Rob Cairns talks to Warren Laine-Naida about his two new books:
- Warren’s Book: Digital Skills For Smart Seniors.
- How seniors can make better use of the Digital World.
- SEO All You Need to Know – 2nd Edition.
- Is SEO still relevant in the world of AI?
Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here and in today’s podcast I’m here with my good friend Warren Laine-Naida marketing author extraordinaire. Just to put that out there, how are you today, Warren?
I’m good. Thank you. Rob. You’re funny.
I deserve that. I actually I corrected myself. So you’ve been on the show before. We’ve talked about your books before. I’ve wrote the intro for one of your books that you did with Bridget, which was such a pleasure, but today we’re gonna talk about two other books. And I thought we’d jump into your SEO book, 1st called SEO. All you need to know is. Guide for beginners and it’s available on Amazon by you and this is the third edition.
Why did you do a new edition one?
Ohh, you know I mean SEO changes every week. It seems there’s something new. And the book was mainly for beginners, so we wanted to get it out there. So obviously there’s a lot of things it’s not covering. And so we’re upping it each quarter. We also use it for a textbook for our SEO course that we teach for a company here in Berlin and it’s a four week course. So that covers everything. And now we’re using is a textbook. So what we like to do is. You know, when we have learnings from the course and there’s always a couple of things we like to get that into the book. And so you know, we updated every quarter and it gets bigger.
I would say.
If if you have the 2nd edition of the book, which I do, and I’ve read the 3rd edition, of course, go get the third one, it’s worth the upgrade in my opinion.
What do you what do you think is the biggest change in SCO in the last six months or a year?
It’s still content. I mean, SEO’s always being words, nothing else. Everything else is just, you know, lipstick. But in the last six months, content we’ve had the Google helpful content update and we’ve got AI. So now people are just. With the click of a button getting 1000 words and sticking it up there so you know it’s a real challenge, I don’t think really much has changed. I still think it’s, you know, you’ve got to have good content, you’ve got to find content that the people are looking for. But I think the challenge is now more So what do we do as seniors? How do we use these new tools and new updates?
Yeah. And I would. You beat me to the word AI. It’s it’s hard to do a marketing or a tech podcast without mentioning those two letters anymore.
Like, honestly and what I would say to you is I think AI is a tool, but my concern in SEO spaces is how is Google. Going to with the rules around to put the content can handle AI because sooner or later. Or later AI’s gonna start putting out duplicate content, right?
Yeah, I mean, we’ve talked about this before. I mean, I I’m not a I’m I don’t have any problem with duplicate content. You know, it’s like.
You say the same thing three times within a space of an hour, and different people are gonna hear it each time. So I’ve written about why duplicate content is actually a good thing, but if we’re talking literal duplicate content and no one checking it, then of course this is a problem. They just had the the Google search days in total. Video I think it was in Tokyo, it was in Japan and you know, AI was was a big topic and Google said look, you know and I think this is important, they said we don’t really care about. Who wrote it? It could be AI. It could be you, it could be your mom. It could be your your dog. That’s not important. What’s important is that it’s quality useful. Intent and I I think that’s that’s that’s important. So eventually, yeah, I I guess you know probably will be all out of a job when it comes to writing, but we’ve. We’ve lost jobs in the past. You know, so I I think, and I, I’ve I’ve talked about this before and I I think it’s really it’s it’s it’s very important that. We shouldn’t see AI as a problem. We should see this as. Maybe a little wake. Up call and I think the basics when it comes to any sort of marketing, SEO online, offline doesn’t really matter is if you know your audience and you are delivering content or your audience. You’re you. You’re always gonna win. And if you serve them by getting AI into the mix, you’re still serving them, and that’s important if you don’t and you’re still serving them it, it’s still gets down to serving them. So I I think I’m not so worried about AI. It’s just a tool, you know. People were freaking out when the typewriters were replaced with with the computer, and we’re still here.
You know, I agree it’s the same as the printing press. It’s the same as page builders in the ecosystem. And so on, so on.
Not the tool. It’s what you do with it.
