Mastering the foundational aspects of SEO gives you an advantage over your competitors.
In this interview on the Eventual Millionaire with Jaime Masters, I talked about the top SEO trends, techniques and opportunities for your website. I also shared some proven tips in writing optimized content, picking and testing the right keywords for SEO, and some ninja link building tactics.
So without further ado, on with the show!
In This Episode
- [00:45] – Stephan speaks on Eventual Millionaire with Jaime Masters about the top SEO trends, techniques, and opportunities.
- [02:40] – With the AI industry expanding, what are the opportunities for businesses, and how can they use SEO? Is there a way to outsmart artificial intelligence?
- [07:15] – What do you use to determine which sites are important and which aren’t?
- [13:39] – If you were writing an article or content, how would you choose the right keywords for it?
- [19:29] – What role does Facebook advertising play in your marketing strategy?
- [24:33] – Other than funnels that convert, how can you increase your ROI?
- [27:25] – How does Stephan vet potential hires with SEO BS Detector Worksheets?
- [30:06] – What are Stephan’s strategies for building SEO for his brands and domains?
- [39:52] – Jamie asks how you can get backlinks on your videos.
- [54:51] – Stephan advises people who want to be remarkable in a crowded market.
- [56:27] – Are you interested in learning more about marketing strategies from marketing legends? Visit Stephan’s Marketing Speak website. And, if you are into biohacking, productivity, and personal development, check out Get Yourself Optimized.
Welcome to Eventual Millionaire. I’m Jaime Masters and today on the show, we have Stephan Spencer. You can find him at stephanspencer.com. He is a genius in SEO. I just came on his show. He has a podcast called Get Yourself Optimized, another one called Marketing Speak, and he has had amazing clients. You should check out his testimonial page. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Well, thanks for having me.
It’s funny, when I was on your show, we were both debating because you had worked with Steve Spangler who had a really big thing online and the people that I worked with, the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment guys were online at the same time and you totally beat us in the online marketing.
Just as a side note, I was new, you totally did. I was so glad you came on the show so we could talk about it. But you were sort of heralded as an SEO whiz. SEOs change like crazy, especially from back in the day to now. Do you think back then it was better, or do you feel like we still have lots of opportunity now?
We have, I think, more opportunity now than ever before.
I’m so glad you said that.
The fundamentals for SEO are to identify the keywords that matter, and those are the words that are relevant to your business, popular with researchers, and attainable to rank on the page.
I mean if you think about where things are heading with AI, machine learning, and all that, and how you can just be on top of the cutting edge of stuff, if you put the time in and you’ve got the interest, it’s not so much the gaming that used to work and doesn’t anymore. It’s that you have to outsmart an AI to win, and I think the best way to outsmart an AI is with your own AI. You got to get familiar with artificial intelligence and how to utilize these things in order to win the game. But I’m excited for the future.
We geeked out on your podcast before, so you are a futurist and love singularity, and so when we talk about AI, I love this stuff. The thing is that I know my audience is a little like, I am just a small business owner just staying in my lane. I only have minimum time. How can I actually optimize and use SEO? What would you say are the core things that they can do besides getting their own robot?
We did geek out a lot. It was really fun, we talked about your sword wall and everything. The basic fundamentals for SEO that anybody who’s going to have a website needs to do is they need to identify the keywords that matter, and those are the words that are relevant to your business, they are popular researchers, and they’re attainable to rank on page one for. That’s one piece of it. You got to identify the keywords.
Those keywords you’re going to create editorial calendars out of those lists, you’re going to optimize existing product pages, landing pages, and so forth around those keywords. There’s a lot of utility you’re going to get out of that keyword list.
Next, you’re going to look at your content and you’re going to look at it from a lens of, is this content remarkable? Is it worthy of remark? If you’re familiar with Seth Godin and the Purple Cow, one of my favorite books. It’s awesome and Seth is like a marketing hero to me. I actually had him on the show, Marketing Speak, on the other show about six months ago. It’s a fabulous interview, so definitely check that out.
If you have something worthy of remark, then you’ve got something that is spreadable, link-worthy, and can perform well on social media as a nice bonus.
But if you have something that’s worthy of remark, then you’ve got something that is spreadable, that’s linkable, link-worthy, and can perform well on social media as a nice bonus, just as an FYI as an aside. If you have something, can it go viral on social media or do really well on social media, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get any SEO benefit out of it.
That’s an important distinction because all these social sites like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Wikipedia, all the social sites, they know follow their external links. Meaning, those links don’t count for juice like for SEO juice, Google juice, and oversimplifying it. It’s authority, trust, and importance. You need that in terms of links from other sites and you’re not going to get any of it from the social networks.
Thank you for saying that. No offense, but I have clients that have SEO guys and they’re like, let’s build out a social profile and we’re going to do this. I was like, is that how they’re trying to do the SEO? Because I don’t know if that’s going to work for you. Don’t get me wrong, you can start to know what goes well on those sites and that’s good. But like you said, the backlinks don’t actually matter.
Yeah, and it’s not that you should not do social media marketing, it’s that you need to plan appropriately and think of this as an indirect channel, an indirect means to the end of getting to the top of Google. You can get in front of influencers who have powerful blogs as far as Google’s concerned because of your social spread, Facebook, and so forth. That can work. That can be very effective. But it’s an indirect way to get to the top of Google.
You’ve got remarkable content, you’ve got the keywords identified, and now you’ve got to get out there and network the heck out of your amazing remarkable stuff because you can’t just build it and they will come. What was the movie? Field of Dreams. You have to outreach.
Yes. Tell me more about this because I feel like everybody figures on-page SEO. They’re like, I did keyword stuff, I did what I’m supposed to do, and then they sort of leave it and it just goes into the ether. They’re like, it didn’t work for me. Tell me all of the things I’m trying to actually get.
