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When we suggest to increase your website’s visibility, we don’t mean to use neon colors and the largest fonts possible. With author and entrepreneur John Jantsch, we discuss:

  • Understanding today’s search engine optimization (04:37)
  • 3 things to know before you build a website. (07:19)
  • The 3 elements for building a successful web page: research, structure, and networking (15:25)
  • The difference between a landmark theme and a niche theme. (19:45)
  • The benefit of linking other website contents to your web page. (25:47)
  • How to recognize when you have reached the “critical mass stage”. (33:56)
  • Which direction to go in marketing your content. (50:36)

John Jantsch is a speaker and marketing consultant. As the founder of Duct Tape Marketing, John specializes in assisting small businesses to grow by installing predictable, repeatable marketing systems.

John is the author of the following marketing and business books: Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine, and most recently, SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs.

Find out more about John Jantsch and his upcoming events.

You can also check find out more about John’s Blog and Duct Tape Marketing.

0:00:00 Micheal Port: Welcome to Steal the Show with Michael Port. This is Michael. Today’s guest is John Jantsch, and John is a true friend. I’ve a lot of friends on the show. Some of them I know better than others, of course. And John is one of those. I’ve worked with John in one way shape or form for a long, long time. And he is special, not just because what he teaches is so practical, but also because he’s a truly good human being. A lot of people are great. There’s a lot of great people out there, but they’re not all good people. And John is a great person and he’s a good person. He’s a marketing consultant, speaker, and he’s the author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine, and most recently, SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs. And he’s the founder of The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. And John has spent the last 25 years working with entrepreneurs, mostly preaching that marketing is a system. And it doesn’t have to be that complicated. He is the feature marketing contributor to American Express Open Forum, and is a very popular presenter of workshops and webinars for organizations such as, American Express, Intuit, Verizon, HP, and Tetrix. It’s also, probably important that you know, that his favorite movie is, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And that, just as Ferris says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Hey John.

0:01:53 John Jantsch: Hey Michael, how are you? So great to be back with you.

0:01:56 Micheal Port: I’m very, very glad that we’re on the air, rather than on video. Because if we’re on video, one of two things might happen.

0:02:08 John Jantsch: You’d have to comb your hair, first off.

0:02:09 Micheal Port: Oh, No I have to shave actually, so now it’s three. I ran out of razors, so I’m very scruffy right now. But, you may either, A; Do your imitation of me, which is hysterically funny, and completely embarrassing. And, number two; you may dance, which is hysterically funny and completely embarrassing also. [chuckle]

0:02:35 John Jantsch: I don’t know that I’d dance. I might whip out my guitar. How’s that?

0:02:39 Micheal Port: Well, all I’m saying is that I saw you dance at my wedding.

0:02:41 John Jantsch: Oh, yeah.

0:02:45 Micheal Port: So that might take a beer or two. I don’t know.

0:02:47 John Jantsch: I haven’t drank any really expensive scotch yet though, today. So…

0:02:51 Micheal Port: Ah, that’s it. I wondered why the bill was much higher than quoted for the bar from the wedding?

0:03:00 John Jantsch: I got them to go in the back and open up a special cabinet.

0:03:02 Micheal Port: I knew there’s something like that. So listen. Obviously for the listeners, we focus mostly on public speaking and performance, in different aspects of life. And every once in a while, I’ll bring a guest on, who has a slightly different focus. We did an episode on sales recently, and performing in-sales or as a sales person. But, you have a new book out on SEO. I mentioned it in the introduction, Search Engine Optimization. And because you are a professional speaker, very good one at that. And, probably one of the most practical marketing teachers that I know. I thought it’d be nice if you can help us understand how to get more people to our speaking websites or the page on our website that outlines our speaking. And of course, for people who are listening that aren’t speakers per se, but they’re just learning how to be better performers in different parts of their life, in their sales conversations, negotiations, etcetera. Many of them either have websites for some other purpose, or they work in an organization that has a website, and they can probably take that information back to that team. So, that’s what I’d like to do, if you’re okay with it?

0:04:26 John Jantsch: Absolutely.

0:04:27 Micheal Port: Okay. So first, for those who are really new to search engine optimization, could you just give us an overview of what that means today?

0:04:37 John Jantsch: Yeah, and I’m glad you added the word “today,” because I’ve been doing this long enough to see dramatic, dramatic changes. I mean, ultimately, search engine optimization is the art of somebody doing the things that they believe Google wants, so that when somebody turns to that search engine, and types in a phrase, your page or website show up highly. So, that’s obviously what people wanna do. They wanna show up on that… Somebody goes out there looking for a sales-related speaker, or something. And you know, we want our pages to show up there. And because it was… A lot of factors… There was a lot of complication, there was a lot of unknown. I mean, the online world was kinda new. It really kind of amounted to figuring out the tricks that could help your page, leapfrog your competitors, and vice versa.

0:05:26 John Jantsch: And these tricks, unfortunately, were not what Google wanted. I mean, ultimately, what people have to remember when it comes to SEO, is that Google’s only goal, primary goal, is that, when somebody turns to a search engine and types in a phrase, that the Google returns the most relevant, useful, authoritative content, that matches that search as closely as possible. That’s their goal when 100% of the time. But, because it’s a complex thing, you got billions of searches and billions of pages, it’s actually hard for them to figure out exactly what your intent is, and what is the best content. So they use a lot of things: Age of the site, who else is linking back to it. A lot of factors to help them figure out what pages to rank the highest. And so, as I said, a lot of SEO, for a lot of years, was just figuring that game out and figuring how to scam the game. [laughter] But fortunately, where we are today, the search engines, and unfortunately I usually default to Google, but there are a couple other search engines as well.

0:06:30 Micheal Port: Really? There are?


0:06:33 John Jantsch: From the other 12% that’s left of search. But the search engines have gotten so much smarter today, that they are doing a much better job at weeding out obvious attempts to game the system. And things like buying links… And from thousands of links coming in from Russia or India, or some other place, that just don’t seem natural. And so consequently, search engine optimization, while, maybe every bit as important as it’s ever been, is really no longer this, “Under the hood black art.” We intentionally named this book, “SEO for Growth,” because growth is a strategic word. It’s not, “SEO for Clicks,” or “SEO for Traffic.”

