I am excited to share with you this conversation I had with Neal Schaffer on his podcast, Maximize Your Social Influence. We talked about SEO, YouTube, and social media marketing. You may also recognize Neal, as he was a previous guest on this show (episode #262), on the topic of influencer marketing.
In this episode, I shared how to SEO your YouTube videos and channel. I also spoke on how to get SEO value from posting on social media. And we discussed a range of content marketing strategies – coming up with hooks, getting links, and more.
Get ready for some great tips on marrying SEO with social media. Enjoy!
In This Episode
- [00:21] – Stephan shares his appearance on Maximize Your Social Influence with Neal Schaffer, where they talked about social media marketing, specifically optimizing YouTube videos and your overall channel.
- [05:40] – Stephan describes his background in SEO and digital marketing and his present work routine.
- [10:52] – What does Stephan think of YouTube?
- [12:26] – Stephan discusses the SEO benefits of embedding YouTube videos in a blog post.
- [19:15] – Neal wants to know Stephan’s strategies for directing his social media followers to his YouTube channel.
- [23:22] – As Neal seeks more advice on optimizing YouTube channels and videos, Stephan mentions an article he wrote titled YouTube SEO 101 on Search Engine Land.
- [26:57] – Stephan talks about generating keyword data from YouTube and Google and some tools people can use.
- [35:37] – Stephan advises listeners on increasing the SEO value of their social media posts.
- [42:34] – Stephan explains how he manages his blog posts to optimize podcast episodes.
- [47:07] – What are Stephan’s recommendations for content marketing strategies?
- [52:46] – Neal emphasizes investing in growing a brand or content.
- [54:15] – Visit Stephan’s main site and listen to his podcasts, Marketing Speak and Get Yourself Optimized, to learn more about what he can offer you and your brand.
Yes, you understand the importance of search engine optimization. But have you ever considered how you can apply SEO to your social media? That’s what we’re going to talk about today on this a little bit longer than average, but a very special episode of The Maximize Your Social Influence Podcast.
Welcome to The Maximize Your Social Influence Podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners grow their businesses using innovative marketing techniques, leveraging the concept of digital influence throughout digital and social media.
Hey, everybody. Welcome back to The Maximize Your Social Influence Podcast. This is episode number 206. And I want to say today we also have a special guest because, for the people that are interviewed, I really do try to find people that I consider to be thought leaders, real experts in their field that are really going to serve and help this community of listeners that I have thanks to you built over time here on this podcast. And today is really no exception.
Today, we actually went a little bit longer because I like to pick people that I also can learn from, and I also learned a great deal from today’s guest. Now we have talked about search engine optimization before on this podcast, but not a lot. Just going back to the episodes, I did episode number 183 on influencer marketing for search engine optimization; this concept of building backlinks for SEO, leveraging the concept of influence.
In episode number 160, we talked about something similar, called SEO and social honing the skills needed for a modern marketer, with Cyrus Shepard, who is one of the experts over at one of the leading SEO tools, Moz. Before that, it was way back in Episode Number 36 benchmarking your website for social media, SEO and mobile. So today, Cyrus Shepard is really the only SEO expert I’ve had; we’ll move over Cyrus because now we have another SEO expert.
Stephan Spencer, who is our guest today, is one of the very few people that you can count that are considered experts in the industry. He has co-authored The Art of SEO, that’s used as a textbook at many universities; I have my own copy of it. It’s really the definitive thick manual for SEO. He’s also the co-author of Social Ecommerce, and the author of Google Power Search.
And if nothing else, this blew me away when I saw it. But Tony Robbins said, “I know Stephan, and I want to tell you something, this man is a genius. He is considered to be the top guy in the SEO business.” So it is a real honor and a treat to have him here now.
You know, I talked in the intro about SEO and social media. It’s really about SEO applied to YouTube. It’s getting SEO value from social media posts. And it’s also looking at content marketing strategies throughout social media to really get the most out of everything that we do to build our digital influence from an SEO perspective, ie, building our digital influence with Google and other search engines.
So with no further ado, let’s jump right into this interview. Make sure you’re sitting down and taking notes because I think you’re gonna learn a lot as I did. And here is my interview with Stephan Spencer.YouTube is technically the number two search engine, but it's also a social network where people comment, like, communicate, and check the community tab. So leverage it like a social network, not just a search engine. Click To Tweet
Stephan, welcome to The Maximize Your Social Influence Podcast. It’s great to see you again.
Well, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here. And we turn the tables here, you were on my show, and now I’m on yours.
Indeed. And I’m really excited because it’s funny; over the last year, I’ve really gotten heavily into studying search engine optimization myself. And that’s where your name comes up as the co-author of so many books on the subject. But today, you wanted to talk about this, you know, SEO and social media and really how using them together, it can bring a one-two punch.
It’s funny because, you know, going back in history and for those listening that might remember this, I’ll never forget the Google Plus days. And that’s where a lot of SEO was, and I’d Mark Traphagen was a contributor to my blog and talking about this, you know, that, you know, his social media, the new SEO and the impact that Google Plus will have on SEO. So obviously we’ve come a long way since then, but I’m curious to hear what you’ll present to us today. But before that, Stephan, please introduce yourself to those not familiar with you that are listening.
Yeah, so I have been doing SEO and digital marketing since the 90s. Since before even Google. Do you know what Google was called before it was called Google?
I do not know.
