Stephan Spencer – SEO Expert, Founder of Netconcepts & Co-Author of The Art of SEO

Episode 152

Excited to welcome SEO Expert, Founder of Netconcepts & Co-Author of the book The Art of SEO, Stephan Spencer. In this episode, we break down the use and importance of SEO, how to compete in Google’s content playing field, and the ways in which AI is changing the landscape of everything we’ve ever known. Stephan also shares valuable tips and resources in creating viral-worthy content, using hashtags, and much more. Wouldn’t sit this one out if I were you! Hear more about Stephen’s journey on #TheKaraGoldinShow

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Transcript

Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be, I want to just sort of make sure you

will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked out knocked out. So your

only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kara golden show. So join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go.

Hi, everyone, its Kara golden from the Kara golden show. And I’m so excited to have Stephen Spencer here with me to talk all about SEO and his book. And just overall his journey that I’ve just found so interesting. I was actually on Stephens show his podcast show, I guess it was a couple months ago now. And I’m losing track of time. But we actually met through I call him the amazing Joe. We’ll talk about that a little bit. But let’s, let’s just talk a little bit about Stephen. And he is really considered, the more I’ve dug into him, the SEO master and marketing expert, and his whole life has really been focused on not only building a company and becoming an expert, which I’d love to talk more about today. No, he was going to become an expert in this or not. And sometimes I feel like people just set a set way on their journey. And then they just figure out what they’re really good at that maybe comes easy, maybe it’s challenging along the way. But then they have these aha moments and with for Stephen, he ended up co authoring three books, one of them that is, is all three of them are a monster, I should say. But one of them is just so incredible, the art of es SEO. If you don’t remember any of the other titles, please please go and get the art of SEO, it will be so so useful to you. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that. But it’s other books are Google power search and social ecommerce, too. And Stephens worked with many, many amazing clients, including Zappos and Sony store and Quicksilver and Chanel. And very, very excited to have him talk on the show. Because his I always share with people if you are not a lifelong learner, then you’re bored. And that is so much of what Stephen talks about is I think really going to challenge your brain a little bit and get everybody thinking and we can all benefit from it. So welcome.

Stephen Spencer 2:54
Thank you. And you know, the expression comes to mind when you were describing. If you’re not learning, you’re, you’re bored. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. That’s another expression, I think is very important to keep in mind. Because, yeah, I’m excited for each day to come. I wake up, put my feet on the ground. And I say to myself, today is going to be a great day I learned that from BJ Fogg, who I met through Genius Network, which is how we met. And yeah, that little habit just sets me off on a wonderful start to my day. And then I look for opportunities to grow and learn and become better. It’s fun.

Kara Goldin 3:36
I love it. I love it. mindset attitude. There’s so much there. So let’s talk about how did you get started? How did you become the SEO guru and really the the focused person for SEO for so many people and so many brands?

Stephen Spencer 3:54
Well, it was coincidences. I think that kind of culminated in a shift in my path. I was studying for a PhD in biochemistry. And while I was doing that, I just built some websites. This is back in 1994 when the web was brand new, and when I started it

Kara Goldin 4:17
was same year. Oh, yeah. Same year of that. You know, the internet. Right. So interesting.

Stephen Spencer 4:25
Yeah, we were using mosaic browser back then. Right? Mm hmm.

Kara Goldin 4:29
Yeah, crazy, crazy time. And so for those of you who are not at like, let’s break down SEO for those of for those people listening that SEO is kind of this this important thing that they should know about, but don’t really even know what it is.

