Google’s Algorithm Changes + Defensive SEO — With Lily Ray

April 30, 2024
Anonymous Marketer | Content Marketing | Marketing Strategy

Episode Summary

In a recent episode of The Anonymous Marketer, host Kirsti Lang welcomed Lily Ray, the Vice President of SEO Strategy and Research at Amsive, to demystify the complexities of the Google algorithm and its impact on SEO strategies. The conversation kicked off with Lily sharing her extensive background in SEO, a career spanning over 14 years, where she emphasized the unique blend of art and science required to excel in the field. From her early days discovering SEO while studying at NYU to becoming a seasoned professional, Lily’s journey illustrated her deep-seated passion and comprehensive understanding of the ever-evolving SEO landscape.

The discussion dove into the intricacies of navigating Google’s algorithm updates, a challenge familiar to many in the digital marketing space. Lily and Kirsti discussed how these updates could significantly affect SEO strategies, with Lily advising on the importance of adaptability and learning from each algorithmic change. Her approach, centered on being risk-averse while seeking out SEO opportunities, underscores the necessity of a balanced strategy in the face of Google’s unpredictable updates.

A significant portion of the episode was dedicated to the role of AI in SEO, a topic of increasing relevance and debate. Lily provided a nuanced view on this issue, advocating for the use of AI as a tool to enhance human creativity rather than replace it. She emphasized the importance of maintaining authenticity and the human touch in content creation, even as AI technologies offer new ways to optimize and generate content.

Kirsti and Lily also touched on strategic insights for building a resilient brand that withstands Google’s algorithmic shifts. Lily’s advice to “not do anything drastic” in reaction to updates and her emphasis on building a trustworthy brand resonated as a key takeaway for listeners. The episode concluded with both acknowledging the complexities of SEO and the continuous learning required to navigate its challenges successfully. For those looking to deepen their understanding of SEO, particularly in the context of algorithm updates and AI integration, this episode of The Anonymous Marketer offers valuable perspectives and expert insights from one of the field’s leading voices.

Featured Guest

Name: Lily Ray
What she does: Vice President, SEO Strategy & Research

Company: Amsive

Noteworthy: Lily Ray, with over 14 years in SEO, is Amsive’s VP of SEO Strategy and Research.

Key Insights

The Art and Science of SEO

SEO is not just about understanding Google’s algorithms; it’s an intricate balance of technical know-how, creative content creation, and strategic marketing. Lily Ray, with her extensive experience, emphasizes that SEO’s magic lies in blending analytical and creative skills. She points out the satisfaction that comes from piecing together the SEO puzzle, highlighting how mastering this balance can reignite one’s love for SEO. This approach underscores the evolving nature of SEO, where continuous learning and adaptation are key to success.

Navigating Google Algorithm Updates

Google’s algorithm updates can significantly impact SEO strategies. Lily advises on the importance of not reacting hastily to updates by making drastic changes that might do more harm than good. Building a strong brand that genuinely resonates with and provides value to its audience is crucial. This insight stresses the importance of a long-term, sustainable approach to SEO, rather than chasing quick wins that could potentially lead to penalties during algorithm updates.

The Role of AI in SEO

While AI has become a pivotal tool in content creation, Lily warns against overreliance on AI for generating content. She suggests using AI to enhance creativity and efficiency but cautions against letting it replace the human element that brings authenticity to content. The key takeaway is that AI should be a tool to support SEO strategies, not the cornerstone. This balanced approach ensures content remains engaging and valuable to the audience, safeguarding against the potential pitfalls of AI-generated content feeling impersonal or irrelevant.

Episode Highlights

Lily Ray’s Introduction and SEO Journey

Lily Ray shares her extensive background in SEO, emphasizing the unique blend of technical, creative, analytical, and marketing skills required in the field. Starting her career in SEO while in college, Lily has over 14 years of experience. Her journey underscores the importance of passion and continuous learning in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of SEO. Ray’s multifaceted approach to SEO, combining art and science, illustrates her comprehensive understanding and expertise, setting the stage for the insightful discussion that follows in the podcast.

“I’ve been doing SEO for over 14 years now. It’s the only real career I’ve ever had […] I felt like it was the right combination of skills from both the technical and creative and content and marketing and analytical standpoint.”

SEO as a Balance of Art and Science

The conversation highlights SEO’s dual nature as both an art and a science, a theme that resonates throughout the episode. Kirsti Lang, the host, shares her renewed passion for SEO, reflecting on the complexities and joys of mastering its intricacies. This part of the discussion dives into the challenges and rewards of aligning technical SEO strategies with creative content creation, illustrating the dynamic skill set SEO professionals must cultivate to succeed.

“But there is an incredible sense of satisfaction when you fit the pieces of the puzzle together. When you get that right it’s creativity and it’s science. I love it and also I hate it which is confusing.” 

Navigating Google Algorithm Updates

Lily Ray discusses the critical aspect of dealing with Google’s algorithm updates, offering insights into the cyclical nature of SEO and the importance of adaptability. She emphasizes the need for a risk-averse approach alongside seizing SEO opportunities, cautioning against strategies that may yield short-term gains but lead to long-term issues. Lily’s perspective underscores the nuanced understanding required to navigate algorithm changes effectively, balancing aggressive tactics with sustainable strategies.

“And what happens over time is the more of them that you experience the more that it informs how you approach SEO going forward […] it’s as much about being […] risk averse as it is about just always trying to find the biggest SEO opportunity.”

The Impact of AI on SEO

This part of the podcast dives into the burgeoning role of AI in SEO, with Lily Ray providing a nuanced view on the use of generative AI tools. While AI offers incredible potential for enhancing content creation and ideation, Ray warns against its use as a wholesale replacement for human creativity. She advocates for leveraging AI to augment the human element in content creation, highlighting the importance of maintaining authenticity and connection with the audience.

“So first and foremost, there’s, according to Google, nothing inherently wrong with AI content […] But […] don’t recklessly use generative AI tools as a replacement for your writers. Do use generative AI for […] improving your writing for enhancing your writing for adding ideas.”

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