Yeah, this is a fun trivia. It was called backrub, and what a horrible name that was. I’m so glad that they switched it to Google. Can you imagine, I’m just going to backrub that.
You know, I still remember mosaic Alta Vista, and I have these memories of logging in and that US robotics 14.4k modem, the America Online. Yeah, it’s just crazy memories. It’s amazing how far we’ve come, huh?
Yeah. I remember those days. And back then, when there were so many search engines to optimize for, like Lycos, Infoseek, MetaCrawler, WebCrawler, and all that. You had to create separate pages for each of these. Well, you didn’t have to. But that was the prevailing wisdom, which was terrible advice. I didn’t do much of that because I always thought that was stupid. Frankly, it was spammy. It wasn’t just stupid.
But boy, have we come a long way with SEO, AI, and everything. It’s just been a wild ride. And social media has really blossomed and changed a lot too. And so yeah, I’m excited to talk about how to dovetail these two very different aspects of digital marketing together and get that one-two punch you were talking about.
Stephan, these days is your work primarily as a consultant. Do you have an agency? What do you do day-to-day?
Yeah, I have an agency, I have a team. And now we’re working on different kinds of clients. We’ve worked with Sony, Chanel, Zappos, CNBC, Bloomberg Business, Volvo, and a lot of smaller companies, too. And frankly, the small, nimble ones are the most fun because they want to punch above their weight. They want to change the world. And I love that.
The small guys are making a big difference. Like whatismyipaddress.com has been one of my clients for the last four years or so. I think it has 6 million unique visitors a month. But it’s just one guy who started it as a hobby on the side. And he’s been doing it now for 20 years.
So for those that are listening, there is just so much potential. If you get it right, obviously, I assume that starts with the right content, but I am just always amazed. It’s funny, being really active in social media, a lot of people talk about, “I got this many likes.” I see social media as this ephemeral thing, where it’s sort of here today gone tomorrow. The content that you spent so much time creating is here, and it’s gone.The right way to approach SEO is to back it up with the right strategies and research. Don't just go with your gut; utilize your tools and data. Click To Tweet
I’m sure you have clients that have this as well. I have blog posts literally from 2008. That’s still on a daily basis delivering traffic from search engines. It is amazing. It is the gift that keeps on giving once you get it right. So hopefully, everybody listening has already bought into SEO; if they haven’t, that’s really the incredible value that you can get from doing it. Right?
Well, you can get that from some social platforms as well. But you’ve got to be strategic about it. So like what you’re doing with leveraging clubhouse as a platform to get this podcast episode out in a live stream form and recording it to publish on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher and all that afterward and to your YouTube channel, presumably, that’s brilliant. And stuff that’s on YouTube tends to last for years. Stuff on Pinterest tends to get you the benefit for years. You could just take six months off and still have 10s of 1000s of monthly viewers on Pinterest, and you’ve done nothing; you just went dark.
But things are happening in the background because you’ve invested in creating a valuable asset over time that now is going to just in the background pay dividends. It doesn’t work with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or most other platforms. But there are a few that you can really take advantage of in that way.
You’re absolutely right. And that’s always my advice when it comes to content longevity. Obviously, you have blog content, text, and videos with YouTube podcasts as well. It’s another gift that keeps on giving. And then of all the social networks. Yeah, Pinterest is very special. And I think even the founders of Pinterest would say we’re not a social network or a search engine. Right. So that’s probably why it works that way.
The majority of traffic or visibility you’ll get inside YouTube will probably happen from the recommendation engine and not the YouTube search engine.
But yeah, I’ve seen incredible, long-lasting results from that, only that social network. I mean, I tend to get a lot of traffic from Twitter, but it’s a daily effort of tweeting; a lot of people are just repeatedly seeing tweets instead of going to a tweet that they found a year ago on a Twitter search, which probably is not going to happen,
Right. And I consider YouTube a search engine too. It is technically the number two search engine, but it’s also a social network where people comment, favor, communicate and check the community tab. Leverage it like a social network as well, not just as a search engine. In fact, the majority of traffic or visibility that you’ll get inside of YouTube will probably happen from the recommendation engine and not from the search engine of YouTube.
Interesting. So let’s move on to the first topic of how SEO and social media can work together, beginning with YouTube. I’m sure you read much more about this stuff than I do. But just last week, there was something that caught my eye – a YouTube video embedded in a blog post carries some SEO value for the YouTube video; I’m sure you’re going to straighten this out for all the listeners and me. But what is this relationship?
There’s a video tool company called wave.video. I was at a conference before Coronavirus, and they came up to me and said, “Hey, Neal, we’re noticing that when creators create videos for their blog posts and embed them back in their blog, that also helps with their SEO as well.” I’m sure you’re gonna go above and beyond that, but for now, if we’re not very active on YouTube and we are creating a lot of blog content. What is your advice for getting started as to how we look at YouTube to help with our SEO?
Let’s actually set the record straight about what you’re just describing- what wave.video was explaining. It actually is not helpful to your YouTube presence to have that YouTube video embedded on your blog post. And you might think, well, why would that be because I’m going to get more view counts by people watching the video inside of the player on my blog? That is true; you will get more views. But the algorithm doesn’t care about views, the algorithm cares about watch time. And the algorithm knows that people who watch a video embedded into somebody’s blog are not going to spend hours watching another video, and then another video and another video. So here’s what you do.