Yeah, yeah, I’m kind of with you on that one. Now I think. It’s funny, I was looking at a website the other day, a mature website and the biggest SEO mistake I saw was there was no alt tags on any of the pictures and this is a picture centric. It’s like and it’s like, why are we in 2023 still putting out websites about all pictures for one, for SEO, but two for accessibility like the two things you know, I think accessibility actually makes you do SEO better in my opinion, but.
It does. You’re again. You’re you’re you’re serving people. You’re doing useful, helpful things for them. And that’s another thing, you know, if. If rather than complain about. How AI is going to take your SEO? Then look at the SEO things that you’re not doing. That AI isn’t doing and do those things because no one has an SEO perfect website. No one has a perfect marketing. No one has a perfect product. There’s always a way to improve it, and AI is just maybe your other competitor. OK, so your competitor is making your product well, what are they not doing in your product that you can focus on and do better? It’s always gonna be something.
Is competitors research today still more relevant than ever?
I I think this is really important. And I mean, you could again look at look at your competitor like are they using AI content? OK then. Create better content. You know, I think it’s still really important. If you’ve got the time for the resources. Yeah, this is always good. Find out how your competitors are not serving people, how people are unhappy and for sure.
And the other thing you talked about in the book was landing pages and you and I have talked about them before like to to. A big extent. Yeah, I think a lot of people missed the boat on landing pages. I really do. A landing page should have one call to action. I personally, I personally believe landing page. And have any headers or any footers on. Them they should. They should force the person or the viewer to do that called. Action. I was having a discussion with a colleague on a landing page yesterday and he said I’m gonna put a video on my landing page and I said how much is your product worth? He said. $99.00 and I said don’t don’t do it. I I’m one of those people believe on us. It’s a high end fruit product that a video shouldn’t go on a landing page on the main page. OK, what are your thoughts on that?
I I don’t mind the video, but I don’t you know there is no place on a landing page for a 62nd video or 122nd video. You know, a three second video, a 12 second video, a 15 second video. You know, there’s storytelling. There’s like, oh, there’s a video, and we’re gonna look at it. There’s something. You know that a picture isn’t gonna tell people aren’t gonna read. Oh, there’s a video. So if it, if it, if it gets the attention and it’s useful if it helps you then sure. I’ve got a 22nd video on my landing page. I’m thinking yeah, that may be a little too long, but I’m gonna try to squish it down, but that’s OK.
You know, I get that I’ve got a new website and I’m one of your students, OK. And by the way, two beds are not in Berlin where you can go take one of worms courses. So go buy the. That’s the next best like. That what are the three things I should do right away? Help my SEO and and I think the first one is let’s get yours to make sure all our traffic lights are green, right?
Ah, I mean, yours is fine. I don’t think you should be a slave to Yoast. There’s a lot of times when you’re not gonna get green traffic lights, but Yost reminds you Yost is. These are things you should be doing. Can you do them great? Are they not relevant to you? OK, fine, I think. You know the most important thing is, yeah, you’ve got to have a tool. You need to have some help. This is one thing, and Yoast also connects with that sort of second thing that’s important is that without doing anything, you’ve got a sitemap.xml so that you connect with your Google search console. That’s the second. So really important thing, so you get the tool, you connect it because that Google Search Console is going to give you so much information. It’s gonna show you the keywords, search phrases that people are using. It’s gonna show you which pages. Are showing and not being. And collect and it’ll it’ll show you if you’re improving or if you’re not. So that’s really, I think that’s really, really important. And you know it also, I mean, oddly enough, I mean, yos does this rank math does this all in one SEO does this, but I prefer Yoast, is that it’s gonna keep you connected with Google. It’s gonna ping when you update content, it’s gonna ping Google, so your site map is always updated and Google’s. Always there and I think and this is really important because. What a lot of people. Maybe don’t know or forget or or or whatever. Is that just because your page is indexed in Google today does not mean it’s gonna be indexed tomorrow.
Google puts them up, they take them down so it keeps you. It keeps you on top of things. And I think that’s if you were just gonna say 3 important things. To get you started these these will keep you very busy, not to mention all the other things you need to do. Because you gotta be found. You know, and you’ve got to be able to measure this findability. You know, I think this is very, very.
