Contrarian Marketing
Contrarian Marketing Podcast
#27: AUA - Ask Us Anything

#27: AUA - Ask Us Anything

SEO and AI, recession, career advice and more!

This episode is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts

In this "Ask Us Anything" (AUA) session, we answer questions from a Linkedin live about SEO & AI, the state of the economy, careers and more.


  • Breakfast Routines

  • Predictions on Economic Recovery

  • AI and SEO

  • Preparing for AI and SGE

  • Eli shares the best career advice he didn't take

  • The Importance of Working at Big Brands Early in Your Career

  • Best Practices for Prioritizing and Implementing SEO Initiatives in Companies

  • Impact of Generative AI on Jobs and Medical Professionals

  • Building a Nerd Wallet Competitor in 2023

  • Impressive AI SEO Marketing Tools

  • Workspace Labs beta and Google's Keyword blog

  • Eli and Kevin Discuss Marketing Evolution and Tactics in Today's Digital Landscape

  • Companies Collaborating with Influencers

  • Discussing AI advancements and future implications


[00:00:05] Kevin and Eli Go Live: A Friday Conversation

[00:00:05] kevin: We're live.

[00:00:06] eli: We're actually live.

[00:00:07] kevin: Is this real?

[00:00:08] eli: Yes, it is real. We did it. Oh, my God. Eli, what's going on this Friday? How are you?

[00:00:14] kevin: Let's enjoy the podcast for the sake of all the people, all the millions of people that are not watching us live.

[00:00:20] Contrary Marketing Podcast: Live AMA

[00:00:20] eli: All right, sounds good.

[00:00:21] kevin: Hello.

[00:00:21] eli: Welcome to the Contrary marketing podcast, where we give you ideas you might not be thinking about today. Eli and I are doing a live AMA. Not MMA live. AMA we're beating ourselves up only verbally.

[00:00:33] kevin: No, AMU sorry. Aua ask us anything.

[00:00:38] eli: Ask us a good point where you can already tell by this highlevel. We ask each other questions, and we want questions from the live crowd that we're going to ask each other as well. Eli, you want to hit it off?

[00:00:49] kevin: Yeah, but Kevin, I hate to interrupt the flow here, but I'm not sure that we're live.

[00:00:52] eli: I'm pretty sure we have 33 viewers.

[00:00:54] kevin: We do. Okay, so they're there on my LinkedIn event. I just see our logo.

[00:01:00] eli: It's not a multiverse or what do you call it? Metaverse.

[00:01:03] kevin: Can't see myself. Okay, well, we have 33 viewers. Welcome, everyone. Welcome.

[00:01:06] Morning Q&A and Discussing Breakfast Routines

[00:01:06] eli: Eli, hit me with a question here.

[00:01:08] kevin: What do you have for breakfast?

[00:01:09] eli: I had egg beaters, cherry cheese, and two slices of bread. Kind of my standard breakfast. I have that almost every morning, and I don't mind it at all. And of course, coffee. Can't forget the coffee shopify, mark. Exclusive for the growth team.

[00:01:24] kevin: How about you? So it's a little bit earlier in the morning here on the West Coast, so I had to skip breakfast today. But I did have my coffee, and it's the first thing I do is wake up, think about the coffee, and run to go get it. But let's do a real question here.

[00:01:35] eli: Let's do a real question.

[00:01:37] kevin: I think we're full of SEO questions. One day we won't have SEO questions. Let's do a non SEO question.

[00:01:43] Predictions on Economic Recovery and AI-related Stocks Driving Bull Market

[00:01:43] kevin: When do you think the economy will get better?

[00:01:45] eli: Man, if I knew that, I would put all my money into the stock market at some point in time. Look, I'm not an economist, but I have very deep insights into a lot of companies right now and some companies who make a lot that make a lot of money. And I don't yet think we have bottomed out. I think we have seen some of the worst B, two B businesses that sell to other companies and that might slowly turn around or at least flatten out, but I think consumer businesses might get hit even harder. And so, again, this is not financial advice, and I cannot see the future. But if I had to make a guess, I think Christmas this year or maybe even summer next year. That's kind of a span where I think the economy will get better. But I can only tell by how good business is going for some of the companies that are working with. And right now, demand is down. Sales cycles are still very long. Revenue is down year over year. So that's my prediction. What do you think?

[00:02:44] kevin: I actually think the stock market has probably bottomed out. I don't know if you saw this, but we're in a bull market, which is crazy, because I always tell people, you can't pull your money out of the market because you don't know the bottom until you're months past the bottom. I forget the number, but this financial advisor told me that if you would have invested in the top of the market in 2008, right before the market, like, plummeted. So if you invested in the top of the market in 2008, and then you would have pulled your money out at the bottom of the market in March of 2020, when the market had dropped like 40% or something, you would have still made like 180%. So that's the market, right? So you look at trends and you think everything's terrible, but you have no idea. The only way you can really make money in the market is by keeping your money there. So I didn't realize it, but we're in a bull market. So a bear market is when the market is down 20% overall, and a bull market is when it's up 20%. So somehow within all of this, in 2023, we're actually in a bull market, and the market has turned. So I think the market will probably improve because a lot of the layoffs, a lot of the bad things, things have sort of already been baked in. Whether the bad things continue is a whole different story. So again, the market is psychology of the market is maybe things aren't as bad. So people invest, and there's money being made there. But I do think economically, there's probably a lot more layoffs. There's way too much spending for the amount of bad economic news and the amount of layoffs, unemployed amount of people. I think we're probably still a ways away from there. Maybe things turn around next year when there's an election, because markets are psychology, economics or psychology, and candidates can mess things up, messing around with things and make it look a little bit better. Stimulus might not be a good thing. Creates inflation. It created inflation. But hey, if they stimulate the economy and they start giving that money, people might spend, there might be more jobs. And we go back to those 2021 days, 2022 days, where companies just way overhired. I think around the marketing layoffs in general, there were just too many hires, so companies are just ramping down. I don't think it's necessarily a function of the employees. It's even a function of the companies. They just way overhired, and they need to pull that back. In Google's case, Google had never really fired anybody or laid anybody off. So they each had too many employees over two decades of growing, and they need to pull back. No one knows whether Google will do more layoffs, but they're not talking about it. Facebook continues or Meta continues to talk about doing layouts.