The way to identify influential websites and blogs is to use a tool that identifies authority and trust as individual metrics.
The high value links that you’re going after ones where the sites are trusted by Google, they’re important, they’re authoritative. The way to identify these influential websites and blogs is to use a tool. One that identifies authority and even trust as individual metrics like Majestic for example, linkresearchtools.com, or Ahrefs, although they don’t have a trust metric. I love that tool. Their authority metric is DR, Domain Rating.
There are tools out there. Moz has a Domain Authority or DA, etcetera. You’re going to get a sense for which are the more important, trusted, and authoritative sites, and which ones are not worthy or worth your time to chase after.
How do you know what level that is? I know each one has its own category, but is there a metric that we can go on that would be like, this and above is really good.
It depends on the metric. But let’s say it’s trust flow and citation flow from majestic.com. Let’s say that it’s a single-digit number of trust flow and/or citation flow, that’s probably not worth your time to chase after. If it’s domain authority and it’s let’s say it’s under 30, maybe if it’s really niche specific to your industry, okay. But probably more in the 40s, 50s, and up is a domain authority that would be much better.
Awesome. You’re really, really just trying to get the high quality stuff?
Yeah, because it’s the 80/20 rule, but it’s more like 90/10 or more the Pareto Principle.
The question though then is, those bigger sites are harder to get on so that’s what everyone’s saying, they’re harder to get on. Yes, they definitely weigh more, but maybe we can get a whole bunch of little sites. How do you actually trump that?
You have to be very deliberate and picky about targeting sites because they might have toxic links, and that toxicity passes on to you.
The little sites that have lowest authority and trust scores could actually hurt you. You’ve got to be very deliberate, very picky about which sites you target because they might have toxic links pointing to their sites, and that toxicity passes on to you. Then you need to use a detoxing tool like Link Detox to try and find all the toxic links and remove those, do a disavow, submit a disavow file to Google through Google Search Console, reach out to these spammy websites, and insist that they remove the link. It’s a real mess.
That sounds hellish. Nobody wants that. All the people that don’t know SEOs are like, oh my gosh, that’s why I didn’t get into SEO. I don’t want to screw it up. How do you get the links from the big guys then?
Here are a few different powerful strategies. I use this very effectively with a client who owns, I don’t know a billion dollars or more in real estate. They specialize in Section 8 housing, the really nice Section 8 housing, they’re not slumlords. They were rehabbing and doing a grand reopening of a building in Downtown Denver. It was going to be beautiful and really high-end Section 8 housing. They were going to send out a press release and I’m like, “no, journalists hate press releases. It makes them feel also not special. It’s the opposite of a scoop.”
I found a recent article on the Denver Post website that related to rising rents in Downtown Denver. It was recent and it was spot on as far as the topic. Of course, the journalist was listed there as the author of that article and their email address. Now, we have our in. we’re going to comment not on the article itself, it was like a Facebook comment or a WordPress comment, no. We’re going to send an email.
The first version of the email that he sent me, thank goodness I asked him to send me the draft first, it was a mini press release. He took his press release and made it into two paragraphs. Don’t do that. Back to the drawing board, make it insightful and thought-provoking. You with your status as the general manager of this big company, with an insightful thing to say about his great article, he will probably respond. Sure enough, he did.
The version that he came up with as round two was amazing and sent it off. He got a response within minutes. The journalists sent a colleague from the paper to cover the grand reopening, a full page article that week in the Denver Post. Of course, it went online on denverpost.com as well. This stuff can work, it just requires some outside-the-box thinking. That’s one example of this strategy. You don’t need to hire an expensive PR firm.
The question was, you’re really good at this. He had hired you, thank goodness. He was going to screw it up and send out a press release, right? This is what I feel business owners do. I think I heard something like this, but just to recap, you made the journalist’s job easier. You hand-delivered—especially because you’re great with copywriting, I’m assuming—some marketing that was the hook, that all they do is take it and run with it.
The thing is, I didn’t write that piece. I just asked my client to write something insightful or thought-provoking from his standpoint as being in that industry. He read the article, and he had some thought-provoking things to say. I reviewed it, and I’m like, “this is awesome.” I didn’t have a hand in writing it at all.
Okay. Other people would be like, well of course he hired you, and you’re amazing. Therefore, he actually wrote the article and within minutes he got a tip. That’s amazing. What else do you have?
He wrote the commentary about the article.
I adore that. I want more of your tactics and tips, but what came up to me is how do you pick? If we’ve got a humongous content calendar and a humongous list of keywords, how do we pick which ones we go after? Especially journalists because that does take effort to research if there’s an article and stuff like that.
Sort the list of keywords by popularity.
I would say, sort the list of keywords by popularity. That’s the search volume and monthly search volume typically, and then which ones can give you an opportunity to say something worthy of remark. That can have either controversial, a little bit counterintuitive, or makes people do a double take if they see that keyword and a thought-provoking interesting headline, kind of a cognitive dissonance sort of angle.
You’re looking for a hook. Whether that hook allows you to write a great piece for your own blog, to pitch it to a journalist, or what Andy Crestodina calls the evil twin strategy where you do both with the one piece of content that you’ve done all the research on, and you just flip the headline essentially.
You’re saying, these are the seven best practices to whatever the keyword is, and then the evil twin is the seven mistakes? It’s the same research, you’re just rewriting the piece of content with that new headline.
Question, I actually wrote a post. When there was a whole bunch of buzz online for Napoleon Hill, was he a fraud or was he not? I was like, that’s really a good hook and I’ve interviewed almost 500 millionaires, so I looked up the keywords and I found one specific one. We ended up giving away the PDF for free and we ranked number one, tons and tons of traffic. The problem that I wasn’t totally paying attention to is that it is not my audience. It’s a lot of people from India, they’re coming from a bunch of other places.
