John is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. His latest book, SEO for Growth – The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs, is changing the way the world thinks about SEO.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:58] – John’s been doing business for 30 years
- [02:06] – Podcasting gave John access to people he wants to have a conversation with
- [02:53] – John was on EOFire’s episode #563
- [04:07] – Why growth instead of traffic?
- [04:49] – Growth is a strategic word
- [05:37] – What traffic is for John
- [06:00] – For some, traffic doesn’t do much
- [06:49] – Growth comes because you’ve identified the strategy, who your clients are and your message that resonates with them
- [07:18] – The right people are connected
- [07:24] – Seven Stages of Customer Journey
- [08:21] – How SEO evolved
- [09:19] – The biggest thing – the game of SEO was to trick Google
- [10:00] – It wasn’t always about the user getting the content, it was about their website showing up when somebody searched
- [10:21] – There are only 3 elements that we need to understand for SEO
- [13:24] – The search box
- [14:14] – Google now gives people the information they need without actually clicking on the website
- [14:56] – Google’s goal is to keep you on their page
- [16:55] – If you missed the first land grab, you can catch that the next time Google changes something
- [20:30] – You can’t do SEO in a vacuum
- [21:02] – An SEO person has to be involved in your website design and content layout
- [22:35] – Listen to the newest and latest content to win
- [23:06] – If you’re one of those people who don’t know SEO, know that you have to be smart enough to buy it correctly
- [23:54] – Check out SEO for Growth and Duct Tape Marketing
John Jantsch: Let’s do it. Absolutely!
John Dumas: Yes! John is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, the Commitment Engine, and the Referral Engine, and he’s the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. His latest book, SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs, is currently changing the way the world thinks about SEO. John take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little bit of your personal life.
John Jantsch: Well gosh, I have actually been doing what I’m doing in some version for coming up on 30 years, so I started my own business back when that was code for you couldn’t get a job. But of course, now, as you know, everybody wants to have a business of some sort.
And I think that’s just been awesome to see. It’s been so rewarding to me to really have counted thousands and thousands of business owners that I’ve been able to personally impact in positive ways both working with them consulting but also in the writing that I do and have done for many, many years. You and I were talking off air. I did it kinda the slow hard way, but I’m up over Episode 500 because I jumped on this podcast thing in wave 1 back in about 2005.
But I don’t think I have the stamina anymore for the daily podcast, but I’ve really enjoyed it. And I will you one of the things podcasting has done for me and certainly did for me in the early days when I had no listeners at all was it gave me access to people that I wanted to have a conversation with, that I needed some way to make that conversation be a benefit for them.
And so proposing to promote their book – I remember early on Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Michael Gerber – people that ended up blurbing or writing four words or afterwards for my book were people that I ultimately met through my podcast.
John Dumas: Wow! I mean, we were talking earlier, and you’re 500 weekly episodes. I mean, that’s literally equivalent from 2005 to, like, over 5,000 episodes if you had been doing a daily show. So that’d be pretty insane. And you and I just as it stands right now we’re combined for over 2,000 episodes, which is just a lot of talking to a lot of really cool, successful people.
And you are John actually Episode 563, so just a little over 900 episodes ago you joined and graced us with your presence. So Fire Nation go over to eofire.com, just type John J-O-H-N in the search bar. That episode 563 will pop right up, and John talks about his worst entrepreneurial moment. He talked about his lessons learned through that. He talked about his ah-ha moment, and how he turns his great idea into success.
And of course, we crushed the lightening round which you want to listen to as well. It was just a fun episode. And again, that’s where John and I connected, and so now we have a relationship even though it was 900 episodes ago where he reached out to me and said hey John, I’m launching this new book. I’d love to come on your show and talk to Fire Nation. And just me knowing just the stud of an entrepreneur that John is I was like heck ya.
So we brought him back on, and we’re gonna be talking today about his book, SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs, which is currently available right now Fire Nation at wherever you like to grab your books whether it be Amazon, Barnes & Noble, fill in all of the above.
But John what I kind of want to start off talking about is why growth instead of traffic. Like, for so many people, it’s just traffic, traffic, traffic. Like, the more traffic you get the better. Let’s talk about why you’re taking the growth side of this equation.
John Jantsch: You’re hearing more and more today people saying oh SEO is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter. Google’s gotten so good at delivering the content that people are looking for that you don’t really need to do this SEO thing. And I think what they’re really pointing to is the fact that SEO or search engine optimization has evolved to the point where it is not this under-the-hood tactic of how to trick Google.