0:07:18 Micheal Port: Sure.

0:07:19 John Jantsch: Because, I believe that now, the tools and the ability that we have to go and learn so much by doing proper type of research that’s related to search engine optimization, is that, we now have to build our websites with search engine optimization at the forefront. We have to, in fact, decide who our ideal client is and the journey they go on, and what their intent is when they go out there and search, before we ever build a website, before we ever decide what our editorial content is today. So those things, those important elements, our website and our content, are woven together completely by this channel of search engine optimization. And, the days when you’d go to a web designer, and they’d make you a pretty site, and then you’d come say, “Okay, let’s write some great words that’ll attract people.” People would do that, would put those on the pages and then we go, “Okay let’s go SEO it.” [chuckle] That practice really no longer works, or certainly not effective, because of how integrated these three things are.

0:08:19 Micheal Port: So I wanna discuss how we build these kinds of pages. Before that, I wonder though… Most people, when they think about Google, and they say, “Well, John, there’s billions of pages on Google. And even if I did some SEO, how on earth am I gonna get up on to the 1st or 2nd or 3rd or 4th, or even 5th page of Google, so that people would actually find me?” It may seem like, and I think that, I might see it this way too, myself, “Gosh, at this point, feels like so late in the game to try to get up on to the first couple pages of Google, for the ‘keywords’ that you wanna be found for.” It might seem so far from reach. Is it realistically possible for somebody who’s getting into speaking, or has been speaking for a while, but not focusing on SEO? Is it realistic to think that they can get found on Google, based on basic searches for people who speak on their topic?

0:09:35 John Jantsch: You bet. So, first off, I’ve got some really bad news. The best place to hide a dead body these days is, page two of Google. And, so it really is not page two or three or four or five, it’s page one. And, 90% of the clicks happen on page one results.

0:09:50 Micheal Port: Wow.

0:09:50 John Jantsch: So that’s the bad news. However, like all things, it depends on the competitiveness of your industry. Now, if you speak about the aspect, I’m not even gonna be able to do this example very well, but the aspects of physics and rocket propulsion, to a very niche audience, yeah, couple of things will have you on page one. [chuckle] Right?

0:10:17 Micheal Port: Yeah. Sure.

0:10:17 John Jantsch: Obviously, if you are a marketing speaker, or you’re a sales speaker, or you’re a motivational speaker, then you have to have a different strategy. But the strategy is not that much different actually than just getting found as a speaker, period. Right? I mean, somebody who wants to be a motivational speaker today, is going to have to go out there and network. They’re going to have to go out there and maybe take some smaller gigs, maybe take some free gigs, so that they can not only hone their craft, but so that people can start to hear them and talk about them, and share their experiences, so that they can actually start developing a network of people that would actually not just hire them, but talk about them and praise them, and give them testimonials and reviews.

0:11:02 John Jantsch: Well, the same is true really of building a speaker’s web page or speaker’s website. You have to certainly think strategically about, what is that niche that perhaps is a little narrower, that I can own? We call these, long-tail phrases, in search engine optimization. So motivational speaker, really, really competitive. Now motivational speaker in my town, or motivational speaker for XYZ subject in my town. Those are phrases that are also being typed in to Google, just not as frequently. But, the good news about those is, those phrases are actually easier to optimize around. And, the beauty of those too is, the more specific you get in, niching-down, your topics and your things that you talk about the… Not only is it easier to win those, but the intent, when somebody goes out there and types in… You know, if somebody types in, motivational speaker, quite frankly, they can mean a lot of things for that. [chuckle]

0:12:06 John Jantsch: Maybe they wanna become a motivational speaker. Maybe they will find a motivational speaker. Maybe they want to do research for a paper, that they’re writing in college on motivational speakers. So, the more, drilled-down, you can think about optimizing your content, for the more kind of, natural intent or known intent, from that phrase. If somebody is looking for a speaker that talks about a very narrow niche topic in a very specific part of the world, it’s pretty easy to win searches for that. So, in some cases, even if your overall objective is, “I wanna be the world’s greatest motivational speaker and get hired for five, and six, and twenty, and thirty thousand dollars, to do motivational speaking,” you start by winning a couple places that are much narrower, and going deeper.

0:12:54 Micheal Port: And this would start way before you ever go online. This starts with the choice of big idea and the promise you make to the audience. ‘Cause of course, we’re not gonna decide to speak… I wouldn’t recommend people speak on topics, because they think they can get found on the first page of Google just based on those topics, if they’re not interested in that topic. We’re not gonna niche ourselves down to such an extent just to be found. But, we want to be designing speeches that are very unique, even if a broad audience wants to see them, that there’s still very unique aspects to the speech. The big idea is really clear, the promise is really clear. So, does that make sense to you, John? That it goes farther back even, I think, than… ‘Cause if you start with a very bland, big broad topic speech, you’re probably gonna have a hard time with SEO. But, you’re probably gonna have a hard time getting booked anyway?

0:13:56 John Jantsch: Yeah. There’s no question. And that’s the strategic element, right? I think that for somebody to stand out and have their particular point of view or, “Big Idea,” as you call it, be something that people are attracted to or that they wanna share. There’s a pretty good chance it has to have some unique quality to it. And in many cases, that unique quality might not be something people are turning in droves to search for. [chuckle] So, in many ways, you could carve out that unique thing, but you’re gonna then have to actually promote the heck out of that unique thing, so that it becomes recognizable language. So, for example, one of the… I know you you have a lot of core elements in, “Book Yourself Solid.” And in, “Duct Tape Marketing,” one of my kinda core elements, it’s something I call, “The Marketing Hourglass.” And, that is a term that I coin that I use… Have used for over a decade and it’s now, it’s actually kinda risen to the point now, where I see other people using it. It is very searchable, it’s very easy to explain to people, and it… I pretty much own that term, but I actually committed to owning that.

