Shameless Self-Promotion | Stephan Spencer

Shameless Self-Promotion Archives - Stephan Spencer

We’ve Been Acquired!

By | Search Engines, Shameless Self-Promotion | 13 Comments

I’m very pleased to announce that the company that I founded way back in 1995, Netconcepts, has been acquired by Covario Inc., the leader in search advertising software and services.

It’s exciting to think about what the future holds with the merged company. Netconcepts’ GravityStream technology combined with Covario’s Organic Search Insight promises an end-to-end SEO solution like never before seen. Together we’ll enable the SEO practitioner to scale SEO across large dynamic websites by automating aspects of keyword research, on-page analysis, link building, web content management, and more.

Our mantra at Netconcepts has for a long time been “data-driven decision-making”. Turns out that’s been Covario’s mantra too!

Another bonus… with the merger we also significantly increase our market reach. We’ve really established ourselves in the retail vertical, not as much in other verticals. Covario, on the other hand, services Fortune 500 global brand advertisers across a number of verticals — including media, high tech, consumer electronics, and CPG (consumer packaged goods). So now, those are all our verticals, and our clients, too!

Exciting times ahead!

VIDEO: Teen AdSense Entrepreneur

By | Blogging, Online Advertising, Shameless Self-Promotion | 8 Comments

Yes, teenagers can make passive income from Internet marketing. Here’s living proof:

Isn’t she amazing?!? :) Yes I’m a little biased, since she is my offspring. But still, you have to admit it’s impressive when a kid can start an online business and make it onto the speaking circuit by the age of 16, and have such composure in front of the camera.

I remember when I was a teenager trying out Junior Achievement, going to a couple of meetings, and thinking how incredibly lame it was. The meetings were more like Arts & Crafts class than anything resembling real entrepreneurship and business. I wish I had had the opportunities that Chloe had when I was her age.

Our school systems still don’t adequately prepare kids to be entrepreneurs and business people, as Chloe notes in one of her Huffington Post articles. But for those kids who are motivated, they can find the opportunities elsewhere.

My advice for those doting parents of a budding entrepreneur is to first read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. It’s not all that well-written, but it has some really important concepts, ones that I instilled in my kids. Such as:

  • Don’t work for a living, have money work for you
  • Build assets that make money for you while you sleep
  • Assets put money in your pocket month after month, liabilities take money out of your pocket month after month (thus a house you own and live in is a liability and NOT an asset)

And for those teens wondering where to start, first step is to pick something you’re passionate about. If it’s only about the money, it won’t be fun and you’ll lose your motivation when the going gets tough. For Chloe it was Neopets, but now she’s an “adult” (as she reminds me all the time) and not that into it anymore, so she’s delegating posting to a ghostwriter she found on oDesk. With her attention turning to film and to becoming a documentary director, my advice to her is to start a site or blog on that topic, perhaps more specifically on homegrown documentary videos by amateur filmmakers.

2 Days of SEO Training from Yours Truly!

By | Search Engines, Shameless Self-Promotion | 3 Comments

Yes, you “heard” right! Two FULL days of SEO training from yours truly, coming soon to a city near you — or not, if you don’t live near Las Vegas, Chicago or Washington DC ;).

This is truly a first. In my 14 years since founding Netconcepts, I have yet to run this long of, and in-depth of, a public SEO workshop. Until now!

Brought to you by the American Marketing Association, as part of their excellent “Training Series”.

It will hit Las Vegas February 23rd & 24th, Chicago March 10th & 11th, and Washington DC April 21st & 22nd.

