Episode 143 | Posted on

The New World of SEO with Eric Enge

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My coauthor of The Art of SEO and Stone Temple CEO Eric Enge @stonetemple is here to talk about content generation, search algorithms, and the future of SEO. Click To Tweet

This Week’s Guest:

It took about 100 years for the telephone and 50 years for the television to get one billion users. It took Facebook and smartphones eight years. This accelerated rate of adoption is similar to the rate of technological innovation, which gets faster and faster as time goes on. In fact, in as little as 30 years, we may reach the point of singularity, when computers and technology are so much smarter than us that all of the known laws of evolution break down.


Whether you find this fascinating or frightening, you’ll love this conversation with Eric Enge. Eric is my co-author on The Art of SEO, as well as the US Search Awards 2016 Search Personality of the Year, the Landes 2016 Search Marketer of the Year, and the CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, a 70-person digital marketing agency. While we’ll dig into the possibilities for the future, we’ll also explore what it means for us today, and how we can stay on top of SEO and organic Google rankings.

Find Out More About Eric Here:

Eric Enge at Stone Temple
@stonetemple on Twitter
Eric Enge on LinkedIn
Eric Enge on YouTube
Stone Temple Consulting

In This Episode:

  • [01:04] – Stephan and Eric talk about how long they’ve known each other, and how they first met.
  • [03:26] – What comes to Rand’s mind as something that isn’t common knowledge, or about which there’s a lot of misinformation?
  • [07:54] – Stephan and Eric take a moment to differentiate machine learning versus AI for listeners who may not be familiar with the terms.
  • [11:27] – AI doesn’t necessarily mean “artificial intelligence,” Stephan explains.
  • [14:16] – The rate of adoption is increasing in the same way as the rate of the available technology, we learn.
  • [16:04] – Does Eric think that SEO will be a very different ballgame in five years?
  • [18:51] – Eric explains that Hummingbird was Google’s first foray into understanding natural language, and explains RankBrain and what it does.
  • [25:35] – We hear about Eric’s studies to analyze the before-and-after results of RankBrain.
  • [29:49] – Stephan and Eric talk about why it’s difficult for Google to deal with queries that it’s never seen before.
  • [31:06] – Eric talks about some other studies he’s done analyzing various aspects of Google.
  • [35:21] – How does this study differ from other studies on the same subject of featured snippets?
  • [40:15] – We hear about why Google invests so much energy into featured snippets.
  • [42:36] – Eric discusses his in-depth Digital Personal Assistant study and reveals that Google was the smartest.
  • [46:27] – Voice search is part of voice, Eric explains, but there are also voice commands that aren’t searches.
  • [50:30] – Eric talks about a set of steps that you can go through to get featured snippets.
  • [52:29] – We switch topics completely, with Eric explaining how he went from multiple lead-gen businesses to running an agency.
  • [55:16] – Is Eric able to work on the sites he’s been talking about, or is he too busy speaking at conferences and writing?
  • [57:57] – Eric talks about how he balances his time at work, and how his management team functions in that process.
  • [59:56] – Does Eric have any assessments that he uses when he’s onboarding or considering people?
  • [65:50] – Eric lists the ways that listeners can learn more or get in touch with him.

Links and Resources:

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

☑ Prioritize user engagement and satisfaction before I start optimizing my website.

☑ Brainstorm what the frequently asked questions are for my prospective customers.

☑ Create high quality, remarkable content that aims to answer my prospects’ and readers’ questions.

☑ Be prepared for the machine learning algorithm but don’t believe everything I read. Always research trends and updates on my own.

☑ Make sure that my website is optimized for mobile given that most online users use mobile phones.

☑ Stay relevant and keep evolving my SEO knowledge by doing research, taking advanced classes and joining masterminds.

☑ Remain intuitive on human behavior by continuously getting customer feedback, staying on top of current events and following the latest fads and trends.

☑ Aim for rank “0”, also known as featured snippets. Learn how to achieve this through Stephan’s Search Engine Land article.

☑ Explore voice search optimization and see how I can incorporate these strategies into my projects. More people are using their voice instead of typing  their queries than ever before.

☑ Grab a copy of Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer and Jessie Stricchiola’s book The Art of SEO.


S: If you care all about SEO and organic Google rankings then this episode number 143 is a must listen episode. Our guest today is Eric Enge. He was not only my co-author on the Art of SEO—now on its 3rd edition and published by O’Reilly—he was also named as the US Search Awards 2016 US Search Personality of the Year and was also Landys 2016 Search Marketer of the Year. Besides being a co-author with me, Rand Fishkin, and Jessie Stricchiola of the Art of SEO, Eric keynotes many industry conferences and is the SEO of Stone Temple Consulting which is a 70% digital marketing agency based in Massachusetts. Eric, welcome to the show.


E: Stephan, thanks so much for having me. I’m looking forward to it.


S: Me too. We’ve known each other for years and years. Gosh, when was it that we first got to know each other?


E: Mid to early 2000s or something like that. I don’t know—a long time.


S: Yeah. There was that pivotal moment where I came up to you in the speaker room at SCS Chicago, talked to you into becoming an author on The Art of SEO.


E: I know. I remember it well because it was actually 2008, because the book was published in 2009. You talked to me about it and I had this sort of “Oh, crap!” moment going through my mind. I had to call my wife, I had to call the guy who was running the business, Stone Temple together with me at that time. “Okay, this is going to be a boatload of work. Do I want to do this?” I managed to persuade both of them that it was a good idea.


S: Indeed it was.


E: Yes, it was.


S: We’ve changed lots of people’s minds, lives, and businesses through the book in its various incarnations now on its 3rd edition. We keep getting asked, “When’s the 4th edition coming out?” because it was late 2015 and it is about time that another one comes out but alas, we haven’t even started a 4th edition yet.

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One thought on “The New World of SEO with Eric Enge

  1. Very interesting and nerve wrecking view on the impact AI is going to have on SEO and content creation that bit about Google answering questions directly sent chills up my spine, but now that you pointed out I think it is very probable. Anyway, great content from all the episodes I’ve heard so far. Cheers.

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