Yeah, I think the real. One of the biggest keys in SEO, especially if you’re going after local, is make sure you get your. Google I was going to say Google My Business page, but it’s not. It’s Google business profile. Yeah, I was gonna correct. It’s set up. I think that makes all the difference in the world. It’s now managed through Google Maps, which is really interesting. They’ve made that change, but I think if you’re any kind of brick and mortar business, you better get one of those up because I think that’s one of your biggest wins possible out there. Do you?
Think it’s ohh 100%? You’ve gotta have this if you don’t have this, you’re not gonna be showing up in maps very well. And it’s free and you can do everything. You can put your products in there. You’ve got your reviews, you’ve got your posts, it creates automatically from all the content websites. So you get a free website. Yeah, you don’t even need to have hosting. You know you can connect local landing pages so you know connecting with landing pages here. So Google Business Profile has this little click website and I don’t know why, but everyone connects it to their home. Unless, unless your homepage is specifically for local, but you probably have a page, hopefully a landing page where you’re talking very local to your customers, and that’s the page that you should be connecting to the website. Most people don’t. Do that and Bing Bing has Bing. Places. Yeah. Yeah. Bing, you gotta have Bing. Why not? Because you know, Google’s been great the last 20 years.
I was gonna go.
But Bingo got the the real AI in there. They’ve got the pictures they’ve got. They can tell you all about me. And I try that on ChatGPT and they say I’m sorry we have no information about Warren Leonida. So I think people might be I I’m more connected with. Bing than I was before this all started and that was one of the first things I noticed is I don’t have a Bing. And so why not? They have maps. I mean, their search machine. Maybe one day, you know, Bing rises from the ashes. I don’t.
Know I think you gotta watch what’s going on in the cell phone market too right now. I mean, there was some talk for a while that Samsung was gonna ditch Google search on their cell phones. Now that’s kind of gone by the wayside because somebody minded Samsung and said and by the way, if you ditch Google search, you can’t play in the Google Play store. So you know. They got Undiplomatically brought back, but I mean sooner or later it’s gonna help them or somebody’s going to say I’m not running Google search. I’m gonna run. Microsoft search and which is based on something other platform and then the and the reality is big places will become more important. So I think we need to think of.
I think so. Why not? You know, every little bit helps.
No, I agree. So let’s jump around a little bit into your second book, which I absolutely love. Warren called.
You too. Thank you.
You think Mark senior? I’ve I’ve read it a couple times. The first senior I went and bought the book for with my own mother. I will admit that and and I’ve recommended it to a couple people who are either caregivers or help their parents, or that. Kind of thing. That the biggest problem I think we have in today’s world is senior citizens are way too trusting and that’s why I think a book like this is important. What do you think?
Well, I’ll, you know, be play the devil’s advocate. And my biggest problem is the term senior citizen. UM. Because, you know, we’ve got this group, we’ve got kids, we’ve got teenagers, and we’ve got young adults, old adults, and you’ve usually got like 10 to 15 year periods for each of these groups. And you say senior. Well, I am almost a senior, like really close within like a year or two. You too.
So much, yeah.
OK, yeah. Now my father is also a senior. You know. Yeah. I mean, so, so senior citizens is basically anyone if you’re. If you remember the the freedom 55 commercials that I remember as a kid. So let’s say anyone between 60 and 90. So 30 years. That’s like saying everyone from a toddler. To I don’t know, you know, middle management, they’re all the same demographic and. That’s exactly what. We do, we talk about seniors. That’s crazy. That’s crazy.
Yeah. It’s so it’s one of my one of my best friends is 64 years old and turned 65 in September. And she says to me, I’m gonna be a senior this year. And I said, well, how do you feel? Like it’s more how you feel than the number. Do you know what I mean? But, but going back to the book for a SEC, what?