Instead, you drive the visitor from your blog to YouTube; if you care about your YouTube channel, metrics and watch time and get more love from the YouTube platform, you will send your reader to YouTube. And I would also send them not just to that video, I would send them to a playlist. And you can create a playlist out of your view – a lot of people don’t realize that.
The algorithm doesn’t care about views; it cares about watch time.
So you go to your channel homepage. And you see where it says ‘view all.’ If you click on that, there’s a list and then some string of characters after that in the URL; that’s your playlist ID for your View All playlist. And that’s every video on your channel. This list equals, and then the ID can be added to any YouTube video URL. And not just a video from your channel, not just somebody else’s video, but any video on YouTube.
You could say, “Alright, watch this great TED Talk video. It’s very inspiring.” It’s not me, it’s somebody that I know and rate highly. And then you added the ampersand list equals with your view all. Now the next video they get will be one of your videos, and then another. That’s your video. And then another one after that, oh, that’s also your video. And, and so it goes. It’s just genius.
Never link out to YouTube again without adding that list equals parameter and having that list be one of your lists. One of your playlists, and if you don’t have any playlists, just use your view all list. We all have one. And that is genius.
That is really solid advice. Basically, that’s the instructions on how to create that as we’re sharing a YouTube video link. But we’re creating a playlist that begins with that YouTube and then adding our own playlist URL to the end of that so that after they watch the video, it goes to our videos.
Yeah, so that’s you’re taking whatever that YouTube URL is for a video, right? The V equals whatever the code is for that video, and there’s an ampersand character list equals whatever that lists ideas for the playlist you want them to be watching after they finish that video.
Does that also work with embeds like in a WordPress blog? If embedding a YouTube play URL, you could do the same thing.
You know, I haven’t tried that. But I would imagine it would if you are going to use embeds. And I hope you won’t, that you’ve heard my reason for it, I still use them. But I’m phasing that out, I want people to go on my platform because I want to go on the YouTube platform because I want my channel to get the watch time. So if you are using embeds and don’t want those related videos at the end to have your competitors in there because that is the default, add ampersand REL equals zero to the YouTube URL embedded in the player. So you got some code that you paste in. That includes, among other things, the URL of the video that you want to play inside of the player. Just add to that URL, ampersand REL equals zero, which means turn off related videos that are from anybody other than you from your channel. So you’ll still get related videos after the video finishes inside the player. But it won’t be any other video other than your channel videos.
That’s fantastic advice. Thank you. Yeah, I mean, I suppose you would agree that having YouTube videos in your blog content truly serves your audience. They’re not necessarily your videos; they’re other people’s videos, but they help explain a point they could lead people to someone else’s YouTube channel, or they could remain on your page for a longer time. Do you recommend that as a tactic if, at the end of the day, it serves your audience and it helps people stay on your website longer?
Embedding YouTube videos in your blog content keeps people on your site instead of sending them to the candy shop.
Yeah, so in that case, you’re actually keeping people on your site instead of sending them to the candy shop, where they’re going to binge watch – who knows how many hours of cat videos and so forth. In that case, other people’s videos, you’re not improving your watch time; you’d be improving theirs by sending them off to the platform for that. So yeah, in that case, why not just use a player and embed those? And also, if you can, if you are going to send some traffic directly to your channel, not to a specific video. Like you probably have a footer with all your social checklists, I’m guessing right, right now. So when you link to your YouTube channel, do you add the question mark, sub underscore confirmation equals one to your YouTube channel URL?
I do not. I’m taking a lot of notes. You can imagine.
So this is ninja because what will happen is somebody will click on that link in your footer to go to the YouTube channel. And they will get prompted to confirm that they want to subscribe to that channel. So it’ll be a little pop-up thing. And you’ll get way more subscribers by asking them – having that pop up there, rather than just sending it straight to your channel. You are sending this to your channel, but you’re sending them to the confirmation screen that says, “Are you sure you want to be a subscriber?” And a lot of people will click Yes.
Well, this brings up another question about sending people to your channel because it seems the social networks don’t want to promote YouTube videos, right? They want you to upload your video natively there. Are you finding a tactic of using social media to create some sort of teaser video that you upload natively? And then for the rest of the video, go to my YouTube channel where you put that link with that asset subscribe is sort of a common tactic.
You see, it is a common tactic that I’ve learned. This is a ninja technique that Evan Carmichael uses. He’s a big YouTuber who’s got millions of subscribers, and I don’t know, 40 million views on his YouTube channel. He does live streaming on Instagram, so not on YouTube because YouTube will bury a live stream. That’s a YouTube live show after the live stream is over. If you care about getting video views and watch time for a video after it’s finished the live stream, do not ever do it as a YouTube live stream.
Okay, and it’s interesting. I’ve noticed Yeah, I’ve noticed that my live streams that are archived haven’t gotten any love. So now I know why I’m not alone.
Yeah, it makes sense. If you’re using the YouTube algorithm, you don’t want to promote something that people don’t enjoy watching. People don’t like watching live streams after the fact. So if it’s an edited live stream where all the cruft in the fluff is edited out, great. Well, that’s not a live stream recording; then it’s a new video. It’s a properly edited, finished production quality video then.
So, Evan does the live stream, like we’re doing right now, on Clubhouse. While we’re recording this podcast interview, he does it on Instagram. It’s an Instagram Live. And with Instagram, his guest’s followers will get notified that his guest has gone live. So he’ll get exposed to a whole bunch of new people that he’s never been exposed to before – that one probably never have heard of him before. Right? Let’s say he has Tony Robbins or Brian Tracy or somebody huge on as a guest. Then all their peeps know that this guest has gone live, but they don’t realize that it’s with Evan. And then they see, “Oh, it’s Evan Carmichael,” who’s this guy interviewing Tony Robbins or whoever. And now they get exposed to him and his style and everything and hear about his podcast. It’s brilliant.
