Introduction, About Orbit Media
Will: Andy, why don't you walk me through what Orbit Media does?
Andy: Sure. Our specialty is building sites that are hopefully better than most. Search optimized to attract visitors. Conversion optimized to get those visitors to take an action. And I've been part of the planning process for like more than a thousand websites in my career. A lot of projects.
Andy: Websites are both content and container. So...to do it well, you need to have those two things work together. The companies that do it best are the ones that create the content and then build the container around it. But there's a lot of things you have to keep in your mind at the same time. What is the target key phrase for this page? Visitors to this page have what kinds of questions? How do we support our answers to those questions with evidence? What's the most compelling call to action? How do we make this page more human? What kind of data supports this? How do we control the visual hierarchy? What about the color? The brand? There's a million little things. So many details. It's actually a really complicated business.
Whats Next for Websites and Search Engines
Will: If you're starting a business or you already have an existing business and your next step is a new website or that digital presence if you will; what are some do's and don'ts for that business? Andy: It's crazy to me how many companies create web pages that are totally generic, that anyone could say, "We do this, we help these people, we work for these industries, we deliver these services..."Anybody could say that. It's totally boring. Make your site different, make it more personal, support those marketing claims with evidence. When you look at your site, you should see things that other people can't say on their sites.
Andy: Half of all search results pages get zero clicks.
Will: That's a bummer.
Andy: So if there's fifty billion searches a day and half of them get no clicks when they used to get clicks that's twenty-five billion fewer website visits per day that people used to be getting traffic and running their businesses or solving people's problems or selling advertising or whatever. You know, news media, for example, right? So yeah, the future for websites is less traffic.
Andy: The future for Google is higher profits. The future for search results page is fewer clicks.
Andy: So you can expect as a visitor, as a searcher, or web internet user to have more information flow to you more easily. Bonus. Great, right? But as a website owner, you are not secure in your ability to make a living through demand gen and through traffic unless you are really going deep in your content, answering big questions. Original research wins, same thing. Same reason why original research wins. Same reason why video wins, right? You gotta upgrade the format, upgrade the detail, the depth, the value to the visitor if you plan to attract and keep someone and grow a brand online.
Will: What do you see the problems with the monopoly in the digital space? What are the problems with that? And how does that change?
Andy: So, when you get to just like the flow of information, there's algorithms that are deciding what people see and therefore what they think and how their views are shaped. So you have implications for democracy. So technology has been disrupted forever. There's always gonna be new technology that comes out. I think I heard a quote that it was like Socrates who was upset about writing he said, "It's gonna hurt people's memory, people won't have to remember stuff anymore because they can just write it down." It's like the written word is horrible-
Will: Man, he's old school.
Andy: Yeah. Maybe it was like Homer. It's like, "What about the oral tradition? We're supposed to remember stuff through poems and songs." So it's always been like this, right?
Tom: Silicon Valley became Silicon Valley because of N.A.S.A. And once those engineers had kids, they basically grew up in the shadow of computer systems.