0:15:09 John Jantsch: And over time, was to really carve it out and make it mean something. And so some cases, that’s a little harder job. But in some cases, that could be the best way over time, or long-term at least, to build a pretty potent asset.

0:15:25 Micheal Port: So, where should we start? Let’s say we’ve already got a speech that we’ve been working on, and we’re doing a little bit, or we’re doing a lot, very… We’re doing it often. Where do we start in terms of building a page or pages, that are going to get us ranked high? It just seems like such a big topic. Where do we start? How do we break it down and make it simpler?

0:15:45 John Jantsch: Yeah, so there really are three things. The first one starts with research. The second one really then, is the structure of your page. And then the third element is networking. So, there are maybe, 347 factors in the Google algorithm. But those three, we address those three elements. We’re probably gonna get most of it right. So, the first one is research. And SEO people have done keyword research since day one. Because essentially, there are tools out there that can pull all the data from, what’s being searched, what’s being said, how phrases are being used? And you get a real sense of not only the actual words, and questions, and phrases, and themes, that people are putting to search engines. But the volume, the amount of times they’re putting those in there. So, any time, regardless of the type of business, but, certainly in this case as we’re talking about speakers. Let’s say you were gonna design a page on your existing website, and you wanted it to hopefully rank for your, narrowly, dilly-defined idea.

0:16:51 John Jantsch: Well, the first thing you do, is you would go to a couple tools like, Google Keyword Planner, is a great one., is a great one. Wikipedia, is actually a great source for research. And then you’d also turn maybe and do some searching in forums and bulletin boards. And the easy way to find those is, just type into Google Forums, and then the plus sign, and then whatever your topic is. And, what you’re probably going to find, is a number of places where people are actually talking about your forum. Or your forum, your idea. And you’re going to find in Wikipedia, maybe a whole outline of all of the research that’s out there on your idea. You’re going to find by going to,, the questions, that people are asking related to your key terms.

0:17:44 John Jantsch: In Google Keyword Planner, you’re gonna find, not only the related terms, and the ways, maybe, that are more popular, that people say things that you’re thinking about, trying to articulate. But you’re also gonna find out how much people are willing to bid, for those terms. And all of that data thrown together, shows you the commercial intent. The amount of volume that’s out there. Who else is talking about that particular term, or those terms that you’re talking about, and maybe the competitiveness of them. And so from that, you can typically, when we’re working with a business, we’ll use all of those tools. And, before we ever design a website or page, or decide how the content is going to go on there, and what the words are going to actually be, we try to come up with some landmark themes, and then some kind of niche themes that we’re going to put around that.

0:18:33 John Jantsch: For example, let’s say we came up with a dozen phrases that we think are, either dead on what we wanna win in search, but then there’s a handful that are related in one way or another to it. So the mistake a lot of people make is they’ll just try to load all that up in to a page and say, “Let’s get all these words on a page.” And, what we have to do is think about, kind of nodes that might circle this page. So if we have a speakers page on our topic, we’ll definitely want to decide what’s the primary phrase or theme that we wanna win for that term.

0:19:07 John Jantsch: But then we have to simply think about blogging and things that we do on an ongoing basis, that will point back to that page that will also help send signals about additional content or related content to that page. You don’t just design a page and say, “Let me SEO it.” It’s actually, you design an entire strategy around the handful of key word phrases that you wanna win, and then you have to commit to ongoing promotion or ongoing update of that. That’s another mistake a lot of people make with search engine optimization, is they view it as an event, when it is actually just a marketing practice.

0:19:45 Micheal Port: Can you give me an example of a landmark theme and a niche theme?

0:19:50 John Jantsch: Yeah sure. For me, I’m a marketing consultant, so phrases like, “content marketing,” and “referral marketing,” and “search engine optimization,” are landmark themes. I mean those are phrases that I’m going to build into my home page. I’m going to build them into the core pages that link to them, and I’m gonna write about those all the time. But I might also write about, “Referral marketing systems,” or, “Referral marketing programs,” that start to get to be a little more long-tail. And I’ll write a blog post say around, all the ways to think about designing a referral marketing system, and that will actually point to my page that talks about the referral marketing products or courses that I offer.

0:20:36 Micheal Port: Makes perfect sense to me. So, if you just stopped with landmark themes, well, obviously you probably own a number of those landmark themes, ’cause you’ve been doing this for so long. But, if you’re newer, and you stop just with the landmark themes, you might not get where you want to go. You might not reach your goals. But that’s why you’ve got to, niche down, into those more specific themes underneath the larger category, those landmark themes and start to try to own some of those terms. Am I getting it, is that right?

0:21:11 John Jantsch: That’s absolutely right. So that’s the research and then the content. And we don’t need to get into this, but you also need to be doing the things that ensures that Google knows what your page is about. You know, the metadata, and the title, and the URL, and the attributes for any images. And all of this is, if you wanna Google, “On-page SEO factors,” you’ll find a Duct Tape Marketing post on what I’m talking about, that list kind of the, 10 important things that are kind of, under the hood, but they’re important to do to every blog post and to every page. But the other element that I think a lot of people miss, is the third element, which is what I call, networking. A lot of people used to call it, “Link building.” But, the idea…

0:21:57 Micheal Port: Wait hold on, did I miss the second?

0:22:00 John Jantsch: The first part is research, the second part then is, how you structure your web pages and how you optimize the pages. SEO people call that, “On-page optimization.”

0:22:12 Micheal Port: Okay, got it. Okay, got it.

0:22:14 John Jantsch: Then the third component is what SEO people call, “Off-page optimization.” And again, most people think of that as, link building, so getting other people to link to your content. And that’s always been a very important factor in the Google algorithm. Because, if you think about it, if they already decided that, is a rocking site, fully trusted, everything they put out’s great. And then,, is linking to, Duct Tape Marketing, that’s a way for them to go, “Oh, that’s a pretty good signal.” Pretty strong signal that, that’s also a good site maybe. And, so they factor all of those kind of links back into helping one content, or some content rank above another.

0:22:55 Micheal Port: I remember John, back in the day, you and I we go way back, and I remember when people would e-mail and say, “Hey listen, you don’t know me, but I’m wondering if you want to do a link exchange?”

