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April 17, 2021

206: SEO & Social Media: Your One-Two Punch [Stephan Spencer Interview]

206: SEO & Social Media: Your One-Two Punch [Stephan Spencer Interview]

If you want to learn how to apply the concepts of SEO to social media, you are in for a treat. Today's guest is one of the most recognized SEO experts, Stephan Spencer who is co-author of The Art of SEO, co-author of Social eCommerce, and author of Google Power Search, all published by O’Reilly.

In this episode we talk about something that you might not have considered before: The SEO value of your social media. Specifically we discussed:

  • SEO applied to your YouTube channel and videos
  • Getting SEO value from social media posts
  • Content marketing strategies: coming up with hooks, getting links not just social shares, etc.

This is a longer than average episode as I got a TON of value from this interview - I am confident that you will as well!

Key Highlights

[2:13] Introduction of Podcast Guest, Stephan Spencer

[4:43] Who is Stephan?

[8:03] The Value You Can Get from SEO

[11:09] Stephan's Advice on Getting Started at YouTube for SEO

[16:13] The Best Tactic in Embedding YouTube Videos in Your Blog

[18:44] Ninja Technique

[22:58] SEO Advice to Apply to Your YouTube Channel and Videos

[25:19] Should I Use Tags on YouTube?

[28:44] Keyword Research for YouTube

[34:35] Stephan's Advice on Getting SEO Punch from Social Media

[39:23] Content Diamond

[43:05] Should I Create Content from My Podcast Episode?

[46:04] Stephan's Advice to Content Creators

[52:28] Importance of Scaling Yout Content Team

[53:19] Connect with Stephan

Notable Quotes

  • It's very important that your videos on YouTube start out strong and a lot of the YouTubers teach this.
  • The first thing that people look at, and that kind of the big decision point for them is what the thumbnail looks like, and not the title of the video.
  • 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. And having some tools that give you YouTube-specific data is just invaluable.
  • Everything that you create should have a hook to it.  Having that hook is invaluable.
  • 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 your content so that it works.
  • 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.

Stephan Spencer Links

Neal Schaffer Links

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Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

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 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 interview, 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 that I have thanks to you built over time here on this podcast. And today is really no exception. Today, we actually go a little bit longer because I like to pick people that I also can learn from and today 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 at the episodes, I did an episode number 183 on influencer marketing for search engine optimization, this is this concept of building backlinks for SEO, leveraging the concept of of influence. And back 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 Cypress because now we have another SEO expert. And Stephen Spencer, who is our guest today is one of these 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 really, really thick manual for SEO. He's also the co author of social e commerce, and the author of Google power search. And if nothing else, this blew me away when I saw it. But Tony Robbins said, quote, I know Stephen, 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. 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 in to 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 Stephen Spencer, Stephen, welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast. It's great to see you again.

Stephan Spencer:

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.

Neal Schaffer:

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 author, 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 trop Hagen was a contributor to my blog and talking about this, you know, that, you know, his social media, the new SEO and and the impact that Google Plus will have on SEO. So obviously we've come a long way since then, but I'm really curious to hear what you're going to present to us today. But before that, Stephen, for those that are not familiar with you that are listening, please introduce yourself.

Stephan Spencer:

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?

Neal Schaffer:

I do not know.

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, this is a fun trivia. It was called backrub and 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.

Neal Schaffer:

You know, I still in my mind remember mosaic Alta Vista and I have these memories of logging in and that the US robotics 14.4k modem, you know, the America Online or Yeah, it just crazy memories. It's amazing how far we've come, huh?

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, yeah. I remember those days. And back then, when there were so many search engines he had to optimize for, like Lycos and and Infoseek, and metal crawler and web crawler and all that you had to create separate pages for each of these. Well, you didn't have to. But that's that was the prevailing wisdom, which was terrible advice. I didn't do much of that, because I always thought that was stupid. I mean, it's, frankly, it was spammy. It wasn't just stupid. But boy, have we come a long ways with SEO and 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.

Neal Schaffer:

So Stephen, these days is your work primarily as a consultant. Do you have an agency? What do you do day to day?

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, I have an agency, I have a team. And now we're working on different kinds of clients we've worked with see Sony, Chanel, Zappos, CNBC, Bloomberg business, we Volvo, but 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. Yeah. So the small guys who are making a big difference, like what is my IP address, comm has been one of my clients for the last four years or so. And I think it like 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.