And then he takes that live stream recording from Instagram and then publishes that as an edited video on YouTube. So instead of it being a vertically stacked video of him and the guest, that’s how the YouTube live as he will have the editor, put it horizontally, he’ll have the editor take content out of the middle of the episode somewhere that’s really punchy, maybe a controversial bit of content to start the episode with. So you start out really strong, and it’s very important that your videos on YouTube start out strong, and a lot of the YouTubers teach this.
Like Sunny Lenarduzzi has her HOT scripts formula approach where she says if you follow this, with hOT stands for Hook, Outcome, testimonial, rather than leading in with “Hey, I’m Stephan Spencer, co-author of The Art of SEO and blah, blah, blah.” Nobody cares. They want to know why I should watch this video. What’s the hook? Right? So that needs to be the beginning of the episode. And the only way you’re going to pull that off is by editing the video. You can’t do it with a live stream because you don’t know what the meaty bits are going to be until we’re into it. Right? So that is just killing it for him. He even does live coaching sessions on Instagram Live and then edits it. He has his team edit them and post them to his YouTube channel.
That’s awesome. Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of that advice. I guess you could say the same for a blog post. They get to it, see the title, do the first few sentences, and hook them in. But yeah, I mean, for video, I suppose even more important. When we think of a TV or radio channel, it’s easy to switch to another video. For those of you listening, that’s such a great reminder, I have so much to do with YouTube. So this is all really fresh and new. And for those newer YouTubers out there, this is really great. You’ve already given us so much advice here. Any other, you know, SEO advice that we can apply to our YouTube channels and videos that you haven’t brought up.
Okay, so I have an article on Search Engine Land, which is all like YouTube SEO one-on-one stuff, but I’ll just rattle through a bunch of them quickly. So one is to have a foreign language translation of the YouTube automatic transcription. There’s an SRT file that you can download, which has all the timestamps, and this is done automatically. YouTube transcribes the content that you upload. If you’re trying to target a Spanish-speaking audience, then you can get that translated into the SRT file, keep all the timestamps intact, and re-upload that as a translation in Spanish; there’s a place to do that in the YouTube Creator Studio. And now that video is available with subtitles in Spanish, and it starts showing up for Spanish language searches.
Tags inside YouTube are a complete and utter waste of time. The algorithm does not use them.
So inside the Creator Studio, you set the language. So are you now downloading the SRT file and then translating it somewhere else than re-uploading it exactly on the YouTube Creator Studio? Okay, gotcha. So you need to use a translation engine company does rev.com offer. I know rev.com seems to be the default standard that they offer translations as well of SRT files.
I’ve never tried them. I would just get somebody I find on Upwork who speaks native Spanish or whatever language I’m trying to translate to. So that’s just one little thing. There are so many others. Then there are things that are tempting to waste time on, but they are time wasters like tags inside of YouTube; what a complete and utter waste of time. They’re not used by the algorithm. Hashtags are a little more useful than tags. But most people don’t click on hashtags on YouTube. So yeah, you see them above the title of the video. I never click on them. I don’t know if you’ve ever clicked on any hashtags on YouTube, but they’re just not that popular.
So, Stephan, this is really interesting because there are tools; we won’t name them by name. But there are tools out there, and one of the selling propositions is that they help you optimize your tags for YouTube, right? Looking at your competitors, tags, etc, etc. So you’re saying, and I suppose in the SEO world as well, I don’t use tags, I’ll use a meta title, meta description, I won’t even bother with the tags. I use categories as a taxonomy for my site. So you know, are you saying those tools in terms of tags, there’s just little value and upload videos, you know, get your title, description, file name down, but just leave the tags blank? For all intents and purposes.
Yeah, leave the tags blank. If you’re using a tool, just ignore what the tags say. Because that’s not useful. It’s not valuable information to know what tags your competitors use. Just ignore that. But if you are using a tool– can I mention the tool? Is it okay to mention a tool? I mean, I’m not associated with it.
The one that you just mentioned. TubeBuddy has this AB split-test feature that I love, allowing you to split-test it. But more importantly, thumbnails are the first thing that people look at. The big decision point for them is what the thumbnail looks like and not the title of the video. That’s very secondary. So if you can test the thumbnails, and you can do this for old videos, they could be five-year-old videos; it doesn’t matter. It’s just so ninja to be able to do this and see that, “Oh, I just breathed new life into this five-year-old video that was getting just a smattering of views over the course of a month.” And now it’s getting way more views because it’s a much better thumbnail now. And I didn’t just go with my gut. I did a scientific test; I did a split test of the original as the control and the new version.
If you go to Evan Carmichael’s channel, you can see a great example of every single one of his thumbnails is just dialed in. He has split tested the heck out of those thumbnails; they all have a certain style to them. When you see one of his thumbnails in the recommended videos and the suggested videos on the right-hand side. You know that “Oh, there’s another Evan Carmichael video.” And that’s exactly what you want. Somebody loves your stuff. And then they see that distinctive look to your thumbnails, and they want to watch more videos. So that’s just super ninja, not only would I test the thumbnails, but I would also test the titles because that is a very helpful thing as well. But yeah, it’s just that that’s some low-hanging fruit right there.