In the two days I intend to cover the following topics in some depth:

  • Anatomy of a Search Engine — Spiders, Indices & Algorithms, Market Share & Trends
  • Inside the Head of the Searcher — Searcher Behavior & Intent
  • Hands-on Keyword Research & Keyword Portfolio Management
  • SEO Copywriting — Optimizing Your Content
  • HTML Optimization — Make Your HTML “Sing”
  • Search Friendly Site Architecture, Design, Navigation & Internal Hierarchical Linking Structures
  • Technical Optimization — URLs, Redirects, Tracking Parameters, Flash, JavaScript/AJAX and more
  • Link Building — Tools & Tactics for Acquiring Valuable, Relevant Links Sustainably
  • Social Media Marketing –- Leveraging Online Communities to Create Links & Buzz
  • Paid Search Fundamentals & Achieving Synergies with SEO
  • Search Analytics — Metrics that Drive ROI
  • Tools of the Trade — The Essential Tools & Resources for your SEO & Paid Search Toolkit
  • Vertical Search — Local Search, News Search, Product Search, Image Search, Video Search, Blog Search, Mobile Search
  • Worst Practices — Beyond the “Best Practices” to the Dark Side of “Black Hat” Spam & Other Deadly Mistakes
  • Site Clinic & Interactive Site Reviews — Apply Your Knowledge by Auditing Fellow Attendees’ Websites

Want more details or to register? Head over to Or download the PDF brochure.

Catch this video of the Teen Entrepreneurs Panel at Ypulse

By | Shameless Self-Promotion, Social Networking, Web Marketing | No Comments

I shot the following video of teen entrepreneurs Chloe Spencer of the Ultimate Neopets Cheats Site (my daughter!), Juliette Brindak of Miss O & Friends, Jared Kim of WeGame and Angela McBride, a.k.a. Asuka Martin in Teen Second Life presenting on the “Totally Wired Superstars” panel (moderated by Ypulse founder Anastasia Goodstein) at the Ypulse Mashup youth marketing conference in San Francisco this past August. Fascinating how these kids can build their businesses and balance that with school, extracurricular activities, friends, college entrance applications, etc.!

Or download the video to play it on your iPod.

Forrester, Retailers, and GravityStream

By | Search Engines, Shameless Self-Promotion | No Comments

A new Forrester Research report came out this month, titled Retail Interactive Marketing Spend Grows Steadily. According to the report, retailers are increasing online advertising investments at a rate of 25% per year and working to get the most out of the tools in their toolkit to increase ROI in tough economic times. This includes focusing on growing their natural search through intelligent SEO automation technology. I was pleased to see our (Netconcepts’) GravityStream technology highlighted in the report as such an intelligent SEO automation technology, and its outstanding performance for Pottery Barn…

“Forrester expects that retailers will continue spending to get more out of existing programs by expanding on size, improving analytics, or automating repeatable processes. VanBoskirk, for example, writes in the report that after three years of fine search marketing results, Pottery Barn boosted natural search results between 1,000% and 9,800% across its sites by investing in GravityStream, a technology sold through its search agency to automate SEO work. ” (from MediaPost)

From FooCamp to Ypulse to BlogHer in 8 days

By | Blogging, Community, Shameless Self-Promotion | 2 Comments

I went off the radar for a few weeks. Apologies for that. I have a lot going on in my life right now – not all of it good – that is taking up a lot of my time and headspace at the moment. Plus I’ve been traveling a lot. I just got back from a 10 day trip to the Bay area for 3 conferences — FooCamp, Ypulse, and BlogHer.

me at Foo CampIt was my first FooCamp (I’m so psyched that I got an invite!). For those of you unfamiliar with Foo Camp, it is the predecessor to BarCamp with the word “Foo” an acronym for “Friends of O’Reilly.” Besides being a huge fan of O’Reilly since about 1994, I’m co-authoring an O’Reilly book with Rand Fishkin and Jessie Stricchiola called The Art of SEO and I’ve spoken twice at O’Reilly/CMP’s “Web 2.0 Expo” conference. So yes I’m an unabashed “Foo”. FooCamp is invitation-only and limited to several hundred people. It’s an “unconference” — where the program is developed and presented by the attendees. The more proactive you are at Foo Camp (in terms of sharing/participating), the more you’ll get out of it (and the more likely you’ll be invited back again). It’s completely free – free to attend, free food, free drinks, free “lodging” on the grounds – just bring your own tent. And yep, a lot of folks brought tents and camped out on the lawn. Some folks slept in the office buildings on the floor in sleeping bags. I’m not into “roughing it”, so I stayed at a nearby Holiday Inn Express. My older two daughters got to hang out at the Holiday Inn while I went to the conference, which was pretty boring — so they told me… about a MILLION times! Arrgh. Gotta love teenagers. Speaking of my teenagers, the middle one (who is 15) drew this flattering illustration (on the left) of me wearing a Foo Camp t-shirt. She finds it quite hilarious that I wear a T-shirt in public that says “Foo Camp.” Of course I live to embarrass her (or so she thinks!).