Neal Schaffer:

So for those that are listening, there is just so much potential. If if you get it right, obviously, I assume that starts with the right content, but I am just always amazed. It's funny, you know, being really active in social media, a lot of people talk about, you know, I got such You know, this many likes and, and, and I look more and more social media as being 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. Whereas and 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 deliver traffic from search engines. It is 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 the incredible value that you can get from from doing it. Right?

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, well, you can get that from some social platforms as well. But you've got to do that you 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 afterwards 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 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 doesn't work that way with Facebook doesn't work that way with Instagram or Snapchat or most of the platforms. But there are a few that you can really take advantage in that way.

Neal Schaffer:

And then No, you're absolutely right. And that's always my advice when it comes to content longevity. Obviously, you have you know, blog content text video with YouTube podcasts as well. It's 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. But yeah, I've seen incredible, long lasting results from that, 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 seen tweets, instead of going to a tweet that they found a year ago on Twitter search, which probably is not going to happen,

Stephan Spencer:

right. And I consider YouTube a search engine to it is the number To search engine, technically, but right, it's also a social network where people are commenting and favoriting, and communicating and checking the community tab and that sort of thing. So, yeah, leverage it like a social network as well, not just as a search engine. In fact, the majority of, 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.

Neal Schaffer:

Interesting. So let's move on to that that first topic of how SEO and social media can can work together beginning with YouTube. And, you know, I'm sure you read much more about this stuff than I do. But just last week, there was something that caught my eye that even even a YouTube video embedded in a blog post carries some SEO value for whether the YouTube video or the, I'm sure you're going to straighten this out out for me and all the listeners. But what is this relationship? I've had people, there's a video tool company called wave dot video, and I was at a conference before Coronavirus, and they came up to me and saying, hey, Neil, we're noticing that when creators create videos for their blog posts, and embed them back in their blog, that that also helps with their SEO as well. I'm sure you're gonna go above and beyond that, but But for now, if we're not very active on YouTube, and we are creating, though a lot of blog content, what would be you know, what is your advice for getting started as how do we look at YouTube to to help with our SEO?

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, so let's actually set the record straight about what you're just describing that wave that video was 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 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 in another video. So here's what you do. Instead, you drive the visitor from your blog to YouTube, if you care about YouTube, if you care about your YouTube channel, and your metrics and getting that watch time and getting 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 all a lot of people don't realize that. So you go to your channel homepage. And you see where it says View All. If you click on that, there's a list equals and then some string of characters after that in the URL, that's your playlist ID for your view off, you have a view all playlist we all do. And that's every video on your channel. And that's this list equals and then the ID can be added to any YouTube video URL. Any not just a video from your channel, not just somebody else's video, but any video on YouTube. You could say alright, watch this video, this great TED Talk. It's very inspiring. It's not me, it's somebody that I you know, rate highly. And then you added the ampersand list equals with your view all. Now the next video they get is going to be one of your videos, and then another video. 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, like never link out to YouTube again, without adding that 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 genius.

Neal Schaffer:

That is really solid advice. So we basically 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 goes to our videos.

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, so that's you're taking whatever that YouTube URL is for a video, right? The the V equals whatever the code is for that video, and there's an ampersand character list equals whatever that list ideas for the playlist you want them to be watching after they finish that video.

Neal Schaffer:

And 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

Stephan Spencer:

haven't tried that. But I would imagine it would if you are going to use embeds. And I hope you've 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 go on the YouTube platform, because I want my channel to get the watch time. So if you are using embeds, and you don't want those related videos at the end to have your competitors in there, right, because that is the default, ad ampersand REL equals zero to the YouTube URL that's embedded in the player. So you got some 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, that 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.

Neal Schaffer:

That's fantastic advice. Thank you. Yeah, I mean, I suppose Would you agree that having YouTube videos, in your blog content of YouTube videos that truly serve 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 on your website longer?

Stephan Spencer:

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. So yeah, 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?

Neal Schaffer:

I do not, I'm taking a lot of notes. You can imagine.

Stephan Spencer:

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, you know, having that pop up there, rather than just sending 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.

Neal Schaffer:

Well, so this brings up another question of 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. So 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 then you put that link with that asset subscribe is sort of a common tactic. You see,

Stephan Spencer:

it is a common tactic what I've learned so this is a Ninja Technique that Evan Carmichael uses. He had 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 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.

