This is the episode where you’ll discover what a typical approach to starting an effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy may look like.
- article writing
- article spinning
- article submissions
- RSS Feeds
- bookmarking sites … even Squidoo lenses!
We also discuss some critical feedback we received recently and James fills us in on how his new traffic course – Traffic Grab – is tracking after just a few days post launch.
Links & resources mentioned in Freedom Ocean podcast episode 10:
SEO Partner – SEO Service – This is the one we discuss in detail in this episode. It’s the ideal way to ease into outsourcing your traffic and SEO services.
Traffic Grab – Grab highly targeted traffic from multiple traffic resources.
Duration: 58 minutes / 53 MB
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Tim: James Schramko, welcome back to the Ocean my friend.
James: Thank you Timbo.
Tim: And listeners too – welcome back to the listeners, most important, most important. And the listeners are growing day by day too, let me tell you.
James: That is an interesting trend isn’t it? It goes up almost exactly the same amount each week and then it starts to go exponential – it increases.
Tim: It’s a good trend; it’s a trend people would call “point north” if you’re in the southern hemisphere.
James: And I have a theory on why that’s happening.
Tim: Yes? What is it? Well, go on – what is it?
James: I think it’s because we’ve integrated our podcast with the Facebook channel and the YouTube channel. So at each touch point: if someone comments on the blog, on the Facebook comments, then that goes in front of other people’s Facebook; if they subscribe to the YouTube video then it pops up on their YouTube account; and if they’re on our Facebook wall making submitter actions then it shows up on other people’s. So there’s all these opportunities for people to share content.
Tim: And integration is the key isn’t it? That is absolutely fundamental to, not just to internet marketing but to any marketing. I’m running a workshop tomorrow for a medium sized organisation and one of the things – in fact James, using local video method – is that what it’s called, Kevin’s product that we talked about in a previous show?
James: That’s the one.
Tim: Yes, using that I’ve identified a lot of places with this business’ online presence where they’re just not integrated. And we live in a world, a marketing world, where it’s quite easy to integrate things these days and have the different channels talking to each other. I like that.
James: I like that, and I think it’s effective and that’s why we talk about it.
Tim: Now, for anyone who’s knew to Freedom Ocean this is the – and you probably picked it up on the intro which is, we’ve had a couple of intros lately, I should touch on that. You keep picking up – you keep saying when I send you a new edited show “Hey, the intro’s changed”.
James: What, do you think I don’t listen to it or something? (laughs)
Tim: (laughs) I don’t know. I don’t listen to my own podcasts that I do very often –
James: I listen to your other podcasts, you could just ask me –
Tim: I know you do.
James: If it’s good or bad.
Tim: Yes, okay, I’ll do that. I don’t know where you find the time mate, but well, I guess living in the Freedom Ocean you’re free to do what you want really aren’t you and you choose to listen to my other podcasts. (laughs)
James: I like listening to them when I’m creating products just so that I’ve got someone to keep me company.
Tim: Oh, that’s lovely. Well, we’ve been changing, I’ve been mucking around with the intro to this and I think we’ve got it right now. Do you like the way the ocean sounds continue for about 30 seconds into our discussion? That’s what they call “cool”. That’s hip, man.
James: I like it, it takes you, it moves you to another place. I think audio is a very strong medium.
Tim: It is, it is, clear in the mind, as they call it in the profession. Now James, we’ve got a bit to cover in Episode 10 mate. Three things. One is we are going to go and talk about a couple of people who have slammed us over recent weeks, and we’ll have a little chat about that and we can air our views. We’re not going to slam back we’re just going to air our views on why we do what we do. Secondly, I want to ask you how the launch of your most recent product has gone – Traffic Grab – because we’re literally in the first week of that launch so it would be good to get a sense of maybe what went well and what you’d do better, what you’ve learnt. And then we’ll get to the guts of the show which is all about Search Engine Optimisation and, dare I say, SEO 101. Maybe not 101 – what’s up from 101? Will it be 102 or 201?
James: I’m not sure, I think that’s an American standard isn’t it? Is it 201? I don’t know.
Tim: Yes, well, one up from beginners but we’re going to dig deep and have a look at what is this thing, what is article spinning and submission and back linking and what makes up – I guess my big question around SEO is what does a starter SEO pack look like? So, we’ve got a bit to cover mate.
James: Alright, I’m ready to dive in whenever you are.
Tim: Oh, lovely. What a lovely thought. Well, let’s get stuck in first. Why don’t you talk about the slamming we received a couple of weeks ago on Facebook?
James: Well, there was only two incidents. One was a comment we had on our blog and that was about our lack of support and that interested me. Firstly, it’s a free podcast so I was interested in what level of support a free podcast requires, just out of curiosity. And secondly, much to my shock and horror and dismay, when I logged into the support centre it appeared that we had responded to the support request immediately. And I felt unfairly criticised, because we take support so seriously, and I made comments to that effect underneath the gentlemen’s thing because it’s one of those things, when you challenge what do you do? Do you just back away and be at one with the world and all that or do you stand up for what you think is right?