Do you actually try and vet keywords per what you think the avatar would be, or you just write the article and try and rank it and hope that—I was getting I think like 50,000 visits or something crazy? I’m paying for a lot more server space for this now. That’s very interesting. I want to let that one go and not worry about it. What I always try to do is hit the number one. How do you manage that?
What a great insight because when you have something that is not meant for your target audience, it can actually still help you to reach your target audience, but in an indirect way. That article about Think and Grow Rich, maybe it’s from a contrarian angle like, no, it’s hooey or whatever. Incidentally, I just had John Shin who’s running the Think and Grow Rich world tour and made the Think and Grow Rich documentary possible as a guest on the Get Yourself Optimized podcast.
That’s amazing, I talked to them too about all this stuff. Mine was a wonderful piece about it. I don’t think he’s a fraud, but yes, it was hilarious. I was going on a spin. But you’re right because I needed a hook.
Yeah, and it’s a great hook. What if it’s not going to bring in a single person that’s your exact avatar? That’s totally fine if you’re going to reach the linkerati, the influencers that are authoritative, highly trusted, and important as far as Google’s concerned because then, it’s the rising tide that lifts all boats. Every page of your site, every landing page, every sales page, every product page, and your homepage will all rise in the rankings because of that one article.
I love it. The other thing that I did is I went to the affiliate people that did the documentary for Think and Grow Rich and I chatted with them. They wanted to know because I had this highly trafficked page, and now I’m an affiliate for them on the thing. That was the thing, I was like, I got to meet them at least because I was like, I don’t know what to do with this. Let’s see if we can optimize something because I care about optimizing too.
I appreciate though that it rises everything instead of me going, well, that was worth all the time and effort. Thank you for that. I don’t know that you can predict this, but can you predict if keywords are going to be good or bad? Is there any way that you can know who would be good for your avatar or not, or you guess?
As far as which keywords your avatar’s actually typing into Google, you could do focus groups, you could do online surveys of your audience, of your customer base, of your email list subscribers, things like that. But if you’re laser targeting certain demographics, psychographics, or clicker graphics, actually the best place to start then isn’t with Google, it’s with Facebook.
If you think like, what is an ideal avatar or persona in terms of their hobbies, their income brackets, their gender, age group, and all that, you can laser target in on Facebook, get those folks on your list, and then create a lookalike audience in Facebook, and get an even larger audience of those people. Then you offer some sort of quiz, fun game, survey, or contest with some prizes so that now you get the data from them, they’re your avatar, and you got a whole lot of them so you’re going to get statistical significance. Now you understand how they think, what their buying criteria are, what the buyer journey looks like.
That makes so much sense. I was thinking that you test it in PPC like Google PPC or something like that to try and see if it’s actually converting for you instead of wasting, not wasting the time, but taking all the time to try and rank for SEO.
Well, you’re going to be wasting money though.
That’s even worse.
But that’s why I like your Facebook idea, that makes logical sense. You’re still spending a lot of money and it’s a long process, but you’ll get actual data that you can actually vet and use, which makes sense.
I think of Facebook as part of the whole ecosystem. If you’re not doing Facebook advertising, you’re missing the boat.
I think of Facebook as part of the whole ecosystem. If you’re not doing Facebook advertising, you’re missing the boat. Let’s say that you just have a website that’s doing well and so forth, and you’re neglecting Facebook. That is an asset that you could have built up. I think of assets in terms of like Rich Dad Poor Dad. An asset puts money in your pocket and a liability takes money out of your pocket. The house that you live in is probably a liability, not an asset. Whereas the house you bought and rented out, that’s an asset.
There are lots of online assets. There’s your email list, there’s your retargeting audience on Facebook and on Google, although Google calls it remarketing instead of retargeting, but it’s the audience that’s been to your website that you’ve pixeled, and now you can follow them as they’re scrolling around on Facebook or as they’re surfing the internet, if it’s Google, the display network or retargeting for search, remarketing for search is what they call it.
Isn’t it hilarious that you have to change the name, same thing.
I know, so silly. But this is an asset that you can nurture. You’re neglecting that asset by just not doing anything with it. If you’re not even collecting that data, if you’re not building a retargeting audience, even if you’re just spending a little bit of money, that’s just a waste.
When somebody goes to buy your site and then they’re like, okay, how big is your email list? What does your retargeting audience look like? And you’re like, what? We haven’t been doing much as far as email. We didn’t really ask for email addresses. But we got some sales. We got some affiliate revenue. Yeah, you’ve got a piece of the equation, but you’ve missed a whole bunch of the other things.
I’ll loop back around to the other tactics, I still want some of those. This is what all the people say, especially when they’re not doing Facebook marketing. They’re like, Facebook is dying, the costs are going up like crazy, and you have to pay just to have a boost or anything. Anybody sees you at all, or email is the other one and open rates are going down. Everybody is chicken little. What do you say to all of that?
I don’t know. Tough it up?
Suck it up, buttercup.
Suck it up, yes. If you think about what Facebook needs to do in order for them to succeed, they need to keep people on the platform. They need to keep them happy and engaged. If your ad is drawing people off of the platform to a landing page and it’s an opt-in, it’s some sort of lead gen form or something, that’s not a great experience. That doesn’t make for happy Facebook users.If you're not doing SEO, start today because otherwise, you're missing an asset. Click To Tweet
Whereas if you keep them on the platform, they’re watching videos natively on the platform that you’ve uploaded, and you’re spending money advertising to expand your reach, that’s great. Then you can do a retargeting ad as a follow-up to people who watch 75% of the video or more. You can upload your customer list and create a custom audience from that and target those people. You can create a look-alike of your customers based on that custom audience of the customer list or your email subscribers. There’s so much opportunity.
The key here is you got to make sure these people are happy. One of the keys to that is the share-to-reaction ratio. If your stuff is so darn good or your ads don’t even really look like ads, you look real, human, and you’re part of the ecosystem, it’s not all professionally shot, you didn’t do all your makeup and everything, you look human.
