Google, AI and Machine Learning just completely changed SEO and no one noticed… but they better.


I woke up this morning in Montana and it’s kind of been a couple days of deep thought for me. For some perspective on what just happened I have to give you a little background.

I spent the last two days getting my mind packed at Wooconference 2017 in Seattle. This is where the smartest people in the software and marketing worlds collide and talk all about things Woo. Woo is this awesome Swiss Army Knife software for all things ecommerce. In other words, it allows you to do everything ecommerce that your heart desires. It’s like a toolbox; use a tool or make a tool but it is totally flexible depending on what you need.

Things like Wooconference are always enlightening, but a touch awkward for Pronto. See, while Pronto is one of the top Woo developers, we are pretty quiet at Woo for a simple reason. Pronto doesn’t fit the mold of the standard marketing company; we are unlimited for a monthly price so we do not define ourselves the same way.

Since we don’t fit the generic mold, when you sign in for the conference, they give you a badge with three stickers:

  1. Agency – We do have custom 80 Sites running a custom Woo solution we developed to meet their needs.
  2. Developer – We are an all-you-can-eat buffet; if they need a solution we have an Awesome R&D team with 15 people to build it.
  3. Vendor – Call us Crazy but we have built as much high-end custom Woo tools as anyone, and we provide them to the market. (Shhhh, we might even start selling them.)

The simple fact is we are all three, but there is a spot for only one. When they find out we offer unlimited updates, support, and revisions, that mob starts to get angry.

One of the things that’s a challenge for me as I listen to these presentations is I think two things:

  1. Wow, there are some really smart people at Wooconference.
  2. We are just so different from a developer standpoint; I think we do as much if not more development of the most advanced boots on the Woocommerce platform.

So for all this to make sense you have to understand me. I went to school for computer programming, but I am detached from coding and writing software, as I have been in the sales and marketing world for many years now. As the VP of bizdev for Pronto, I talk to every single person who signs up. I want to learn about them and their business and determine whether we are fit for each other. I don’t play games; I’m very straightforward and I’m fortunate to be backed by a company that can absolutely accomplish almost anything that is put before us.

Now with that said, Back to what happened at Woo… By the way, I am there with our WooNinja Adam Selley. It is Adam’s job to cash the checks I write with customers. Anyway, he is geeking out all over the Woo, and I am mostly trying not to think lest I learn something and ruin my perfect system for avoiding any and all support work. I really just need to keep up my 30,000-foot understanding of Woo and enjoy the free coffee. Then it happens, something real just went down at woo.


A guy named Rand Fiskin, who apparently is a pretty big deal, was talking about SEO, Machine learning and AI, and he said something that made me sit up a bit. Anyway, he said Google knows where you start searching but they also know where you stop. Up until now, it has just been about optimizing a site for relevant keywords and providing supporting links (backlinks) to drive up one’s rankings in a certain keyword. So now Google is caring less about the journey and it is Thinking about the result. (See Skynet for how scary that is.) No more build-a-few-links and fake-it-till-you-make-it marketing. Google sees the link and it checks how many people followed it. More to the point: Did they stop searching after they followed it? If they did, it’s a good link, good result and SEO value goes up.

This is a bit of a bombshell and I looked over at Adam to see his reaction. I saw his right eyebrow twitch and I knew he was as rocked as I was. I was like little Johnny sitting in class; I could barely keep to my chair. Suddenly onsite SEO just became a major factor in SEO again; it’s not about asking the questions but providing the answers. Suddenly the content wheel just tied beautifully into SEO. This is something Pronto and I have been preaching to our customers about for a long time and have started to see it happening. This was independent confirmation from Rand Fishkin, a bonafide SEO wizard, that we were right!

All kidding aside, this is huge and something I have been speaking about and working on for a long time. We have constantly provided our customers super high-quality content, and we customize every site we build by hand. We know the sites will outperform any template ever built, but now we are starting to see confirmation of that. You cannot just shoehorn something on to a McTemplate and say, “Well my site is up and it looks OK.”

It is about not only how the site performs, but also how well it answers its visitors’ questions. How long do they dwell? Do they click on anything? Are your backlinks real? Who followed them? What did they do after they followed them? Suddenly you need to start paying attention to the metrics on your site. This is why I am jumping out of my chair. See, as explained earlier, Pronto does high-end custom sites for all types of business ecommerce. But as I explained earlier, we provide unlimited updates and revisions, we are constantly encouraging customers to improve, adjust and fine-tune their site’s performance. It’s included in the service, so no hourly fee.

Most of the marketing companies just felt a little shiver go down their spine because they can’t copy and paste together a template; their site will need constant updates and revisions to maximize their SEO performance. They cannot just go out and buy some links and pretend it’s SEO will automatically work. Google is not only looking at what people do, but they are also thinking about the results. A good link that no one follows just became a bad link.

Put this in perspective of Ecommerce:

We are now seeing really good sites with much less (but more solid) Advanced SEO outperform mediocre sites with huge volumes of links. If you are not really thinking about what happens on your site or how traffic is getting there, the boat just passed you.


Deep thoughts after 20 hours delivering my daughter’s jeep…..


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