Foo Camp attendees run the gamut – entrepreneurs to authors to venture capitalists – but they can all be described as leading thinkers and innovators. It was a real treat. I got to meet a lot of amazing people. Way too many to list. But here’s an example: the founder of Drupal, Dries Buytaert. Dries blogged about his Foo Camp experience. Nobody has a bad time at Foo Camp.

After the Foo Camp weekend came Ypulse, a youth marketing conference. It was excellent. If you market to kids, tweens or teens, you should have been at this conference (so go to the next one!). My oldest Chloe was a speaker on the “Totally Wired Superstars” panel with other teen entrepreneurs. I really enjoyed the conference, but Chloe was in heaven — she met directors (Chloe wants to be a director), journalists, folks from Disney,, MTV, and her hero, Ashley Qualls, the teenage “MySpace millionaire”.

Then a couple days later came the BlogHer conference, a conference focused on the women blogger community — a powerful and diverse voice in the blogosphere that includes “mommy bloggers”, foodies, political bloggers, techies, etc. It was my second BlogHer conference. I went last year too, when Chloe spoke. This time we just attended. Chloe did manage to get on the local (Bay area) news (see the video here) – she was interviewed as an attendee.

Chloe on ABC7 News

BlogHer was great. I did sometimes feel like the “token male” in the audience, because women so outnumbered men (I never felt unwelcome though, just to clarify!). Instead of feeling out of place, a male could look at it as an opportunity. For instance, I remember a guy telling me at last year’s BlogHer how he loved coming to their conferences because “it was like shooting fish in a barrel”. Ha ha! I presume he was single, but I probably shouldn’t assume that. 😉

Now I’m back and it’s back to the grindstone. I have articles to write, the book to work on, conference presentations to prepare for, a ton of emails to respond to, and personal crises to deal with. *deep sigh*

Rock on.

Live from 9News’ Studio: Behind-the-Scenes Newsroom Footage

By | Shameless Self-Promotion | One Comment

What’s it like to appear live on the news for a full three minutes in front of an estimated 1.2 million viewers? My daughter Chloe could tell you!

On February 25th she presented a science experiment live on 9News, Denver’s local NBC affiliate KUSA, with science guy Steve Spangler.

I shot this behind-the-scenes footage at the 9News studio and newsroom, which Chloe then edited and remixed. Here’s the video:

And here’s the “Experiment of the Week” news segment as it appeared on air:

It was such a blast! I learned a lot about how the local news is produced. Everything was so fast-paced. Late-breaking items were being woven in in near real-time, and the news anchors never missed a beat. I’m still amazed my 16-year-old kid was able to appear so comfortable and confident on camera. I would have totally choked at her age. Nowadays, I can handle TV, thanks in part to the media training I had.

3 Must-See WebProNews Video Interviews on SEO

By | Search Engines, Shameless Self-Promotion | No Comments

WebProNews did a bunch of great interviews at SMX West. I wanted to highlight three in particular (granted I’m a bit biased!)…

First is this interview of me is on how to optimize the flow of PageRank through your site and the tactic of “PageRank sculpting”:

Second is this one of my brilliant Netconcepts’ colleague Chris Smith, on the topic of optimizing your presence in Google’s local search in order to boost your presence in Google’s main web results via “Universal Search” (Google’s blended results):

Third, this one is of my 16-year-old daughter Chloe Spencer (yeah, here I go again, proud papa bragging about my wunderkind! 😉 ), who spoke on the Generation Google panel, goes into how a kid can start a blog on a hot topic (in her case, a blog on Neopets), do a bit of SEO on it, and turn it into a cash machine with the help of Google AdSense:

Writing for the Huffington Post and speaking at SMX West

By | Blogging, Shameless Self-Promotion | One Comment

No, I’m not talking about me. I’ve never written for the Huffington Post. I’m talking about my 16-year-old daughter, Chloe Spencer.

