AI & SEO: Why Brand Building is the Key to Success | StewArt Media

by Jim May 9, 2024

Welcome back Rankers! Apologies for my lengthy absence but the world of AI is moving at such a breakneck pace that by the time I’ve planned a new video, the content is outdated! We’re celebrating 25 years in business this year, and we’ve always considered many of the things we teach to be ahead of the curve, such as the importance of brand building for eCommerce businesses. This has been admitted by Google recently, which is pertinent to the fact their business is under attack by AI, a technology they have been slow to adopt and threatens their very existence.

What I learned

  • Brand is a ranking factor! Hoorah!
  • Never forget your customers.
  • Why Google search is dying.
  • The importance of AI self-education.
  • Why agentic frameworks are the future.


Hey, welcome back, Rankers! It’s been a while, I know. Sorry I’ve been so busy. Did you know that StewArt Media is 25 years old this year? Yeah, I know, right? I’m old too. I’m a lot older than that. But for the last 20 years, we’ve basically been doing search marketing. In fact, this show started before YouTube started. I had it on my own servers to begin with. But in the last 10 years, we’ve been talking about how brand is the most important thing when it comes to both ranking organically and also with your Google Ads, mainly because if you have the strongest brand, it’s easier to rank a site every time and the reason for that is that Google has to show you. This has been pointed out on numerous occasions, it’s in my book if you haven’t read that. I presented this at PubCon I think in 2017, and it’s now been confirmed via a court case that came out in November last year with a lot of the US states suing Google as part of an antitrust case. It’s been revealed in that now that yes, brand is indeed a major factor when it comes to ranking.

The Importance of Brand and Customer Focus

The other important factors that I would tell a business to focus on is your customers, which comes back to brand, right? If you’re giving your customers a good experience, then you’re going to have a good brand. If you have a high-performing, awesome site, then it’s going to reflect positively on your brand. So have a great site. Have a site that is well signposted. We’ve been saying this ever since DeepMind came out and RankBrain came out back in, I think it was 2016, because all those things, like well-structured data and signposting, make it easier for the AI to understand what your site’s about.

The Evolution of Search and Impact of AI

What we’ve seen in recent times, in the last 18 months, if you’ve been following this channel and this video, you’ll know we’ve been digging a hell of a lot deeper into large language ****** and using them for our own productivity, but also for analysis for our clients and fast-tracking a lot of the work that otherwise we wouldn’t be able to do. If you have access to the professional version of ChatGPT, you might already be familiar with about 30 of the custom GPTs that we have up there, that we’ve been using every day for our clients and they’re freely available to anybody else who wants to use them, including other agencies. And I know a lot of people use them and I’ve had a lot of feedback on them, and they’ve just been so timesaving for us.

Current Search Trends and Google’s Response

But what’s been happening with Google over the last 18 months as they’ve gone into this panic mode is fascinating because if you have a look at Google today and you can go and have a look at Google Trends and look at the last seven days, and don’t put a search phrase in there, just go and have a look at what’s searched for, and have a look at the top search queries. You’ll find most of these search queries tend to be what I would describe as zero-click results. The second one in Australia, unfortunately, is Google. Hello, everybody. You don’t have to Google “Google” if you’ve got the Chrome browser. Thought we’d passed that but apparently, we’re not, anyway. But whether you don’t have to leave Google for that Google obviously news you probably don’t need to leave Google for that because you see all the headlines, unless there’s a particularly clickbaity headline that grabs your attention you probably don’t have to leave the Google environment for that. YouTube is a Google property. AFL greatest sport in the world. It is. You’re gonna see the results in Google and if you drill down even further you go to the next results you start to see then we’re getting navigational searches, right? We’re still not getting informational type searches that you would have to leave Google for necessarily. But these are all brands. These are brands that are strong, and that Google knows about. This is all e-commerce. So now we’ve got another sport down here. Apparently, it’s played up north from here somewhere. And then we have Reddit, but even Calculator’s that’s a zero-click result, because you’re not leaving Google for that. We’ll get to Reddit. So, Reddit gets searched a lot. And I think it was September last year, Google made some changes. And I haven’t got all the Google algorithm updates, because they don’t affect our clients, and there’s a lot of people very upset. There’s a lot of businesses I’m reading that are having a very hard time because of these Google updates. They tend to be mainly in the publishing industry. And I would say this is a reaction from Google losing ground to the likes of Chat.

Why Google is Losing Ground

I stopped using Google for informational search because I was greeted with reams of sites that would have extraordinarily long articles that I had to scroll, scroll, scroll, scan, scan, scan, get past the pop-ups, past the ads, past everything else to find the little piece of information that I wanted right down the bottom of the article. And Google rewarded these sites because quite often on these sites, they were serving Google ads, right? And they were part of the Google network, ad network. And Google was making money off all these sites. But last year they recognized that a lot of people were not using Google anymore. Like I don’t go to a lot of the technical sites that I used to go to anymore. I’ve been programming and when I say programming I mean, I’ve been using chat GPT and now Copilot as my coding buddies I’m using Chat.apt and now Copilot as my coding buddies to work with Python as I’ve pointed out. I’ve created hundreds of little Python scripts, and I haven’t Googled anything about Python once. The only site that I would go to more often that is a technical site now is GitHub because I want to get the latest downloads, I want to find out what the latest pull requests are, I want to find out, you know, with all the open-source stuff that I’m working with, what’s the latest and greatest thing? But I’m not using Google to go and find those things. And Google has woken up to that, which is why I think this latest core update and this massive update last year, this helpful content update, basically just obliterated a lot of the search results and you now see sites like Reddit ranking high instead of a lot of these so-called informational sites that were there beforehand. And the best thing any site owner can do, and I’m specifically talking about business lead generation and also e-commerce, because that’s what we specialize in, is focus on building that brand focus on giving your customers an awesome experience. Follow up with your customers if you have returns, make sure the return process is easy, make sure it’s easy for me to understand what my shipping is going to cost when I hit your site. These are things Google doesn’t talk about, right? But AI looks at.