[00:05:10] eli: The one thing that you mentioned that's super interesting is that we're in a bull market. And when you look at the stocks that are actually up driving that increase, it's all stocks related to AI. So Nvidia is going absolutely nuts right now. Apple after their announcements, google, Microsoft is really those stocks driving the market, and it's all about AI.

[00:05:31] Kevin and Eli Discuss AI and Answer Questions

[00:05:31] eli: And that's one topic that we got a lot of questions for, and I.

[00:05:34] kevin: Think we have to drink now. Now. You just said AI. Oh.

[00:05:37] eli: Every time you say, oh, okay, here we go.

[00:05:39] kevin: I forgot.

[00:05:39] eli: Here we go. Coffee, a zip of water.

[00:05:41] kevin: There you go.

[00:05:42] Preparing for AI and SGE: Impact on Search Traffic and the Future of SEO

[00:05:42] kevin: All right, we made it five minutes without using the word AI.

[00:05:45] eli: It's a new record, I think.

[00:05:47] kevin: Yeah, it is a new record here.

[00:05:50] eli: The question I have for you is you wrote this series of posts about AI and SGE, google's new search generic experience. Let's cut straight to the chase. Most people tuning in here know what's going on and have heard about AI and Se. What do you tell people or companies who ask you what they can do right now to prepare themselves for SGE when it rolls out to the broader public and for AI in general.

[00:06:16] kevin: So I've been preparing for this for many years by focusing on users, by focusing on product led SEO. I was never really algo centric. So this is obviously AI and SGE is an algo adjustment. Well, not an algo, but it's an adjustment in this search layout and it's adjustment of the search page. So my focus has always been on building great things for the search user. So that's just a user that happens to come from a search engine, regardless of whether Google Bing, I don't know, Yandex or whatever. So I think that that is what everyone should continue to do, build for that search user. Now, the makeup of that search user is going to change. And I think the big way that's going to change is that search user is going to move from top of funnel, which is very generic searches, to more mid funnel. And I'll give you an example. I'm in the middle of planning a trip to Europe this summer, and I'm doing a lot of googling most of the queries that I Google, they are bringing up SGE. So obviously that didn't exist a month ago. So if I would have done that Googling, there wouldn't have been any generative responses unless I did it on Chat WT. But so there's now I'm Googling most of the names of hotels. When I Google, there is an SGE response. Now, is the SGE great? I don't think so. When I Google the name of hotel, there's a couple of things that I'm looking for around the hotel. One is where is it located? And two is what are the ratings? So where it's located? Obviously. That's Google. That's a Maps query. And what it's rated? That is TripAdvisor or or anybody that's collected a significant mass amount of reviews. Google telling me that it is 176 room hotel built in 1992 and is in some neighborhood which I don't know the name of the neighborhood is not very helpful. However, the fact that that exists, that that content is there does mean that the people that are looking for that information are no longer going to go to TripAdvisor. So I'm still going to TripAdvisor because it has information that I need. But I think this SG is going to disrupt the top of the funnel and that may be a good thing. Maybe it's a good thing that there were so many sites out there before that created aggregated content that didn't give so much helpful information and they just ranked on Google and then captured the click and it wasn't helpful for the user. But by being number one, they got the click and now you won't get the click. So maybe that's a good thing for the users. They just capture that information right away. So I think everything about search is changing and traffic is going to change. And the interesting thing is I keep polling this on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn polls because I get a lot of responses. Most people in my polls have not seen SGE. Another one I did last week is 53% of people are not preparing for anything related to generative in the rest of this year. And then the insight that I took out of this is that many, many marketers don't know what it is and they just assume it's another Google algo change. This is something I just heard from a CMO of a company who reached out and said, hey, our SEO agency says don't worry about this thing. It's another algo change, we'll be fine. And I don't think that's correct. I think this is a fundamental layout change and traffic will absolutely change. And just assuming that it's no big deal is a huge mistake. Now, will it crush most sites? I don't know. Like, depends on the vertical, depends on where Google lands with it. If you're an informational vertical, wikipedia as an example is getting crushed. I think that marketers should be using this, should be paying attention, and things will change. What do you think? Are you in my Pessimistic camp or you're like, this is Google, this is Google being Google. You don't even use Google. You use chat GBT. You tell me this all the time or even this Google.

[00:09:50] eli: Yeah, it's funny. I do think things will change. So I'm halfway with 1ft. I'm in your camp.