I was gonna say was I? Know you said digital skills for smart seniors. The title could have been. Very well. Digital skills for anybody. Like, honestly. And I don’t mean that as criticism. I mean, that’s very positive. Yeah, I I read through this book and I’ve spent a long time educating kids how to behave online, educating adults how to behave. I don’t know if a day goes by where I don’t get an e-mail from somebody saying what do I do with this e-mail? I got what do I do with this proposal I got, but I want to dive into. A couple of. If you spend a lot of time in here talking about dating websites, which I find very ironic, and I’m gonna go there for fun because you and I, I don’t know if we had this conversation ahead of time, but one of the things you didn’t touch on and I found really interesting, you touched on ways to protect yourself. Was get yourself a voice phone number or disposable phone number or something so you don’t give out your real phone number until trust is built. How’s that for an idea, right?
Yeah. No, I mean. This is definitely a good idea. I mean, so when I put when I put this book together, I had come up with a with a A7 course program for seniors before Corona hit and we were offering it at the Community College. And then Corona hit and that was it. So I had all this material. I thought it’s just sitting here. I need so I get it into this book and so everything revolves around these but as you. Very rightly point out. It could be. For anyone who doesn’t have digital skills, we assume it’s seniors because everyone else should have it. Yeah, but I mean, even my father is quite competent because people in their 60s and 70s, they built the Internet so. So I mean, if we’re talking about people without experience, maybe it’s the people in their 80s who just never needed to work with computers. And and I also similar to the SEO book. I guess I didn’t want to get it too complicated and you know, with things like, yeah, you know, like I tell my students, you know, make sure you have a Google mail for all of these things you’re signing up for. And these tools you’re using so you don’t have spam. Mail and. And you know exactly if you’re gonna be doing dating and things you you you know, you need a burner number, you need a generic e-mail address that no one’s gonna be bothering you. You know you need to not tell them where you live you need. To take a friend. With you, or at least let a friend know. So I could say a lot more about it, but you’re you’re very right there. But yeah, I want to put the dating thing in because. I don’t know, I mean. If you’re a senior in your 60s or even your 70s, you know you can still you still want to socialize. You could still. Be sexually active and I think I was reminded of this by Bridget Willard. Yeah, and Bridget and I had written a lot of articles for senior life. UM magazine and we had talked about dating, and Bridget had mentioned that there was a a rise in sexually transmitted diseases in many old age homes in the states. And I’m thinking how, why what? Well, you know, you know these people. They’re like, you know, they’re they were hippies and they’re still hippies. And this can possibly happen. So you’re thinking, Oh my God. And I thought I’d have to put something about dating because. You know it’s it’s a, it’s part of socialization. You’re probably gonna date someone. Maybe you you you’re not. Active with them, but you’re certainly going to want to meet people and spend time with them because we’re retired for a very long time. Crazily enough.
Yeah, it’s true and I. Like the fact that you focus on simple things. Lot of lot of people older in life are. By themselves, and they don’t cook as. Much so ordering. On food is a big option for them and things like that. I I was so glad you focused on that stuff.
I think that’s one of the things you know, if when it comes. To to tech. We’re so often focused on it as a tool for work. And there are. It does offer a lot of advantages for those sorts of, you know, daily things. And again, I mean we’re retired and we don’t have any. Distractions like school or parents or any of these things that kept us going through high school these 20 years of our lives.
Here’s some more.
We have to occupy ourselves for 20 years of retirement. Tech can be fun. We can use. Personal assistants. We can use the Internet, we can use apps. We can once in a while. Let’s try to. Have something delivered to our. Let’s let’s use an online recipe. There’s all these sorts of things just to make the days a little more interesting when we have so many of them. Yet to live and we’re not working.
So true and one of the things I really like you touched on was the doorbell camera debate in the book you said, should you get one, should you, should you get one? I should tell you I’m a big proponent of getting one. And I’ll.
I think it’s a good idea.
I’ll tell. I’ll tell you why my my best friend who is talking about earlier, 64. She turned 65. She retired as a teacher as 35 years as a teacher. And you’re a teacher, so you get that. And she retired and my retirement to gift to her was a high end video tour. And no sooner did the video doorbell go in than one day, some guy buzzed on the door. She was not at home. She answered the doorbell on her smartphone right, and said I’m I’m really busy. I don’t have time. If you want to leave a note by the door. Whoever it was walked away and the house 5 doors down was broken into, not hers. That alone is a compelling reason in today’s day is security. I will get one of those without even. Thinking about it.
