There is a lot of power in being found through search engines. That is why doing good SEO is paramount, not only in ensuring you’re creating search engine-worthy shows but also in booking search-engine worthy guests. In this episode, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard break down the ways you can find guests who rank high and align and match with you. They share a step-by-step guide to help you identify who is worthy and not and who brings value to your show and your listeners. At the end of the day, you want your podcast to be found in more ways than one. Why not dot your i’s and cross your t’s with the people you bring on to your show? Rethink the way you find and book your guests with Tom and Tracy in today’s conversation!
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How To Find And Book More Search Engine Worthy Guests
In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to find and book more search engine-worthy guests. I want to run down the road because I geek out on SEO. I want to talk about all those good things, but I know Tracy’s going to try and reel me back here into something a little less techy so I do not bore you all. I want to start by sharing a little fact, and then I’m going to turn it over to you because I know you have a specific agenda here.
We learned very early on in our journey because we were creating a blog post for every episode that when we did that, and it was a high-quality blog post in alignment with Google, that our posts and those of our customers often outrank their own guests for even their names and their business names. There is a lot of power in being found through search engines for your guests. Even people who don’t know you but search on the guest can find you.
That assumes that you’re doing all the good SEO things to begin with. By SEO, we’re talking Search Engine Optimization. The geeky term is SEO. If you’re playing in the digital realm at all, I hope you know that already. For search engine optimization to be effective, it means that it has two types of rankings. One is it shows up on the first page of Google if you want to think of it like that. It shows up first in search results.
Remember, there are different search engines. There are search engines that are your podcast player. There’s the search engine that is your browser that you use, whether you use a Chrome browser or whatever. You have to search somewhere in there. It’s likely using Bing, Google, or I don’t even know what else still exists. Those are probably the two biggest. Safari has its own.
There’s still Yahoo. Safari is a browser people use, but a lot of times, people still search in Google. You can search in whatever search engine you want. You mentioned Bing and Google. Yahoo is still one that’s out there. Each of the listening apps is, in some ways, its own search engine, although much more limited.
What we’re talking about is two different kinds of rankings that go into that optimization. One is how often you appear on the first page for whatever it is that you’re searching for. If your podcast topic is in real estate passive income, you want to make sure that person is showing up for real estate passive income as an authority and on the first page of Google, not just for their name. That’s the difference here. We want to make sure that we’re showing up for your keywords, the value of your podcast, your category, your niche, and the type of show that you’re doing. You want to make sure the two things are aligned, and then that person has authority within that category. That’s what you’re looking for.
Sometimes, you might want to have an expert who’s an expert in social media TikTok and advice or something like that. You may want them for why they are an expert or for what they have expertise in and you want to add that to your show. You may want to have and expand your expertise that you talk about. That may be also something. Think about it as that has to be not just someone’s name that is ranking highly, but they’re ranking highly within the keyword area that you care about.
What’s the best way to learn if they do? Isn’t it to do a little googling at first and see what they come up for?
Usually, you want to type in something like, “Experts In or Authority.” Try Authority as well because those are names that work and then whatever the category is or whatever the expertise area you’re looking for. If you’re looking for somebody who’s an expert in something, then search for them that way. The other thing is if you’re looking for someone who’s an expert in your own category, start looking at that as well. Look from there and then see who else is posting, sharing, and doing things on it. What you want is someone whose core name is showing up or whose core business is showing up because their business name matters, too. It is any of those two things. I don’t say, “Bing them.” I say, “Google them.” That is the number one way.
This is something I learned when I worked for Inc. Magazine, writing my column. It is that if I was going to write about someone, I needed to check them. The first thing that I was told to do was to google them. If they show up somewhere on the first page of Google, then they’re good. I can go to the second page of Google because there are lots of page results, but there is some AI that shows up at the top and other things like that. You do want to see what the AI has to say here. I’m going to talk about AI at the end.
I do want you to pay attention. If you’ve got generative AI turned on in your Google search, use it when you type in Experts in Passive Income Real Estate. You want to see who’s showing up and what the AI is saying is an expert, which is important, or who they’re citing over there. Those are really important because they have a high authority in ranking value. The next thing we want to do is check out the website. Once you google them, you have to click through that and figure out where it’s going.
You do. If they really have a lousy website or a lousy destination, that would be a concern. Hopefully, if they’re ranking very high on Google search for some of these things and you’re putting in as search terms, there’s a quality piece of content such as a website that is that destination. The thing is their name is important. Their business name is also important.