It is a strategic component of every business, and so growth is intentionally used because it’s a strategic word. And what I’m trying to do is help web designers and entrepreneurs and marketers elevate the role of search engine optimization really to that strategic conversation.
When you start talking about who makes your ideal client, what their customer journey is, what their intent is when they’re out there searching online, a lot of the tools and tactics and techniques that we have now that were often attributed to search engine optimization only really can help you actually define those all important elements before you ever go out there and start designing a website or determining copy or blogposts that you might write.
John Dumas: So how do you define traffic? Like, let’s really identify what your definition of traffic means in this sense.
John Jantsch: The most basic is that somebody finds your website and decides to visit it, whether it’s through a referral or somebody else linking to you or them turning to a search engine and finding a blogpost that you wrote that addresses a question that they have. I mean, all of those ways that people find your website or find your webpages could be considered traffic.
But obviously, traffic for traffic sense for a lot of people really doesn’t do much. In fact you can waste a lot of money driving traffic if that traffic isn’t the ideal client who has the issue or problem that you can solve and that your message resonates with because ultimately conversion and sales is what we’re after. Nobody’s after traffic or leads.
I mean, I guess there are some businesses that that’s a conversion for them because they’re selling traffic or they’re selling leads. But ultimately 99.9 percent of those businesses out there don’t want more traffic or want more leads. They want more business, more customers, more sales. And so in a lot of ways, traffic has to be defined as traffic to convert.
John Dumas: The bottom line Fire Nation. The bottom line. So let’s define growth then. How is that different?
John Jantsch: Well, for me growth comes because you have actually identified a strategy. You have identified who your ideal client is, and you’ve identified a message that truly resonates with them so that they want to be part of your community. They want to be part of pretty much everything that you’re putting out there. And that’s how growth comes.
It doesn’t come from continuing to launch $29.00 product, $79.00 product after $79.00 product. It comes because people are so connected. The right people are so connected to what you’re doing, and you’re actually able to guide them through – I have seven stages of the customer journey. You have know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. And that you start understanding your customer so thoroughly that you can actually create the things that they don’t have that you could also offer them, and you create an experience that thrills them so much that they want to go out there and tell the world about what you’re doing as well.
And believe it or not, that process starts, in my book, with understanding who that ideal client is and what their challenges are. And I think that some of the SEO tools and technology and data that we have access to now really allows us to nail that part.
John Dumas: Know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, referral. Fire Nation those are seven keys to your success. Now, John let’s talk a little bit about SEO, that’s search engine optimization, has evolved.
John Jantsch: Here’s one thing I have to start with. Google’s goal, mission in life on top of, like, selling lots of advertising is – the search engine at least – is to when somebody turns to Google and types in some phrase, some question, some problem is to return the most relevant, useful, on-point content as possible. That has always been the goal. That’s never changed.
What has changed is their ability to understand what that is, understand the intent of the searcher and understand the billions and billions and billions of pages that are out there theoretically available in search for that individual search that happens. So imagine how technically or technologically difficult this is. Ten results on page one for maybe billions and billions of results that could match somebody’s search.
So the biggest thing that has happened that I think has evolved is that the game of SEO used to be let’s figure out how to trick Google because there’s only so many things they can understand. And we know kinda what math they’re using to figure out what pages to rank. So let’s figure out how to trick Google.
And I think that unfortunately led to a lot of practices that as Google got better, as Google started saying no, we have ways that we ultimately want to clean this content up, they started penalizing sites that were doing or practitioners that were using certain methods that were not all about the user getting the best content. They were about their client or their website showing up when somebody searched.
And so as they’ve been able to get better and better and much closer to what a human being might rank as those ten things that should come on to page one, SEO has evolved in such a way that there are only really, in my opinion, three elements. Now, you can go to Google and find plenty of blogposts about the 437 algorithm factors that Google uses, but there are really only about three things now that we have to understand to get better at search engine optimization to use it to our benefit.
Now, obviously, in very, very competitive industries those three factors are involved, but it’s certainly gonna be harder. The three things we have to understand – and this is why we talk so much about it being strategic – is that we have to understand the actual words, phrases, themes, questions that people are going out there and asking related to our products and services that we sell or our information or our community that we’re trying to build.
We have to design a website that easily delivers, that is not only technically set up so that Google knows what that information’s about, but it also easily delivers our core message to that visitor every single time the second they get there.
And then the third thing is we have to build a network of relationships of other sites, other individuals that also share our content and link to our content and send a significant signal to Google that if eofire.com links to Duct Tape Marketing, Google looks at that and says Duct Tape Marketing must be worth looking at because we already know EOFire is a great site.