Stephen Spencer 4:46
Yeah, well, search engine optimization is a way to provide a better first impression to your potential prospect to your potential customer, before they even land on your website. Because the most likely path they’re going to take to get to you is by typing your name or your brand or the services or products that you offer into Google. And then they’re going to see a set of search results. That’s their first impression. Then they click hopefully, on your webpage and search results, and then they land on your site, and then they get a second impression. But you know how important the first impression is, and you’ve blown it. If you haven’t done good SEO to make sure that not only are you ranking highly in the search results for the keywords you care about, but also that all the other stuff that especially for brand results, brand SERPs, search engine results pages, for the brand results that appear, you want to curate all of it. If you search for my name, for example, Stephen Spencer, you’ll see that everything on page one is either stuff that I have written, or was written about me that I can influence or, you know, I had some involvement in it being written, or it’s Yeah, just basically, appearances, TV appearances, or my author page on Amazon. Like, these are things that I had a hand in, rather than just leaving it to chance. So that’s really important that you can curate the results. And even if, let’s say there are some detractors going after, you know, haters, hug your haters, like Jay Baer says, and the title of his book, but if you have stuff negative about you on the search results for your brand, you want to push that off onto page one. And the way to do it is to have other stuff that outranks it. So this is an opportunity to actually move your opponent’s chess pieces, not just your own, which is amazing. So it’s it’s a, it’s a strategic mindset shift to think, Oh, this isn’t about tags. This isn’t about getting links. Yeah, those are tactical elements to it. But in the book, The Art of War, Sun Tzu said, A wrote, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. So if all you’re doing is trying to get all the tactics, right, you’re missing the huge opportunity to implement strategies, and when your competitors implement the strategies instead of you. And you’re just in the tactics, that’s when you just get slaughtered on the battlefield.

Kara Goldin 7:33
Absolutely. And it’s not just about it, you just touched on the competitors. So especially as it relates to brands, and I think that, you know, people think, oh, I’ve just got to focus on, you know, getting my brand up to the high levels, yes. But you also have to watch at what competitors are doing, because maybe they’ll actually be grabbing that search and sending it back to their site, and which is obviously I mean, not a not a good thing. And you know, maybe you as a CEO was not really thinking about it, but you could be losing a lot of traffic,

Stephen Spencer 8:10
yes. And to think about your indirect competitors at the same time as the direct competitors, because usually, the direct competitors are not nearly as clued in to SEO, as the indirect competitors, and who are indirect competitors. They are potentially affiliates, not just a view, but of your competitors. They could be site owners that they’re just trying to monetize their content. What used to be called back in the day, MFA sites are made for AdSense sites where they’re just it’s a it’s a content play. It’s a it’s a publisher that’s monetizing through Google AdSense, or other platforms, programmatic advertising, or what have you. And they could be making millions of dollars, I actually have a client, that’s a seven figure earner that is making it all through ads, and through affiliate links. And I’m not sharing anything out of school because they’ve actually talked about it. On my podcast on marketing speak. It’s Chris Parker, and the site is what is my IP address. COMM has like 8 million unique visitors a month. And they’re in the seven figures now. So that’s exciting times. But those are your competition. They’re much more savvy than your direct competitors, typically. And and so if you’re trying to reverse engineer what your direct competitors doing, you’re missing the big picture. You have to reverse engineer Google and what they’re doing and what they’re cooking up. Right. They’re implementing artificial intelligence all over the place. And you have to reverse engineer these indirect competitors. Because anybody who’s out ranking you in Google is a competitor for the keywords that you care about, even if they’re not direct keywords who what you are But they’re reaching your audience and I like to say that you want to fish where the fish are not that I go fishing or anything. But if you want to land more fish, if you want to catch more fish, go to where the fish are. And I give a quick example. Let’s say that you have baby furniture as part of your offering your your product catalog, maybe that’s all that you do baby furniture, right? And so the obvious keywords be things like baby cribs and baby furniture, baby bassinet, bassinet, etc. problem with that is they’re pretty far along the buyer journey by that point. It’s it’s a very competitive search, it’s sure there’s a there’s a lot of competition, it’s it’s difficult to rank for. And there isn’t nearly the search volume that you would expect. If on the other hand, you go earlier into the buyer journey, up the funnel, to where people have maybe just figured out found out from the first ultrasound that their baby is a boy or a girl. What are they going to do as soon as they get home? They’re going to hop onto Google, and what are they going to search for? It’s not baby furniture. What do you think they’re going to search for as soon as they hop onto Google? Gosh,

Kara Goldin 11:15
I should know this having four kids. But, um, maybe maybe a site to actually buy it.