So like, I subscribe to the other tool vidIQ. This leads to another question about YouTube SEO, which is keyword research, right? So I think SEO is using a tool like Ahrefs, SEMRush, or what have you for that keyword research. And these tools also promise this capability for you to win? I’ve read different things online, like, it’s not accurate. What’s your take on keyword research for YouTube? I mean, what tools would you recommend? Or process?
It’s really hard to get keyword data on YouTube, people do a search? Do on Google. So if you’re only using Google-focused SEO keyword research tools, you’re getting skewed data, right? People are searching for how-to type of tutorials and search much more on YouTube than on Google. And on Google, they’re searching way more for e-commerce kind of transactional keywords than they are on YouTube. It makes total sense. So you need specific keyword data about YouTube searches. And one of the easiest tools that you can use, it doesn’t give you the real numbers. It gives you percentages, but it’s a free tool. And most people don’t realize that it does this. It’s Google Trends. If you go to trends.google.com and put in a couple of keywords, separated by commas, it will show you those are on a comparison graph there. And there’s a tab you can click on there where it says web search in the pulldown, a drop-down has YouTube search is one of the options. So now you switch to YouTube search. And that comparison of those two or three or four keywords is now specific to YouTube searches. Really cool and free.
I’ve never tried long-tail keyword searches in Google Trends. Can you do that as well?
Yeah, it’s just how you compare when you’re just getting percentages. How do you compare these keywords to each other, so in a meaningful way that gives you actionable insights? So that’s the trick; if you just put one keyword in there, there’s no context around it. If I’m comparing, let’s say, laptop versus laptop, I want to put both keywords into the Google Trends tool. So I can see that the singular is more popular than the plural, which seems counterintuitive; you would think that people are searching for laptops like I want to know about laptops and know they’re looking for a laptop, they want to know which laptop they should buy. So if you just kind of don’t go with your gut, always do the research and see if your gut is right or not; that’s the right way to do it.
Having some tools that give you YouTube-specific data is just invaluable.
And having some tools that give you YouTube-specific data is just invaluable. And the tools that you mentioned or YouTube-specific tools. Those two tools do have keyword research capabilities in them. I don’t know where they’re sourcing their data from. I haven’t looked that up. But yeah, there’s also keywordtool.io. There are just so many of these tools. And I also look at Google-specific keyword tools like Moz Keyword Explorer, I love that tool. And it gives me insight that maybe a YouTube-specific tool can’t provide. Because I’m not able to see all the same kinds of features like I can look just at question-based keywords. For example, with Moz Keyword Explorer, or Rank Ranger Keyword Finder, there are some of these keyword tools that are very full-featured. I just want to see questions. I just want to see brainstorming ideas. I want to look at synonyms and really closely related terms. I want to look at topics like a topic graph or topical relationships. And there are some really sophisticated features like the Topic Explorer inside of Search Metrics. I am a geek when it comes to these tools.
But you don’t have to be if you just want to do a little bit of keyword research; it goes a long way better than doing none. And if you are going to do a little, at least do YouTube-specific keyword research. So even just the YouTube search box is the right search keyword data for you. Because if you start typing some keystrokes, let’s say that I don’t know you’re a big gamer. And you start typing League of Legends. And you’re curious, what are the words or phrases that follow League of Legends that are popular? You’re going to get them right there as keyword suggestions in the YouTube search. I even sometimes use the tool called Sovle, which takes all of those suggestion engines, YouTube suggests Google suggests Yahoo search assist and combines them together into one screen. It’s a free tool. Sovle.com. And as you’re typing your keystrokes, it populates the 10 suggestions from each of those Amazon, Wikipedia, asked.com or answers.com. There are a few others, Bing, etc. and combines it all in one screen. It’s really cool.
That is brilliant. In other words, YouTube suggests works the same way that Google suggests does, but it’s obviously based on YouTube-specific data.
And with civil, if you use that, you’re going to get all of those tools like all the major search engines, Amazon’s number three, so you’re going to see that too. And you can click on any of those suggestions, and take you to write to the search results of that keyword up from that engine. Pretty cool.
If you have a Facebook page and you’re not spending money on Facebook ads, forget about any traction and reach; it’s not going to happen.
Wow. That’s pretty incredible. So there’s no lack of tools, no lack of help out there. Once you start getting deep into YouTube strategy. We’re sort of running low on time here. So I wanted to make sure that we got to the other topics; I felt like you have so much invaluable information about YouTube and SEO there alone. We could have gone on for another dedicated episode. But you also mentioned when we were sort of planning for the show of getting SEO value from social media posts. So we sort of talked a little bit about Pinterest, and that being a search engine, and I’m sure there’s a lot more to it than just that. So what advice would you have to listeners about getting this SEO punch from their social media?
Yeah. Well, I won’t restrict it just to Pinterest because I find that many people aren’t putting any effort into Pinterest. They’re just neglecting that platform. So if you, the listener, are in that same boat, don’t worry. I’m going to give you some advice here that doesn’t rely on you having a Pinterest presence. So imagine that you have a strategy that encompasses all the platforms that you’re on, whether it’s LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. By the way, Facebook is purely pay-to-play; I don’t really see you getting any traction from Facebook other than what you post to your friends and family as your Facebook profile. If you have a Facebook page and you’re not spending money on Facebook ads, forget about any traction and reach; it’s not going to happen.