You’re sharing a valuable message or you’re saying something that’s worthy of remark, an idea worth spreading sort of thing, then you’ll get a lot of shares. If that’s at least as high as the amount of reactions, the likes, the wows, the loves, and so forth, you’re winning. You’ve got something that Facebook wants you to get a lot of reach out of.
Because they like it.
They’ve got lots of self-interest, which makes sense. They’re a business also. It’s funny because Stu McLaren posted one of his ads and he’s in a pool making a crazy face. I follow him anyway and I just thought it was a regular thing of him. You’re right, it feels like people, especially advertisers, are getting better and better at making it look native. But to me, it’s only not a liability if you have a funnel that converts.
If the people that are on Facebook don’t have a funnel that actually converts, then it is a liability. I feel like that’s where people would go like this. Do you know what I mean? Because they’ve done it for so long or they’ve tried it and it didn’t work for them, what do you say to them to try and test it again? Because it’s an asset, like you said.
Yeah. The funnel that converts isn’t the only way that they can turn that into a positive ROI. Let’s say that you are targeting journalists, even the editors or editorial managers of big magazines and trade journals in your industry. There’s no funnel you’re going to send them through, but you want to reach them, you want them to get to know your brand and your personality, and see the depth of your subject matter expertise.
That might seem like a waste of money from the outside looking in, but it’s not because what if you contact them in three months after they keep seeing all your brilliant stuff, your thought leadership pieces that you’re pushing out to a laser target audience? Maybe it’s 300 people and you’re spending $400 a month on that. That is very wise.
In that case, though, having somebody that is a Facebook ad manager on your team would be really helpful also. Do you feel like it’s easier to train somebody on your team to be up to speed on marketing tactics or hire agencies? What do you think is the best way? Because agencies are expensive, and that’s why it’s sometimes hit or miss.
My preferred model is working with an individual consultant.
My preferred model is working with an individual consultant. If it’s a jack of all trades sort of agency, oh, yes, we do SEO, Google ads, Facebook ads, copywriting, conversion, optimization, analytics, and social media. Okay, is there anything you don’t do? Of course, you’re an awesome grade A top shelf on every single one of these things, right?
Totally, you’re great at all of them. Totally.
Yeah. Totally, don’t buy that. If you work with a consultant who gets the internet and the marketing kind of mix like I do, for example–
That’s what I was going to say. You either have to tell me, you, or somebody that you have to refer us. We’ll put links and stuff like that, too. No offense, it’s hard to find somebody good, especially if the person that’s hiring them doesn’t understand SEO, Facebook, or whatever. I just have had so many clients who are like, well, I just signed up with this guy and you just see it’s not. Okay, no. It’s hard to vet if you don’t actually know.
One of the things I do for my clients is I help them vet people if they’re looking to hire an in-house SEO, an in-house marketing manager, or social media manager, I will grill that person in a nice way as a second interview and make sure that they are not blowing smoke.
I’m laughing because that’s what I do, too. I love that part.
Yeah. In fact, I have an SEO BS Detector worksheet that has all these trick questions that you can have available in the interview process. You just pick some questions from that, slip those questions into the interview process, and there’s only one right answer to each. Then you know if you got snookered or not.
There’s a question in there. Tell me your process for optimizing meta keywords. That is a trick question because meta keywords never counted in Google ever, not even on day one.
Oh my gosh. I love this. I still want that list. I literally have a call in two days with an SEO guy that’s working with one of my clients, so thank you. I want that list. That’s a killer.
I’ll tell you what, I’ll put that on a special page just for your listeners. It’s going to be at marketingspeak.com/millionaire.
Perfect. To bring it back, the tactics that you said about the journalists, I love. Do you have any other tactics like that to help build up those big site links?
Yeah, so many. Let’s say that you wanted to become a contributor, ideally, a columnist somewhere big. I just got published for the first time on HBR, Harvard Business Review.
That’s a good one.
Yeah, that was huge. Of course, I got a link with it. They published my article, which was all about travel hacks for business travelers. Then in the byline portion that gives my little bio, it links back to my site. That’s a really high value link from a very high trust website that’s hard to break into. It’s not likely you’re going to have any spammy links coming from that site.
Definitely not. How did you do that? Are you allowed to tell me?
No, I’m not. It was a lot of work, a lot of back and forth, and it took about four months, maybe five. I pulled some strings. I leveraged some friendships and connections that I have.
I see, it’s all networking like you said before. But which site did you link to because you have more than one site?
I linked to stephanspencer.com.
Okay, and that’s the other piece? One of my clients was just mentioned in all sorts of places—Yahoo, NBC, and all these things. But I was like, oh, but did we ask for a link? She has two sites, one’s local for her local offices and one’s not. We mentioned the local offices. I was like, at least we got them. Darn it, I should have said something beforehand. How do you pick? Do you have one site that you’re really building up the SEO for? Is that how you decide?
Yes. In fact, this is a bigger question really around, do I consolidate all of my remarkable content under one brand, one domain, or do I spread it out across multiple ones? Now in some cases, I consolidated around one site. In other cases, I set up a separate domain and separate brand.
In the case of my podcasts, marketingspeak.com is the website for Marketing Speak the podcast and then Get Yourself Optimized has getyourselfoptimized.com. Why did I not just do stephanspencer.com/podcast/marketingspeak? Because it looks clunky. It doesn’t look as legit and as big of a brand.
There are books that are New York Times bestsellers that have been on huge talk shows and so forth that the authors are talking about their books. You would imagine that a book that’s a big deal like Rachel Hollis‘ book should have a website dedicated just to the book. If it doesn’t, it makes you question how big of a deal that thing really is—that book, that podcast, or that show.