And they wouldn’t just be linking to a bunch of junk. And so connectively, the quality of those links – and I really refer to it now as the quality of that network. It’s no longer about buying trashy links or scamming things, setting up kinda these dark networks of bloggers that link back and forth to each other. It’s really about networking in the same way you would to build relationships.
I know that you have a great network with your podcast group that build relationships with each other, understand what each other’s content is about, and then organically link to it. That is an absolutely huge component of SEO today.
John Dumas: John I think about how much SEO has evolved. I mean, this is even back in the early days when I was first getting on the internet was I remember people used to use, like, a white background. And then they would just put white words, and you couldn’t read. They would just put the white words in the background that – so the whole back of the website would look – which is white in order to be like just say the words vitamin. So be there, like, 1,000 times just vitamins, vitamins, vitamins. But nobody could see it, but that’s what, like, info seeker AltaVista were saying oh okay. Like, the word vitamins is showing up the most on this website. That must be the best answer for people searching for vitamins.
And, like, that’s how people won back in the early days of SEO, and that’s crazy to think about how much we evolved. In Fire Nation, there’s even a more recent thing that evolved that my friend, Sied Belcky, was telling me about the other day that I don’t even really know what the right term for it is. I’m just gonna call it the search box.
But what a lot of people used to do – and this is just even a couple months ago – like, they would rank at the very top of Google for their key phrases. Like, a great example is when you type in podcast sponsorships; my eofire.com/podcastsponsorships is the #1 search result in all of Google for podcast sponsorship. So if you’re looking for that information, mine’s the first that you see.
So I used to get a ton of traffic when people would click on that because they were just searching for, like, what’s the average CPM. But now –
John Jantsch: Right.
John Dumas: – what did Google do? Now, when you type in podcast sponsorships, I’m still the #1 search, but then boom. Right there they had this box that just says – that they pulled from my article that said – average CPM for podcasts, average CPM for post shows, for mid roles. And now, people are getting the information they need without going to my website where I had the opportunity to get them on my email list or entice them with other product services or just maybe bookmark my website.
They’re not even having to go there because they don’t have to even go off the Google page that gives them the answer. Like, when you type in sunsets and your zip code, it’s just gonna pop up with the time of your sunset. You’re not gonna have to go to, like, weather.com and, like, search for the sunset time anymore.
So they’re losing tons of traffic from that, and it’s just something that we have to realize is gonna continue to evolve. So it’s so important, so smart. I mean, John are these the type of things that you’re seeing that are having big impacts on websites today?
John Jantsch: Well, there’s no question. So that is generically referred to depending upon who you ask as direct answers or direct questions.
John Dumas: Got it.
John Jantsch: And so again, Google’s goal is to keep you on their page, and that’s one way to keep you on their page. Local searches dramatically changed. It used to be if you did a local search for a plumber, you’d have that little three pack there that would have the directory listings for the plumber. And it used to be that you’d go oh okay, Bob’s Plumbing. I’m gonna click on that.
It used to take you straight to Bob’s website. Well now, it just opens up another box and gives you a little more information there on the Google page. Now, one of the pieces of information is the website, but it’s another click. So they’re doing everything that they can to keep you there because, obviously, they want to sell advertising.
They want clicks for the advertising, and that is what helps. Now, you listed direct answers as having a negative impact. And certainly in some cases we’re seeing have just that negative impact that you describe. But we’re also seeing it having very, very positive impact for some sites to the point where we’re actually encouraging people to write direct answer blogposts that could help their site rank there because they’re not ranking for many kind of page one things. And if you think about that direct answer box, it’s kinda hard to ignore, isn’t it? I mean, it –
John Dumas: Yeah.
John Jantsch: – pops out there in your face. And so people actually – there is a link eventually back to your site in that direct answer, and so a lot of people are actually seeing that if they can craft a post that would get them in that direct answer, it actually does lead to significant traffic that they were not getting. I mean, they don’t always just take the first post and turn that into a direct answer. In some cases, you’ll find instances where the direct answer is not coming from a page one organic result at all.
John Dumas: Yeah, and that’s actually something that we talked about on your show recently when you had me on as a guest. You were asking me about podcasting in 2016, and I kinda got into a little bit about the land grab. And that’s what’s so important Fire Nation. Like, if you miss the first land grab, like, believe me. Keep your eyes open. Keep your finger on the pulse. Read books like SEO for Growth that John just released because you are going to be able to get that next land grab when Google changes something or iTunes changes this for podcasting or YouTube changes this or video or Instagram releases Instagram stories.
And you can land grab. Like, keep your finger on the pulse. You can see what’s next, and then you can become the person that has the knowledge or is the first to market, the first to action. You can win if you’re consuming the right content. Again, like, John’s book, like this podcast, like doing the right things.