But let’s take Twitter and LinkedIn and so forth. So let’s say that you have a short video, a couple minutes, it’s like a teaser, or a compelling, inspirational little video, you upload it natively to each of those platforms. And then you create a listicle around that, you embed that video. It doesn’t have to be a YouTube embed; it could be a Facebook embed, for example, there could be, you know, a few different options there. But if you have a kind of a long-form article to go with that video content, that if they didn’t watch the video, they’d still get enough value that they would feel satiated, you’re on the right track. So if you look at my podcast episode, show notes pages, they’re actually long-form blog posts, I’ve incorporated into them things like Pexels or Unsplash stock photo images that are free.
Incorporating images, videos, and other things to break the texts on your long-form blog posts is a game changer.
There are so many great free stock photo sites. You can break up the text with a transcript and turn that transcript into something that looks like a blog post that’s much more readable and, and friendly and less of the kind of back and forth. Like you want to see the names labeled in front of each person or each paragraph. So it reads really well. It’s got click-to-tweets to further break up the text and make it more visually interesting. For any books that are mentioned, we’ll take the book cover and add that as a visual and link that to the Amazon page for that book. Like it’s a compelling read.
Most transcripts of podcasts are terribly boring, and nobody likes to consume them. So this is a game changer. And if you incorporate this into the show notes page and not have a separate transcript page. Now this page is like SEO on steroids because it’s got so much more content, and so many more keywords on the page than what you had previously. Previously, I used to have just a very short set of bullets. Right? This is what the episode is about: bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet. Yeah, that’s it. And then the audio player. What a missed opportunity. That was we actually went back and redid all of the episodes since I started doing this about maybe a year and a half ago.
But shortly after, we realized, wow, this is like an SEO ninja thing. We’re killing it now by getting more traffic to these pages. So we took the entire back catalog of hundreds of episodes. And I found somebody in the Philippines, who would do it on a per episode page, three bucks an episode essentially. And she just cranked through the entire back catalog of three different podcasts or shows. So probably, there were 500 episodes that she went through. I have two shows: Marketing Speak and Get Yourself Optimized. And then my wife, Orion, has her Stellar Life Podcast. So that was a lot of work but totally worth it.
Imagine if every piece of content that you ever create that’s on video or audio, you have applied this approach to you, made it visually enticing and engaging and maybe even take stuff like, quote cards, visual imagery and stuff that you’ve used purely on social media. And that also gets embedded into the page as well. Right, Rory got this approach. He calls the content diamond. It’s just very simple. The home for all of this great content you create that you publish across all the social platforms also lives on the long-form blog post page. Just makes total sense.
The home for all of this great content you create that you publish across all the social platforms also lives on the long-form blog post page.
Oh, so when you talk about the long-form blog posts, this isn’t actually a blog on your site; it lives in the show notes that are registered with if you have Libsyn or BuzzSprout, that’s where you’re creating this content then, correct?
Well, that’s also copied over there. But I do it differently there because people who are looking at a Podcatcher app would get frustrated with seeing a lot of intro text and stuff like it; just get to the point, give me the bullets, so I know whether I should watch or listen. And then, you can give me the full transcripts as a long-form blog post. But on the episode show notes page on my blog, on MarketingSpeak.com, for example, or on GetYourselfOptimized.com. Instead of just being that short show notes web page, it’s now a long-form blog post web page. And that thing just kills it. I have episodes that are ranking very highly for guest names. I had Scott Donnell on, and I’m on page one for his name. With the episode show notes page. It just works like crazy.
Well, that’s interesting because I never created posts for my episodes, and then I created, I guess you could call them transcripts; they started with bullet points. And then, they moved on to transcripts, but they never really did well, they never really generated a lot of traffic, a lot of engagement. So I just stopped doing it together. But if you take the approach where you’re not just putting a few bullet points, you’re not just putting just a transcript, but you’re really crafting a blog post out of it with the same sort of TLC that you would give a normal blog post and you’re optimizing it for SEO. If you can spend the time to do that, then it sounds like that can have a lot of impact on your SEO. Is that a correct assumption?
It is absolutely correct. And you don’t have to do it yourself. I never do it myself. I have a team that does it. They’re based in the Philippines. It’s very affordable. I found, for example, an incredible team manager for my team in the Philippines with Virtual Staff Finder. So it’s like 600 bucks. And you can get these amazing candidates that have vetted background checks, interviewed and everything, instead of having to do all that stuff yourself. You can essentially use a Craigslist for the Philippines called OnlineJobs.ph. And that’s a good site. There are some great people on there with their profiles, you can post a job there, but it’s a lot easier just to use a headhunter. For 600 bucks, that seems like a no-brainer to me.
So let me ask, I’ve been fortunate to find really great people using Upwork. And I have my own ways of putting out postings and interviewing that, you know, that brings me because a lot of people apply to like anything. So you need to be careful, don’t say, yeah, there’s time I’m investing, and maybe the $600 is cheaper than my time. But just out of curiosity, you know, in order to outsource this, do you have for every one of your show episodes? Are you saying, Hey, you know, let’s focus on making these 1000 words so that they become really nice summaries? Or is it just however long? The episode is just doing the entire thing.
It’s however long the episode is that that’s how long the transcript is, which then gets turned into a long-form blog post, with the addition of the bullets at the beginning for the kind of summary points plus the checklist at the end of actions that people can take, like the big takeaways from the episode, and I have my team create a PDF download of that as well. And okay, yeah, there’s a lot that goes into it. So it’s an investment; I probably spend between our three shows and my wife’s 900 grand a year. Wow. But it’s worth it, like the ROI is there.