Tim: Yes, it was interesting because you got your back up quickly, and that’s a personality trait, but also maybe being new to podcasting, where I’ve done podcasting for the last two, two and a half years. I don’t think it’s specific to podcasting but, as I said to you at the time, when you stick your head above the trench and you express and opinion and share views and educate, or whatever we do in this podcast, you open yourself up to criticism. Mind you, we also open ourselves up to a lot of thank yous and really positive feedback. I mean, 99.9% of what we get back via iTunes reviews, blog comments, Facebook wall comments, it’s pretty positive.
James: Well, the other one that was interesting was a Facebook comment, and that also irritated me because out of the two of us, Tim, I’m doing my internet stuff, I’m in a good place, I’m able to leverage what we do in ways that are indirect. I don’t need to pitch and to sell and the comment I had accused us of having a pitch fest –
Tim: It did.
James: And it irritated me for two reasons: one is, I’m not the one that really needs to sell anything or drive any sales, if anything I’m the one – even in that very podcast I said “Make range, let it go longer and save it up for something good”;and the second thing is it was absolutely false. We’d gone almost the entire podcast without mentioning any products and at the very last bit we mentioned some resources that were appropriate to the topic that would help solve problems. And that sort of leads to a few questions: are we allowed to sell on our own podcast? And then, if the answer’s yes or no, should we actually be paying attention to the one whinger or do we just go with the general flow of it? Because we had a lot of positive feedback from that very same episode, so obviously some people are offended by what they feel is a sales attempt – you know, is that evil? And the other thing is, I wonder what they’re measuring against? I mean, I have been to pitch fests and seen what goes on and I would not describe that episode as a pitch fest – not after delivering how many episodes,seven episodes of pure content?
Tim: Yes. Well, you’d also gone back with that – as only you could do – you went back and measured and quantified, but at the 56 minute mark we mentioned a product and I think the show went for maybe just over an hour. So look, I was at the dog park at the time that Facebook comment came through and that’s when you and I started having the dialogue, I think it was via text or however we did it. I was getting a bit of a laugh because really what we’re doing, even talking about it now and we were talking about it on the weekend that it happened, we’re giving energy and air to the minority here. Remember, this is one person.
James: This is why it’s important Tim because when people put their website online, when they release a new product, when they put a feedback form or a contact form or comments or Facebook or twitter or YouTube they will get comments. And there will be comments that aren’t complimentary because there are some people out there who even go out of their way to stir up trouble. I’m not saying this person did but people are different and they react differently, and they now have – more than any time before – the ability to express themselves. They can still be moderated, you can delete or block or bar – and these might be topics as well. There are people who I’ve blocked from my social media because they’re pests or they’re spies. So I think this is a whole discussion as well. I know we’re talking about SEO today but this does fascinate me.
Tim: It is fascinating and even when you deliver product – I mean in one of my businesses I have a product, it’s on the Small Business, Big Marketing show that I do with Luke and what we do is that we offer the opportunity for a client to come on and – actually, there’s five bits of their marketing materials. It might be their website, a brochure, an ad – whatever they want to send us – for $500 Luke and I will then go away and record a dedicated show just for them for one hour about how we would improve their marketing. No-one else gets to hear it, they get the mp3. So my point is, it’s a really good product. Secondly, we did one for a fellow just recently who then responded with a whole lot of things, a whole lot of questions came out of the one hour that we put. It takes us about three hours,he then asked us all these questions. Luke and I didn’t respond within which was yes, shoot, we had lots on, and from our point of view the job was done also. You know, you can only work on one thing for so long for that fee and he really got his back up. But we found that the best thing to do was respond in a way that sort of said you know what, we met our obligations. He liked what he got just not responding caused him to get his back up, and I think sometimes you’ve just got to walk away from those things knowing that you’ve done the right thing. If you’ve done the right thing, it’s like that old saying: if you don’t lie then you don’t have to worry about what you said or you don’t have to remember what you said. It’s about delivering what you believe is true to your values.
Tim: Yes, so I reckon we’ll let that one lie James and –
James: I think from recollection one of my final comments on that particular incident was “I’m not changing for you”. So take it or leave it, that’s my stance on it. I will listen to normal, reasonable and repeated feedback but there’s only three types of feedback: there’s what you observe, what you ask for and then what people tell you when you don’t solicit it. And I know we actually ask for feedback so that’s fine. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.
Tim: Bring it on. No, absolutely not. Listeners please, go to our Facebook, which is – what is it? Freedom Ocean – what’s that link you’ve created for our Facebook?
James: I think it’s likefreedomocean.com
Tim: likefreedomocean.com – go there, comment on our Facebook, leave a note in our show notes, go to iTunes, we would love it. It helps us provide you with a better product. Now, that question you asked a few minutes ago James “Should we be able to sell product on our podcast?” – interesting question. The answer to me is clearly yes, it’s more in what context do you sell it. And I think your context of we’re making range so it’s not a pitch festbut if we do offer our product it’s because it’s the solution to something we’ve been talking about, to an area or a topic we’ve been talking about. That’s fair isn’t it?
James: Yes. I want to point out, we didn’t set up the podcast so we could sell a lot of product.