Some of you may remember (and are perhaps also sick of! :) ) me bragging about Chloe’s Neopets SEO blogging success and the resulting media attention and her past speaking engagement at BlogHer ’07. Well…

First, I’m proud to announce that Chloe’s back on the speaking circuit! Later this month she will be speaking at SMX West, on the “Google Generation” panel. (I’m speaking too, on a different session: “Unraveling URLs and Demystifying Domains.”) Look for us if you’re going to SMX too!

Secondly, Chloe stretched her talents in a different way, by writing a guest blog post on The Huffington Post, published earlier this month. I’m so proud! I’m excited to watch her grow as a writer — beyond Neopets game cheats and girly quizzes to something more meaningful to her. The opportunity was generously provided to her by Huffington Post columnist Erin Kotecki Vest. Erin also blogs on Erin knew of Chloe from BlogHer ’07 — she caught the buzz about “the teen blogger” speaking at the conference. In the post, titled “Who Me, Save the World?” and re-titled by Erin as “COUP! 16-year old Takes Over Huffington Post, Chloe’s 800-word piece is about how she wants to make a difference in the world through her dream of becoming a documentary filmmaker, how she is inspired by the likes of Michael Moore, Mark Achbar and Al Gore, etc. Here’s a small excerpt…

My main goal is to make our society wake up to reality; what’s happening to the world, and what each individual needs to do to help stop it. I’m not perfect though…no one is. But I do recycle, think about what I eat, and buy organic products when I can; the little things that would make a huge impact on our environment if everyone did them.

I confess to not being a regular reader of Huffington Post until very recently. I actually didn’t know much about its founder either, Arianna Huffington, until I had the pleasure of hearing her give one of the keynotes at IIR’s”THE Conference on Marketing” last week. Arianna was a great speaker and an inspiring lady. Here are a few points Arianna made during her presentation that I jotted down:

  • On polling in politics: The dominance of polling is a weakness of our system. Polling is not a good predictive science. Only 25% of people asked actually respond to polls; it’s a small minority of bored and lonely Americans who want to talk to strangers. Polling undermines leadership. It’s like astrology; not to be taken too seriously: “Pollstrology.”
  • On creativity: Holding grudges blocks creativity. Also there is certain creativity that we miss if we are sleep deprived. For men, sleep deprivation has stupidly been tied to virility. It’s a badge of honor for men to boast that they get only a few hours of sleep per night.
  • On “disconnecting”: We’re paying a heavy price for being always-on, always connected. Practice “Email-free Fridays”.
  • On double-standards that women face: Here’s a gem of a quote:

    “For a man to be called ruthless, he has to be Joe McCarthy. For a woman to be called ruthless, she just has to put someone ‘on hold’.”

How true that last quote is, unfortunately!
I was surprised to hear that the Huffington Post gets 250,000 comments per month and that they employ comment moderators to work around-the-clock. Wow, quite an operation!

Vote for Your Favorite SEO Article!

By | Search Engines, Shameless Self-Promotion | No Comments

2008 SEMMY FinalistI am very honored and humbled to see that two of my articles were nominated for a SEMMY (The Year’s Best Posts in Search Engine Marketing).

In the category of SEO category for the 2008 SEMMY Awards, my article on Search Engine Land was nominated, “Sculpting Your PageRank for Maximum SEO Impact.”

Vote here for the year’s best in SEO articles.

Also, in the category of Web Analytics, my June article from Practical eCommerce, “SEO Metrics that Matter” was also nominated.

Vote here for the year’s best in Web Analytics articles.

My colleague, Chris Smith, was nominated for local search from his recent article in Search Engine Land entitled, “Anatomy and Optimization of a Local Business Profile.”

Vote here for the year’s best in Local Search.

Good luck to everyone who was nominated! Voting ends on January 30th, so be sure to cast your vote for your favorites today! 😀