About Optimized Geek
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About Stephan Spencer
Stephan is an internationally recognized SEO expert and bestselling author. He is the author of Google Power Search, co-author of Social eCommerce, and co-author of the The Art of SEO, now in its 3rd edition and considered THE bible on SEO. Stephan founded Netconcepts in 1995 and grew it into a multi-national SEO agency before selling it in 2010 to Covario. Stephan continued as a sought-after SEO and digital strategy consultant. His clients post-acquisition have included Zappos, Sony Store, Quiksilver, Best Buy Canada, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Chanel. Stephan speaks at many Internet marketing events, including SES, SMX, PubCon, Internet Retailer, Shop.org, etc. He’s contributed to Huffington Post, Search Engine Land, DM News and MarketingProfs, among others. Stephan is the creator of Traffic Control, a 3-day seminar on SEO, co-creator of the 3-day professional development seminar Passions into Profits with Kris Jones, and the host of 2 podcasts, The Optimized Geek and Marketing Speak.
Stephan has been through his own incredible transformation — you wouldn’t even recognize him five years ago!
I was a true geek right from the beginning, as you can see here.
Built and launched InnSite and Writers.net
While still in graduate school, I helped launch two user-generated content (UGC) sites. Innsite was an award-winning pioneer in the online bed and breakfast directory space. WritersNet was not only the definitive directory of published authors, editors, publishers and literary agents, it was also a thriving online forum with tens of thousands of posts.
My first Internet conference
I submitted my first paper and it got accepted to my first ever Internet conference. It was a nerd’s dream come true. I was star struck, meeting the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, and the inventor of Apache and Netscape Server, Rob McCool. Yes, I’ve been around the block a few times!
DROPPED OUT OF PHD TO PURSUE INTERNET MARKETING
I dropped out of my PhD but was still able to acquire a Master’s in Biochemistry while working on biological viruses. One of my specialties while being a grad student was 3D rendering and visualisation of these viruses, like the picture you see here. The promise of untold riches as a startup founder was too alluring to pass up.
I had the only multi-page case study in Special Edition: Using CGI due to the fact that my two websites, Writers.Net and InnSite, were real time updatable with CGI scripts.
Landed the Cover Image for the Journal of Structural Biology
I co-authored an academic journal article that also got published in this issue.
MY FIRST MAGAZINE COVER!
It was exciting enough to have landed a feature story about me and Netconcepts in a print magazine. But being the cover photo for that issue — that sent me over the moon! The staff writer shadowed me and my client Food Concepts for weeks, chronicling the evolution of their web presence, from inception to launch.
Moved entire family to New Zealand
My move allowed me to simultaneously embrace my wanderlust and expand Netconcepts overseas. Thanks in large part to our Auckland branch and the stellar team there, Netconcepts was able to expand to eventually crack $6 million in revenue.
Started Writing as a Contributor to Magazines and Websites
I first shared my expertise as a columnist to Building Online Business magazine. I later went on to write a column for Unlimited Magazine, one of the top business magazines in New Zealand. This opened me up to a number of new opportunities writing for various magazines and websites.
Landed target.com as an SEO audit client
Other big name clients included
REI, Verizon, Home Shopping Network
Invented the pay-for-performance SEO technology platform GravityStream
GravityStream was a landmark invention that bypassed the need for IT resources when implementing technical SEO changes.
This optimization platform saved businesses time and resources by automatically optimizing large-scale, dynamic websites. I later applied for a GravityStream patent in 2007.
Stephan Starts Blogging
I became a proponent of blogging and influenced many of my clients to start utilizing this medium. Steve Spangler, inventor of the viral Diet Coke-Mentos experiment, became an early blogger per my advice. I also played a role in convincing President Jimmy Carter to blog his travel experiences for his non-profit The Carter Center.
Encouraged daughter Chloe to launch Neopetsfanatic.com
The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. I encouraged my daughter, Chloe, to launch a site of her own: neopetsfanatic.com. She launched the Neopets fan site and some months was even exceeding $1000 in adsense when she was just 14.
Moved Back to the US
The move allowed me to be more accessible
for prominent speaking gigs in the U.S. My illustrious speaking career has brought me to over 100 events and conferences across the globe. The move also helped my daughter, Chloe, launch her speaking career.
LANDED ANOTHER MAGAZINE COVER
BusinessWatch did an in-depth feature on my rise in the SEO industry.
The Art of SEO
I co-authored The Art of SEO, now in its third edition. The book has become a go-to roadmap for anyone looking for tactics, tools, and ranking methods for SEO. It was a huge honor to be an O’Reilly author. I’ve been a huge fan ever since I taught myself Perl in 1993 from an O’Reilly book.
Attended my first Tony Robbins event
Three different people encouraged me to attend Unleash the Power Within. Little did I know it would be the catalyst to completely reboot my life.
Netconcepts sold to Covario
This was one of the pivotal moments in my business life. It always helps having two bidders competing with each other to buy your business. The earn out timeframe I negotiated was six months, which allowed me to jump right into my second business the same year.
I began a total physical and mental transformation. By September 2010, my physical transformation was pretty much complete. People could hardly recognize me afterward!
Published Google Power Search
I used my first solo book to cover the full range of Google’s powerful search-refinement features. Google Power Search keys readers into finding anything on Google using advanced tools and techniques. This was my second book published by O’Reilly.
Became a Platinum Partner
As soon as I left Covario not only did I start up my own SEO business, I also embarked on a
3 year journey as a Tony Robbins’ Platinum Partner, which means you globe-trot with
Tony and other billionaires to such places
as India, Africa, and Fiji, learning from some of the best luminaries in the world on wealth building and other topics. It was quite
a peer group, to say the least!
Covario, which included my Netconcepts team and IP, was acquired by the multi-billion dollar advertising agency conglomerate Dentsu Aegis, which also owns iProspect.
I co-authored my third O’Reilly published book. Social eCommerce details how to extend brand reach and increase online sales using social media.
Launched my TV Media Tour
I did 11 TV appearances as a guest on local news programs. I stopped by sets from Sacramento to Phoenix to share my insights on SEO, giving back, geeking out, and more!.
I married the love of my life, Orion, in a beautiful ceremony in Costa Rica. Orion, a love/dating coach, inspires and challenges me every day.