Stephen Spencer 11:25
Okay, so if you’re just found out the baby’s name, or the baby’s gender, and you’re like, Okay, now we got to figure out names, right? So if they’re searching for baby names, and you’re like, well, that’s great. They’re gonna figure out the baby’s name. No, no, no, there’s an opportunity here. If you’re selling baby furniture, and you go after baby names as a keyword, which has orders of magnitude more search volume, compared to some of these other keywords that you were targeting, you’re going to get almost 100% expectant parents who else is searching for baby names. Nobody, only expectant parents, only your exact target audience. So what you’re looking for these opportunities, that are essentially the baby names, equivalent keywords for your industry. And one of the best ways to find those keyword opportunities is to reverse engineer your indirect competitors.

Kara Goldin 12:20
Very interesting. So in the case of my life, we actually we knew names way before we had family names. So we weren’t necessarily looking in the same way. But I’m with you. And I do believe that that’s that the majority of people are actually looking at it. And yeah, and I how do you think it varies? For a brand versus an individual? So you know, if you’re looking at Kara golden versus a, you know, a company like hint, what would you say is sort of the key things that are that are different in the SEO kind of journey?

Stephen Spencer 13:01
Yeah, well, what I find is that most people are neglecting their personal brand. They’re focusing on their company ran, and I was guilty of this. Back when I was building my, my first company, I didn’t worry about my personal brand, so much, it was all about the company’s brand. So neck neck concepts. And I realized after selling the company, like wait a second, that was a problem, because now that company has gone to other hands. And I’m left with just my personal brand. So the personal brand, is the only brand you take with you to the grave, companies come and go. Hopefully, you have an exit strategy, because any business that’s not got an exit strategy, you’ve got a very expensive job, you’re self employed, you’re not a business owner. So if you have an exit strategy for your brand, that’s great. But there is no exit strategy for your personal brand. And that’s the one that tends to get neglected. So if if somebody’s searching for your personal name, think about this first impression that they’re going to get in the Google results. What does it look like? Does it just look like your LinkedIn is number one, when it should be your, your company’s website? I mean, your personal website should be number one, is it that you have a knowledge panel over in the right hand side, but it says that it’s unclaimed with a button at the bottom that says claim this knowledge panel, or do not even have a knowledge panel over on the right hand side. So people will judge you based on that first impression. And they think that Oh, you’re a big CEO or your big business owner or entrepreneur. Like but these results don’t really reflect that. There’s nothing happening over on the right hand side. Now the person who’s searching may not even know that it’s called a knowledge panel, but that doesn’t matter. They just know something’s missing over there. They search for some other CEO name and boom, there’s some fun photos and links and ads, social Chiclets, and book covers and things like that. Where’s that for you? And and also, if they see that there’s not a lot of impressive stuff, you know, you’re weren’t interviewed on CNN, or Forbes or whatever. And it’s just like social platforms, or maybe even just other people’s stuff, because you have a common name, or maybe somebody else more famous than you has the same name as you. And so most of the stuff that’s showing up isn’t even you. That’s a problem. That’s that’s that’s you not having control over your own personal brand. presence in Google the number one search engine. So it is important to maintain this, this presence and brand and build it out over time. And if you don’t even have a personal website, how are you going to really control your brand voice over time, your personal brand voice, because just having a page, let’s say an about the founder page on your company website, doesn’t cut it, you need a separate site for you personally. And if you have a book or multiple books, each book really should have a separate website. A book should have a book website. So I’m kind of opinionated about this.

Kara Goldin 16:30
No, no, I love it. So let’s say for example, this interview, right? You’re like, it’s going to it will be up on the Kara golden show. And then it links from my link, it’ll link to you know, this, what would you as sort of owning your own brand do with this? Because you obviously don’t necessarily want it all going to, you know, my site, right? You want to bring it back to yours? Maybe that’s not a great example, maybe it is. But what would you do as a brand owner?