0:23:08 John Jantsch: Right.

0:23:09 Micheal Port: I couldn’t even imagine if someone did that now. I don’t think anybody’s asked me to do that in years.

0:23:15 John Jantsch: Yeah.

0:23:16 Micheal Port: Maybe they still ask you to do that, but, that seems to have just gone, fortunately, by the way side. So now, I imagine it’s much more organic now than it once was. Is that true you think?

0:23:31 John Jantsch: Yeah, there’s no question. And part of the reason people did that is because it worked. I mean it was just a numbers game. You had to get as many links as possible. Well now, it’s a quality and an organic game. Google part of the last couple times when they really changed the algorithm, and you hear all the SEO people whining. It’s because a lot of those kind of, nefarious ways that they got links, and even bought links, they said, “You know what, those are off the table now.”

0:23:56 Micheal Port: Right.

0:23:57 John Jantsch: And in fact, we’re penalizing you for them.

0:23:58 Micheal Port: Yeah, exactly. Well, anytime the SEO folks start whining, it’s because Google has determined that the SEO folks have figured out some way to game the system a little bit, and then they say, “Uh-huh, can’t do that anymore, so we’re changing it.” And the SEO people go, “No, no I thought we had it figured out! Darn, now we have to figure it out all over again!”

0:24:19 John Jantsch: I tell people all the time, every time Google does some, big panda, or penguin or hummingbird release, where they change all kinds of the algorithm, my traffic goes up every single time that they do. Because essentially… Again, all they want to do is reward people that are writing good, useful, relevant content, and they’re doing it for a long time. And so, you do that and you certainly won’t ever get penalized. But, you also have to think about getting those reciprocal links. That game has not gone away, but it’s changed. If I wrote a blog post, you and I have a relationship; we’ve networked. If I wrote a blog post and I said, “Michael, this is really something. It’s important. I think your readers will love this.” There’s a good chance that you might actually link to that or share that in social media because we have a relationship.

0:25:06 Micheal Port: I basically do anything you ask me to do. So, I think the answer would be, yes.

0:25:10 John Jantsch: So, bad example, but anyway… [chuckle] You know what I’m saying. Now that’s how people do reciprocal links. It’s because we’re writing this content and we’re sharing it. In my newsletter… If I see something great from, Heroic Public Speaking, I’m gonna share that with the folks in my newsletter. I may share that in a blog, in social media. And that’s what we have to actually think about doing. We have to actually develop those relationships that are content-based, with people who we share their content, they share our content. It’s useful, it’s valuable to our readers. It’s not simply done just to get the link.

0:25:47 Micheal Port: Actually, I might jump in here, as I wanna give an example of, how you do something that is on-page and off-page, at the same time, and I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s Fridays, that you put out your tools of the week.

0:26:02 John Jantsch: That’s right.

0:26:03 Micheal Port: Is that what you call it? “Tools of the week?”

0:26:05 John Jantsch: “Weekend Faves.” I actually do it on, Saturday. I’ve done it for five years.

0:26:09 Micheal Port: Yeah, “Weekend Faves,” but there is a really important point, that he’s done this for five years. Which, in consistency, is key. So, even if you are newer to this, understand that you can, if you are consistent, earn the same kind of rewards. It might not happen in an instant, but you can earn those rewards. But, I’ll let you explain it, because it’s such a great example of how you network, and also, do this on-page content marketing at the same time.

0:26:45 John Jantsch: Well, I think anybody can do this. I know in my writing… I love tools, I love to find new tools, and I certainly know that any of my blog posts when I would say, “the 10 tools for… ” blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, those are some of my most popular posts. And so, about five years ago, I decided I was just gonna write this every Saturday; it’ll be another piece of content. But it won’t be anything long-form at all. I’m just gonna say, “Look, hey! Here are three tools I ran across this week and I think they’re kinda cool.” And that’s about the extent of it. But then obviously, I link to them. And I have some processes in place where I’m just constantly looking for these, and I just bookmark them. So, it’s not a lot of work at all 

0:27:24 Micheal Port: Well, the reason I mention the off-page aspect to it is, I imagine that you notify the folks that you’re linking to. Or, somehow they become aware that you did, which could develop an offline relationship.

0:27:42 John Jantsch: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. That’s exactly where I was headed. The good news is most of these people see it because we promote it in social media. So, a lot of times they’ll reach out to us. But we do, on Monday, kinda send an e-mail saying, “Hey, we really think this is a great product, and just to let you know we featured in this.” And then we actually follow up on Tuesday; our main newsletter comes out. We have that in there. So it’s actually become a pretty… I’ve had people write to me and say that was most significant day they had, because it was a new startup, and they got all kinds of new users, because they got this exposure. So, clearly they’re pretty happy about that. In many cases, in fact almost all cases, they are willing to point to that content. They reach out. They share it. They share that they were featured in this. We get a lot of exposure from the people that are listed in there quite often, yes.

02:28:37 Micheal Port: And I imagine often you pick up another sponsor for your podcast, or advertiser, for one of your sites. Something I imagine, some of those relationships deepen over time.

0:28:48 John Jantsch: Yeah, there’s no question. There’s some where I’ve actually… My network of consultants, have benefited from the fact that one of these tools, would say, “Hey, we could help your consultants. We’re gonna give you a great deal, or we’ll give it to you for free, because you were so great for us.” So it just becomes another perk. I will say, as we’re talking about this though, it’s easy for people to get lulled into the thinking that, “Oh, I’ll do this for somebody and they’ll do it for me.” I think what you have to have though with this kind of networking, is a mindset that says, “Look, this is good for my readers. I find this useful. If that person that I’m pointing out doesn’t have any plan or inclination to promote me, fine.” I’m doing this because I think these three tools my readers would like seeing, and I think they’d be useful. And I think that any kind of networking and referral partnering that you do, that has to be the mindset.