I can’t emphasize this enough. There are so many really good businesses that do a poor job of this. We see our podcasters ranking higher than they do or their business names do on that first page of Google. That can be good for you because as long as they’re well-known and you rank for their name or their business name, your website’s going to come up on that first page of Google search for their business name or their individual name. That will drive more traffic to you. There is still value there, even if they don’t come up by themselves.
I always look at it as depending on my goal and my business. When I first start a podcast and maybe a website, I’m looking for more website links and website rankings. I won’t choose anyone who has a guest on my show that doesn’t have a good value website and is not going to provide a linkback. If they’re a guest on podcasts and they never put it on their website, then I’m going to not invite them on my show at that stage. I might invite them later if they have a good social media following, which is my next step.
For the very first stage when I’m really trying to build up traffic to my show in the early days, especially in the first 50 episodes, so the first year of hosting, I need their site to bring me a linkback. I need them to drive traffic back to me so that I can build up my authority. My purpose is slightly different. In that respect, if their website’s not ranking highly, that link that’s going out from the Google search isn’t going to a website. It’s going to some other article written about them or some other thing about them. I’m not going to invite that person. I’m going to go down until I find someone whose website is ranking on that. I might have to go into the second and third page of Google for that.
When I get to their website, I want to make sure that they are linking back to other people through their site, through their press page, their own blogs, or something like that. I want to make sure that they’re updating their websites. If their website’s from 2009, it’s not good enough. It needs to be current. A red flag for me is if the website’s not WordPress. It usually has a low rank or low value, but I’m going to check it out in case.
If I’m on the fence about it, I might go to something like Semrush or some other ranking site and check out the traffic on their site. I’ll see how good it is. That’s an alternative way. It’s a little deeper dive and a bit geekier if you want to get into it. I want to make sure that they do proper linkbacks and that traffic is going to their site and other things like that. Otherwise, it’s not worth inviting them to the show. If they’re not even going to post and linkback to me, it’s not going to help me. That’s what I’m looking for when I look at their website.
One other thing I’d like to add to that about evaluating a website is to go look at their blog. If they don’t have one, that’s a huge red flag. Most have a blog. Let’s say they have a blog, but then, go look at the date the most recent blog was published. That’s a bigger red flag. People, a lot of times, get all excited. They build their website and get the new website out. They have a bunch of blogs they put out initially, and the last time they blogged was 9 months ago, 1 year and a half ago, or several years ago. That’s a big concern for me.
When they don’t update their blog, that’s one quick, easy way to check on it. The second way I check on it is I go right down to the copywrite at the bottom of the page. If they’re not well managed and they don’t have someone helping them with their website or they’re not updating their own website, the copywriting will be way out of date.
It is okay if it’s 2023 and they didn’t quite get 2022. If in the early part of 2022, they didn’t get it updated over there, I don’t question that. If it’s 2023 and they still haven’t updated it since 2018 on their copywrite line, they have a problem. They don’t know what they’re doing on their website. That concerns me in terms of whether or not there’s value in inviting them.
Keep in mind. This is the way we’re evaluating guests we don’t know. If we know they already provide value, I’m not looking at any of this. I don’t care. If you’re freaking out because you’re a guest and thinking, “They’re going to check all those things,” you should fix them. Establishing a relationship with me in a different way and a personal connection supersedes all of this.
This is for checking out someone I don’t know, which is usually someone served up to me by a PR firm. This is for when I’m searching for someone who is an expert in something that I want to fill in the gaps in my own show, my own content, and my own keyword areas that I’m working on in my own search engine optimization for my show and website. The next place is social media. Once I find someone and I have checked out their website and say, “That’s good enough,” I want to check out their social media.
I’m very interested to hear what you have to say about this. In my experience, sometimes, the people with the most followers are the worst at sharing anything about your show. Are we caring more about how big their following is or are we caring about seeing that they’re actively posting things? For others, they’ve maybe been a guest on their show.
It’s both. What we want to see is that the primary social media that they put out typically ends up in order. At the top of their website, at the bottom of their website, or somewhere in the middle of their website, they’ve got the social media icons. Typically, because it is human nature and we read from left to right, we typically put the most important ones to the left. They’ll be the first two in it. If I do not value TikTok at all and TikTok is the first one, I’m going to go check the second one. If the second one’s Instagram, I’m going to go check it out. I have to align it with my social media strategy as well.