If you have a YouTube channel, and you don’t have a microsite dedicated to that YouTube channel and that YouTube show, like for example, what Blendtec did with the Will It Blend videos.
I remember them, yeah.
They’re still around. I just spoke to their customer service the other day.
I have a Blendtec. Yes. I love it.
I have a Blendtec too. I love it. The Will It Blend videos put them on the map. They were already a very successful, I’m guessing, eight-figure business by the time they came up with this campaign. But the idea was, let’s jam two-by-fours into the blenders, golf clubs, rake handles, let’s put light bulbs in there.
The iPhone one made me hurt. I was like, oh, no, not an iPhone.
Not an iPhone, I know. I’m an Apple fanboy. This was really made for really good TV. Really, a very clever idea. If you’re a journalist and you’re writing about the latest Will It Blend video, do you really want to link to the YouTube channel?
Where would you redirect? That’s the question, though. For the podcast, you wouldn’t actually have the domain, so you could say go to whatever it is, willitblend.com or whatever the thing is, and then have it redirect to their actual site. I guess it doesn’t really matter either way, but then you have everything on one site, so you can technically point things out. Or does it not matter?
I think it matters. I think it’s positioning play. If somebody sees that you redirected them from marketingspeak.com to stephanspencer.com/podcasts/marketingspeak/index, then they’re like, okay, all right, what just happened here? They’re going to copy and paste that URL and that’s going to be the link.
Now when somebody mouses over in that article that talks about the 10 best podcasts on marketing, there’s marketing speak, and then they look at the link and it’s a mile long, like, oh, what’s that? Is that so legit? Why don’t they just have marketingspeak.com?
If you own it but then you redirect that URL, then at least they type it in. I get it. We’re talking nuances here. I totally get it. But I love this stuff, especially because I’ve been talking a lot more about doing my own personal brand because everyone knows me as me and Eventual Millionaire is the show, but I built up SEO on Eventual Millionaire. I’m like, “well, I can’t lose that.” I had a coach that told me to just SEO and switch it over. I have heard horror stories from doing that. You don’t recommend it either, right?
No, I recommend building up both brands. The Jaime Tardy brand is a brand you’re going to take to the grave.
Actually, Jaime Masters is because Tardy was my married name. But yes, the one that I have now is the one I’m going to take to the grave.
Okay, scratch that. Jaime Masters, I just saw your name on something.The basic principles of SEO are authority, trust, and importance. Click To Tweet
Oh, it’s my old life, yeah. Question then because you’re a geek and I like this. But I don’t own Jaime Masters spelled wrong. Jaime is spelled weirdly, but I’ve been trying to buy it from this lady forever and she doesn’t respond. Everybody should email her and tell her to sell it to me just as a side note.
Actually, I wouldn’t do that. I would have a domainer contact her because they know how to persuade people and they buy domains all the time. They sell domains and everything, so you get a domainer or domain broker to contact this person on your behalf.
I followed up so many times. Anyway, we’ll talk about this. I will look for a domain broker and just let them try and ride with it. The one reason why I haven’t switched over to that is because I know everybody, even my first grade teacher spelled my name wrong and told me I was lying when I was a kid. It’s kind of a big deal, everybody spelling URLs, right?
You’re lying. Wow, that’s extreme.
Right? First grader lying is great. But I have issues with my name as you can tell. I really appreciate your info. I’ll probably wait and then build up that other brand. Give me some more tactics and tips for getting more of these links.
Think outside the box regarding campaigns that are worthy of being spread. Go for anything that will add value and differentiate yourself and your content from everything else.
Yeah. You got to think outside the box in terms of campaigns that are worthy of being spread. These could take the form of personality tests and quizzes, infographics, viral videos, worksheets or workbooks, checklists, planners, guides, how-tos, or anything that’s really going to add a lot of value and differentiate yourself and your content from everything else that’s out there. You can do contests as well, competitions that could be video competitions or image competitions, or even scavenger hunts. Lots of different ways that you could do this.
I’ve talked to a lot of people who have done a lot of challenges, which brings a lot of backlinks specifically to certain things for the challenge side, but what would be like a video competition or what type of competition? Can you walk me through what that would look like for getting links?
It doesn’t have to be cool, it could be very uncool.
Yeah. It’s cognitive dissonance. Who’s ever heard the words taxes and rap in the same sentence, unless it’s a rapper who got into trouble for tax evasion? If you capitalize on that cognitive dissonance and you require that people make a music video that is a rap music video, and they have to rap about doing their taxes and ideally using the turbo tax software to do it, you’re going to get some pretty remarkable entries. They might be remarkably bad or they might be remarkably good.
The ones that were remarkably good were so good that they put a prize purse out there of, I think, $25,000 was the grand prize, which is substantial. The winning entry was really, really good. It’s a great music video. Well done. Nice post production. It was great.
Even the second and third prize entries were really, really good as well. What made it stand out as being remarkable, even more than the cognitive dissonance of taxes and rap music, was this. They got a spokesperson, a spokesman. Who do you think they got as their spokesman that would make this really, really remarkable?
Some great rapper or bad rapper?
Yeah. Counterintuitively or riding on this cognitive dissonance sort of surprise thing, a bad rapper would be better than a good one. Who do you think they got as their spokesman?
I have no idea.Links matter. They're the foundation of Google's ranking algorithm still to this day. It will continue to be so for years to come. Click To Tweet
Think back to years and years ago, the early days of rap.
Okay. I was like nine so I don’t know. I used to listen to Dr. Dre. He’s cool, but he’s not bad. He was cool.
Okay. Yeah, he’s cool.
He was cool. Iced Tea. No, I don’t know. I guess he was cool.
He wasn’t bad.
Who’s bad? You have to tell me. I’m bad at this game.
Okay. The word ice is in his name.
I don’t know. Who is it?
He’s a white guy.
Oh, Vanilla Ice.
Vanilla Ice, yes.