Stephen Spencer 17:06
Well, that is a really, really thought, thoughtful and thought provoking question. If I’m a guest on somebody else’s show, I first of all want to be very respectful of the fact that they invited me onto my show, I’m not going to try and poach their traffic. So I don’t want to take traffic away from your episode, show notes page, or destination page on your site, I want to actually promote it and drive more traffic to it. And one way I do that, that most people don’t bother to is I have an interviews page, a press page, essentially. But for podcast interviews, as well, on my Stephen Spencer comm site. So if you go to my press page, which has not just TV appearances and other types of appearances,

Kara Goldin 18:04
articles, and

Stephen Spencer 18:05
so if I’m interviewed for whatever, ad week or something, well, that one actually, I was a columnist for it. But you know, some other magazine that I’m interviewed, I’ll put it there. But I also every podcast, I put a image of the podcast, cover art, and a link to that episode on their website, because I want them to receive the traffic, I want them. I’m not worried about Oh, that’s a reciprocal link. That’s very short sighted, like, oh, they’re linking from their show notes to me, I’m not I’m gonna be stingy and not link back to them. That’s very short sighted. And it’s it’s stingy. It’s just staggering. And, and yet, you can also get further leverage out of these appearances, whether they’re on podcasts or TV or whatever. And as an example, you might have a sizzle reel that incorporates little snippets from different podcasts and TV appearances, especially if it’s got the lower third with the TV stations logo. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of sizzle reels that just go from one person to another person to another person, introducing the burden. And next up, we have Kara golden Kara golden. And here is Kara golden. We’re very excited about Kara golden, and it just goes from next to next in terms of the appearances. So you could do something like that. But would I take the entire podcast episode transcript from your show from the interview that you did of me and put it on my site? No, I don’t think that’s right. I don’t I that feels icky to me. Now for my own show. I definitely take the transcripts of the interviews that I do, and turn those into long form blog posts where it’s It’s not just a, like a big wall of text. But it’s something that reads like an article. It’s it’s engaging, it’s visually stimulating, because we insert lots of images. And we’ve got pull quotes and click to tweets. And every time a book is mentioned, a book cover with a link to that Amazon page for the book, it just looks like a really interesting article. And people love it. The people who don’t have time to listen to a podcast will scan through or read an episode like that, they won’t read a traditional transcript that looks like a wall of text. So that is a really great SEO tip. And it works incredibly well. I end up ranking for guest names and for topics that we talk about and so forth. For example, Scott Donal, who’s the CEO of happy, who’s also Genius Network member, I rank on page one for his name. And it’s because I interviewed him and we had a great conversation and just the process of how we create these show notes pages, causes that page to rank really well for his name. It’s a win win for everybody just always think Win win.

Kara Goldin 21:20
Yeah, no, I think that that’s super great advice. And I feel like one thing I always talk about being an entrepreneur is this idea of, if you don’t enjoy kind of doing puzzles, right and, and creating kind of what if scenarios, but also continuing to build. And I think frankly, that’s what SEO is, it just takes time, right to actually build it and continue and focus and all of those things. So I What does take time, but and that might dissuade some people, but it’s it’s an asset. Unlike if you’re doing let’s say paid search or paid social, the moment you turn off the advertising dollars, you’ve turned off the spigot in terms of your leads and sales. So that’s a problem.

Stephen Spencer 22:13
With SEO, however, it’s an asset that will continue to pay dividends, month after month, year after year. So if I stop, let’s say, link building for six months, all the previous work that I had done prior still ends up bringing me traffic through that six month hiatus. I mean, it’s better if I keep doing link building, but if I just go dark, no more link building no more. I could stop podcasting for six months. I don’t recommend that. That’s called pod fading. Don’t do it. But if I did, I’d still get lots of SEO benefit from all the work I’d done previously. So in the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Kiyosaki, Robert Kiyosaki, he talked about assets versus liabilities and an asset puts money in your pocket month after month. You can’t say that about paid search or paid social. It’s only working as you’re paying for it. So I think that’s an important distinction.