Neal Schaffer:

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.

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, it well, it makes sense. If you're 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 a 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 it's a new video. It's it's a properly edited, finished production quality video then. So what Evan does is he does the live stream Like we're doing right now a live stream on clubhouse. While we're recording this podcast interview, he does it on Instagram. It's an Instagram Live. And with Instagram, his his guests 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, I don't know, Tony Robbins or Brian Tracy or somebody huge on as a guest. Then all their peeps know that this guest has gone live, 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 recording of the live stream from from Instagram, and then publishes that as an edited video on YouTube. So instead of it being vertically stacked video of him in 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 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 Sonny Leonard Uzi has her hot scripts formula approach where she says if you follow this with h o T stands for hook outcome, testimonial, rather than leading in with Hey, I'm Stephen Spencer, co author of The Art of SEO and blah, blah, blah. Nobody cares. They want to know why should I 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 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 edit has his team edit them and post them to his YouTube channel.

Neal Schaffer:

That's awesome. Yeah, I've heard a lot of that advice. It's it's I mean, I guess you could say the same for a blog post. They get to it, they see the title, do the first few sentences hook them in. But yeah, I mean, for video, I suppose even more important, there's, you know, when we think of a TV channel or radio channel, it's just so easy to switch out to another video. So uh, yeah, 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, hopefully this is this is really great. Any other. I mean, 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.

Stephan Spencer:

Okay, so I do have a 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 real quickly. So one is to have a foreign language translation of the YouTube automatic transcription. They there's an SRT file that you can download, which has all the timestamps, and this is done automatically YouTube transcribes your content that you upload. And you can, let's say, if you're trying to target a Spanish audience, a Spanish speaking audience, then you can get that translated the SRT file, keep all the timestamps intact, re upload that as a translation in Spanish, there's 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.

Neal Schaffer:

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 or? Exactly and creators? 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.

Stephan Spencer:

I've never tried them for that I personally would just get a I would just use somebody that I find on Upwork who speaks native Spanish or or whatever language I'm trying to translate to. So that's just one little thing. There's so many others. Let's say that, for example. Oh, and that's the thing. 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. A hashtags are Little more useful than the tags. But most people don't click on hashtags inside of 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 in YouTube, but they're just not that popular.

Neal Schaffer:

So, Stephen, 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 taxonomy for my site. So you know, are you saying that those tools in terms of like tags, there's just little 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, or

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, Leave, 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. And it's just ignore that. But if you are using a tool like this, like, Can I mention the tool that does it okay to use to mention a tool? I mean, I'm not associated with it. Well, I

Neal Schaffer:

think, yeah, I think the two big ones have to buddy and vid IQ are the two Yeah, you know, main, yeah, let's see, I will. Okay, I'm out, then we need to use

Stephan Spencer:

the one that you just mentioned. So to buddy has this AB split test feature that I do love, and it allows you to split test it alls. But more importantly, thumbnails, the first thing that people look at, and that kind of 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 brought I 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. And you can have these, 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 Akif 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 your thumbnails, and they want to watch more videos. So that's just super Ninja, not not only would I test the thumbnails, I would also test the 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.

Neal Schaffer:

So like, I subscribe to the other tool vid IQ. So are you saying that really? And, you know, I, this leads to another question about YouTube SEO, which is keyword research, right? So I think SEO are so used to, you know, using a tool like h refs, or sem rush or, you know, what have you for that keyword research. And these tools also promise this capability for you to win? I've I've read different things online, like, it's, you know, it's not accurate, or what's your, you know, what's your take on keyword research for YouTube? Is it I mean, what tools would you recommend? Or process? So

Stephan Spencer:

it's, so it's really hard to get keyword data on YouTube, people do search? Do on Google. So if you're only using Google focused seo keyword research tools, you're you're getting skewed data, right? So people are searching for how to type kind of tutorial searches 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 right and put in a couple 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 you free.

Neal Schaffer:

And you can use I've never tried like long tail keyword searches in Google Trends. Can you do that as well?