[00:09:57] kevin: I do think don't agree. You're not supposed to agree.

[00:10:00] eli: No, it's just 1ft.

[00:10:02] kevin: Half agree, half a foot.

[00:10:06] eli: I agree with one toe and my other toe. Tell me that. No, it's it's a middle toe. It's a little longer than a piggy toe. I don't see SG going live in its current form. There was this interesting article that the chief Editor of Tom's Hardware published a couple of days ago fundamentally criticizing the accuracy and information in SGE and two, how it's still lacking references and how much it's copying, how borderline plagiarism it is. I do agree with that argument, directionally, but not to the same intensity, if that makes sense. But I think there's something there, it's in beta. It is great that it's in beta and it should stay in beta until Google has found a really good fit. I still also think that Bing AI search answers are much, much better.

[00:10:55] kevin: Right?

[00:10:55] Consequences of AI Integration in Search Results

[00:10:55] eli: So little sneak peek. I'm publishing this article on Monday, but one thing that I did so this article, the chief editor Thomas Pilch last time is Pilch of Tom's Hardware. He calls out one example which is best GPU and in SGE. SGE basically word for word copies a large part articles by Tom's Hardware, PC gamer and other authorities and then links to them like barely maybe the Corroborated results, but doesn't even give a good attribution. And I tried that same query, best GPU in Edge on Bing in the conversational AI search and the results were much, much better. Basically, I got a very quick list, clear attribution and citation and the accuracy was so much more on point. So, long story short, I don't think this train is stoppable, train is moving, AI is going to go in the search results. The question is how? I think the current form of SGE is too aggressive to go live and not have everybody up in arms. I think we'll see a more toned down version of that. But we still need to think about the question of how do we thrive in this world and what can we do to stand out? And there are a bunch of things depending on the vertical you're in, but it's a new game or 50% of the game is new. Let's put it this way.

[00:12:14] kevin: Totally agree with that. It's new and I also think it will keep changing. I think you're wrong about when it's going to launch or what form it's going to launch. I think that Google is rushing to launch things like maybe Google wants to wait a little bit and put it out next year. But every time OpenAI launches something new and they launch something new this week where it relates to functionality and they improved the capabilities of Chat GBT, I think that panics Google and someone's fingers hovering over that button that just puts it out onto the whole world, man.

[00:12:47] eli: I don't think they can launch like that. I think they said in the blog article they're aiming for December of this year. They already said that they made some improvements to SG. I think Denny Sullivan, the search liaison at Google confirmed that. But I still think it's way off these references. It's a small detail, but it's an important one. I think citations or references need to be an SG and they need to be clearer than where they are right now. But I'm willing to gamble and I'm willing to bet here. But it's a whole new skill set that we have to learn and some things that I've already noticed. Again, we cannot make deterministic statements about how it works before we see the change in traffic, before we see the actual public life version or the final version. But one thing that I've already noticed is that this idea of third party reviews for your products has become so much more important. And it makes sense why Google is launching product review updates for its current algorithm left and right. I mean, every year you see four or five of these and they are all incredibly impactful. I mean, I'm talking to some businesses who see decreases of 30, 40, sometimes 50% of organic traffic due to a product review algorithm, and they suffer because they don't have a clear indication of methodology, clear authorship, clear evaluation system for products. And so it makes sense now because in part, Google leads so hard on third party reviews for its SGE experience when it comes to ecommerce related searches or local business searches. So this whole idea of a review footprint and influencing reviews and getting reviews out there is just so much more important, and I don't see that going away. That's my take.

[00:14:23] kevin: Yeah. All right, let's move on to the next one. Let me ask you one. Go ahead. We're totally switching topics here and then we'll come back to SEO.

[00:14:31] Eli shares the best career advice he didn't take

[00:14:31] kevin: What's the best career advice you ever got and didn't take?

[00:14:35] eli: Wow, dude, I got no warning about this one. That comes out left field, so let me see if I can stand up a great answer that doesn't make me lay in bed tonight and think about, oh, I wish I would have said that instead of this. So, look, I'm going to be going to be completely honest here and completely transparent. Someone who I look up to and still do gave me the advice that I wasn't ready enough yet to go out on my own to advise companies at that level. I'm not aiming to toot my own horn here, but I'm catering to executives. I'm catering to CEOs CMO CTOs Coos C suite.

[00:15:13] kevin: Right. Head offs.

[00:15:15] eli: Somebody gave me the advice to say, you need to do a couple more rounds of years at a company in house, get to a higher rank, broaden your scope to be ready to really advise companies at that level. And I didn't take it. And it worked out for me. There is an alternate universe where I took that advice and where it worked out even better for me. So I cannot A B test it, but I decided to go out on my own. I'm very happy with it, it works really well and I'm learning a ton. So that's advice I didn't take.

[00:15:43] The Importance of Working at Big Brands Early in Your Career

[00:15:43] eli: Let me ask you that same question because it's a really good question.