James: We set up the podcast because it’s a way to build relationships and to find the right customers over time and solve problems. If we can solve problems then they’ll probably buy solutions, but I would probably do the podcast anyway. I actually kind of enjoy it, it’s nice to share some ideas and to put ideas out there that people could implement and get the resource to be able to come back and find what else you’ve got. So I think it’s a really nice thing to do, it’s a value creation device and it’s also a way to collect thoughts and it definitely impacts the way that I conduct the rest of my business because you keep forcing me to strain my best ideas into a one hour podcast. So I’ve definitely leveraged it, in fact I’ve done something yesterday that is just stunning for my business that really has come as an innovation based on what we’ve done with the podcast, and I won’t ever have to ask a single Freedom Ocean client to buy anything of mine for me to leverage that idea and to make a really good profit in my other business.
Tim: Brilliant. Dare I ask what it is or should we save it for another time?
James: I’ll save it for another time. We should give it like a code name and we should see if the listeners want me to talk about it, but it is a massive leverage technique and it was so obvious when I had this “aha” moment. And I’ve started the implementation and I’ll actually have results from it fairly soon, and you can ask me about Operation Massive Leverage sometime.
Tim: I’m going to call it Operation Gilligan, in the spirit of Freedom Ocean.
James: I thought I was the Professor? (laughs)
Tim: Well, you’re the Professor and Gilligan is your kind of focus, you’ve got to fix Gilligan. Just to your point, I’m a little bit different. I do want to sell things through Freedom Ocean and we are, which is great, but what I love about Freedom Ocean, and about podcasting generally, and what smart marketers do is provide extreme value and then people may buy from you. As opposed to pitch, pitch, pitch in the hope that they’ll buy from you because you’ve created a strong argument that they need it, you know? I think first and foremost what we’re doing, and what marketing allows small business owners and internet marketers to do today, what the marketing landscape allows, is for you to do really engaging marketing, what we call “pull marketing” – pull people towards you because they like what you’ve got to offer and they like what you’ve got to share. And I was just reminded only in the last week, I spoke to one client this evening actually who is just about to embark on a massive TV campaign – which I just laughed. Actually, it’s not a client, it’s a company that I was listening to and they’re just about to embark on a massive TV campaign. Spoke to the company earlier this week who’s addicted to catalogues – couldn’t even think about carving off 5% of their marketing spend and putting it into online or to some shape or form of internet marketing. It’s beyond them, so the idea of offering great value in the hope then that someone will buy from you I think is a really good strategy.
James: Well, they do buy and we just tested it actually, we had our first test and it was very successful.
Tim: Correct. So, what you’re talking about there is your new traffic product James, you launched it on Saturday?
James: Yes, Saturday at midnight it –
Tim: Saturday at midnight, and why did you choose that day and time?
James: I actually chose it for my US market because it’s first thing in the morning and I wanted them to wake up and be able to experience the wonders of my product and it sold really well straight out of the gate. And I want to stress – I didn’t do a traditional product launch, I did a release and I’m going to champion this term because I don’t think anyone else has taken it, so I’m going to use it. But I did a product release. The reason I call it a release is this product is going to be around for a while, it’s an evergreen product and I didn’t want to have a massive spike and put all the load and the stress on everything for the first few days and create hype and pressure. Instead I wanted to make it available to the market. I did want people to let everyone know that it’s available and then I wanted to let the market form their own opinion about the product, and I want to continue selling that product for quite some time. It’ll be around for a while, so I did a lot of things differently to other marketers and I think the pay-off has been worth it.
Tim: It’s what you would call in old school marketing, probably a soft launch?
James: Yes, you’d probably call it that. There’s a few different types of online launches and the most popular one with the big guys is to get all these joint ventures and coordinate and take over the market and then have a massive push. They also get massive refunds and the buyers are pushed and cajoled and forced and manipulated into buying immediately. Now, someone might say “Well, the buyer can choose themselves” but unfortunately people aren’t that savvy, they do fall victim to marketing devices, like urgency and scarcity. So that is the general type of thing and then it fades away and in most cases they close down the product and then they sort out all the junk, and then they start on the affiliate mailing campaigns and they start pushing everyone else’s products because now they owe them a favour. I don’t really like that style so what I did is, I didn’t ask anyone to promote my product, I just gave it to my very best clients to create value with them and then what I did is I just made the product available and I had my affiliates tell other people about it. And the affiliates have driven hundreds and hundreds of sales just from telling people about it and it’s sustained, it’s actually continuing. We had quite a lot of sales in the first 24 hours and it’s gone down to a nice steady, consistent level where we’re seeing over 5,000 people every single day coming along to the site.
Tim: Isn’t that tremendous?
James: And we had 10,000 on the first day.
Tim: Well, it’s all about getting more traffic. In fact, you say it’s to grab highly targeted traffic from multiple traffic sources, you’re walking the talking and it’s an amazing product. I’ll admit now, we’re only into – what are we – day four or five, I haven’t watched half of it. So I think I watched about three hours of the product –
James: That’s impressive because there’s about nine hours’ worth.
Tim: Yes, there is and there’s what you call a large spaghetti bowl that comes with it which is not made of porcelain but it’s a large mind map that really tracks. I mean, you leave no stone unturned in generating traffic. It’s amazing and if listeners want to hear me go –
James: Oh, come on Tim. You’re going to get me in trouble.