Kara Goldin 23:16
I love it. So I was on your podcast a few months ago, and it’s called Get yourself optimized. And by the way, it’s excellent. It’s It’s such a, it’s a great podcast to learn from so many different people. You have amazing guests on there, too, Stephen. So I enjoyed that you asked me about goosebump challenges. And that was something that no one has ever asked me about. So now I get to ask you. So talk to me about your goosebump challenge your favorite one. So it’s one coming up in in your life as well. Well, I

Stephen Spencer 23:54
get goosebumps all the time. It tells me that I’m connected. Like I’m plugged in. Because I look for guidance. Intuition is this basically the creator speaking in and whispering in your ear, and if you pay attention, you get goosebumps. So just today, for example, I knew that I needed to help this stray cat. And there was my guidance. It was like my, my, my spiritual GPS told me that I needed to do this and turns out that that that stray cat probably would have died without my intervention. And you know, there’s an expression that I heard many times and I didn’t realize that comes from a holy text until just recently but it’s if not me, then who and if not now then when. So this poor cat. I wish we would see it every week when we go to this appointment and we’d bring cat food in We’d feed it, it had dry food every day. Other people would make sure it had food and water. But we’d bring what cat food cans. And this last week, it wasn’t there. And this week, it was just really acting weird. And turns out, it has some sort of, I don’t know, it’s like a pelvic, or hip issue where it can barely walk. And it was really dehydrated, so I took it to the vet. Now it’s overnight at events, and it’s gonna get an X ray tomorrow, and whatever the procedure is the bring it back to health, I’m going to pay for it. And that’s just how I wish everyone would roll. And I can’t say that I used to do that in the past, I probably would have just done Oh, I hope somebody takes care of it. And it wouldn’t have been me. But now it is me. And I just that’s I don’t know if that’s an exact answer to your question, because I didn’t get goosebumps, but I did get guidance. I yeah, there you go.

Kara Goldin 26:05
I love it and experience that you don’t have every day that I will only make you a better person, I think along the way. So I Love it. Love it. So ai i hear so much about AI and how, you know, it’s it’s definitely getting integrated into people’s businesses, even those that are not technology businesses, how do you see AI changing the landscape for SEO?

Stephen Spencer 26:33
Well, it’s changing the landscape for everything. And everybody is going to be incredibly affected. So every listener right now needs to pay attention to AI. I was at abundance 360 earlier this year. And or no, it was actually while virtually I was I was attending, but this was a year ago now in January that I was in present in person. And I heard pyramid Peter Diamandis say that they’re going to be two kinds of businesses by the end of the decade, those businesses that are using AI at their core, and those businesses that are out of business. And I don’t think that’s hyperbole. I really don’t I think that we need to think differently as business owners, because AI is going to change every aspect of business of life of human interactions even. But we can’t lose our soul on the process and our humaneness. But we do need to be aware of what the implications are. So for example, let’s say that you have a copywriting team, or just a copywriter that’s helping you with whatever, you know, stuff, email newsletters, web copy, etc. Well, now there are tools like conversion.ai that will write entire blog post for you just give it a topic or you pose a question. You could for example, with GPT three, which is generative Transform, transform platform three, I think is what it’s stands for. It’s from open AI. With that technology, you can just ask it a question, or give it an instruction. And it will create a work of art, essentially, whether it’s written word, or it’s an image or whatever. So for example, if you Google for Elan Musk, GPT three poem, you will find a poem written by an AI, the GPT three AI, and it is hilarious and thought provoking and clever and witty, it’s just amazing. Yeah, so Elon Musk, GPT three, poem or something along those lines, right. And you will find that the instruction to GPT three was write a poem in the style of Dr. Seuss about Elon Musk, and include stuff about rockets and Tesla and, and so forth. And it comes back with the most clever, well written poem in the style of Dr. Seuss. And here’s the stanza from it. But I’ll tell you what I’ll do I’ll send my Mars rover to Red Planet, you.