And at least for us, and I know we’re reaching more peach people and having a bigger impact. And I have friends who tell me that, like there’s this one friend of mine who’s a billionaire, and she actually says that she will not listen to the audios because she just doesn’t have time. But she loves going through the episode show notes pages, the long-form blog posts and checking out what I’m saying and who I’m interviewing and all that. Sounds pretty cool. So you’ll reach a new audience that you hadn’t been able to reach before because not everybody has time to watch your video or listen to your audio. And they can read much quicker than that. So yeah,You don't have to invent anything. All you have to do is look at what others are doing and find out what works. Then, use that as inspiration and make it your own by applying your thought and branding behind it. Click To Tweet
That’s great advice. Another thing to add to my to-do list in addition to building my YouTube channel and getting Spanish translations and Japanese translations of my videos. That’s a lot of work, my friend. Yeah, I look at the world of SEO, and everything we’ve talked about. I mean, you mentioned you have a company, you know brands like Chanel, that are paying your company a lot of money to do what you do. So the competition is not fierce. You’re competing against big brands, and depending on the keywords that you’re targeting, obviously, so it’s serious business, and if you want to be serious and really get traction, it does require that investment.
I think for a lot of the solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and business owners that are listening, it comes down to the content. But once you have the content, really make the best use of it. And in many of the different ways that you talked about here.
Stephan, just before we go, I mean, one of the other things we’re going to talk about, and just for the last few minutes here is, you know, content marketing strategies you mentioned, coming up with hooks and getting links and not just social shares. And what’s really interesting, Stephan, is the SEO world all of a sudden has looked into podcasts. I’ve started to get a lot more pitches.
If you write a title for your podcast episode or a blog post, it should have a hook to it or a curiosity gap that people feel the tension.
And I’ll never forget some guy saying, “You know, I’m going to release a new article about the newest technique for getting backlinks. Do you want to preview,” and I said, “Let me guess it’s about being a guest on people’s podcasts?” And he’s like, “How did you know?”
So it’s interesting how SEO is caught up to podcasting, not the show notes, but on the other side of backlink generation. But on that note, you mentioned content marketing strategies, and I think getting links and not just social shares is something that a lot of content creators are looking for. So what would be your advice there before we close out this episode?
I’ll do it fast because I know we’re out of time. Everything that you create should have a hook to it. Ideally, right? If you are going to write a title for your podcast episode, it should have a hook to it, it should have some curiosity gap. If you write a blog post, it should have that hook or curiosity gap that people feel the tension, and they don’t like that tension; they want it relieved. So they click. That’s how clickbait works. And it really works.
Clickbait is maligned because it presumes that you’re over-promising and under-delivering. Number six will blow your mind, and it never does. But you should just flip the script, and I hate it. I hate it to be like, clickbait that is non-delivering is super annoying to everybody. But you just over-deliver instead of under-deliver, and you’ll be fine. So having that hook is invaluable. And you might wonder, how do I do that? Give me an example of a keyword or topic. Just mention one; I’ll show you how easy this is.
Okay, backlink building.
Okay. So let’s, let’s just use the word backlinks are okay, so I’m going to do a Google search for backlinks and then site:buzzfeed.com. And what I’m looking for is what has been published on BuzzFeed. That is about backlinks. Because BuzzFeed is a company valued at over a billion dollars, they kind of get clickbait and how to do it, right? So you can r&d it, you can rip off and duplicate what they’re doing. Don’t copy and paste; just use it as inspiration.
So whatever it is, plumbing or UFOs, I see you have a UFO poster hanging. Awesome. So whatever it is that you want to write about, and you’re like, stuck trying to figure out what the hook is going to be rely on BuzzFeed, or it could be viral nova or distractive phi, or upworthy, or bored Panda, whatever it is, it’s just simple Google search with the keyword plus site colon, and then the domain name, in this case, buzzfeed.com no space after the colon, and boom, now you’re going to get a whole bunch of great headlines that give you a lot of inspiration.
And, you know, I think it’s important that we say, you’re not copying, you’re looking for inspiration. You know, I spent my junior year abroad in Beijing, China, during the days of dung shopping, when China was still in its infancy in terms of developing. And what was really interesting was that these new consumer brands that were born out of nowhere, because they used to be completely state-run, it was, you know, we produce what people consume, we don’t have to compete against imports.Focusing on your business's small and nitty-gritty issues will not help you scale. Hire key people for that and help them grow along with you. Click To Tweet
China, you know, they could use that to their advantage to look at the development of the Western world, and look at, you know, what sort of brands are out there, what sort of products are out there and really try to find things that make sense to them. So, you know, they’ve been able to grow so quickly over the last few decades. And I think that most economies and most people overseas are always looking outside of their country for ideas.
And I think we, Americans, tend not to have that mindset because we’re the biggest GDP. What have you, but I think it’s really a best practice for so many things in life to do searches. Look what other people are doing. And like I said, you’re not emulating them, it’s purely for inspiration, but the magic is in making it your own and owning it and applying it to your brand and your content so that it works. That’s an art that takes time, but don’t be afraid, you know, hey, you’re just copying. No, you’re not copying, you’re getting inspired.