Now, speaking of advertisers John one of the beautiful things about podcasts is that people they’re not able to necessarily get away from the sponsors that we’re about to share right now. So Fire Nation don’t you hit that fast forward button. You listen to these sponsors. They are supporting the show, and we’ll be right back with John Jantsch.
So John we’re back, and we’re fired up because we’re getting a lot of great intel from you about SEO and SEO for Growth, which again as the tagline says is the ultimate guide for markets, web designers, and entrepreneurs, which I’m sure you fit into one or all three of these categories Fire Nation. So definitely check that book out.
But as we kind of wrap this show up and it ends with a bang, I just want to know what most people who sell SEO services aren’t saying to me, to you, to Fire Nation. What aren’t they saying that you want to just bring out into the open right now?
John Jantsch: Well, the biggest thing they’re not talking about is that you can’t do SEO in a vacuum. That’s why we intentionally have this book targeted at web designers because the old way was you built a website. Ooh, that’s pretty. Thank you. You went to somebody, or you wrote content and filled that website up with stuff that you thought would sell your products.
And then you went and SEOed it. I mean, that was kind of the process of how people would think. And today a search engine optimization person has to be – to get the most impact – has to be involved in your website design, has to be involved in your content or your editorial layout and plan for the year. And frankly, that’s what it has to be. It can’t be it’s Monday. What should I write kind plan. It has to be something that you map out intentionally for the entire year. And so continuing to make the mistake of hiring that SEO person after all that other stuff is done you really hobble that person. In a lot of cases, they can’t really do much for you if the website message is wrong or if it’s targeting the wrong person, if the content is really all over the place.
Now, they may come in and say oh no, we can sell you this package that will get you on this. And we’ll make some edits to pages and do this and that. But you’ve severely hobbled them. So whether you are hiring an SEO person or you certainly know that that’s an important part, it has to actually be part of the web design and architecture, the content design and plan and architecture for it to have the most impact.
And so a lot of SEO folks are still selling backlink services and keyword research, and you really need to start – SEO folks need to start realizing that they need to become content experts and web design experts in order to really provide the service that will make search engine optimization tactics still extremely effective.
John Dumas: Fire Nation I hope you’re realizing that this is how you win. You listen to the newest and the greatest content from people like John who are in it to win it, who are teaching it, who are spreading the good gospel. So just keep listening to EOFire. Keep listening to great podcasts like John.
He has over 500 episodes as well, and keep reading the right books. Now, John let’s end today on fire brother with you giving us just this parting piece of guidance, and then talk about the best way that we can connect with you. And then we’ll say goodbye.
John Jantsch: My parting bit of guidance really is that if you’re still one of those people who hear the term SEO, and you glaze over, you think ah, I’m just gonna go abdicate that. I’m just gonna go get one of those services to do that for me. Know that whether it’s by buying a book like SEO for Growth or looking at the Ma’s website or some of the great places you can get very specific information, no matter how you determine you’re gonna get this work done, you have to be smart enough to buy it correctly.
So don’t think that you can just abdicate any strategic component of your business. So even if you’re never going to open up a webpage and edit the metadata of that webpage, you have to know why that’s important and how that it’ll serve your business in order to buy it correctly as well. If you want to find information about me, we do have a website for the book seoforgrowth.com. And then of course you can find pretty much everything I’ve been up to for the last 20 years at Ducttapemarketing.com. That’s D-U-C-T T-A-P-E marketing.com.
John Dumas: Fire Nation you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you’ve been hanging out with JJ and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type John J-O-H-N in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. You can check out Episode 563 as well where he crushed it about his entrepreneurial journey.
These are the best show notes in the biz Fire Nation. Timestamps, links galore, and of course SEO for Growth is the book that we’ve been talking about today, so go check it out at your favorite store to consume great books. And John have you created an audiobook for this book?
John Jantsch: This is my fifth book, and I always find it hard to get the audiobook out at the same time the regular book comes out. And so I’m gonna spend about three hours today and three hours tomorrow in front of a microphone recording this. So there will be an audiobook in a number of weeks I suppose.
John Dumas: Well, you’ve only been doing podcasting for 11 years, so I can understand why it’s so hard to do this John. I totally get it. And so Fire Nation because of the recording schedule when you’re hearing my voice and John’s voice right now, that audio book is available period.
So definitely go check it out on Audible if that’s your desired way to consume the content. And that again is SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs. John thank you for sharing your journey with the Fire Nation today. For that we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
John Jantsch: Thanks so much. It’s always a pleasure.
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