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, it's just how do you compare like when if you're just getting percentages? How do you compare these keywords to each other, so in a meaningful way that it gives you actionable insights. So that's the trick, if you just put one keyword in there, there's no context around it. Right? If I'm comparing, let's say, laptop versus laptops, 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 that 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. And having some tools that give you YouTube specific data is just invaluable. And and the tools that you mentioned that 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 keyword tool.io. There's just so many of these tools. And I also look at Google specific keyword tools like Moz, keyword Explorer, I love that tool. And and it gives me insight that maybe a YouTube specific tool can't provide. Because I'm not able to see all the same kind of features like I can look just at question based keywords, for example, with Moz, keyword Explorer, or with rank Ranger keyword finder, there's some of these keyword tools that are very full featured, right, I just want to see questions, I just want to see like brainstorming ideas, I want to look at synonyms and and real closely related terms, I want to look at like a topic graph or topical relationships. And there is some really sophisticated features like the topic explorer inside of search metrics. I just, 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 in even just the YouTube search box is right search keyword data for you. Because if you start typing some keystrokes, let's say that I don't know you're you're a big your 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 use sometimes the tool called superval, which takes all of those suggestion engines, YouTube suggests Google suggests Yahoo search assist all that and combines them together into one screen. It's a free tool. So v l e COMM And as you're typing your keystrokes, it populates the 10 suggestions from each of those Amazon Wikipedia even asked comm or answers.com, I should say, and yeah, there's a few others, Bing, etc. and combines it all in one screen. It's really cool.

Neal Schaffer:

That that is brilliant. So in other words, YouTube suggests works the same way that Google suggests does, but it's obviously based on YouTube specific data correct.

Stephan Spencer:

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 takes you write to the search results of that keyword up from that engine. Pretty cool.

Neal Schaffer:

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, I wanted to I know that 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 you know, SEO there alone, we could have gone on for another 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 of getting this SEO punch from their social media?

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I won't restrict it just to Pinterest, because I find that a lot of people aren't really 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 getting 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, any reach, it's not going to happen. But let's 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, maybe inspirational little video, you upload it natively to each of those platforms. And then you create a listicle. around that, you embed that that video. And you can actually you don't have to it doesn't have to be a YouTube embed, it could be a Facebook embedded, for example, it could be there's, you know, a few different options there. But if if you if you have a kind of a long form article to go with that video content, that if 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, shownotes pages, they're actually long form blog posts, I've incorporated into them things like texels, calm or unsplash stock photo images that are free. Now there's 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 clicked at tweets to further break up the text and make it you know more visually interesting any books that are mentioned, we'll take the book cover and and add that as a visual and link that to the Amazon page for that book. Like it's it's a compelling read. And, and 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, so many more keywords on the page than what you had previously. What I used to have previously was just a very short set of bullets. Right? This is what the episode is about bullet bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet bullet. Yeah, that's it. And then the audio player. What 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 just killing it now with gets getting so much more traffic to these pages. So we took the entire back catalogue hundreds of episodes. And I found somebody in the Philippines, who would do it on a per episode page, you know, three bucks an episode essentially. And she just cranked through the entire back catalogue of three different podcasts or shows. So probably there were 500 episodes that she went through we can I have two shows marketing, speak and get yourself optimized. And then my wife Ryan has her stellar life podcast. So that was a lot of work, but totally worth it. And 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 I don't know, 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, what's his last name, he's got this this approach. He calls the content diamond. It's just very simple. Where the home for all of this great content that you create that you publish across all the social platforms also lives on the long form blog post page. Just makes total sense.

Neal Schaffer:

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 is registered with if you have you know libsyn or buzzsprout that that's where you're creating this content then correct?

Stephan Spencer:

Well it that's also copied over there. But But I do it differently there because people who are looking at a pod catcher 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 marketing, speak, calm, for example, or on Get yourself optimized calm. 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 like I had Scott Donal on and I'm on page one for his name. With the episode show notes page. It did just It works like like crazy.

Neal Schaffer:

Well, that's interesting, because I've gone through, I never created posts for my episodes, and then I created you know, I guess you could call them transcripts, they started with bullet points. And then you know, they moved on to transcripts, but they never really did well, I they never really generated a lot of traffic, a lot of engagement. So I just stopped doing it all together, right. 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 with your SEO, is that a correct assumption? It

Stephan Spencer:

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 they vetted background checks, interviewed and everything. Instead of having to do all that stuff yourself. I mean, you can use essentially like a Craigslist for the Philippines called online jobs.ph. And that's a good site. It's, there's, there's 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. So, and for 600 bucks, that seems like a no brainer to me.