0:29:40 Micheal Port: Here’s an example of that. There’s a company, new startup company just getting out there. They were introduced to me by somebody that I know, ’cause they wanted the introduction. They created this little app that speakers can use to capture e-mail addresses, when they’re giving a speech, and give away some really good stuff. And it’s different, it’s not the texting, it’s a little bit different. So they said, “Hey listen, we’d love to show this to you and see if you like it, and maybe try it out,” and I said, “Yeah, great.” So, I tried it out, thought it was great. And, I was looking to pick up a couple more sponsors for the, Heroic Public Speaking Live; and we don’t do a big sponsor thing at all.

0:30:25 Micheal Port: But, we take some sponsors who will then support… They’ll pay for a VIP dinner, or they’ll pay for all the backpacks, and some of the other swag, things like that. And so, I said to them, “Listen. I know you’re not flush with cash, you guys are just a little startup, so I’m not gonna suggest that you give me cash to sponsor anything. But, I’m happy to promote you guys at the event, if you give everybody who is attending the event, a year free subscription to your software.” And now, the people at the event are perfect customers for them, and they jumped on it right away. I said, “Great. So you’re now a sponsor. We’re gonna put your information in the show bill,” which is what we create, like a playbill. “And, we’re gonna pronounce this to everybody so that they can go and get it.

0:31:24 Micheal Port: And I don’t actually get anything from it. I’m not getting cash, so I’m not getting something tangible. But what I am doing, is I’m looking for opportunities to give additional value to the people that I serve. And I thought, “Well, this is one way. They would love this if they get a year of subscription and they decided to use it. Then it’s a good thing.” So, it’s the same thing that you’re talking about here. Now, the question is, “Is something like this gonna help me on SEO?” Probably, ’cause they will probably do a blog post talking about this relationship that they just started with, Heroic Public Speaking.

0:32:02 John Jantsch: Well, and I’d take it a step further. I would blog about just as a marketing strategy too. Because obviously, they are… They don’t have huge incremental cost in giving that subscription away to your folks. Maybe they’re losing some sales because there’s probably some people in that audience that if you said, “Hey you ought to go buy this,” they probably would. But, the thing that you know and I know is that, for every audience, that one of these speakers talks to and uses this, there’s gonna be about 10% of those people in the audience that are speakers, or potential speakers, or wannabe speakers. And so, they’re gonna get… Who are gonna say, “Wow, that technology is really cool. I’m gonna go ask where they got that.” And so, my guess is that the couple hundred people who go out there and use that because of you, are gonna turn into a couple thousand customers for that.

0:32:48 Micheal Port: And the concept of critical mass is important in so many different areas, especially when it comes to marketing. So they’re trying to reach a critical mass. So, they get the tipping point and they get enough people out there, talking about this platform that they’ve created. And it seems like the same thing is true with SEO.

0:33:09 John Jantsch: That’s right.

0:33:10 Micheal Port: I wonder, how do you know what you need to do to reach the critical mass? Or how do you know when you’ve reached a critical mass, that this is now starting to work out there on its own? ‘Cause, John, if you stopped doing SEO right now, not SEO. If you just stopped doing content marketing, you would still be sitting on the first page of Google for so many different things for years and years and years, because you’ve produced so much. The aggregate of what you’ve produced over the years, is gonna continue to reap rewards for many years to come. I look at it like compound interest in investing, it’s very similar. So, how long do you think it takes to reach that critical mass and how do you know you’re there?

0:33:56 John Jantsch: The first part of that is tough to tell. But, how long… People need to think of… If I were starting a site today, I’d have to think in terms of say like, a year, before I reached that critical mass. And what that critical mass means, is that I’ve produced enough content, I’ve optimized that content, I’ve got enough people to link to that content, and to share that content over time. It’s very difficult to do something in a competitive industry very, very quickly, because of the amount of content and competition that’s out there. Having said that, I’ve certainly seen some people that in a couple of years have not only reached critical mass, they certainly are to the point of what maybe took me ten years to do. [chuckle]

0:34:47 John Jantsch: So, and part of… I’ll give you a couple great examples. You know, Derek Halpern [0:34:51] ____ is certainly in that category. Over the course of about three years through a lot of really smart work, but a lot of hard work, and a lot of analytics and really studying what he was doing, has certainly gone past that critical mass. I’ll tell you another one that’s probably less known to your readers or listeners. But Brian Dean, has a site called Backlinko, so L-I-N-K-O, Backlinko, and done the same thing. He has studied and made an art out of analyzing where traffic came from, and where he got clicks, and how to tweak his content this way and test his content that way, and then he writes about it.

0:35:31 John Jantsch: And I think that that’s another great thing that I think a lot people underestimate is both, Derek and Brian, part of it is they certainly work hard and they’re in top [0:35:44] ____ that they study, and they produce great content. But, their content’s so useful, and they’re so free with teaching people the results that they’ve gotten from whatever practices that they’re doing or studying, that I think that’s another element that really has accelerated. Their timeframe is that people wanted to share their content, because it made them look smart, it helped their friends, and I think that’s an element that, if you wanna amplify the time, or speed up the time, or accelerate the timeframe for your search engine optimization, make sure that you’re producing content that is so much better than everybody else’s, and so much more useful that people want to share.

0:36:27 Micheal Port: Okay. So here’s where I run into a little stumbling block. Derek, and this, I don’t know the other gentleman, but they’re really tech savvy. They’re really interested in all that stuff, that’s their thing. But, what if I just wanna work with speakers? What if I just wanna coach people? Can you just do this for me? I think there’s a fair amount of people out there who just go, “I can’t do it.” I’m serious though, could you just do this? Can you just do this for someone so that they don’t have to do it, is that possible?

0:37:07 John Jantsch: Yeah. There are elements of search engine optimization that you, in many cases, you probably should hire somebody to do the work. Shameless plug for the book, a lot of what we wrote in the book, was to teach somebody actually how to be a better buyer of services as well. But what you can never abdicate is your strategy. You can never abdicate your big idea. You have to be able to articulate that, you have to have that so thoroughly down, that maybe somebody else could actually even write content for you. So hiring somebody who understands SEO, who builds websites, is a really smart thing to do. There are a lot of people out there that they buy a theme in WordPress and they throw up a website. But, a website designer, I’m gonna through another name out, Systematic, is a company out in California that does a lot of work for us, that understands… When they start putting together a home page, they don’t really, well I say they don’t care what I think it should look like.