Tim: I know. No, I’ll take the blame, you can say nothing.
James: I haven’t even mentioned the product name, I’m just so petrified of being called a “pitch man”. (laughs)
Tim: A pitch man, a fish monger. I’ll take it. I’ll take the hit, you know. How can we talk – I did a great course with Joanna Martin about a year ago now which was called “Selling from stage” and a great bit of advice: when you are talking to an audience, whether you are doing it in a podcast or a radio thing or whether you’re doing it live, is that what you hope is that they enjoy what you have to say and want more and it would be disrespectful not to give that audience more. This podcast only goes for an hour, you hope people want more but all of this if they do want to find out about this wonderful, wonderful product, this traffic product, then go to our products page on FreedomOcean.com and they will find out all about it. I was amazed James – when you started talking to me about it a couple of months ago I suppose I didn’t really know what the content was, how many hours of video it was going to be, manual, mind mapping but you’ve priced it very reasonably. What made you do that?
James: It’s about 10% of what it should cost and that was for a few reasons. One is when I started the product, the creation phase, I started with one slide show and I was going to – it’s funny actually. I’d presented the product to Joanna Martin’s crowd and they loved it and I did it in a webinar and I thought “I’ll just take this and just clean it up a bit and turn it into a new product and update it”. And then it sort of grew and then it grew and, before you know it, my keynote slide actually crashed. I lost 800 and something megabytes worth of data –
Tim: You’re kidding?
James: Yeah, it died. I thought, this is really big and I’m going to have to separate it into different keynotes so I don’t crash it again, and I ended up to think “Well, if I’m going to cover traffic I probably should cover the website because when they get there the page has to be right, so I’ll do a thing onsite”. And then I thought “Well, if they’re going to put content on the site it should be the right content so I’ll do a little module on content”. And then I thought “Well, if they’re going to do content they really need to research it properly so I’ll do it on research”. Then I thought “I need an intro to explain what the hell this is” and then there’s the traffic sections, and it sort of grew and grew. And it ended up being like 24 different traffic steps and then I thought “Well, they’ve got all this traffic, they’re going to the site, it’s well researched good content, how are we going to make it convert? So I’ll do something on conversions” and then I thought “Well, if they’re getting all of that how do they leverage that and use some little quick strategies that I know to really get a profit from it?”. And I added it all up and I ended up with six modules, and –
Tim: How long did it take you to create that?
James: I’ve been chipping away at it every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, just a little hour here, an hour there, just chunking away. There’s 30-something modules and my fantastic support has created the transcription of every single word I say on those nine hours. It’s 200 and something pages long, with pictures, the whole thing in transcription. Now, normally people sell these products for $2,000, and you know why these products are normally $2,000?
James: So they can pay people $1,000 to sell it.
Tim: Yeah, right, okay.
James: And you know, I sort of don’t think that’s the right thing by the customer because of their $2,000 purchase, $1,000 of it is really just the affiliate thing for someone to pimp it to them. And I just thought “Wouldn’t it be good if people actually promote a product because it was a good product and they weren’t going to get $1,000 but they just like it enough to sell it anyway?” and that’s what happened. My amazing affiliates have driven all this traffic to recommend the product because it’s a good product, not because they’re going to make thousands and thousands. But in the case of my top affiliates they have made thousands and thousands because they’ve sold a lot of it, and good luck to them. And it’s been fascinating as a release to see who made the sales, what traffic channels did they come from, how did they pre-sell the product and all these other related things. You know, what impact did the search results have? And what happens after it goes in the market we have people talking about it on Facebook and in internet marketing forums and then you get all the interesting things like customers coming to the site. Oh my goodness Tim, I could tell you a few funny stories from the last few days that just –
Tim: Well, you’d better save them up because our last show was a behind the scenes of Freedom Ocean, maybe at some point we need to go behind the scenes of a major pre- and post-launch strategy and have a bit of a laugh about. It would be almost like creating a bloopers reel.
James: It’s fascinating, like things that just totally surprised me the way that people inter-relate with their purchasing behaviour.
Tim: Yes. Well, glad to hear it’s gone well. You’re on in day four or five, we’ll keep checking back and I think it would be good to dig a bit deeper and talk about that concept of a release versus a massive launch and all these other joint venture strategies that you mentioned. But, in the spirit of talking about traffic, let’s talk SEO James because we are doing this show via Skype. All shows so far we’ve done face-to-face up at your lab, but we need to keep pumping the shows out and the best way we’re going to do that was through Skype. In fact, the reason this show came about, or the topic that this episode came about, was because I’d been looking at one of your SEO packs and some of the terms in it just were kind of making me go cross-eyed. And as you said, these packs are for people to wholesale to others, so they’re not necessarily for the business owner. So a lot of those geeky terms are relevant but I’d be really interested to go through the content of a starter pack for someone looking to start a search engine optimisation strategy, and just get you to explain what some of these things are. So are you ready?
James: I’m ready to roll.
Tim: Alright mate, well first of all, you offer to write an original article. Now, I understand that, that means writing an article, but how does that article come about? Where does the brief come from and who writes it?