I love Vanilla Ice. I thought he was good.
We’re all entitled to our opinions.
I love that. Don’t even, that’s why he wasn’t up here.
Anyway, he’s pretty well-known. He’s got lots of name recognition, but nobody takes him seriously, especially not these days, so he’s very available.
He’s a real estate guy or something like that now.
He’s got a DIY show on the DIY Network.
Wow, that’s awesome.
It was very inexpensive to buy a couple of hours of his time. The video team from Intuit flew down to his home in Florida. They shot videos of him introducing the contest and introducing the winner, even though they didn’t know who it was going to be. They leave and for a very small amount of money, they had Vanilla Ice as the name to really make this contest, this video competition, pop. It did really, really well.
What’s so funny that you say that, the Diet Coke and Mentos guys, EepyBird, the reason why they made their initial video was a Coca-Cola contest. That’s the only reason why they even did the entire thing. It was viral, but it was because they only made it for the contest, so go them.
Question though, how do you get backlinks on that? Are you just looking for high quality videos that you know will get shared a lot and then that’s what gets the backlinks?
In the case of Intuit, they created a separate microsite dedicated just to the tax rap contest. I think they put it as a subdomain, so taxraponintuit.com or something like that.
That makes sense.
The silly thing they did was after a couple of years, they took the site down, and it’s not redirected anywhere. It’s just basically a broken image and a copyright of 2000 and whatever. They really blew it after building all these great links inadvertently by having a very successful, remarkable contest that people were like, oh my God, you got to check out these entries.
Instead of linking to the YouTube channel or linking to individual videos, it’s still good to embed individual videos, but there are only so many. What if there are 200 videos that were submitted? You don’t want to embed 200 videos into your blog post.
Maybe the winner and the one you thought was the one that should have won, and then here’s a link to watch all the other videos, and it happens to be on the microsite, not on the YouTube channel because the YouTube channels got all the distraction devices in there, like, oh, shiny object over here, squirrel over there, and you’re suddenly watching music videos from Katy Perry and reality show spoofs. In three hours you’re in the twilight zone and you’re like, where did they go?
Avoid tax, that is YouTube. I know. It’s like, wait, oh, no, where am I? My children get in that way too often. The goal, though, with that is to create such a viral campaign by using sort of everybody, sort of a wide array of audiences, so that you can potentially get it distributed, picked up everywhere, and get all the backlinks. That makes sense. Okay, that’s awesome.
And you need to proactively go out with outreach to the folks who would care about this contest or about this, whatever it is—infographic, viral video, workbook, or whatever.
How do you find those people that care about this stuff? And what do you write to them?
There’s this really great search engine, it’s called Google.
Wait, how do you spell that?
I’m being cheeky, but a better answer would be to use a third-party tool that’s designed to do the outreach. It’s not just going to find you these influencers who matter as far as Google is concerned with the high authority and high trust, but also that will do the outreach for you.
You load in templates, and then it does the mail merge with information in the database on these people, and maybe even holds those messages in a moderation queue before they get sent out so you can add an additional sentence. This is somebody I know, I know this blogger, so I’m going to say something in the PS or whatever. Having a moderation queue that you can look at and then hit send to all these emails. Then it comes into like an SEO inbox instead of clogging up your regular email inbox.
What software is that? Tell me all the things.
I didn’t even know that. Okay, because we use Mailshake for cold email outreach and it doesn’t integrate. You’re saying you can actually find the influencers and email them all in Pitchbox?
Yes, and it tracks the workflow and gives you pipeline reports like salesforce.com. It gives you sales pipeline reports, but this is an outreach pipeline report. Isn’t that cool?
Okay, that’s awesome. Give me one more. I know we have to start wrapping up because we are going over, but I really liked your tip, so give me one more.
Okay. Let’s go back to this idea of getting a column or a contributorship. You might wonder, how the heck do I get that? It’s fine for Stephan to get HPR or whatever.
It took him four months and new people. Exactly.
I’m not him. Yeah.
Start small. Start with sites for your tango or your niche covers.
You start small. Start with sites like business to community, your tango, or your niche covers. As you build your way up and you’re building your reputation, you can apply this strategy, not just to print or to digital magazines, but also to TV or radio.
I was just interviewed on a radio station in Ireland just three hours ago. That’s going to air in a week, it’s pretty cool. They reached out to me from one of my websites.
Let’s say you start small, you go for businesstocommunity.com, it’s not that difficult to get into. Let’s say you’re in the productivity space, then you parlay that to getting a columnist gig for lifehack.org or lifehacker.com.
Lifehacker.com is harder than lifehack.org, I remember, because I got a lifehack.org and I kept thinking it was lifehacker.com. I was like, no, I thought it was the other one. This is back in the day.
I know. I got in for lifehack.org too.
We still got backlinks, we’re still happy, and we still like you too. It was just not as much domain authority as the other one, for sure.
But it was pretty good. If you looked at the metrics, it was pretty darn good for a dot-org that I had never heard of before.
Could you spin your article? That’s the other piece then, too. Can you take the content that you had instead of writing? That’s the other thing I tell clients about. I’ve had tons and tons of journalists contact me, which is amazing because I built up relationships. But writing new content for all these things was a pain. When I tell my clients, I’m like, “we can just take it and spin it, but SEO-wise, where are we at now?”
That’s black hat territory.
I don’t mean like spin it, spin it.
Like article spinners?
No, I won’t use those, where they replace the word. Sorry. I used the terminology.
Yeah. Synonym goes here. No, don’t do that.
I know. There was one that came out. You’d be reading it, you’d be like, oh, you don’t speak English very well, that’s awesome. No, so not those. I mean rewrite, but similar style of content.
Like paraphrase it?
Yeah. Like have your ghostwriter just make a couple of articles that look very similar, but not.
