much in the past that I think that they worked previously to try to figure out before we even figure out what are ways that is quote unquote, I don't want to say black hat, because SEO is spammy in general, but you know, there are still two classifications, good and bad, we'll say. So I think Google does a good job of trying to predict what the next tactic is going to be to kind of like manipulate the system.

Jeff Stanislow:                     06:21                       Yeah. So talk to us a little bit about site speed. You know, you read about so much more about these sites coming faster and faster, and you know what my interpretation of this is like you're going to have a lot of these huge content management systems like WordPress. They're so heavy in code and they have all these plugins and I think they're going to get hurt down the road. What are your thoughts on that?

Marcus Howling:               06:46                       Oh yeah, for sure. Oh Man. Probably not even hurt down the road. They're probably already seen the impact. Especially in our conversion data. A lot of people don't think like you've got to understand that that shift that that's been kind of slowly rolling over the last two or three years unto mobile first. Once Google came out and made mobile first the thing. Which some people may not know. So I will just speak about a real quick mobile first just means that now Google takes your mobile site and that is the main site that they index your site by. So, in the past, everything you've seen in rankings was based on your desktop and then your mobile was after that but now what's happening is your rankings are based off your mobile, which also dictate what your desktop rankings are. And a lot of people think of site speed is just how fast you come to this site, but there's other things like user timer and markings, first to pin content and things like that that you find in those lighthouse and pastry reports from Google insights that are more valuable than just the actual page speeds that you might see. So it's the actual thing is like when that user comes to this site, how fast are they able to interact and find what they're looking for. That's how you kind of have to think of page speed beyond just the number of like my site loads this fast. It's actually like how fast can that user find the information on all of those individual pages because people just don't come into your homepage. So people are coming to your site in different pages through search. You have to make sure that that experience, once again, back to user experience, they're able to interact with your site in a timely manner.

Jeff Stanislow:                     08:33                       Now, one of the things I kind of project in the future here and what I've been thinking about and talking to some of the people that I teach you know, some digital marketing strategies is that with Google's amp page or advanced mobile pages and with all the stuff that they're restricting you know, being embedded into those pages, and Google has to actually approve an amp page to give it stamp. So if you take that and you take where the traffic is coming from, which is now half the traffic is mobile and it's continuing to grow, at what point in time does Google once again own the web world?

Marcus Howling:               09:21                       You know, when you say own the web world in the sense of, have they lost it?

Jeff Stanislow:                     09:27                       Yeah, yeah. No, that's a good point. Very good point. I've been quiet about it.

Marcus Howling:               09:33                       Yeah. I mean, I was reading something the other day that in the United States, Google owns 88% of the search market and the world is even higher at I think about 92 or 93%. Bing is the next highest at 6% in the U.S. I mean, although Bing has gained a little bit of ground, Google owns the search world. Which is why I always tell people that bring up like Bing and other search engines is cool to make sure that like you have a presence in there, but when you're optimizing, you really want to be optimizing for Google users. Until that shift really finds a change where it's like 20, 30, 40% in another search, you really should be optimizing for Google standards and that Google standards are lighthouse and page speed insights and your site should reflect that. Then into accelerated mobile pages, the cool thing about that now is that there's tools like SEMrush, that will actually show you what results Google is serving amp pages. So now, that helps because like maybe you don't need to go and make your whole site amp or you can find which queries are being searched in your industry and then take those pages and make those amp pages and a lot of stuff that I'm seeing is like blog content, news content, and quick answer results, things like that, that are showing up in the tools for like amp stamps. I don't recommend going out and jumping in and making your whole site amp unless you have the resources, the time and the team to do it, but I do recommend trying to get a tool that'll help you understand what pages are being showed in those formats and then making sure that when you're creating content that content is served on an amp.

Jeff Stanislow:                     11:26                       Yeah, I mean I think you're 100% right. But when I say the reason why I say that is because I think when owning the web world and stuff like that and your numbers are right in regards to how they've been dominating. It's like, well, what do you want to tell your clients? Like, Hey, do you want to try to work real hard to sell 6% of your products? Or do you want to sell 90% of your products? You know, where are you going to spend your time? You are going to spend your time on Google and that's where you should spend your time.