0:38:12 John Jantsch: And ultimately comes into play, but they are designing elements of this website specifically for search engines, specifically for user experience, specifically for what we wanna do with our overall objectives in the entire site, before they are saying, “Well this should be blue, and we should have this picture here,” which is unfortunately where most people start.

0:38:32 Micheal Port: So they’re marketers not just designers.

0:38:34 John Jantsch: That’s right, that’s right. And that’s what we have… Our websites can’t be brochures anymore. They have to be marketing-activated machines.

0:38:41 Micheal Port: Yeah. I think about all my websites from a direct response perspective. I’m very, very focused on that, on making sure I know who’s coming, what I want them to do, and how I’m gonna get them to do it. I always go through those three steps, every time I work on a web page. And of course, I think about each web page individually, I don’t think about it as a site. I do think of it as a site, but every page has to have it’s own, very unique view on who’s coming, what you want them to do, and how you’re going to get them to do it. But I really don’t think about the SEO stuff, and sometimes I feel bad. I’m like, “I really know I should be doing this more, but I don’t know.” So now I’m feeling like well maybe I should just hire you guys.


0:39:32 Micheal Port: Because I know how important it is. But I know that, if I’m not focusing on it, I gotta imagine most people are not focusing on it.

0:39:46 John Jantsch: You’re absolutely right. And the good news about that is people who do focus on it, even in competitive industries can win, because it is a big factor. Now, I’ll let some people off the hook. Obviously if your goal is to get 10 or 12 more clients in your community to coach, or to consult with, there you may not need thousands of people a day searching and finding your website. You may need to go belong to the right group and make the right relationships. And obviously Michael, everybody who is a client of yours tells five other people that they should be a client of yours. And so, a great deal of your traffic, of your conversion, your actual clients, comes from means that would not be impacted by search engine optimization. But…

0:40:30 Micheal Port: Let me ask you a question then about local search.

0:40:33 John Jantsch: Oh yeah.

0:40:34 Micheal Port: Because you just mentioned something really important. If you just want to build up a client base around you, well maybe you don’t need quite as much SEO. But then it got me thinking, well, at the beginning of a career you want, and speaking specifically, you wanna do as much speaking as you possibly can. You gotta build your resume, you gotta work your material, get more comfortable dealing with people who book speakers and audiences, etcetera. But you don’t wanna be flying all over the world doing free gigs, because it’s just time consuming, and often not particularly productive. But, if you could book a gig every week or two gigs every week in your local area, even if you weren’t getting paid, it’s gonna be a phenomenal way to build your brand, probably book business, because you went there and delivered value. And then, you could start to work for the bigger paying gigs: Regionally, nationally, internationally, etcetera. So could you use local search to help you do this?

0:41:37 John Jantsch: Well there’s no question. And I think you and I have talked about this before. I started my speaking career, not because I wanted to be a speaker, or certainly not a paid speaker. It’s because I saw it as one of the best ways to generate leads for my, at the time, local consulting business and so that’s precisely what I did. And I can tell you, fortunately I get paid, more than I probably should, for going out and speaking today, [laughter] But there were times when I would book $50,000, and $60,000 and $75,000 worth of business, of a free, speaking again. So, there’s no question that’s a very powerful way to build a business. And all the things we’ve talked about today applied to local, but there are some other factors. Google is really, really interested in local search today.

0:42:29 John Jantsch: They are making a lot of money off of local search today. And they know that 75% to 80% of people that have a smart phone are doing local… They’re looking for somebody in their community right now. And so, from a speaker standpoint, just following some of the practices of fully optimizing your Google My Business page, picking the right categories for your Google My Business page, making sure that your directory listings are accurate and up to date with your phone number and your categories, and producing local content, talking about the local place that you spoke and talking about the groups that you belong to locally, that’s a form of local content that somebody who is a national or global speaker, wouldn’t necessarily have a place for. So, those are just some specific practices and we actually break down a couple of pretty big chunks of the book that talk about local.

0:43:27 Micheal Port: But I think that’s a really big deal. You mentioned creating content around the different businesses or organizations that you are presenting to locally. If you make that a big part of your content marketing strategy, you’re probably gonna get a lot and more back linking to you, as a result. So, you’re getting the gigs because you’re doing the local marketing, then you’re getting more SEO juice, because you’re doing a local content marketing about the people, etcetera. So, it’s this… It’s like each part… I’m trying to think of the analogy, but it’s like sort of, “You scratch my back, I scratch your back,” because you’re adding value to them in a number of different ways, and they’re linking back to you. And they’re doing it in large part without even being asked to, once you just show them the content you produced on them.

0:44:23 John Jantsch: Well, that and I tell you another really sneaky thing I used to do, is, I would actually send them a testimonial about how awesome their group was, and that I was so pleased that I got to present this message. And I would say about 50% of the time, they would put that on their webpages.

0:44:41 Micheal Port: Ha ha. That’s great.

0:44:42 John Jantsch: So it was content and they’d link back to me and say… Because if they were trying to book other speakers, that a lot of times they wanted to have some things about, why somebody would wanna speak to their group, particularly groups that were not gonna pay somebody. I wanna loop back to one thing that you said, and then we went down that local path. But, one of the things that a lot of people… Even people that say, “Well I get all my business by way of referral. And I don’t really need SEO.” Well I guarantee you, that when somebody refers your business… Michael, if you told me that… Let’s say this app that you were talking about. We were just having a conversation about this app to collect… Speakers could use to collect e-mail addresses, and you’d say, “No, it’s the greatest thing in the world, you gotta go get it.” Well, I guarantee the first thing I’m gonna do is search for them.

0:45:30 John Jantsch: In that case, you might give me their URL, but maybe you didn’t. So, I just search. Or maybe I’m trying to compare their product to somebody else’s product. One of the things that I think people underestimate about showing up high in the search rankings, is the amount of trust that we give Google. We, as searchers, really believe that those results on page one are accurate and they’re relevant, and they’re not spammy, and they’re not gonna try to trick me. And so consequently, when that person refers you or when somebody goes out there looking and they have a couple of names in mind, people they might wanna hire, you showing up high for search terms related to your topics, related to your community or whatever it is that you’re trying to rank for, it sends a really huge trust signal to that potential buyer.