James: The brief comes from the target website and the target key phrases. So for a starter pack with our firm they’re going to be choosing five key phrases as a maximum – could be three, could be two – but let’s pick an example. You could have Tim Reid’s Jumping Castles.com and the key phrase might be “jumping castles Melbourne” – is that how you say Melbourne? Melbourne.
Tim: Yes. (laughs) Melbourne.
James: Right, so the article writer will go and create a 500 word article about jumping castles in Melbourne. More than likely they’ll put the key phrase in the headline and then they will probably do some light research, they’ll actually hop onto Google and they’ll type in “jumping castles” – if they don’t know what a jumping castle is they’ll go and have a look at what one is. So “Jumping castles, the ideal way to have a kid’s party, lots of fun in inflatable, bouncy blah, blah, blah” and they’ll probably go and have a look at the website and see what’s on there. They might notice that Tim Reid specialises in clown jumping castles. We also ask the client to supply a picture, if possible, so that we can get a good feel, and a little client brief, you know, tell us about your business, who’s your best customer and what type of person are you trying to attract to your website? And we’ll create the article that is ideal for that person.
Tim: Okay, alright. But I want to make it really clear here to our listeners, by the way, that whilst we are going through the content of a particular SEO package that we offer on the Freedom Ocean website, the intent is not to pitch it. I think it’s just really interesting, and being the guy with a million questions I think it’s really interesting that there are about these 10 to 15 different components that make up an SEO start pack. And I just think it’s really interesting, certainly from my point of view, to understand what each of those – what they are or how they come about. So, first question answered, it is that someone goes to the website – he goes to the website and writes a 500 word article. The next thing is a manual rewrite article – what’s that?
James: Okay, they take the first article and then they rewrite it in other words, human rewrite. So they’ll literally put it up on a computer screen, then they’ll open a blank document next to it, they’ll read the first paragraph and then they’ll write a new paragraph.
James: The goal is to create more versions of it because you want to have unique content. So it has to be different, it’s got to be original. So the first article might say “Tim Reid’s Jumping Castles specialise in the clown-style of jumping castle” and then the second article might say “If you’re looking for a clown-style jumping castle then look no further than Tim Reid’s Jumping Castles”. So it’s using a similar idea but putting it in a different format.
Tim: Okay, and the concept behind that – in fact, I’m going to ask you the next component and then I’m going to ask you that question. The next component is 80 spun articles from seed articles. Now, that deserves a very big phonebook over the head, but we are talking to wholesalers here, not people, not necessarily business owners who may not understand that. But what does that mean?
James: Spun articles are where you take the article and you feed it to a spinning software and it will go and find and replace phrases with different phrases so that you end up with very different versions of the article, and they’re measured in percentage different, you know, how different is it? So you could change “The quick brown fox”, it might automatically change that to “The fast black dog”. So it will literally find and replace for synonyms and stuff and then it will scramble it around. It might say “The dog that was fast and green”. So you have to be a little bit careful with these, the good operators of these software tools will be checking to make sure it actually ends up sounding like English instead of some garbled mess.
Tim: Well, sounding like English and making sense? Because if you change fox to dog and you’re talking about foxes then you’re no longer on topic.
James: And that’s why these software tools let the user choose from different selections and they can go “Oh, I want that one, that one, that, that one” and they can actually input their own version and it will store it to the system for next time.
Tim: Right, okay. So, 80 spun articles from seed articles. So those first two articles, the original written article and the manual rewrite, they’re the seed articles?
Tim: And then you put them into this machine – and I realise there’s a number of pieces of software out there that spin articles – you put them into that and you get back, from two articles, 80 versions, 80 new articles?
Tim: That’s incredible.
James: Well, think about it like a block of Lego, if you put a block of Lego for every word in an article and you stacked 500 blocks of Lego into a square wall. If you pull that Lego apart and reassemble it I bet you could come up with a whole bunch of different variations and it will look different every time.
Tim: Yes, it will look different every time. Some of it will look completely abstract.
James: Some of it might. But that’s really the skill of the tool and the operator, and some of these tools are actually very good but it should be noted what’s going to happen with these articles because that will give some more context to it, and I think we’ll cover that further down?
Tim: Yes, okay, well –
James: Where we put these articles is going to put this back into context. One thing that is important to note you are not going to put these on your own website.
Tim: So, that does lead us into article submission. But before we talk about that, some of these articles – tell me if I’m right or wrong here – some of these articles are being spun and created in order to generate backlinks as opposed to compelling content for people to read?
James: Yes, exactly. We just want our key phrase to appear in the text.
Tim: Okay. What if someone does come across a poorly spun article and then looks at whose article it is or what website is responsible for this and goes “These guys don’t know what they’re talking about, move on”.
James: Well, that’s why we have a human editor to read all the articles.
Tim: Okay. So into the big spinning machine, out the other end, humans sitting there checking, making sure they make sense – correct?
James: Correct. And the seed articles were sent to the client for approval before we do that as well so that we’re on topic before we get going.
Tim: Love it. Okay, then I think we’re leaving article creation now and moving into, in this case, 50 –
James: I want to say stop, I’m going to take advantage of that stuff up and I want to say one thing.