Kara Goldin 29:25
What, I love it.

Stephen Spencer 29:27
Brilliant. I love it. So if AI can already do that, and you can say, hey, I need a weekly blog, blog post or I need a weekly newsletter, and I just want to hire a copywriter. Now maybe you don’t need to hire a copywriter. Maybe you just need to put the right inputs into a tool like GPT three, and boom, there you go. So that’s just one small aspect. Imagine how much of business is going to be Just disrupted completely disrupted. So in a space. Yeah. And so let’s just take the specific question that you posed about SEO and AI. There’s really only one way to outsmart an AI. And you got to think about Google being the one of the most plugged in advanced AI based companies in the world. I mean, they, they, they bought DeepMind and incorporated that into their business. They they, they bought Boston Dynamics, and now they’ve got the, the Terminator robots and everything like it’s crazy. What Google alphabet really the parent company, and all of its child companies can do with all the AI that they have. So how do you get smart and AI? Only one answer with another AI. If you’re not playing with AI, to get your rankings up higher, you’re going to be left in the dirt. Yeah. So there are tools that are AI based market Muse is an example of an SEO tool that has AI, but most SEO tools will need to have AI in their toolset in order to still be relevant and even just a short period of time. And you as a business owner, or you as a marketer need to know what the capabilities are for these different AI tools and how you can even write your own how internally, ai based using things like GPT, three, or even even like IBM Watson is another thing that you can essentially rent time, inexpensively from. Yeah, it’s just it’s amazing. It’s a brand new, like Brave New World. And I wouldn’t be intimidated by it, I just be excited by it and just dive in.

Kara Goldin 32:09
I love it. So you have a ton of experience in social media, obviously, on rankings, but how really changing or how much social media has changed in the landscape. The world over the last few years is dramatic. But you’ve got a course around this topic, too, that I actually would love to take the viral social media for massive traffic, one that I think is is pretty cool. And I’ve talked to a few people who have taken it and they’ve said that it’s it’s pretty darn interesting. And and you’ve they’ve learned quite a bit about hashtags and etc. What what’s your couple minute pitch on on the course?

Stephen Spencer 32:52
Okay, well, thank you for those kind words. I think that it again, is very important to be strategic, rather than tactical start with his strategies. And the best way to do this is to think how can I create something that is viral worthy, or buzz worthy? Because if you don’t have something like that, then you’re essentially, you know, putting lipstick on a pig. And that that won’t work. So what is the right strategy depends on the topic space, the industry, etc. You might have a lot of wiggle room to do kind of off brand things or or like be snarky or, or punk somebody or whatever. And then there are the very conservative industries where they can’t even put testimonials on their website. So it depends on you know, how much wiggle room you have. But let’s say that you do have some. And you first of all need to figure out what the topic is. If you already have that, then you just put in to let’s say, a Google search that topic Plus, I would add like if we’re trying to figure out who and what is viral worthy. We need to go to a source that has dialed this and they figured it out and who better than BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed just nailed it. I mean, they’re worth over a billion dollars. Clearly, they’ve figured something out in order to be that successful. So we’re going to put in the topic, whatever that keyword is, plus site colon buzzfeed.com. No, no space after the colon. So what this search result will show you is a whole bunch of pages on the BuzzFeed website. Articles mostly that are about the topic. Let’s say that we’re trying to talk about I don’t know let’s say I mean flavored water is yet to That’s too specific. But if we were to broaden it a bit to bottled water, there’s probably some funny stuff online about bottled water. But we Yeah, we could pick entrepreneurship, but I would. That’s very, very broad.

Unknown Speaker 35:13
I like the bottle water.