Marcus Howling:               11:55                       I guess, I misspoke too because like those numbers only reflect search. So think about the other channels that are out there. You know, like specifically like you do want to make sure that organic search when we're speaking of this is a channel that your audience is on and using but if you do find that there's other channels, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin and other places, then you can go and use resources and try to optimize and produce and put ads in those places and organic strategies for those specific channels. But if you're speaking just in terms of search like Google still wins. Now, there's going to be argument how much compared to social but that is still going to be on a market level and also industry level. Every industry is going to be different. Some industries, you're usually going to come from search, and other industries like the fashion and makeup industry, a lot more of their traffic may come from social. So you may want to put some budget and time into those channels as well, from an organic standpoint.

Jeff Stanislow:                     13:03                       Yeah, that's a good question. I got two questions. One, talk to us about this zero position in Google search and then now the second question is how do you do SEO for social media?

Marcus Howling:               13:19                       Sure. so I'm going to go to the first question and you might have to bring up the second one again, but the zero positioning is something that I've actually been studying a lot over the last six months to a year. Trying to really understand what that means and how you get to those positions. And you know, what I'm really finding is you're getting to those positions with relevant content that serves that query but there's things that you can do in your text to actually kind of manipulate if you're going to show up for that zero search. Things like making sure your headings are optimized properly. Things like using page indents in your code like UL for lists. If you see a lot of those zero searches are going to be like lists that pop up for example and you know, so making sure your coding has that. Then also schema markup is important for those user search. But once again, there's tools out now Bright Edge being one specifically, which is a more of a higher ladder enterprise tool. Those tools will not only show you what results are showing up zero searches but they'll also help you in understanding how to optimize for those zero searches and it will show you the content that is there already so you can kind of cater and start creating content for that. But the best thing I can say for that is like, do a ton of searches, look what's popping up in the zero search results. Really try to look at the code and the content that's on that page to kind of understand and the biggest things that are going to impact our schema. Then also list in your content.

Jeff Stanislow:                     15:01                       Yeah. I noticed that mostly you, in your markup, in your Schema, you use bullet points and lists and they seem to really like those a lot

Marcus Howling:               15:10                       For sure, because they're more like 'how to.' There's different variations of them, but you know, the majority of them are quick answer lists. If you notice, they will have some kind of scheme in it, whether it's a review or whether it's a list of a menu URL is inside of the result. There's going to be something that is data aggregated and associated there, is what you will see mostly

Jeff Stanislow:                     15:38                       The second question, I actually forgot what I asked you about. No, the social media search.

Marcus Howling:               15:48                       To me social media is actually an influencer of what used to be like your site authority in your presence. So the key things to know is to make sure that those strategies are aligned with what you're doing on your website, and the words that you're using in your posts, the content that you're playing on there, making sure that you have Twitter cards, and Facebook cards on your website. Things like that. And you make sure that the markup is there so that whenever you're posting from your blog your titles and your images and your descriptions go over with the blog post, the amount of times that you're posting. Those are some of the things that you don't really think of.

Marcus Howling:               16:41                       Now, if you're on Youtube, you can optimize your Youtube page like you would optimize a website, titles, headings, categories, and all of those things, and tags. On a social media, you don't really have access to do as much of that. So it's more from the words that you're putting the hash marks and things like that that you want to make sure are keywords that are matching the pages that they're going to. If you're posting content organically you may have a link back to your website, you want to make sure that that text in that content is relevant to what you're speaking to on that page. Those are signals that we'll go back to that page and we're kind of saying like, oh, this page is talking about this. So, that's the biggest kind of tips I can give for a social media on an overall scale.

Jeff Stanislow:                     17:27                       Okay. Yeah. So I make sure you're utilizing a lot of the applications that are available inside these social media platforms. A lot of people, they just get these platforms set up and then they get HootSuite and then they just start sending out the same, but they don't do all that customization that they can do if they spend time on each platform. On social media, a lot of times I tell people it's like each platform is different. You know, vying for different things, like a lot of people don't even realize that you know, Instagram, there's no link to click through on an Instagram posts. It's like, how many times have you seen Instagram posts with links all over it?

Marcus Howling:               18:11                       The interesting thing though is Instagram, now that they have the... For ecommerce stores, it's amazing because now you can set up shopping in your feed. So it's not a link that you can see, but whenever you set up those shopping ads, you can link back to products, those images back to products on your site. So that is very interesting that Instagram was doing that now, where as for products and e-commerce websites, you're actually able to set up those and have the content link back. Also, on Snapchat whenever you post images there's a way now that you can include a URL so that if you're a ecommerce company and you're posting like T shirts or hats or paintings or artwork, and when you do that post, you can link back to where that product goes. So there are some things that are being done which is very interesting and really things that like you really have to understand each platform and how to use it.