0:46:22 Micheal Port: Yeah, it’s so interesting. Whenever I talk to you about these kind of very practical applications of marketing, it just makes me think about my behavior as a consumer. And of course, I do that. I go online to see who’s talking about them, who’s writing about them, before I make a decision. Because, I’m looking for potential issues. It also reminded me of this guy, who years ago would do these videos that were titled, usually something like, “Is Michael Port full of hot air?”

0:47:01 John Jantsch: Oh, right, right, right. [chuckle]

0:47:01 Micheal Port: Do you remember this? Do you remember this guy? And then, it was like, “Is John Jantsch full of hot air?” And he was doing about… The people that you would search for online in, say, our industry, he would do this. And somehow, he’d optimize in some way, he’d ended up on the first page of Google, when you’d search my name. And, it was such, click bait, because he would say, “No!” Why would it end like… In about four or five minutes into the video, he’d say, “No, no. Michael Port is not full of air. He wrote this great book called blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… ” But he was… It was… I just found it so obnoxious. Now, he’s not… If I… I couldn’t… It’s not on the first page, second, third, fourth, fifth. It’s not around anymore when you search my name. So, I think Google wised-up and said, “You know what, that’s click bait.” That’s not really something that’s gonna be helpful and they got it out of there, but it’s… People might have even seen that and… Not watched it and just start, “Oh there’s somebody who doesn’t like Michael and he must not be great.”

0:48:07 John Jantsch: Yeah, it was a really big game for the affiliate marketing people. Cause every tool that came out there’s somebody would write all these glowing reviews while they were trying to sell the product, right?

0:48:15 Micheal Port: Right.

0:48:16 John Jantsch: So there will be somebody who would write because they know people are out there searching. Oh is this bunch a crap? Is this a scam? Does this work? I mean those kinds of questions are actually a large part of how we search today. So optimizing around, what’s the best speaker for, blah blah blah? What’s the best product for this? A lot of companies have kinda wised-up to that idea, that answering questions in your content, is really one of the best ways to optimize, or to find content that people are searching for. Because, a lot of times… This is a mistake a lot of companies make, is that, a lot of times they optimize around the solutions they provide. Well most people don’t know how to solve their problems. So they’re not looking for the solutions. [chuckle] They just, “I can’t get enough done during the day. I don’t have enough sales. I don’t have… “

0:49:06 Micheal Port: They’re looking for the problem.

0:49:07 John Jantsch: Right.

0:49:08 Micheal Port: Yeah.

0:49:09 John Jantsch: And, as opposed to talking about your incredible, this and that. First, you have to get involved in the journey at a much earlier point. Talking about the pain that you know they have, and the problems that you know they have, and then they’ll start listening to the solution you might have.

0:49:23 Micheal Port: Right, like, “How do I stop snoring?” Or, “How do I cure this fungus?” or whatever. [chuckle]

0:49:29 John Jantsch: Right, right.

0:49:30 Micheal Port: Right, whatever it is you’re looking for. So one of the things that people often ask me and I don’t have a good answer for them, and I think you will. At least I hope so. Is, what type of content should they be producing now? Because obviously, written content has been the backbone of inbound-marketing for years. And now, they hear people saying, ” Well, you have to be doing video. The future is video. You must do all your content marketing through video.” But then they hear someone else say, “No, you’ve got to be podcasting. I mean look at all the people that have podcast, podcasts are, the thing.” So, A; How should someone make their choice? Or B; Should they be doing everything? Or C; if they’re doing either one of these three, what’s the best way to optimize for search results? So, there’s three questions in there. I hope you got them all.

0:50:36 John Jantsch: Yeah, it’s a really… Content in general, it’s become the bane of most marketers, most business people. Because it’s the most amount of work. It is expected. It’s really almost, anti into the game. Now is that you’re producing content on a consistent basis. The simple answer is that you should… You do have to be in many, many places today. Producing many forms of content, because you have to go where people consume it and how they consume it. You just don’t have a choice. But where you can make some priorities, is to really understand every market niche, every market segment, every industry, has a couple proven places where they consume content. You know there’s certainly industries that… Or B2C, for example, is a great example that they should be on Facebook, like crazy, building engagement, building content. Maybe original content that goes there. One thing we know about video is that it is the most engaging.

0:51:43 John Jantsch: Obviously, I’m sure you coach speakers on it. I mean they have to sample the product, so to speak. The only way to sample the product probably is in video form. People watched videos all the way to the end. They typically don’t skim videos, so you get a certain type of message and a certain type of audience with that. When I look at my content on my website, the most shared content by far, is blogpost over 1500 words. So, when I write long, in-depth, very useful, very, “how to” kind of content, that gets read and it gets shared. So you have to pay attention to your analytics. You have to be going as deep as you can possibly go in as many channels. But, make your priorities or selections, around where your ideal client really is paying out the most.

0:52:37 Micheal Port: I mean do you think that if somebody is a speaker and they do want to get a little bit deeper into SEO and content marketing, that video would be the thing in… Because they’re speakers, they’re performers?

0:52:53 John Jantsch: I think the connection is very deep. I mean if somebody… I’ve a remodeling contractor I worked with for years. Well people want to see pictures of houses. [chuckle] They don’t necessarily read about how you got that done, I mean in some cases they do. But the first thing they wanna see is, pretty pictures of pretty kitchens. And I think that’s probably true for speakers, both from a content standpoint and a proof standpoint. I mean a lot of ways it’s… Great speaker role is an audition in some cases; and so it’s a, “must be there thing,” but a lot of speakers, you know I would say… I’ll ask you this question. What percentage of the speakers that you work with also have something else that they make money with?

0:53:37 Micheal Port: I would say 95%.