[00:15:45] kevin: Well, first of all, I told you to go out on your own much earlier, so I'm glad you finally took my advice. You just didn't take it early enough and I'm glad you spent some time at some big companies. The advice I didn't take was I should have spent more time working at big companies. And I'll tell you why. This came from someone it's funny when you talk to like an older person, let's say someone in there, we're not going to go and blame people in their 40s or being old. None of you are old, I'm over 40. But it's more when you talk to an 80 year old and they give you career advice. And recently we interviewed someone on our podcast who is a couple of generations older than us, does not experience digital the way we did, but he was very insightful and we'll talk more about that in future posts and in future podcasts. But early in my career, an older person gave me advice that I should work for big brands. And at the time I wanted to work for startups because startups are cool and startups are how you get rich and all the cool stuff, work at Unicorns and write good things on your LinkedIn and writing your work at some major company and have some not so exciting job and boring title and boring job. Didn't seem exciting to me. But the advice I got was that I should work at big companies because big companies teach you things that you could then bring to smaller companies. I think that's true. And I should have spent more time at big companies. I should have when I got my first job, I took the first one offering a job because they didn't want to not have a job. It was a big ish kind of company, a few hundred employees. Eventually IPOed was not a startup at all. And then from there I went to a startup. I really wish at that point in time I had gone to a major brand, because there's something about being at a major brand where you learn how those things work. Yes, it's boring. Yes, you're probably not in control of a lot of things, but you see how those things work. You can bring those experiences to a smaller company because ultimately small companies want to be big companies. And then there's the brand cachet. So the company I worked at after that first job no one ever heard of, it was a startup got swallowed up by another company that no one ever heard of. And I learned an amazing amount, but it doesn't really make my resume look that exciting. I was fortunate that after that company I went to SurveyMonkey, which was a well known brand, which is more of a well known brand than it deserves because it's not a huge company, didn't have a huge valuation. However, so many people have taken surveys from SurveyMonkey, just in their mind it appeared like a big brand. For all we know, Pepsi or Coke couldn't be that. There might not be massive brands, but you just see it everywhere. Obviously there are big brands, but something you see everywhere, even if it's not huge, it's perception. So I was fortunate that it ended up being at a big brand, but I think I wish I would have stayed more in big brands and gone to companies like that. And I know we talk about Google a lot, a lot of people will say, oh, Googlers are not that smart. In 2023, maybe in 2005 they were very smart, but in 2023 they're not that smart. It doesn't really matter because everyone thinks they're that smart and that's all that matters. So when they go to their next jobs, when they go to do consulting, I wish I could say I'm an ex Googler and then go and try and do SEO consulting, but I can't. So that's advice to anybody listening that's early in your career, if you have a choice between some really sexy startup and Apple, take Apple, do it.

[00:18:52] eli: Yeah, it depends on where you are in career and stuff, but I broadly agree, which I shouldn't.

[00:18:56] Best Practices for Prioritizing and Implementing SEO Initiatives in Companies

[00:18:56] eli: So I'm going to move on to the other question. I did ask some people earlier this week for questions that I can ask you, and I want to bring some of those up. So one of them is from Clay Kramer. Thanks, Clay, for submitting a question. And it is, what are some good practices for prioritizing and implementing SEO initiatives in your company?

[00:19:16] kevin: So the best practice is one that's not followed in most companies, but is followed in the companies where SEO is the most successful, which is to think of it as an initiative instead of thinking of it as a thing to do. So in my career, and I'm fortunate that now my job is talking to many companies. Most of them I don't end up working for, but I talk to founders and I talk to C suite executives and learn about how SEO is done. In most companies, SEO is done as a tactic, as a thing to do. It does not elevate up to the level of executives. There's very little revenue reporting related to it. It's very black box. We're like, well, we don't know what's happening here, but it's magic, and we just fund the magic. And I think that's wrong. The approach is not that, it's this big strategic initiative that's tied into other strategic initiatives and it's part of a product plan, and everything we do needs to have some sort of SEO lens on it. Just like, well, there's the SEO person in the corner working their SEO black magic. And this is a tactic. And that is why a lot of the things that are talked about around SEO, they're just kind of considered tactics. And it's unfortunate that in a time like now where there's economic contraction and layoffs, the SEO who couldn't vocalize what they're doing couldn't communicate how all the things they're doing laddered into the broader picture could be on the chopping block. And I had a recent post on LinkedIn where I talked about how laying off an SEO team during a generational change in SEO makes no sense. That post was driven by how many SEO really, really smart SEO thinkers have reached out to me saying, I just found myself without a job. I was working at this big company, I'm doing these important things, and I was just laid off, and there's nobody behind it. There's nobody else doing SEO. I guess from our perspective as SEO consultants, this is good for us because when everything breaks and there's no budget to hire a full time employee, they will seek out a consultant to help them. But I think the first thing any company wants is a full time SEO employee that owns and drives and communicates what's happening with SEO. To me, that's the biggest myth is that it's not a strategic initiative. It's just a tactic, like build some links, like what we what'd you do on SEO this week? I built some links. Or what you do in SEO this week? I changed some title tags. Like, why? Like, how does that ladder into something? I just talked to a chief product officer at I don't know if they're fortune 500, but they're a really, really big public company. I asked them, like, what their roadmap was for SEO, and they're like, what would an SEO roadmap look like? They have like eight SEO people. And I had to talk to this CPO about how SEO should be important. And they're like, well, we're changing title tags. Then we're moving on to updating our XML sitemap. They're just things to do, and it's not an initiative. And they have eight employees, eight full time employees are spending a lot of money on and they have agencies and a bunch of other stuff. So millions of dollars a year, and it doesn't really tie to anything. It's not like we spend millions of dollars a year on SEO, and here's how we spend it on paid, and here's how it all ties together and CRM. No, we just do SEO. So that's my thing. What about you?