James: A listener might be thinking “Well, what if I’m a pet dentist?” or “I build conveyor machines and I have a specialised field, how are they going to research that?”. Well, we probably can’t and what we do with those clients is we say you give us the articles, just give us the seed articles and then we’ll just do more of the other stuff in lieu. So that’s the way around that with a technical customer. If peopleare really paranoid about that, just give us the content.
Tim: Yes, I know I’ve had a couple of clients who were paranoid, like first question “Who writes the articles?” because I think some businesses are stuck in that mindset of “We’ve got to control everything that goes out”.
James: Well, these things are not going to be put on a site with the customer’s name. They’re going to be posted out in Woop Woop pointing back to the customer’s site.
Tim: Okay. So we’ve gone into creation, now we’re talking about a submission and one of the things that comes with that is 50 manual article submissions.
James: Yes, so we take the articles –
Tim: 50 of the 82?
James: Yes, 50 of them, we will upload them to article directories by hand.
Tim: And submitting an article to an article directory obviously doesn’t require just the uploading of the article but the opportunity to – what are we talking here – categorise, tag?
James: Exactly, they’ll set the categories and the tags to make it topic-relevant.
Tim: Okay, and these article directories – I mean, you’re saying that’s 50 manual article submissions, does that mean to 50 different directories?
Tim: Okay, and clearly we’re talking here,example – give us some examples of a directory?
James: Go Articles, E-zine Articles. I must say though we’re unlikely to be using E-zine Articles for them. We’re more than likely using second tier ones like Go Articles and Articles Dashboard, because E-zine Articles are super-strict.
Tim: Yes, okay. The next one is 250 automated article submissions, so the previous ones were manual, these next are automated?
James: Yes, so there’ll be 200 instances of these and they might be the same article on multiple sites, there’s a few syndication services that will take one article and put it up to 20 or 30 places at once. So this will be the balance, this will be the other 30 articles.
Tim: Five one-way manual backlinks.
James: Yes, that’s where we will get a link back to the customer’s site with the right anchor text and we will put them out there, generally we will put them on a blog. We’ll get a blog comment or we’ll put them on a blog as a post.
Tim: And within relevant environments, like not just any blog but if you’re a vet dentist then you’re going to go and find blogs around vet dentistry – correct?
James: No, it could be any blog. You don’t have to have links from only relevant places, it would look a bit fishy. You need to have a mix and, frankly, for the budget you’re not going to be able to select on-topic stuff.
Tim: Yes, okay. So, you may be leaving a comment about vet dentistry on a blog about spark plugs?
James: No, we might make a comment about spark plugs but we might comment from a vet dentistry profile.
Tim: Okay. This sounds all very tricky to me and it’s clearly – the underlying objective here is back linking?
Tim: That’s what it’s all about, yes?
James: There’s only three things for SEO: it’s content, structure, backlinks.
Tim: Okay, I get content, I get backlinks. What’s structure?
James: Making sure that the structure of your website is ideal to get ranked in the search results.
Tim: Yes, okay, so basically on-page and off-page?
Tim: We’re talking off-page here, yes, off the website, away from the website?
James: Yes, this is really the ideal set up. The website is like the kite, now we’ve got to throw some wind at it and the links are just like building up that traffic to that website to make it fly.
Tim: Love it. What a nice analogy.
James: I like that one, I’ve used it a few times.
Tim: It’s good. 15 social bookmarking sites, example?
James: Yes, so we’d go out to like Delicious, that sort of site, and we bookmark the website so that that bookmarking site – usually a high page rank – will point back to the customer’s website.
Tim: Am I right in saying James that so far – and we haven’t finished yet what’s included in a starter SEO pack – but with 50 manual articles submissions, with 250 automated article submission alone. Does that equal 300 backlinks?
James: It won’t necessarily because some of them won’t stick. Like, they have to be indexed, it might take a while to do but a good majority of them will and then some of the other things we do, which we’ll find out at the end, will help them to get found and help them stick. But over time yes, you will get backlinks. Not all of them will stay but a good portion of them, and then there’s the argument of how do you actually measure them effectively because there’s different theories on that as well.
Tim: Is it right to say clearly with SEO it’s partly a numbers game and partly about quality? The numbers game being just get some backlinks out there, you know, if you’re starting out get out there and get some backlinks. As someone else once said to me, it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Getting found on Google is a bit of a popularity contest and backlinks – the more backlinks you have, it’s one way of telling Google or showing Google that you’re relatively popular?
James: Yes. You basically want to have more links than your competition and the higher the quality, the higher the relevancy the better. You don’t need a lot of links if you’re on topic and they’re from good sources but this is a great baseline. There’s different levels of linking,this is like a baseline linking program, it’s a level one general linking program. You can go in for the heavy-hitting stuff as a separate side thing, if you really want to craft amazing link bait put something really valuable on your site to encourage people to link to you. If you want to go and buy a high page rank or rent or post content on a very high page rank blog, that might be a more expensive initiative but this is a great residual baseline that you can set up and forget about.
Tim: Yes, well you’ve got to start somewhere. Okay, three Web 2.0 posts – what’s a 2.0 post?