Yeah, I for for me something like a doorbell. This is. I mean a smart home. Most of us cannot afford a smart. We can’t afford all the sneak snacks. Maybe it’s not even supported where we where we are, but we can do little things so that we have this access to tech and smart. And I think a doorbell is really good because you know it, you know, it’s kind of cool that we can see it. And when we were on the other side of the city and it gives us protection. And it can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. I think there’s some. There’s one, one of the ones is on Amazon. It’s sells all over the place, so it’s. It’s that? Yeah, I have a smart home without walking in and having robots control all the lights and the blinds. There’s little things, and I think that’s that’s important then because. And I think why it’s seniors and not everyone in this book is because if you’re if you’re not. Using tech, if you’re not, if you don’t have the affinity. If you’re not comfortable with tech, you’re going to be closed out and our world is is painfully quick to be inexcusable, and so any little thing that. Someone who perhaps earlier did not have access to. If they can say, oh, look, I’ve got this, this includes you. It gives you a topic of conversation. You’re able to socialize, and I think then it you’re not going to sort of close yourself off. It’s you’re part of everything that’s happening here. I think seniors possibly have can suffer from that more than any other generation.
I agree, and the big and the big place I see the change is the library. Have you walked into the library lately and you realize the library is not just books anymore? They have ebooks, they have audio books, they have all kinds of courses. I know the Toronto libraries have ties in the places like linda.com. In many US newspapers, like I read the Washington Post every day and I don’t pay for it because I get it through the library. So there’s all kinds of advantages, but if you’re not a little tech savvy, how do you how do you sit down and navigate even the library anymore? You just can’t, right?
Or yeah. I mean everything is you go into a store, you get in the bus. Everything has some sort of tech and I mean I use tech every day, but there’s still instances where I’m standing there and I’m thinking, what do you want me to do? And you know the attitude from the cashier is, oh, here’s some old guy who doesn’t know what to do. It’s like no. Honestly, like you’ve changed your. Whole system so. Where like where am I supposed to like? What am I supposed to do, you know? And but the assumption is that we all know it and so I mean, if it’s bothersome for me sometimes. Be very, very scary for people who you know, go someplace where they expect, like you say, the library or Community Center, or a bus or a store, and suddenly where’s the cash register? Where is the person? Where are the books? How do I now read things?
I was in the drug store last night and the drug store where I am, Shoppers Drug Mart, they have a cashier. If you push the bell and then they’ve gone to all these self checkups now, well, I do and I don’t except there was an older gentleman who didn’t want to.
I love those.
But you didn’t. You kind of looked at me and said, can you help me with this? And I took 5 minutes and ran them through whatever he had to do. And he said that’s not so bad when you have help. And I said, I know. They got it. Explain this stuff to people. They make the assumption that we can do it and all the way. If you want ordinary tickets, if you want to use a coupon, you’re not using the self checkout anyway. So it’s just.
Yeah, yeah, that’s some exactly the problem we have here. Some of the stores. As part of the process, it then says do you have any coupons or your point card, but some of the stores don’t, and then you’re thinking no, I’ve used this stuff check out and now I can’t click my points. I can’t use my coupons and two legs. You just run everything through but. As you say you know, now you know, but this is learning, you know, and it can be very frustrating I think for for some people who they just they just want to do things how it used to be.
Yeah, and. And the last thing I want to circle back around to is your, your chapter around e-learning, which I think is really important, you talked about the book and where I think e-learning became prominent was during COVID like let’s be honest, honest went online. There were teachers who had been teaching for 20 years.
Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
Scrambling because they don’t understand tech the way you and I do, I won’t tell you the number of phone calls. I feel that from people in the teaching community saying help, yeah, and and they get frustrated and depending on the board, it changed from teams to Google Me to. There’s now a move in the Ontario boards going away from Google Classroom to a self derived system for e-learning and the teachers are just cringing their head saying why and and it just goes on and E learnings become such a big part of our life even for non seniors that we take it for granted. Right.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean. I mean, long before COVID came, we had these massive online open courses and I was involved in developing some of these for with some colleagues and but you know, I mean everyone did the Coursera courses or you Demi courses, this is fine and. I think really. Very useful and Google offers a lot of these courses and many of them are free. So this is I think this is really helpful. But then when COVID came along, yeah, we were all online and everywhere I teach has their own system. And now I’m, you know, some of the places remain online, some have gone back to the classroom. But some now just to make it, you know, more interesting, some are hybrid. So you’re in the classroom. But some students are actually at home, so you’ve got this constant pure wetting and you have to come up with with activities where the offline people can work together with the online people. And I would prefer one or the other hybrid is is I find a bit of a challenge, but I do I do. I I really like the in person. I I like that. Old school way of teaching and if someone needs help, even something basic like ohh my mouse isn’t working. You can deal with it and you can switch to a whiteboard or whatever. You know, you don’t have to stop everything and then OK, move to the left. OK, unplug your computer. I mean, it just becomes some sort of tech support in the middle of the teaching. And uh. That’s, I think, a challenge for everyone.
No, I I agree with you. I have another good friend of mine out on the East Coast, Jeff Brown. He’s a workplace education trainer in Nova Scotia. And he does. It’s about. Oh, 75 to 80% of his classes online right now after the switch, and they’re just starting to reintroduce some in person ones, and he really he’s like you, he really likes the in person teachers. I know my friend Leslie, who was talking about who retired in teaching the minute she had the opportunity. Go back into the classroom. She was in cause she rather, especially with kids, would rather be in the classroom or not. And these are these are tough times. I mean I think online e-learning provides something, but you can still feel isolated and by yourself, right? Just some degree.
Yeah, yeah. I mean for for sure. It on one hand it gives you access to to skills and knowledge that you otherwise wouldn’t have. A lot of people, they’re either where they’re living or how they’re living or their mobility issues, and this is incredibly. But I think we’ve all experienced taking an online course and then actually having a relevant question. Or a problem? And good luck getting that answered.
And not just from, you know, silly little Udemy like, you know, Coursera courses, university courses, Google Courses, where you’re on the clock and something is it’s a glitch. There’s something not working. And who do you ask? And if you were in a classroom, you would go. Excuse me. There is something not working. Here, but if you’re online, it’s like, oh, you have 30 seconds left to answer this question. It’s like the question is not showing on the screen. Hello help, help and this you’re out. You know, that question is now wrong. I didn’t get a chance to answer it.
I really appreciate you talking about your books. It’s always fun. What are you working on next? You’re writing the new book. I know you’re updating some old older titles. What’s going on in? Altered the.
Yeah, well, Bridget Willard’s and my three books, the online marketing books we just updated the small business one, which you were great enough to write the introduction for next month. We’ll have the update of the online marketing book for nonprofits. And then in August, the online marketing book for schools. So those will then be recovered, they’ll be updated because they’re all two years old. So all you know, updates with SEO and Google and things that will all. Up there. The SEO book it won’t. The SEO book won’t be in the next edition until September. So yeah, you know, to be honest. I I feel really uh that I’ve I’ve done 14 books in the last three years and I don’t know. It’s like I don’t have the urge to write anything at the moment but. You know, circling back to SEO where I am trying to focus my time now is I’m trying to look at all of the content that I’ve created and I’m trying to focus on from this content what is actually useful. And what can I take from that and and package for people that I can or I can measure the usefulness? Because I think that’s something, you know, we’ve all been doing as CEO, keywords, everything is fine and dandy, but I think going forward, if we wanna really. You know, challenge the superiority of our AI masters. We are going to have to be able to create content where we can measure the return on investment. So I think it means really doubling down and saying my great content, what’s really great about this and throwing the rest out. So that’s sort of my focus for the rest of this year I think.
Now I. That’s so great with it. Warren, thanks for your time as always and.
Thank you, Rob.
You have a wonderful weekend.
Thank you. And you too enjoy the Ontario summer.
Yeah. Thank you. Bye.