[00:22:17] eli: I want to offer a different take. Of course. This is a contrary marketing podcast. I have to disagree.

[00:22:22] kevin: Yeah, you just think SEO is dead. I'm with you.

[00:22:25] eli: Yeah, I'm post SEO. Now. What is the news? Words AI optimization. Who even knows semantic optimization.

[00:22:34] kevin: I don't know what's going on.

[00:22:35] eli: So look, here's the thing, right? I think you should have both. You should have very clearly prioritized SEO projects. Where I agree with you, we have to agree with you is that most SEO strategies are actually tactics, not strategies. But what I think makes other sense is you have your top three SEO initiatives, and then you have your top three bets. And this is my contrarian stance here. I think SEO is so much of a black box now that you cannot expect everything to be properly projected and estimated. It's just not possible. There are some things that you don't know will work and will work out, but if they do, you get a competitive advantage. So the only way to move these things forward is to actually take bets. And so I've started working with clients, basically. We did that back at g two, and it worked out wonderfully. We had our big bets. Most of them actually worked out, but not all of them were based on perfect data, good logical constructs and argumentation. Of course, it's not just like licking your finger and putting it in the air and see where the wind is coming from, but it doesn't have to be properly projected and estimated by agreeing on a bet. You basically ask people to take a gamble. You get around all of these questions of, oh, how can we test it at a smaller scale? Like, how can we derisk it? How can we polish the stone so much until it's not sharp anymore? Or the knife, right? You tone it down. You tone it down. You tone it down, you launch it, and then it fails. And so instead, again, I'm pushing companies to take bets, not betting the farm, right? Not life or death type of bets, but let's allocate some capacity on things that we don't know will work out, but have good reason to believe that they might and try it. And that has proven to be very effective in my mind when it comes to prioritizing stuff.

[00:24:22] kevin: Right.

[00:24:22] eli: It's not just the numbers, but you also need to take a few bets.

[00:24:25] kevin: I like that.

[00:24:26] Impact of Generative AI on Jobs and Medical Professionals

[00:24:26] kevin: All right. Yeah. Let me ask you a question related to this. So I got an email from someone, a medical doctor, a urologist. His profile picture had a stethoscope around his neck, and I checked out his LinkedIn, and he went to medical school as a real doctor. He's panicking about generative AI. Says gen of AI is cutting into his business. He didn't follow up yet. I'm curious why he's bothered by gender of AI, but that question generative AI is cutting into his business and is a urologist. It's interesting. What do you think doctors and service providers that don't provide a traditional service that you would think would be disrupted by generative AI should do about generative AI? I mean, ultimately, I think the doctor shouldn't worry is that doctor, and people come in and pay him to get treated physically, get treated. So cares. But I'm curious.

[00:25:16] eli: You basically want to look. Out for tasks that you do completely virtually or completely digitally and that are legwork, right? Like, for example, there are some accounting tasks that you can replace with even chat GPT or AI. Want to be careful? You want to double check this, right? Let me tell you before I give any advice here. None of the technology is good enough yet for you to blindly trust it. Anything you do has to be double checked and viewed carefully.

[00:25:44] kevin: Read the rest of the disclaimer. We're not medical advisors, lawyers, financial advisors. Thanks. And this has not been tested on animals. Okay?

[00:25:52] eli: But in all honesty, for example, my dad is actually a urologist, and I know that he does a lot of work. What do you call this? Where my English is leaving me, where we talk into a machine and then somebody else types it out for you.

[00:26:04] kevin: Dictation. Dictation.

[00:26:05] eli: Thank you. Dictation. That you can perfectly replace it with AI. There are even tools. There's a tool. I'm giving you a recommendation right now. I'm not affiliated or anything. They're called audio pen. I think the purpose is more on the journalism side, where you can just ramble and speak and speak, and then audio Pen will kind of transcribe it for you and summarize it. Sorry, I mean journaling, not journalism. However, you can use that tool however you want. So if I was a doctor, I would use that for dictation so that there's not a poor soul that has to listen to it and type it down. And the reason doctors do that is because their handwriting is unreadable. And I know for a fact, but no, in all seriousness, I would use it for those kind of mundane tasks. Mundane, legwork, completely digital. That's where AI can already help you right now. I'm convinced that we will get to a point where AI will help you with diagnosis. There are interesting studies where AI can detect cancer and MRIs much more efficiently than doctors. Fun fact, the best results actually come from a combination of doctors and AI. Not just AI or just doctors. I'm not sure if we're there yet for the broader masses, that might take years, maybe decades. But I think right now the application is for very mundane tasks, virtually. And then in the future, I think AI will flow into every profession and into every job and make a lot of things a lot easier. I'm also in the camp of people who truly believe that AI is not going to replace more jobs than it creates. I think it will create a tremendous amount of new jobs. It will be a net positive impact. Do you agree or disagree?