James: Web 2.0 it’s, again, these sites that are popular, like Weebly.com for example, where people can go along and make a little website and it creates a profile. Again, it’s an independent site linking back to your site.
Tim: Okay, so three of those. 10 link directory submissions, can be GO specific – what’s that?
James: Well, link directories are just directories where they have listed things, like in the old days Yahoo was pretty popular as a directory, and there’s bunches and bunches of directories. There’s not that many that are super-good so we sort of pared this down to 10. If you go for the mass link directories it’s really just wasting effort. There’s only a few link directories that are super-good but in each area there are web directories, you’ve probably seen in Australia for example there’s things like Gumtree keep popping up in the results. You just find out what directories are strong in the area and we submit the site to those.
Tim: Okay, got you. Sort of classified sites, yes?
James: Sort of like that, more like the True Local and that sort of stuff, yes, a little bit like a classified.
Tim: Okay, then two Squidoo lenses and two Hub Pages interlinked. What is a Squidoo lens and what is a Hub Page?
James: Well, these are do-it-yourself blog type sites where you can go and create a lens or a page, it’s just a little mini-website, and both of those are quite strict, so they take more effort. But once you build two of each and link them together they sort of power up each other and then they link back to the customer’s site, and again it’s a reallystrong reference point. Both Squidoo and Hub Pages are relatively high quality and that link profile pointing back to the site gives it a good boost.
Tim: Squidoo was started by Seth Godin wasn’t it?
Tim: So what is it? It’s like a micro –
James: It’s just a little website builder, a lens is a little website.
Tim: Okay, so it allows you to populate it with basic content?
James: Pictures, content, links.
Tim: I remember when Seth Godin came out with it years and years ago, there was quite a hoo-ha about it. It didn’t take off as much as he may have wished it to, is that fair?
James: It ended up getting spammed by a lot of people and they banned a lot of categories. There’s some categories they will not let you make a lens on because they’ve been abused.
Tim: Okay, so your Hub Page and your Squidoo lens are similar things and in interlinking them, which means you link from one to the other and back again, so they power up and become a little bit more juice in them?
Tim: Okay, this is good. One WordPress.org and one Blogger.com blog linking back to the main domain and subpages?
James: Yes, same deal as Squidoo and Hub Pages, these are very powerful little website builders that you can build that are giving you extra links back to your site from third party places.
Tim: Okay, so you’re actually going out there and creating, setting up a WordPress.org site and a Blogger.com site, populating it with basic information and a link back – correct?
Tim: Okay, then we submit RSS feeds from Web 2.0, three article sites – Squidoo and Hub Pages – to multiple RSS directories. What’s that about?
James: Yes, so RSS is that little orange thing in the top of the browser, or if you use a Mac it might be blue, and we go and click on that and we gather the feed. It’s basically a little direct route straight to that website, it stands for Really Simple Syndication and we can take that feed and basically broadcast it. So first we aggregate it, which means we go and grab all the feeds and bring them together, and then we syndicate it,we submit it to directories that push it out. So imagine we’ve just reached out our arms and grabbed all of our websites, brought the feeds in and then pushed them out and broadcast them across the internet and Google comes running, they come and find out what this new content is and they index it in the search results.
Tim: So when you say you submit the RSS feeds – what do you submit them to?
James: Sites like Feedage.com.
Tim: Like Google Reader or – Google Reader is an RSS reader, correct?
Tim: So it’s not –
James: (laughs) What was the giveaway?
Tim: (laughs) Yes, correct. Okay –
James: Feedage is a good site to submit to.
Tim: So tell me what Feedage does.
James: It will take that RSS feed and it will publish it and a lot of publishers will pick up that feed and insert it into their website. It’s a very strong site and once it’s aware of it you’ll get a profile there and it will update whenever you post new content.
Tim: So it’s the RSS feed from your main site, not from any of these articles that you’ve been submitting?
James: No, from all of the articles we just made.
Tim: Oh, okay, from every single one of them?
Tim: Okay, got you. Then the last one is you ping 90 sites for each new web property – what’s that mean?
James: That’s where we take the web address of each property we made and then we push that across the internet in what’s called a ping and it, again, alerts the search engines that there’s a new property, they should go and check it out.
Tim: What’s a ping?
James: It’s just some technical name for sending a little – imagine a spider web, right?
James: If you drop something in the spider web and that sends a little rippling out across the rest of the web, that’s like pinging, or like throwing a pebble into the middle of the lake and watching the ripple. So we’re pinging each address saying “Check this out, check that out, check this out” and it goes shoooo across the internet.
Tim: Interesting. That has lifted the mist on a whole lot of SEO questions that I had, which is great. Now, interestingly enough, a search engine optimisation strategy like you’ve just been through, that is a monthly concern isn’t it? That’s not something – I mean, doing that once is better than not doing it at all but doing that month in, month out, what’s going to happen? What are you going to see as a site owner?
James: Well, the goal is to get your site ranked so you just dial in the dose of what you need. For most people it’s going to take about three months to see a real impact because you’re just layering it on, layering it on like a snowball coming down from the top of the mountain that gets bigger and bigger and bigger. The sites that I’ve been using this on for a couple of years now are very powerful, in fact one of them has 13 of the first results on page one, it has every single listing.