For me, I predominantly want to post my own content and link to someone on LinkedIn and Instagram. I’m making this up as an example. Those are the two most important platforms. The other ones are bonuses. They get more traffic and more views. They’re great, but if there’s no connection on LinkedIn and Instagram, I have trouble collaborating with them. I have trouble tagging them, getting them to respond, and getting them to drive value to the social media that I’m predominantly using. That’s important.
Whether it’s Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram, wherever you are most important, that’s the first one you’re going to want to check out. If they’re not even present there, it’s not going to have a collaborative view of the place you’ve built your most value so far. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want someone who can extend me and grow me on Instagram, but if I already have a large LinkedIn following and a rich engagement going on over there, I want someone who’s going to add value where I already am. That is going to give me more visibility and boost where it’s harder because I’ve already built up a following. I need to grow that.
The primary area where you play in social media is the first place you want to check. The primary area you want to grow in social media is the second place you want to check. You don’t need to check everywhere you can if you want, but those are the only two platforms I check. If my priority is LinkedIn and Instagram, I’m going to check those two.
When I check them, what I’m looking for, and to your point, is the engagement and what they’re sharing or their content. Do they make story shares? Do they do collabs? Are they mentioning other people or are they only putting up ads for their own stuff in their content? They’re constantly pushing their own webinars and their own stuff. It is pushy sales. That’s a red flag for me.
Usually, that’s what I see when a PR firm is hired. There’s usually a social media firm hired and they tend to not have a content focus. They tend to have a push sales focus. I’m looking for that. That’s a red flag that I’m not going to invite them to my show. They’re not going to be givers. They’re going to be takers. I really want to be careful with that. That’s what I’m looking for.
I also want to look for a large mismatch between the comments and engagement of their posts and the number of followers they claim they have or that show up on their site. If they claim to have 100,000 Instagram followers but they don’t even get 5 likes per post, that says that they bought their followers to me. I’m really careful about anyone who’s like that. They don’t have what I consider to be a sustainable strategy and a sustainable base of followers that is going to be valuable to me. They did it so that they could put in their guest application, “I have 100,000 followers on Instagram. That’s why you should put me on your show.” Those 100,000 followers are going to do nothing for you when they post about it if there are 0 likes, 0 engagements, and 0 comments going on.
Not only that, I often find that some of our podcasters, even when they do have a very large Instagram following, let’s say, that gets them their podcast content, any guests they connect with, and a lot of engagement within Instagram, that doesn’t necessarily translate into engagement over elsewhere. It doesn’t translate into getting people to your website and getting them to come and listen to your podcast. It doesn’t always translate.
That’s why you need to look at what they’re posting, Tom. That’s exactly why you want to check out the content. If they’re comfortable driving people out to things, then it’s working for them or they wouldn’t be doing that. If all they’re doing is posting what they had for lunch, all about them, and little videos of them and there is nothing that’s helping them mention outside of it, unless it’s a paid spot and they’re being a paid influencer for someone else, it’s not going to work for you. You’re not going to drive any listeners from that. It’s not going to grow your audience.
If there’s a mismatch, also. We are going back to our example of passive income real estate. Everything that they post on social media is about fitness and health and it’s misaligned to what you thought they were an authority in. If their web authority and their social authority don’t match, then that’s not going to help you as well. Make sure that what they’re posting about and what they seem to be an authority in is a match to what you were initially looking for. We want to make sure that’s there as well.
The social check is harder. You have to dive into it. Look at their hashtags. Look at their likes and comments. Look at their follower numbers. Look at their big profile. Check all of that out. It takes a little bit of time. That’s why I say only do the two that matter, the one that matters to you that’s your biggest strength and the one that you want to grow in. That way, you don’t waste your time checking out every social media platform. If you hire someone to do this, tell them to check everywhere. You want them to be thorough. The last place that I check is YouTube. That’s the last physical place that I check. It’s not a social media platform.
When you mentioned search engines though, that one should have been included in that list because it is a very popular search engine. Although it is still a very distant second to Google, it is worthwhile nonetheless.
If you don’t want to search on YouTube and you don’t want to do it as a separate thing, when you type into Google your search engine criteria, “I want an expert in passive income real estate,” up at the top, it’s giving you your text choices. If I click over and click over to where it says Videos underneath that, it will serve me YouTube videos there. That’s a quick and easy way for you to take from the search you were already doing, flipping over, and checking what’s on YouTube without going into YouTube yet.