[00:27:40] kevin: No, I agree on that last point, that AI is not going to necessarily destroy jobs. It's like saying we don't want to have cashierless checkout at supermarkets because you got rid of the cashier's job. I don't know. Do you use this? There are sort of efficient, but then you have to call over the person, every other thing you check out to help you. So they're not great yet, but once they get a lot better, it's just a different job. I think AI is going to create a lot of new jobs. It's definitely going to take away old jobs. What you were saying around AI, and I think we should be clear about the difference between AI and generative AI. So AI has existed for a really long time. Like, there's AI that goes into cars, right? So like, obviously a Tesla is self driving that uses a lot of AI. I wrote an article about that recently. I think it creates a gigabyte of data every second. That's how much it's incorporating that's AI. It's like putting in all the sensors. But my car, it's not a Tesla. It's not a self driving car, but it has AI. That when I'm getting too close to a car in front of me and I'm driving too fast, it beeps and reminds me that I should hit the brake. So that's AI. It's just like processing information. So AI in general has been around for a really long time. Generative AI is newer, but the generative AI piece is that users can now access it and we can play with it and we can see how AI works. But it is actually not that complex. And we've talked about this before, it's just doing predictive statistics on future words and I think that is actually not that disruptive. It's just creating answers and sometimes it creates answers don't exist. Did you see the story about the lawyers who went to court with a chat chunk?

[00:29:14] eli: Yes.

[00:29:14] kevin: Those lawyers should be disbarred anyways because they didn't proofread their work. So I don't think all of a sudden it was like AI AI, but this is just generative AI. It's like, obviously uses neural networks and it's AI, but it is not certainly not taking doctors work.

[00:29:27] eli: Yeah, I agree a little bit.

[00:29:30] Building a Nerd Wallet Competitor in 2023

[00:29:30] eli: But anyway, I wanted to take some life questions because we got some really cool life questions. Thank you all for submitting them. So, question for you, Eli Bujal Patel asks, what are your thoughts on building another behemoth like Nerd Wallet starting now? Would you start a Nerd Wallet like site, basically an affiliate on steroids in 2023?

[00:29:50] kevin: Absolutely not. So I think that if you look at all the big affiliate sites, they stumbled upon something by accident and then it became massive and it worked out really well. I don't think you can go and look at something somebody else created and then say, I'm going to make a better Nerd Wallet or I'm going to make a better book site than Amazon and I'm going to sell my traffic back to Amazon. I think if you stumble upon something that there's like an open niche for and you create a bunch of content, there's potentially an opportunity. Again, it probably has to be more midfunnel than top of funnel, but I wouldn't go and say, oh, Nerd Wallet's missing this, and I'm going out Nerd Wallet. Nerd Wallet. One interesting stat I heard around the finance space in particular is Motley Fool. So now it's I think it's been around for 20 years. They produce upwards of 100 pieces of content per day. So it's not a great content, but it's content. So if you were to create your own competitor to today, you have to catch up with 20 years of 100 pieces of content. That's expensive. So don't disrupt something that already exists that is successful, because you have to outdo them. You have to outbrand them and show up in ranking. So I wouldn't go there at all. What do you think?

[00:30:59] eli: I kind of agree. I wouldn't build a copy or another Nerd Wallet. I would be much more curious about how can I build a chat bot that replaces Nerd Wallet? We are at the verge of a huge technological shift that opens up a lot of opportunities. And so instead of thinking about these SEO models, which are under severe threat from AI, I would much rather think about what does the next evolution of Nerdwall It look like? What are they working on right now that I can compete with them on? I would wonder, what APIs can I use to train and feed a chat bot to become incredibly good at giving credit card advice?

[00:31:34] kevin: Yeah, an interesting thing is I like this space. I like messing around with finance and seeing what's out there. So Google is they're pulling back from some of those queries. There was SGE on it. So if you look for Best credit card, there's no SGE on it anymore. But I think where Google falls, and I like your chatbot idea is Google can't do that next step. So if you did a query and again, it's gone. Right? But let's say it still exists, best Business credit card. And Google had an SGU and list out like, hey, here's this Chase card, and here's this Wells Fargo card, and here's this Discover card. Those aren't clickable results. So they basically replicate Google in an SGE response. It's not fulfilling. So I still think you go down to like, Nerd Wallet and then you click because from Google's little SGE summary, it's not enough to be like, that's it I'm Googling the Chase business card because that's what I want. So maybe that's why Google got rid of it. Maybe they got rid of it because they wanted to put the ads back. But I do think, yeah, chatbot is the way to go. Get more information. You don't need to read a 1500 word article to get a decision. Again, this requires huge behavior change. But you say, here's me, this is what I want. What's best credit card in response? And then there's your affiliate link.

[00:32:39] eli: Agreed. Man, let's do a couple more.

[00:32:41] Impressive AI SEO Marketing Tools

[00:32:41] eli: Igal staultner also asks live thanks for your question. Igal hey guys, if you're already speaking about AI, what's the best use of AI you have seen in SEO marketing tools? To this day, I haven't been that.

[00:32:53] kevin: Impressed with any SEO tool. What about you?

[00:32:55] eli: There are two that are really interesting, and I'm probably going to get comments from all the other ones that I didn't mention. So I think one that's really impressive is by Word by W-O-R-D. It can first of all create content at scale across many different keywords and it can also find programmatic SEO place just with a URL.

[00:33:16] kevin: Pretty impressive.