Yeah, I’m not a big fan of that because it’s pretty obvious that that’s been done. If the editorial or director who has this policy that you can’t republish the same content and they see that, oh, there’s a paraphrased version on your blog or some competitor site, they’re not going to be happy with you. They might kick you off the contributorship.
Again, back to the beginning of our discussion, I have mentioned the evil twin strategy. Instead of the seven best practices, now it’s the seven biggest mistakes.
That’s not the same thing. I feel like that’s the same thing by just tweaking it because it’s a different headline.
No, it’s a different article. The headline is different, thus the hook is different, and thus the article is different. It’s still all the same research.
These are nuances. Okay, that’s interesting.
Right? Let’s take something that you’ve recently written about as an example. Give me a topic. Give me a headline
I don’t even remember. I don’t even write the headline, somebody else does. Sales workflow.
Sales workflow, okay. Sales workflow is at work might be the headline. I just made that up. The evil twin would be sales disasters that happen because of bad workflows.
To you, that’s a different hook.
It’s a different hook. You’re going to bring in different stories from your research because these are the bad examples that you didn’t use. You use the best practices, now you’re using the worst practices, and you’re kind of deconstructing what those are. You’re still giving the best practice tips in there, but you’re saying, this is another screw up here. Do you see what they did wrong here?
We have ghostwriters, so when I used to do it, I hated writing so I would have templatized things, but it would be like this. What is the main keyword and hook? And then I would go, the millionaire one says this about that topic. Millionaire two says this, but it was all different. It just goes, beep, here’s another little thing. Oh, there’s another little thing.
Every single one was different, but at least I had a little format that made it easier for me to write all of them. If I spun it and made it different, would that be good enough for you and your X level of excellence?
I think it matters only to the editor who makes the decision whether you played by the rules or you tried to skate around them.
It’s still writing an article. Okay, I get it, because there are a lot of people that will just make crappy, crappy articles, and that’s not what they’re looking for. As long as it’s well-written, it’s not just swiped from somewhere else, and you did a really good job, then that makes sense.
If you get a gig writing or column writing for HBR, you’re going to submit your very best stuff there and you’re not going to hold back. You’re not going to try and just paraphrase that HBR article and post that to your blog. You don’t want to take the chance that the editor is going to see that. Remember, you’re starting at the bottom, you’re working your way up with smaller media outlets that say yes to you as being a contributor or columnist, and then you work your way up.
Again, back to this idea that you’re working your way up but in other media like TV, you start with small TV stations, local markets, really small local markets, Albuquerque, for example, Tucson, or Reno. They’re a lot easier to get on. You can make mistakes. Some even pre-record so you can mess up and they’re like, can we do another take?
You earn your chops because you’re not going to end up first time out of the gate as a newbie on TV doing Good Morning, America. That would be a disaster for everybody. You got to work your way up. You can cold call TV producers, pitch them at 4 AM. They’re up and nobody else is calling them.
See, this is good. I love how you intertwine the old school and the online new school because it does make a difference. That stuff still works. It’s even more rare now than all the people that are just trying to go the conventional route, which I really appreciate.
And guess what happens with these TV appearances? They end up where? Online.
Everywhere, right? And then they’ll distribute them to other networks. I had no idea that it was so interconnected.
Yes. I was on Yahoo and then I was like, I’m on Business Insiders home page. Oh, I’m on this. It just went crazy because it’s part of the network and I had no idea at the time. I was like, shoot, I should have prepared better. But if you do it on purpose, it makes a lot more sense.
I know we have to wrap up but for people that hate writing, do you still suggest they write? I hate writing. I’ll do TV shows all day long, but I have ghostwriters. For the people that don’t have ghostwriters, what do you suggest? Should they just go down the TV route instead or really try and get the back links to the articles because it’s easier?
You are either a writer who speaks or a speaker who writes. -RobertAllen
Yeah, it is easier. Here’s what I do and I think it works well because I’ve identified myself as a speaker who writes, not a writer who speaks. I got that distinction from Robert Allen, who wrote a whole bunch of fabulous books like Cash in a Flash, The One Minute Millionaire, and so forth. He says, “either you’re a writer who speaks or you’re a speaker who writes.” Figure out which one you are and then focus on that.
The other piece that you’re not as good at, that’s not as much of a natural state for you, you convert, let’s say, your speaker who writes, the stuff that you spoke, you get that converted into writing. You have a ghostwriter, you’ll have an editor, you’ll have a transcriptionist. You’ll have all these people who will follow along and take that stuff, that raw material that you’re speaking either from interviews, TV appearances, you’re on stage at a conference speaking or in a panel somewhere. Take all that content, or even you’re just getting interviewed by your executive assistant and then they’re turning that into a draft of the article.
I hate looking at a blank screen or a blank sheet of paper and like, okay, what am I supposed to start writing? I hate that. If we can just have a draft in front of me, I can do something with that. Now I’ve gotten to the point where my team gets my voice, they get my vision, and my values. I don’t even review the stuff that gets posted.
They ghostwrite articles for my blog on stephanspencer.com. Every week, a new post makes its way to the blog. I never even see them. I don’t even know what I’ve been blogging about for the last six months. I have no idea what I’m tweeting on my Twitter. I’m tweeting apparently seven or eight times a day. My team is handling that.
I have 158,000 followers, 1.2 million impressions and reach on Twitter. I have no idea what I’m saying there, but I know it’s awesome. I’m also doing a newsletter every week, which is amazing. I’m so proud of this newsletter. It’s the Thursday Three. It’s something that I found challenging, something I found exhilarating or inspiring, and something I found interesting or surprising.
I put this out every week. Well, I don’t. I don’t even write it. I have no idea what I’ve even published in the last X number of weeks or months of the Thursday Three newsletter. But it is amazing and I get positive comments everywhere I go, networking functions, conferences. Hey, I just loved your last week’s Thursday Three. It was awesome. I’m like, “thank you. I hope they don’t ask me for details.”