Neal Schaffer:

So let me ask Yeah, I use 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 there's a lot of um, there's a lot of people that apply to like anything, right? So you need to be careful, don't say, yeah, there's 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, what is sort of do you have for every one of your show episodes? Are you saying like, Hey, you know, let's let's focus on like making this 1000 words so that they become really nice summaries? Or is it just however long? The episode is just do the entire thing. It's however

Stephan Spencer:

long the episode is that that's how long the transcript is, which then gets turned into the 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 my wife's to 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 the audios because she just doesn't have time. But she loves going through the episode shownotes pages, the long form blog posts and checking out what 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 videos, or listen to your audios. And they can read much quicker than that. So yeah,

Neal Schaffer:

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 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 you know, the competition's fierce I mean, you're 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 that investment. And I think for a lot of the solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs that are in business owners that are listening, I mean, it comes down to the content, right. 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. And Stephen, 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 with hooks and getting links and not just social shares. And what's really interesting, Stephen is the SEO world all of a sudden, has looked into podcasts, I've started to get a lot more pitches. 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 not the show notes, but on the other side of backlink generation. But on that note, you mentioned, you know, content marketing strategies, and I think, you know, getting links and not just social shares is is something that a lot of content creators are looking for. So what would be your, your advice there before we close out this episode, or

Stephan Spencer:

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 as a, as a name 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 like, how do I do that? How do I? How do I do like give me give me an example of a keyword or topic. Just just mentioned one, I'll show you how easy this is.

Neal Schaffer:

Okay, backlink building.

Stephan Spencer:

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 colon 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.

Neal Schaffer:

And, you know, I think it's so important that we say, you know, you're not, 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 when China was still in its infancy in terms of developing. And what was really interesting was that there was now these new consumer brands that were born out of nowhere, because they used to be completely state run, it was, you know, we produce people consume, we don't have to compete against imports. And China, you know, they could use that to their advantage to look at the development of the Western world, and 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 made sense to them. So, you know, and they've been able to grow so quickly over the last few decades doing that. And I think that, you know, most economies are you know, most people overseas are always looking outside of their country for ideas. And I think you know, us Americans tend not to have that mindset because we're you know, 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 you're not emulating them it's purely for inspirational but the magic is in making it your own and owning it and applying it to your brand your content so that it works, right. That's an art that takes time but yeah, don't be afraid, you know, hey, you're just copying. No, you're not copying you're you're getting inspired.

Stephan Spencer:

Yeah. And and you're taking it to the to 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 buzz Sumo study, if you Google that, right, right million headline buzzsumo study. So you'll see these certain phrases just crush it. Right. So you might incorporate one of those phrases or a very provocative or controversial or polarizing, adjective or adverb or other type of keyword in there that really punches up your, your your hook into making it a proper headline. And then maybe you find a viral meme image to add to it. And and you write to your little writers brief 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 curator. People who do really well with content marketing, understand that you have to have a separate curator from the writer, that they're, they're different skill sets, 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 the your team does all of my team does all this stuff. For me. They do the writing, the ghost writing 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.

Neal Schaffer:

That's us. And yeah, I think if you're going to invest, it's funny, Stephen and just closing notes here. As I look at like my income and my expenses of the last 12 months, I realized that you know, travel and even though my clients were paying for my travel, it there were still all these other expenses that that 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 like you know, 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, 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, Stephen, we covered a lot of great YouTube SEO advice. So Stephen just a final note where can people you know, go and find out more about you I see your books there in the background, the art of SEO Google power search social ecommerce, but and you know, where should people go in and tell us the name of your podcast as

Stephan Spencer:

well? Yep. So Stephen Spencer comm that's my main site, STP h a n. And the podcasts, websites are marketing, speak calm and get yourself optimized, calm. The latter is not an SEO podcast. It's actually a bio hacking life hacking and spirituality. Just, it's really amazing. It's a passion project. I love it. And yeah, if you're wanting to learn more about SEO and social media and all that goodness, start with Stephen Spencer, calm. There's tons of free resources on there.

Neal Schaffer:

Thank you so much for a friend. Thanks so much for offering all of your 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, Stephen 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, Stephen has his own podcast as mentioned, you should check that out as well. We'll make sure we put that in the show notes. 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 on the world, make it a great virtual social day. And we'll see you next time. Bye Bye everybody. And SEO nada