[00:33:17] eli: The other one is write Sonic. They just published their fifth version of their Writer and I tried it out. I threw it into clear scope and I got a B plus out of it. Not saying that clear scope is the ultimate indicator for great content. There's more than that, obviously, but I'm noticing myself changing my mind where I thought for a long time that AI content is always going to be trash. And I'm starting to actually see counter evidence that some AI content is getting really, really good. So I've spent a lot of time over the last couple of days rethinking what the human contribution to content is and what content even means on the web and for SEO in general. So I would mention those too. There are a bunch of really cool other AI tools. We're using Summarize for the podcast. In part it creates really good descriptions and intros and Summaries. And then one app that I also like, based on AI, is called Poised PO. I sed. It gives you live feedback on how you talk, if you use a lot of filler words, if you say a lot, if you ask empathetic questions, if you're confident, assertive, et cetera. There are some really, really good tools sprouting left and right based on AI. And if you think about the fact that it's only been six months since Chat GPT got so popular, I feel like the next six months are going to be wild and I feel like the next twelve months are going to be even wilder.

[00:34:37] kevin: So I thought you were going to say that around writing. I'm not impressed with the writing tools because I think most of them again, I haven't used byte words, but I think most of them are driven towards creating spam outside of SEO. Google just launched some new stuff. Did you see this? They improved Google Lens. Again. I use Pixels and use Android. But they improved Google Lens and got Now Google Lens can detect the skin condition. Just really cool. That's AI. And then I'm in the workspace labs. So there's a new thing in Gmail which is write for me so you can say what you're trying to say. It uses you and all the things you've written in the past to write an email for you. I did test it out, and it signed my name the way I wouldn't. Have a great day. Best, Eli. Right? I don't like that, so that's kind of weird. But again, it's kind of cool. Like, if you want to write a really long email, I hereby resign from this job. I hate this company, and all of you should burn in hell, or something like that. It can smooth that out for you. In general, I like Smart Compose, which I think most people use in Gmail already, which is it figures out what you're trying to say and just finishes your sentence. So this is right for me. Is that on steroids? So lots of cool AI stuff out there. When it comes to SEO, I think the approach to SEO has been more about, like, let's create a lot of high quantity content that may be of dubious quality. So not impressed yet, but please reach out if you have a really cool use case of AI and SEO.

[00:35:58] Workspace Labs beta and Google's Keyword blog

[00:35:58] eli: All right, I just signed up for the Workspace Labs beta while we were talking. Just Google workspace.

[00:36:04] kevin: Lab beta.

[00:36:05] eli: I thought I would get it automatically by being a customer.

[00:36:07] kevin: Anyway, actually, a funny note here on how you could find out about these things. So Google's product blog is called the Keyword. Have you seen this? Of course. Okay, so it's called the keyword. That's the name of it. It's like blog. Or actually, it's Blog Google. They don't dot the blog post right there on the homepage is virtually try on clothes with a new AI shopping feature. Like, if Google had a drinking contest for how often they say AI, everyone would be drunk.

[00:36:34] Eli and Kevin Discuss Marketing Evolution and Tactics in Today's Digital Landscape

[00:36:34] eli: One question comes from Charlie Williams. Actually like this question. I'm curious to know how Eli's approach to marketing has evolved over the years and what he thinks are the most important tactics for success in today's digital landscape.

[00:36:47] kevin: I think my marketing has improved because I just learned more marketing, and that would be my advice for anyone new in their career, which is learn from what you're doing. I think that in today's digital landscape, it's just a digital representation of regular marketing. I love looking at old ads. Kevin, you ever go to museums and they show you like, I don't know, this is what it looked like in the 1920s.

[00:37:08] eli: I do sometimes, too.

[00:37:09] kevin: They were really good. They did good marketing. We're just doing it digitally. Something works on LinkedIn. Like when you have a viral post on LinkedIn, it's copywriting. So they did copywriting back in the day about, like, the invention of a washing machine or a car that had windows that you could roll down. I think marketing is the same. You're appealing to users and you're tracking them, and you're convincing them to trust you and give you money. Digital just allows you more tools. I don't know that tactics necessarily change. You want good copy, a great product, great message that resonates think the thing that many marketers potentially miss and actually working on a new book on this topic is they don't understand their users enough. So they understand themselves, they understand what they think will work, and they understand best practices about marketing, but they don't put themselves in the user's shoes. And sometimes that comes from, like, being a user, and sometimes that comes from good surveys. I had a friend who was he did market research for Skype. Part of his role was he went to all the places where people use Skype. So we went to India and Nepal and Bangladesh. His job was to not interview users, but he went to the users houses and he ate dinner with them. So props to Microsoft for doing that. Ate dinner, and he learned about them and how they were Skype users and how they use Skype to connect to people. Whatever it is you're marketing, understand the users motivations and why they want to pay you, then don't. Just like I watched a video on how to write good copy, and I watched a video on how to use TikTok for messaging. Ultimately, it comes down to humans buying things. So understand those humans. What about you? What's your evolution of marketing, man?

[00:38:47] eli: What's the evolution? So my evolution of marketing has become a better understanding of the right playbook for the right business. I grew up in this very Silicon Valley type growth world where everything is highly measured as a strong product lens, the rigidity of testing, validating, and launching. And I think that's mostly applicable for certain types of companies, usually marketplaces, user generated content platforms. But I think there's this whole other cohort of companies who might be even bigger than the first. They're not able to measure most things. One example are enterprise companies who have long sales cycles, right? I'm talking about more than three months, sometimes six months, or even a year, who sell highly priced software to other enterprises. And they just need to play by different playbooks. They're not going to be able to test and validate everything as much as these other companies. For them, it's much more a before and after type of situation. So my lens has become more refined based on the business that I'm working with and picking the right playbook for the right business. I think we're getting really close on time.