When you asked me the blog posting, I’m like, “I don’t even have a clue what we just posted.” I so appreciate you saying that because I’m not like that either. I know a lot of people, they use that as the stopping ground, but know that you can do this way easier. Thank goodness we have the technology that we have now, have voice recorders, and we can have content everywhere, even if you suck at grammar like I do.
I know we have to start wrapping up. This went way longer than I thought because you’re awesome. What’s one action listeners can take this week to help move them forward towards their goal of a million?
I would recommend identifying things that are going to make them stand out in a crowded market. How can they be remarkable? Maybe they start by reading the book The Purple Cow or the new book from Seth Godin, which is This Is Marketing. That would be a good way to think in terms of remarkable content.
They could start with my book, The Art of SEO in chapter seven. That’s all about content marketing. In fact, I’ll include that in the special page of gifts for your listeners and viewers. So, marketingspeak.com/millionaire. I’ll include chapter seven of The Art of SEO. This is a big book, so I don’t expect your listeners to read all of it. I’m going to look at this thing. It is 1000 pages, almost.
That’s insane. They’re going to give it to their team and be like, here, this is going to be fun. Wow.
This is daunting. You might get people quitting on you if you hand it to them.The key to Facebook is to make sure your audience is happy. One of the keys to that is the share-to-reaction ratio. Click To Tweet
And you’re not a writer, and you wrote a book that’s like 1000 pages. I love that.
I had co-authors and I had ghostwriters that helped me. I had a whole raft of many, many dozens of articles already written for Search Engine Land that we were able to use as raw material. I had stuff that I’d written as guides and white papers over the years and everything. All that raw material went into the book, too. That’s not my only book. That’s just one, I’ve got three. I’m working on a fourth.
Really? Happy to have you back on the show when you have the next book come out. I so appreciate this. Where do they find your podcast? Even though I think we talked about the microsites, but say them again. Where can we find out more about you online, too?
Getyourselfoptimized.com, which is all about biohacking, life hacking, productivity, personal development. That’s a passion of mine. That’s getyourselfoptimized.com. My marketing podcast is marketingspeak.com. Not only Seth Godin has been on that, but also Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, some of the big marketing legends, some of my heroes, and all sorts of subject matter experts and everything from YouTube to Facebook, SEO, paid search, and all that.
My main site is stephanspencer.com. You can find a whole raft of helpful guides and materials on SEO and online marketing there as well. I’ve got a whole learning center. You can follow me on Twitter. I’ve got, apparently, good things to say there. I have lots of value. I have no idea what it is, but @sspencer is the username. I hope you follow me and say hi to my team.
Do you know that you just tweeted this? DM him and be like, oh, is this you? No, I’m kidding. But I love your site, especially because you had a list of business problems that you can click on and then you got the answers for each one of them. I thought that was really helpful and eye-opening. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. I really appreciate it.
Thank you. This was a lot of fun.
Would you consider yourself a high level entrepreneur? Most likely, if you’re listening to this, you definitely are. What I’ve heard over and over and over again is it’s hard to find like-minded people that are like that too. Again, I’m from Maine, so I totally understand how difficult it can be.
Thank goodness I have an amazing online community, so I know tons of them. That is exactly why we are starting this brand new mastermind group with high level, like-minded, entrepreneurs. The ones that you know you can go alongside with that will help move you to the next level, let alone with kick butt coaching for me because I like to slap you around, both on focus and on strategy.
If you’re looking to double or triple this year, which I know most of you are, I want you to go ahead and apply and see if it’s a good fit for you. I will totally tell you if it’s not and if I wouldn’t do it if I were you, but go to eventualmillionaire.com/apply. We are looking for amazing, like-minded entrepreneurs. My previous mastermind members have told me it is life-changing. Take the time today, fill out the very quick application, and we’ll see if it’s a fit. Take care.
Facebook – Eventual Millionaire
Instagram – Eventual Millionaire
Twitter – Eventual Millionaire
Twitter – Jamie Masters
Andy Crestodina – previous episode
Dan Kennedy – previous episode
Jaime Masters – previous episode
Jay Abraham – previous episode
Robert Allen – previous episode
Steve Spangler – previous episode
Seth Godin – previous episode
John Shin – GYO previous episode
Seth Godin – GYO previous episode
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
- Identify the right keywords. My keywords should be relevant to my business, popular in searches, and attainable to rank on page one in any search engine.
- Create remarkable content. If I have something worthy of remark, then I’ve got something that is spreadable, link-worthy, and can perform well on social media.
- Network my remarkable content. Reach out to influential websites and blogs to spread my content. Use tools like Majestic, linkresearchtools.com, or Ahrefs to identify the authority and trust of these websites.
- Be deliberate and picky on the sites I target. Some have toxic links pointing to their sites, and that toxicity can be passed to me. Use a detoxing tool like Link Detox to find and remove all the toxic links.
- Focus on improving the quality and quantity of my links. Treat these links as PR for my business. The more they point to my site, the more Google deems my website or business worthy of a high ranking.
- Laser-target the keywords my audience uses. Do focus groups or online surveys on my audience or email subscriber list. Leverage Facebook if I’m laser-targeting certain demographics, psychographics, clicker graphics, etc.
- Use the SEO BS Detector worksheet when hiring an SEO for my business. It has all these trick questions that I can use in the interview process.
- Always think outside the box when creating campaigns for my business. These could be personality tests and quizzes, infographics, viral videos, worksheets or workbooks, checklists, planners, guides, how-tos, or anything that will add a lot of value and differentiate me and my content from everything else that’s out there.
- Build up my reputation in contributorship. Start with small sites like businesstocommunity.com. Also, apply this strategy not just to print or digital magazines but also to TV or radio.
- Check out and read chapter 7 of The Art of SEO. This will teach you the fundamentals of SEO.