Yeah. And you’re taking it to the top and that you’re using that as the hook but then you’re adding your spice to it whatever the like provocative or evocative adjectives or adverbs are, you know, chillingly or whatever, like they’re these the different phrases that often are used. And you might see this in the million headline BuzzSumo study, if you Google that, right million headline BuzzSumo study.
So you’ll see these certain phrases just crush it. So you might incorporate one of those phrases or a very provocative or controversial or polarizing adjective or adverb or another type of keyword in there that really punches up our hook into making it a proper headline. And then maybe you find a viral meme image to add to it. And you write to your little writers briefly around that. And you hand that over to the writer so that they have some direction. And they’re not just like, figure out the hook on your own. And like, they’re not necessarily great curators.
People who do well with content marketing understand that you have to have a separate curator from the writer.
People who do really well with content marketing understand that you have to have a separate curator from the writer, that they’re different skill sets, and don’t rely on the same person doing both things. And if you want to scale this, it shouldn’t be you doing both of those things, you should delegate both of them out. And just you provide the kind of the vision, the direction, and your team does all of my team does all this stuff for me. They do the writing, the ghostwriting and everything. I don’t have time to do all this stuff myself. I don’t even know what I’m tweeting on Twitter, I have no idea because it’s not me. It’s my team seven or eight times a day, I have no idea.
That’s us. And yeah, I think if you’re going to invest, it’s funny, Stephan and just closing notes here. As I looked at my income and my expenses for the last 12 months, I realized that even though my clients were paying for my travel, all these other expenses still ate up my profits. And over the last year, I’ve really invested in scaling, and a lot of it is around content. So I see the expenses going up on the personnel expenses, but I know the value it has. And I know that tremendous ROI, it depends on what sort of products and services you sell. But it’s really, you know, the talents out there at a reasonable rate that can really help you scale.
And if you’re still doing, you know, if you’re still doing all those small things, you’re not going to scale. So you need to scale your brand; you need to scale your content team. And now’s a great time to do it. And if you were to do this 10 years ago, the talent was there. But trust me, I’ve met so many people in the Philippines, so I haven’t physically met them, but they’re experienced working with other brands on their marketing. Most real estate agents seem like they have a VA in the Philippines that does their social work, for instance, right? But there’s just a plethora of resources out there.
I would encourage everybody to find new ways to scale. If you’re doing something and you can build a process around it, you can teach it to someone else, hand it off. So a great reminder, Stephan, we covered a lot of great YouTube SEO advice. So Stephan, just a final note where can people go and find out more about you. I see your books there in the background, The Art of SEO, Google Power Search, and Social eCommerce, but where should people go in and tell us the name of your podcasts?Everything you create out there should at least have a hook to it. That is how you drive purpose and strategy to your content. Click To Tweet
Yep. So StephanSpencer.com, that’s my main site. And the podcast websites are MarketingSpeak.com and GetYourselfOptimized.com. The latter is not an SEO podcast. It’s actually a bio-hacking, life hacking and spirituality. It’s really amazing. It’s a passion project. I love it. And yeah, if you want to learn more about SEO and social media and all that goodness, start with StephanSpencer.com. There are tons of free resources there.
Thank you so much for being a friend. Thanks so much for offering all of your sage advice. And yeah, look forward to continuing our conversation. All right, thank you so much.
All right. I really hope you enjoyed that interview as much as I did. And yeah, Stephan is just what I love about him is he’s not only just a whiz at all this, but he’s very generous in what he teaches and serves others in podcasts like my own. Obviously, Stephan has his own podcast as mentioned, you should check that out as well.
So that’s it for another episode, I want to remind you that now is the open enrollment season for my digital first group coaching membership community. We’d love to help you out. SEO is one of the things that we talk about as well. And really the concept around the community is to keep you accountable, to make sure that everything you’ve learned is implemented. And also just a sounding board of other people, other entrepreneurs, business owners just like you that want to leverage digital marketing as their growth engine. So that’s it; wherever you’re in the world, make it a great virtual social day. And we’ll see you next time. Bye-bye everybody.
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The Maximize Your Social Influence Podcast – Stephan Spencer episode
Evan Carmichael – previous episode
Scott Donnell – GYO previous episode
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
- Optimize my videos and utilize YouTube to its highest potential. So many creators benefit from the platform. The beauty is that anyone can make it on YouTube if they play their cards right.
- Don’t treat YouTube like Google. Ranking is not about appearing in search results but around other creators’ videos. Observe my competitors’ videos and find ways I can present my content alongside them.
- Implement YouTube-specific keyword research. Don’t just trust my gut when choosing keywords. Use tools like Google Trends for invaluable YouTube-specific data.
- Incorporate a strong hook for all my content. An excellent hook should spark curiosity, capture attention, and create tension.
- Add subtitles to my videos by creating SRT files. This will help optimize my video’s search capabilities. Moreover, my content will also be accessible by the deaf community.
- Consider uploading foreign language translations as well to maximize my video’s searchability. If I speak a language other than English, adding English subtitles helps broaden my audience.
- Conduct A/B split tests on my videos to see which style works best with my audience. Evan Carmichael recommends using TubeBuddy, an online tool that helps creators make the right decisions on YouTube.
- Focus on creating evergreen content so it has the potential to stay relevant with viewers no matter how long my video has been published. Examples of evergreen content are how-tos and tips.
- Send people to my website, an email list, or my Facebook group where I can further a relationship with them.
- Recreate content in my old videos or create content with a similar keyword because anytime I make a video on the same topic, it will add more momentum for me within the algorithm.