[00:39:55] Is SEO Dead?

[00:39:55] eli: Let's do one more short question. E G live?

[00:39:59] kevin: Is SEO dead? Sorry, that's not short. It's a short question. That's the long answer.

[00:40:05] eli: It's fair. You caught me on this one.

[00:40:07] kevin: You know what?

[00:40:08] eli: Yes and no. I know it's not the answer that everybody wants, but SEO in its old form, I think, is going away. And out of it comes a new type of SEO that has maybe that has a core, maybe 50% of it is similar to what we did before, and that 50% is different. And I'm personally very excited. We're basically coming out of an exploit cycle and we're going back into an explore cycle and I'm all here for it. So I would say SEO is dead. 50%. That's my quick answer.

[00:40:36] kevin: What do you think? No, it's not dead at all. It just changes. SEO doesn't die until search engines die. And I don't think search engines will die like Chat, GBT and generate. AI doesn't replace search, it just changes outwork. It's like saying SEO is dead because featured Snippets and Knowledge graph, I mean, I think links are going to probably go away in some way or another because links matter less in generative AI. However, brand matters and links and mentions and brand visibility matters. So just change what you're doing and change where you're going. Obviously, all those useless websites with guest posts that don't exist, those were a waste of money to begin with. So that probably have to go in. That's my quick answer. We'll do a whole Is SEO dead episode once it dies. So stay tuned.

[00:41:22] Kevin and Eli's Final Conversation Topic

[00:41:22] eli: Eli, you got one last one. All right, you did it in this one. Sorry, it's my turn.

[00:41:27] kevin: Last one. Quick. Short one.

[00:41:29] eli: Short one.

[00:41:29] kevin: Now I have to pick.

[00:41:30] Fears and Questions Clients Have About the Impact of Generative AI

[00:41:30] eli: What is the biggest question that all your clients asking right now? What are some common questions that we haven't covered yet that you see bubbling up amongst your clients?

[00:41:41] kevin: Do you have a discount available for startups? No, I don't, because I need to say bandwidth for the people that don't ask for a discount. I'd say a lot of companies are really freaked out by genera AI. I'm hearing it everywhere. If there's any listeners on the podcast that want us to do, like, a deep dive at your company on what we see in genera AI and our predictions, because I don't think anybody really knows we're available for that, we'll put a link in the show notes to how to contact us for that. Everyone's freaked out because there's change on the horizon. It's the same way when presidential elections happen, investment banks put out their statements of like, this is what we think Trump would do as president. This is what we think Biden would do as president. We're just prepared for all eventualities. I think when it comes to generative AI, it's really unpredictable and it's unknowable. So you have pessimists like me saying, everything's changing. You have optimists like Kevin. They say, don't worry, just keep doing what you're doing. And they don't know. They don't know. Do they hire for it? Do they fire for it? How do they plan? How do they message things to investors and board members and all stakeholders? So that's the biggest what about you? What's your biggest question?

[00:42:51] eli: Man it's also related to AI, but I'm trying to not make it related because we're talking about this so much and I feel like I'm just going in circles here.

[00:42:59] Companies Collaborating with Influencers like Sports Teams

[00:42:59] eli: So the other really big question is what should we invest in that we haven't invested in right now? One really cool thing that I'm seeing is companies collaborating with influencers, more like sports teams. They're almost on full time payroll. Influencers, that is, for specific companies, that creates a lot of amazing content and they build real audiences, they build great engagement. And it's this amazing partnership between people who stand out in a space or have a lot of experience and expertise in a space and companies who get a real benefit from them. It's a great win win mix. If I had to tie that back to the whole AI discussion. We've seen this new Perspectives tabs roll out on Google, and I personally have a huge wish and a huge hope that it will be a new ground where influencers or creators, whatever you want to call them, can get a lot more traffic and a stronger voice. And it's kind of a way for companies to find a new playing field and forge these win win situations together with influencers and audiences. So I'm going to keep it to that one.

[00:43:59] kevin: Love it.

[00:44:00] Discussing AI advancements and future implications

[00:44:00] kevin: All right, well, thank you, everyone. This has been epic. First time of recording live. Let us know if you want to do this again. And for everyone else that didn't record Live, well, follow us on LinkedIn and, you'll know, or listen to us live, follow us on LinkedIn, you'll know, next time we do it. That's a wrap.

[00:44:15] eli: Thank you, Eli, for being a good thought partner, as always. And thank you all for tuning in. Happy weekend, and we'll hear you next week.

[00:44:20] kevin: Thank you.

[00:44:21] The Contrarian Marketing Podcast: Exploring Unconventional Business Strategies

[00:44:21] eli: And now it's your turn. Head over to and subscribe to the free weekly newsletter to get a summary of today's episode, key takeaways and community content. And while you're there, go to today's episode and leave your opinion in the comments. We'll feature the best thoughts in the newsletter and on the podcast. Also, if you like today's episode, please feel free to leave five stars on Spotify and Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcast. As always.

Contrarian Marketing
Contrarian Marketing Podcast
Once a week, Eli and Kevin share contrarian marketing opinions about the topic du jour to give you ideas you might not be thinking about.