When you see some videos, options, and things that it’s giving you, you can also look at that generative AI. It does pop up video options for you as well. You can go check that. It will link you out to YouTube and you can go into YouTube and do a little dive into them. I like to check out their channel. I like to check out the number of subscribers versus their views. It’s a ratio. If I see 10,000 subscribers on their channel, I’m excited. That sounds great. If I see 100 views or less on every video, that’s not so good. It means that those subscribers are not really following them and watching. They were maybe paid subscribers. Maybe they’re mismatched subscribers. They’re not a match to what they’re posting and viewing.If your potential guest is not even going to like, post, and link back to you, it's not going to help you. Click To Tweet
100 views might be perfectly great for you, but I guarantee you you’re probably going to see 5 views, 7 views, or 2 views of the videos. That’s what you’re going to see usually when there’s a big mismatch in the number of subscribers to views. We really want to make sure that what they’re posting is matched to you and make sure it’s what you typed in as your criteria. When they’re posting about those things, they’re getting decent view numbers on them. That’s what we want.
I don’t go in and deep dive into the comments and engagement. I would say that our expert in this, Fran Asaro, who was in our previous episode, would very much say you probably do want to check the engagement. I don’t worry about it as much because it’s not as rich over on YouTube in terms of engagement level as a translation into are you getting a lot of value from it. I want to see that they’re sharing my videos and doing things.
The next section that I’m going to check out is their Shorts. Their Shorts is the way that they’re probably going to promote that they were on your show, not necessarily in a lengthy video. That video is an indicator that they have a good, rich YouTube and they use YouTube well, but it is the Shorts that I’m going to care about because that’s a promotion opportunity.
Typically, if you’re not seeing around 200 to 400, somewhere in that range, views on a Short, they’re doing something wrong in their YouTube Shorts. They should be able to get a couple hundred views of a YouTube Short without working very hard. That is pretty easy for you to be able to check and say, “Is that happening on average?” They’re going to have a dud now and again, and they’re going to have one that does thousands of views. That’s okay, but on average, are they doing about a couple hundred per Short? If they are, then they’re doing something right. They know what they’re doing. They have a Short strategy.
You want to make sure they’re hashtagging. You want to make sure they’re titling. You want to make sure that Short looks compelling and is linking to some other piece of content so it is sending you on. It has a call to action of some kind. If it’s doing all those things, they are someone you want to invite to the show. Anyone who’s posting a YouTube Short should be of great value to you as long as you also have a YouTube channel that you’re linking and sending them to. There’s going to be a YouTube video from your podcast. If there’s no YouTube video of your podcast, then there’s no value for you because going out of the platform is not a great strategy.
You want to make sure those YouTube Shorts are current and that there are recent ones, not older ones. Does it still apply to YouTube?
Yes. YouTube Shorts is a relatively new thing. Some people have had them for months because they were in the beta program before and were qualified before. For most of us, we weren’t able to get access to it until 2022. Some people are new to it. That’s perfectly okay. If you’re new to it, that’s a great strategy because it means it’s a part of their current strategy. That’s really great for you to be able to check it out and make sure you’re on their boost of new promotions and new things that they’re doing. I don’t mind if they’re new, but if they did 1 or 2 a year ago and then haven’t done any, that means that they abandoned it.
They’re not likely to continue to promote yours there or to take what you give them. If you give them a Short for them to post on YouTube to make them look good, which if you’re recording video, you all should be doing, you want to make it easy for them to post content and create all those assets for them. That’s after they’ve made the cut, which you’re eliminating for us, as to who is worthy and who is not.
Yes. To recap, google them, check out their website, check out their social media, the social media that matters the most to you in terms of growth and the one that you’re doing, and check out their YouTube. Check out their YouTube, specifically within their YouTube Shorts or anything that they do on YouTube that is promotion of other people’s content or other people’s stuff, clips that they were in, or anything like that. It could be any kind of press promotions and things that they do there.
Those are the things you want to check. I mentioned earlier that we would double back to the AI. Here’s the thing. Once you know where you’re looking for the expertise, what those keywords are, and what expert you want and you’re like, “I want an expert in this,” go ahead and ask the AI to generate that for you. I highly recommend Google Bard because it’s an expert in SEO. Google Bard is based on much more web-based content than ChatGPT is. I highly recommend you go and ask it to build you a list of great guests for your podcast in this particular category.