Tim: As you want to get smarter with your SEO, you clearly do more of what we just went through but then there’s some additional things, which I think we might cover in another episode. But just give us an example of clearly you may be going down the route of chasing a higher page rank site, for example, to get a link on which that strategy that we just talked about then does include, correct?
James: Correct. You might pick up some good page ranks but if you really want a fat, juicy page rank link, probably a good idea to find out who’s in your market and has a good blog and prepare some content for them that you could submit as a guest post. And generally that will involve you getting a link back to your site. So I own quite a lot of websites and every day through our helpdesk someone says “Hey, we’d like to supply content for you for free, we notice you’ve got site blah, blah, blah, we’ve got premium quality articles. We’d like to put our article on your site and we’d like to have two links back to your site and we’ll give you the content for nothing”. So that’s how they go to place it, because I’ve got some page rank six websites and people are always approaching me trying to look for a link from that.
Tim: You’d need to be pretty selective wouldn’t you because the minute you start dumping lots and lots of content from others on it, that may or may not be relevant, does that start to weaken the page rank?
James: Well, yes, I don’t do it. If I’m going to have links on there I’m going to sell them. We’re not allowed to sell links, Google don’t like it so I won’t do that. Let me rephrase that: I may do some “done for you” posting on our websites where people can pay us and we’ll write the posts for us because they don’t want to write the posts. That way we can control, make sure it’s high quality and everything and we may link to them as a nice little bonus.
Tim: But the whole page rank thing is quite confusing isn’t it, because the page rank is – Larry Page happens to be one of the two owners of Google and that’s where the page rank measurement comes from as opposed to a page of a website, correct?
James: Well, I’m not sure. Never knew that.
Tim: Yes, I think that’s the case. Larry Page, him and Sergei own Google, the concept of a “page rank” is his surname as opposed to the page of a website. I’ll have to investigate that further. Maybe if a listener knows, leave a comment on the show notes and tell us because we clearly don’t know. (laughs)
Tim: No, that’s right. Okay mate, well that’s pretty interesting. As a site owner, is SEO just an ongoing month in, month out strategy or is there a point where you’d SEOd out?
James: Well, it depends what your strategy is. Some people don’t care at all about SEO or Google for that matter, because Google is only a fraction of the traffic available to you. So that’s controversial. You could focus on just the big traffic sources and ignore Google or SEO, but then SEO – when done properly – it’s a great traffic source because it can keep performing for you for a while. I haven’t really posted anything to one of my websites lately but it’s still ranked really well and I just keep a continual baseline of links pointing to it.
Tim: Do you have a point of view on having a balance between paid search and SEO and organic search?
James: No, I think you should do all of it. I just treat it like an investment: can I spend a dollar and get more than a dollar back? If so, I’m doing it.
Tim: Do it, every day of the week. Alright mate, well that is very, very interesting. I’d encourage listeners if we left any stone unturned there or something’s still not making sense I’d love them to leave a comment in the show notes or on Facebook and we’ll address it in future episodes. Which also reminds me James, we have still got a number of listener questions left over from when we went out a few weeks ago and asked our listeners for what they had on their mind, and we will be addressing them in an upcoming show. We got some great feedback and thank yous from the listeners whose questions we answered in, I think it might have been episode seven or eight, somewhere back there. But keep them coming, we love the questions and, in fact, the email that we send out – if you’re on our list – they just need to reply to that email. It’s not a non-reply email. None of that in Freedom Ocean, James.
James: Hell, no.
Tim: Hey, no no-replies, that would be rude.
James: No, that’s just rude.
Tim: Rude. You can just reply to an email you get from us and we both get it and we intend to always respond to pretty much everything we get. Until we get uber-famous James, like until we get to like Seth Godin status and we just don’t have any – we turn comments on our blog off, we don’t allow our articles to be retweeted. I don’t want to get there.
James: No. We’re happy to do it, happy to operate in relative obscurity. (laughs)
Tim: (laughs) Alright mate, well I reckon that is the close of another show, another episode of Freedom Ocean. Anything you want to share with our listeners before we go?
James: Yes, do we get wave music on the way out too?
Tim: Look, we don’t but it’s a work in progress and I think we probably should test that. I think right about now you’d expect to hear the swell forming, wouldn’t you?
Tim: The odd seagull.
James: It would be nice.
Tim: Yes, seagull waiting to pounce on a chip (laughs) and then you and I just leaping off the front of a large cruise liner into the ocean, doing a – what would you do, a bomb or a horsey?
James: I’d do a bomb.
Tim: Would you?
James: (laughs) Yes.
Tim: I’d probably do a pin drop because I love horsies, I always thing they look so good but invariably I always hurt my lower regions when I do a horsey. (laughs)
James: (laughs) How did we get here? Hang up Tim, hang up.
Tim: I know, it’s wrong isn’t it. We’ve not got an explicit on Freedom Ocean yet on the iTunes store, nor do we want one. This is a family show with family values. Mind you, it’s late at night that’s why it’s headed this way. It’s all your fault. Alright mate, well –
James: See you on the next episode.
Tim: Thanks for lifting the lid on SEO and responding to those slammers and telling us about your launch. See you in the Ocean.
James: See you.