And Google’s lost a lot of traction to the tools like ChatGPT and to a lesser extent, say Claude and we now have Google Gemini, previously Google Bard. By the way, if you’re not using Google Gemini as part of AI Studio, it’s awesome. And if you want to have a play with that stuff and learn more about it, I highly recommend using Google AI Studio. So, Google’s lost a lot of ground to these other AI tools out there and they’re trying to make their own search environment better, and we’ve got the so-called search generative experience that’s been in the US for quite some time. It looks horrible, it looks terrible, and hopefully they’ll improve it when it rolls out to Australia. But they’re still trying to change a lot of the stuff that is in the Google search results. Even we’re seeing layouts change now, we’re seeing more grid layouts, we’re seeing more shopping ads out there. But the primary thing that I use Google for these days would be probably for shopping. But when I use Google for shopping, I use Google for shopping because it’s so good. The ads are so good because Google knows everything about us. Google should be killing it with AI, but it’s not because they’re such a large monolithic operation that I think it’s just hard for them to get something launched without, you know, 50 other mid-level managers and departments having their say before it goes live. That’s what it feels like anyway.

Agentic Frameworks

And I thought they and I said last year I thought they would have had a shopping assistant by now and using agentic frameworks, which to me was a no brainer for them. And if you’ve been watching this video for over a year, you may remember last year, we were working with some of these agentic frameworks. And the first one we worked with was Baby AGI. And that was from Yohi. Sorry if I pronounced your name wrong again. But go and check him out on X. He does a lot of really cool stuff and he’s a VC. So, if you’ve got some stuff you want to pitch him, he’s always open to ideas. But he was the first one to really start using these agentic frameworks. And an agentic framework is basically a jargonistic way of saying a fancy prompt working together with other fancy prompts and because that’s what it does, because if you’ve ever used ChatGPT and you have gone into ChatGPT and you’ve used a prompt like, “You are a helpful assistant specializing in creating scripts for YouTube videos. Your task is to create them”, basically on you go from there. That’s a recognized format for a prompt where you tell the AI tool that you’re using what their role is so they can assume those sorts of superpowers and then you tell them what the task is. So, they can assume those sorts of superpowers. And then you tell them what the task is, what format you want that output in. That’s a fairly standard way of using, say, a tool like ChatGPT these days.

But an agent framework is a bunch of those different prompts working together. So you might have a helpful AI assistant, you might have a reviewer, you might have an editor, you might have a publisher, you might have and these are all different prompts telling the AI to perform or instances of the AI whatever you’re using to perform a task in a certain way and take on a certain persona when performing that task. So, you get the output that you want. And then these agents work together and give you an output.

Need a Scrum Report?

Now, this is taking our work to the next level when it comes to generating reports or doing analysis. As many of you know, there’s plenty of custom GPTs that we’ve published that you can go and use, but agents are something else again. And we’re expecting a new update from OpenAI anytime now. And I think, and I’m not alone in thinking this, that agentic frameworks are going to be a large part of that release because they are so useful. I no longer use Google for any research. I use agentic frameworks for any research and that could be research as we’ve been looking at today. You know, we’re on ClickUp as our project management system and we’re wanting to know what the difference is between ClickUp and Notion. So, we’ve got a report done on it from our assistant. And we’re using large language ****** that are sitting locally on our machine. So, we’re not getting the cost associated with using ChatGPT or using Anthropic or any of these other things. We can and we do use those ones as well. But with the open-source movement and Facebook Meta of all people has one of the best open-source large language ****** that you can download and run on your machine today for free. And I will post some links to a couple of programs that you can use to go and do that in the description on YouTube of this video. So go and have a look at those things. But this reporting that we’re doing now allows us to do more than what we’ve done. So, it’s augmented what we’ve done in the past. It’s like we’ve got extra staff members There’s been a lot of talk about AI replacing people. We’re looking at getting more out of the people that we have by amplifying their capabilities by giving them AI assistance essentially so that allows us to do what we call our scrum report in record time and bring out so much amazing information. There’s a lot of human input at the front end, but getting that report churned out and getting all that data together is where the AI really kicks ass and gives us a sensational product. So, we’re starting to sell these AI reports now and I call them AI reports, but they’re just formatted by the AI. The real heavy lifting is done by my team that has been with me on average for about seven or eight years now and we can only do one of these a week, but we’re doing them for businesses that we don’t have a client in that category. So hit me up, [email protected]. Hopefully that’s helpful and please like, share and subscribe and thank you to all subscribers. I am so sorry that I haven’t got back here for quite some time, but it’s just been so exciting, and the world has been moving so fast I haven’t known what to talk about. But with agents becoming the norm in the not-too-distant future, now’s the time to get on board with AI if you’re not already before you’re left behind. Because you might be replaced by AI or someone using AI will replace you. See you next week. Thanks very much. Bye.

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