It’s really easy to use. Ask it to do it. Ask it to generate a list of ten people to start. Don’t do a list of 100 immediately because you want to refine it. You could say, “Do a list of ten people who are experts in passive income real estate.” Ask it to do that. When it does that, go back in and say, “If I were to add another 10 to this list, can you add 10 more that have high social media value? Can you add ten more that have high YouTube value? Can I add more that have high authority ranking and search engine optimization ranking?” Ask it for those things and ask it to be specific. That’s how you might grow 10 until you get a list of 50 that would give you an entire year’s worth of value.
I don’t go bigger than that. If you go bigger than a year, they’re not going to be current by the time you get a chance to interview them if you’re only posting one episode a week. If you’re going to do a blitz or something and you’re going to do 1 a day for 1 month or something like that, you can go ahead and build a bigger list. If you’re only posting one a week, do not go too far out and too deep into this. Make it every three months that you go back in and ask it again because its current value might be different three months from now. You’re going to get too far out and you’re not going to have value that will be that same value in three months.
I agree. You don’t want to go too far out. Let’s say you got all 50 to be on your show. Some of them aren’t going to get that exposure value for a year. However, practical reality and experience tell us that not all 50 are going to say yes. You’re going to have a list of 50 and you’re going to get 15 or 20 of them probably to agree.
I don’t know about that if you went out, reached out to them, and said it in a LinkedIn direct message. As long as you find a way to get to them. If you found a way to get to them directly and said, “I AI-ed you. I found you on AI and it says that you are one of the experts I should have on my show. We’re uniquely matched to talk about passive income real estate,” I don’t think they’d say no to that. It would be highly unlikely they would say no.Digital visibility and digital credibility matter more today than it did yesterday. You would rather have someone with digital credibility than a celebrity. Click To Tweet
There are things that you don’t have control over, though. You don’t know their schedule. You don’t know how booked up they are with other things. Maybe you can get all 50. That’s awesome. I don’t know. I have experienced some people who aren’t willing to do the research on you even though you’ve selected them. Are they going to reciprocate and realize, “I should be on your show?” Some people are pretty lazy. I hope you’re right.
Out of it, I’m the one who usually does this for all of our shows and gets people to come on. The ones that don’t come on are typically not good guests because they’re either too wrapped up in their own world or they are too uncomfortable coming behind the mic. If you have to chase someone down and they’re like, “I’m not sure I’m the right guest for you,” or, “I’m not sure that I’m really confident about this podcasting thing,” then you don’t want them on your show. They’re not good behind the mic. It’s not worth chasing them down.
We did 650 episodes of our 3D print show. I used to ask people to come on. I had to educate them on podcasting. I would still get 9 out of 10 people I asked without question. The tenth person, I could fairly quickly convince with a couple of messages back and forth. Rarely did someone refuse to come on. Even though that was years ago when there weren’t as many people asking you to be on their podcast, I still have very few people who refuse me or whom I have to chase down. It happens rarely.
That goes to the value of the research that you’re doing. The people who are probably not a good fit are not even going to make your list. That’s the big point.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a celebrity on the list and you have trouble tracking them down because they don’t book their own stuff. That can happen. That’s why I’m saying once you’ve got this list of ten people, it’s so great. It’s not too big. It’s easy for me to tackle. I’m likely to get two months’ worth of content out of that. If you feel like you need to expand out, go ahead and get a list of twenty. You’ll be very sure you’ll get three months’ worth of content before you want to generate a new list again.
That sounds great, Tracy. There is a lot to think about there for our audience, but it sounds very valuable.
If search engine optimization or searchability, visibility, and credibility for your show is what you’re seeking, remember digital visibility and digital credibility matter more now than they even did yesterday because of AI and all of those things. I would rather have someone with digital credibility than I would have a celebrity for my show. It’s going to add more value to someone who’s going to like my website, go through my website, join my social profiles, and tune in to my show at the end of the day. That is how we are going to get more people for our show.
I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes, the more famous people are not going to get you what you really are going to get value from. There’s no question. Thanks for sharing all that, Tracy. That’s very helpful. I hope our audience got great value out of that.
Thanks, everyone, for reading.
- Inc. Magazine – Tracy Hazzard