Kara Goldin 35:15
Sorry, I like the bottle water. So we do bottle water. Yeah. And then

Stephen Spencer 35:20
site colon buzzfeed.com, si t, and then the colon character buzzfeed.com. And it doesn’t have to be BuzzFeed. I really like BuzzFeed. And the kinds of headlines or topics, titles that you’ll see are going to be usually pretty good. But there are plenty other viral sites like distractive, five viral nova, board, pand upworthy, that you could do the same thing with. Okay, so here are a few examples. I love it. The bottled water you could be that you buy could be full of plastic particles. Oh, that’ll freak some people out right? Now, you might think well, that’s a little too heavy. I want stuff that’s humorous, you know, entertain me with funny stuff. Well, you could then do something like water, funny Sitecore on buzzfeed.com. And then you’ll find other types of articles 21 water related memes that are just too good. Oh, that’s pretty good. Now, I’m not saying copy and paste these headlines and do your own version of the article. That’s a little lazy. And it’s not technically it’s not copyright infringement. If it’s just a title, you can’t copyright a dozen words, but it feels lazy and just not good, karmically speaking to do that, but it’s inspiration for the hook. Once you’ve, you’ve dialed in what that hook is. So let’s say it’s water related memes. Or here’s another one people on tik tok are spilling water on their babies. And okay, I have to click to see what the rest of it. So that’s another way to bait people is don’t give the full headline, or make sure it gets truncated in the search results. So they have to click to see the rest of it. That sort of tactic is creating a curiosity gap. That’s very important for the headline or the title data curiosity gap. If you give the punchline in the title, nobody bothers to click to read your your article. And we want people to actually go to your site. So So here’s the title, people on tik tok are spilling water on their babies. And the reactions are incredible. That just gives away just enough to maximize the Curiosity gap and make me want to click so that curiosity gap is that tension that you feel at all right? All right, I’ve got to click on that I’ve got to see what that’s about that if that sounds really, really good, and that you need to become masterful at in order to succeed in social media. And just generally on the web, you need to be a master of creating a curiosity gap. And it’s not just in the headline, it’s everywhere. Know the Eugene Schwartz, who wrote breakthrough advertising many, many years ago, he explained that the job of the headline is only one thing and that’s to get people to keep reading. That’s it you’re trying to sell your product or service in the headline just keep them keep keep reading. And and so if you write headlines that do that, and and maximize that curiosity gap, that tension that they feel like they have to leave by clicking and reading more, or just continuing down the page. you’ve nailed it. And and so that’s got to show up everywhere. newsletters, website, social media, everything, even when you’re speaking in YouTube videos and on live streams and podcasts think in terms of those kinds of sound bites and creating curiosity gaps. How can we keep them hooked? How can we have open loops that we don’t yet close, so they have to keep listening kind of like the TV news? Back in the day? I remember when I still watched it, they would bait me the whole time. And coming up snacks. Soon is the dog who reads Braille and like Okay, all right, I have to watch that. I have to watch that. And of course, it’s the very last segment I’m just so angry by the time that the the entire men’s rights Yeah, but they do it on purpose, because they want to bait you and keep you watching all the horrible dark news. Until finally, the feel good story.

Kara Goldin 39:39
I love it. So real quick hashtags, what is the magic hashtag? The I mean, along those lines, what

Stephen Spencer 39:46
would you say is the magic piece on hashtags? Okay, well, first, you need to know what hashtags are trending that are relevant. So there are ways to do that you can see hashtags. For example, if you go to Twitter’s homepage, you’ll see what the trending hashtags are, but that’s too general, if you’re trying to get specific into your niche, you need to be able to use a tool that tells you the hashtags that your audience is using. Because then if you use those same hashtags, you’re in where your audiences you’re fishing where the fish are. And the tool I love to do to use to do this is called spark Toro, spark toro.com. It’s actually founded by a co founded by my co author on the art of SEO on the first two editions, Rand Fishkin, who also founded Moz. The tool is incredible. What it does is you can specify, for example, competitors, social media handle on Twitter, you could specify their website address, you could specify their name, you could specify just a keyword. And then say, people who follow this person or this account people who now just type these words in as the or they include these words in their bio, on Twitter, whatever, or in their tweets or, or social posts, people who are, let’s say, watching certain YouTube channels, you can specify all these different things and say, Show me that audience. And not just show me the audience. Like I don’t, I don’t get to see the names of the people, right, that would violate privacy. But what I can see is what are they listening to podcasts? Right? Which podcasts? Are they listening to? What YouTube channels are they subscribed to and watching? What social accounts are they following? And what websites are they visiting? it’s mind blowing. Oh, and by the way, what hashtags they’re using? Isn’t that cool. So if they’re using a certain hashtag, and I didn’t know about it, I can just start using that hashtag. And now I’m suddenly visible to that world of people, because they’re using that hashtag. They’re seeing what other people are posting with that hashtag. And now I’m in I’m in that group.