Jeff Stanislow:                     19:15                       Exactly. Exactly. Then, now I'm reading all this stuff about how Tic Talk has blown up, and then Instagram was getting ready to do a lot bigger push on videos versus a photos. So I think the whole video market's going to blow up. How does someone, small business owner, let's talk about a small business owner. It's like we're talking marking schemas, and integration to your website, and platforms, and you know, long tail keywords, and keyword research, is this stuff feasible for a small business owner to do?

Marcus Howling:               19:54                       Yeah. I mean it really is. I mean, the great thing about SEO is that if you take your time and really want to do it there's a lot of information out there to help them do that. But if you're a small business owner the first place to start is like making sure that you're including Geos in your content, including Geos in your Meta, your Meta titles, Meta descriptions, and understanding and learning the basics of what can help your website show up. Outside of that, you really want to make sure you follow, like you want to get some local SEO help. So you want to make sure that you're in, like all of the data aggregators. You want to make sure you're in all of the citation sites. And you want to make sure whenever you're optimizing those citations that you're also including Geos in the content, and the Meta titles, and Meta descriptions. It just places for keywords, anywhere that you can include Geos, you want to include them. And then outside of that, you just want to really focus on relationship building from a digital standpoint. What I mean is like if you're a local mom and pop shop like you can go out and get natural relationships and get valuable links from local sources like local newspapers, or local events, or local things like that that you can also use to kind of show your locality and including keywords, associate those keywords to your location and that will help beef up your local presence.

Jeff Stanislow:                     21:27                       I like it, man. I like it. I think you're exactly right. So Marcus, I mean, I appreciate your time. We went a little bit long, but I think maybe we'll have some other conversations in the future. One last question, I always talk to people about, my guests, what's your favorite brand and why? And then answer that question and then tell us how people can get ahold of you, Marcus. Then we're going to finish it up for the day.

Marcus Howling:               21:52                       Yeah, sure. So my favorite brand actually right now is Johnny Cupcakes. Its T shirt company that's been around for about 10 years now. On the last five years, they've kind of really been getting a lot more exposure. The reason why is my favorite brand is just the story and how I began. He was really organic and he wasn't even really trying to sell t-shirts. He was in a band, and you could check out the story on his website at to really understand, but he had a valuable at the time that he came in, he was doing something a lot of people weren't doing and it was exclusivity. So he was making custom shirts and he was making them exclusive to where you can only get maybe one, he will only make 100 shirts. And he was doing what they call re-labeling and labeling and making sure his label was in the shirts and on the tags he was actually print. So it'd be you got shirt one of 100, you got shirt two of 100, you got shirt three of 100. So he was making his product valuable through exclusivity. And I just thought that was brilliant at the time that he was doing that because nobody else was doing that. Basically, he was selling you art on a T shirt and you know, like it was extremely, you knew that there was only going to be 100 people that would have that same shirt or 200 people. So it wasn't like everybody could have this shirt. So it really created a value in a sense of like, I have to have this product. So that's why that's my favorite brand. Then as far as how to reach me, you can contact me on my cell phone, (713) 624 2827. You can also check out my marketing website called That's i l l m a r k e t i n g You can see some writing that I have on there some history and I'm actually building some case studies on there now to kind of show passed growth that I've had with clients.

Jeff Stanislow:                     23:52                       Well that's excellent. I really appreciate your time. I thought we covered a lot today. You know, any one of the subjects that we touched upon today we could actually spend the same amount of time just drilling down into specifics on. So maybe we'll do that on a follow up. Anyways, I'll put all your information posted up there on the page and I'll even link the Johnny cupcake story there so people can check it out as well. It kind of reminds me of a brand. I have some teenage boys and they're all about their brand Supreme. We went to New York a year or two ago and waited in line for a half an hour to get in the store. So yeah, there's something to say about you know, having a, a brand and protecting it. So, yes, again, Marcus, I appreciate your time and then we'll talk to you soon.

Marcus Howling:               24:49                       Thank you so much, Jeff. Have a good night.