0:53:40 John Jantsch: Okay. So then using their speaking talent and the amazing things that you and Amy have taught them, to actually talk about, problems that their clients have, typically. And solutions or results that they have been able to get people, and using video, in very short consumable, shareable ways, to kind of have, for every stage of the customer journey, I think makes a lot of sense today. And particularly for a speaker.

0:54:07 Micheal Port: So if somebody is also podcasting, I imagine you’d recommend that they have a great… A sight for their podcast and that each podcast is going up the way you would do a written blog post. It’s being optimized, transcript is being done, inserted. Because, if you just take a podcast and you put it up on iTunes, nobody’s finding that podcast outside of iTunes. You agree with that?

0:54:39 John Jantsch: Oh, absolutely. Obviously if you’re gonna take the time to do it, the good news is the tools and the technology and whatnot, it’s made it so much easier to do. But yeah, you wanna invest the same or maybe more energy in getting that thing optimized for a search And then obviously, continuing to share it and amplify yourself on your own platform. But, I wanna interject one thing with podcasts. A lot of times, I talk to a lot of people that think, “Why would I wanna podcast? I see examples of people that are doing podcasts, are either promoting themselves, or their interviewing people like authors. That’s not gonna make me any money.” And one of the greatest things for speakers, if I were purely trying to create a podcast that would promote my speaking business is, I would look at targeting half a dozen of the conferences or types of conferences, where I would like to speak. And I would find people who go to those conferences, and I would interview them about what wonderful things they get out of going to conferences like that. So my real point there though is, that podcasting is a great way to network. It is a great way to get access, it is a great way to produce content that can actually get you clients. You don’t have to think about it as a radio show.

0:56:03 Micheal Port: I would much rather spend a half hour or an hour, having a conversation and recording it with somebody that I wanna develop a relationship with, than putting on a suit, shaving. Or shaving first, then putting on a suit, and going to some networking event, where there’s cold shrimp and mushy lettuce, any day of the week. Any day of the week. And, one of the things that is often surprising to people who are entering the industry, is that speakers get speakers work. More than any other referral source I find, is other speakers. And if you wanna be successful in this particular industry, that off page networking is so incredibly important. And then figuring out how you can, again I’m using the terms that John used here, I guess those are industry terms. On-page networking, those two things combined, are gonna make a big difference for you. Both for search results, but also just simply for referral results.

0:57:20 John Jantsch: No question, no question.

0:57:22 Micheal Port: So listen what I said before, I just think I’d rather hire you than have to do it all myself. So if somebody wants help with this and they think, “Well, I don’t know maybe John is… His clients are too big or something, I’m not ready for him or something.” Is that true? I mean do you have people that can work with smaller start-ups? Or, individuals who are building their speaking career?

0:57:51 John Jantsch: Yeah, there’s no business really too small. I mean obviously you have bigger needs, you have bigger budgets. But yeah, we work with very, very small businesses all the time. I have a network of consultants that use our exact methodology and systems and packages. And so, we can pretty much handle just about any size. And we have very set, “Here’s what I’m gonna do, here’s what you’re gonna do, here’s the price.” So, it’s not very complex to kinda say, “Yeah, that makes sense or that doesn’t make sense.”

0:58:22 Micheal Port: Good, I hope I get the friends and family rate.

0:58:24 John Jantsch: Of course, Michael.

0:58:26 Micheal Port: But probably is just more than the general public rate. That’s what it is. Like, “Oh, Michael, you, no I don’t want you, so I’ll just charge you more.”

0:58:35 John Jantsch: Friends and family are always much more of a pain in the butt.


0:58:39 John Jantsch: That’s what the friends and family rate is.

0:58:41 Micheal Port: Oh my God, it’s so true. I do think that for those who are listening, I think that if they’re the kinda people that like a very practical application of marketing, and a very practical approach to business, then your firm would be the right choice. You’re not gonna get a lot of, sitting in a circle by a fire and singing together approach, when you go to Duct Tape Marketing. But you’re gonna get a very practical, productive, hands-on, growth driven approach. And John and I, I’ve known John for years, and we’ve worked together, we’ve done some events together. Very few people are as practical as he is, in this industry. And also, very few people have the kind of integrity that he does. So I can’t speak highly enough about him and what he does. So the name of the book again is, “SEO for Growth”, right?

0:59:52 John Jantsch: That’s right. SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Entrepreneurs, Web Designers and Marketers.

0:59:58 Micheal Port: Anywhere books are sold. Should they go to a website that you have for us? Or, just go over to Amazon?

1:00:03 John Jantsch: You can do any of those, but we have, There’s actually a couple free resources there you can actually do a little audit on your website, and it’ll tell you where you might have some strengths and weaknesses with your current SEO, as well. So that might be worth doing; it’s completely free to do so.

1:00:23 Micheal Port: And so is that

1:00:24 John Jantsch: Yes

1:00:26 Micheal Port: fantastic. And of course, if you’re not reading John’s blog, at Duct Tape Marketing… Is it

1:00:38 John Jantsch: It’s just Duct Tape Marketing. D-U-C-T-T-A-P-E,

1:00:42 Micheal Port: That’s a must read. It’s one of the best content marketing blogs you’ll read so. I actually read it myself. I just don’t tell John, ’cause I don’t want him to think like, I’m paying attention to him.

1:00:56 John Jantsch: A big shot like you, you probably have somebody read it to you.

1:01:00 Micheal Port: [chuckle] You found me out. I can’t actually read it myself. The truth comes out. Hey listen John, thank you so much as always. And we’ll see you in a couple weeks, at Heroic Public Speaking live. John is gonna be on the stage sharing his story about, how he got booked solid as a speaker. And, he’s also gonna be… I can’t tell the audience what else he’s gonna be doing. But, put it this way, he’s gonna be running around in circles. That’s all I’ll say about it. He’s gonna actually run in circles.

1:01:31 John Jantsch: Yeah.

1:01:32 Micheal Port: And for all of you listening, listen, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be of service. I never take it for granted. I know John doesn’t either. It really is a privilege to get into your head on a regular basis like this. And we’ll always continue to do a great job for you, or at least do our best for you. So, in the meantime, keep thinking big, about who you are, and about what you offer the world, and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye for now.