Kara Goldin 42:17
So the net of it is you shouldn’t be using the same hashtag over and over and over again, either. Oh, you should probably stop.

Stephen Spencer 42:25
Except there is a there is a an except if you’re trying to build a brand, with demand generation tactics, you’re trying to get people to be interested in something that they haven’t been interested in for a long time. So Rand Fishkin gave this as an example, in one of his blog posts while back, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Rogers, as a search keyword, was very stagnant for many years didn’t get much volume beyond what you would expect. You know, it’s not like he’s around anymore. And his show is not exactly, you know, on the reruns or whatever. But there was a documentary that came out about him. Wonderful documentary. I love that. It created all this demand. He was he’s a, what a wonderful soul. Mr. Rogers, amazing, amazing.

Kara Goldin 43:19
I’m actually

having his, his former neighbor on in a few weeks, and yeah, really, he did a the PBS documentary that you’re talking about, there was the movie with Tom Hanks, and then there was the documentary. And so the gentleman that came out with that documentary is, is actually coming on my podcast in the next couple of weeks and talk. Catch that one for sure, Stephen?

Stephen Spencer 43:48
Well, I know there are no coincidences, like, literally, there are no coincidences. Any coincidence is actually divine intervention. So the fact that you’re having, like, that connection is really amazing. Okay, so that particular topic of Mr. Rogers suddenly spiked in, in search volume, and also related keywords, because of all the demand generation that the movie was doing in the documentary was doing and so forth. So if you could think in terms of I want to create that kind of buzz for my thing, doesn’t have to be a movie it doesn’t have to be a book can be a product launch, it could be whatever. Then you might have your own hashtag or if you’re trying to create a movement, right I love

Kara Goldin 44:37
but otherwise grabbing it looking at spark Toro or just to try and figure out what other people are doing is is great. I love that. So seven This is amazing. And where can people find you? Oh,

Stephen Spencer 44:53
Stephan Spencer calm is my main website. Lots of videos and recordings of past webinars and conference presentations and so forth there. Lots of free stuff, free downloads and articles and everything. And I have two podcasts. So get yourself optimized is one that you mentioned that you had been on and I’m very passionate about that has nothing to do with SEO even though it sounds like it. It’s all about like being your best self really like biohacking and entrepreneurship and spirituality and relationships. I’ve had such incredible guests and Carrie, you’re you’re one of them. And my other show, marketing speak is all about mostly online marketing, but how to just do outside the box marketing and get incredible returns from it. So marketing, speak calm and get yourself optimized, calm.

Kara Goldin 45:51
I love it. Thank you so much. And thanks, everybody for listening. And definitely give Stephen five stars. And thank you so much for coming on. You were just a just so much education for everybody. And like he said, there’s lots of free stuff. So definitely check out his website too. And it’s it will you could spend all day. And now you gave us a few other places to go to spark Toro to and lots of other places to go spend your days and your weekends just going and checking everything out. So thanks again and everybody join us on the ken Coleman show every Monday and Wednesday. And I also just launched a new series called author talks. And we’re we’re talking to all kinds of authors on LinkedIn live at least once a week we’re nailing down a day, actually a specific day to do it. But we’ve already had a couple amazing people and look forward to so many more coming up as well. But thanks everyone, have a great week. Bye bye. before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book calm and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight? send me a tweet at Kara golden and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara golden golden thanks for listening