#42 The Authority Episode


In this episode James and Timbo talk about how to build authority in your niche. Topics covered include:

  • How to be less reliant on Google.
  • The importance of keywords.
  • On-page and off-page SEO.
  • Video marketing.
  • Press releases.
  • Podcasting.
  • Infographics.
  • PLUS the simple creation and sharing of quality info.


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TIM: Welcome back listeners to episode 42 of Australia’s favorite internet marketing podcast. Well, that’s debatable. But, I’ll go with it. I’m one of your hosts Timbo Reid and right over there is James Schramko. Good day mate!

JAMES: Good day! How are you going Timbo?

TIM: Very good! Thank you. Very hungry. As I said, just as we went on air or just before we went on air, I’m on a bit of a no carbs diet. It’s killing me. I know you have a very strong opinion about it. I don’t want to hear it. I’m grumpy.

JAMES: You’re doing the two things that are going to make it difficult I think, cutting back the carbs and starting exercise is like a double death combo.

TIM: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’m grumpy. So if I crack it with you during the show, just roll with it mate, just laugh me off.

JAMES: I’ll be trying. Tell me, why is it debatable if we’re the most favorite. Is it because there’s new entrance to the chart like my other podcasts?

TIM: Yeah. Correct. Correct. Correct. Exactly that. Nothing else.

JAMES: Well, it’s nothing like competing with yourself, is there?

TIM: Well, I don’t know, is there?

JAMES: Well, it’s great. In terms of market share, one of the easiest leverage strategies is to replicate something that’s working well and take another slice of the market. I love doing that strategy.

TIM: Well, you’re living it at the moment. How many podcasts have you got by yourself?

JAMES: Well I’ve got 2 of my own plus this Freedom Ocean JV.

TIM: Okay. JV. Well, I’ve got 2 including this one and I’m about to have a third. So, “uhmm!” something in the air, people will catch on.

JAMES: Well, they do catch on, my new one is only a few days old but it’s already, it already made in the top 10 and I suspect it’ll get very strong and part of it is because I’m going to be putting out much more content like almost every day versus how from we put out this, we’re up to episode 42 in a year and a half or so. So we’re a little bit slow, I know other people, people started when we started are up to episodes like 70 and 80.

TIM: Mate, it’s quality not quantity.

JAMES: True. This is a higher quality podcast than many podcasts.

TIM: Are you really going to put out an episode a day?


TIM: What’s that about?

JAMES: It’s about becoming an authority content creation provider. I want to put out a message but I’m doing it by channels. I’ve effectively made my own show that is made up of the core channels that run my entire business. So, I’ve put a layer on top of my business and then I’m segmenting by channel. So, some people will only get an update when their particular topic comes on and then other people who subscribed to the master list will get a daily update saying, “Okay, today there’s one about websites or today there’s one about traffic or today there’s one about internet marketing and then today there’s one about business strategies and business growth.” I mean even you sent me a reply on my business growth video and said, “Hey, that was really good.”

TIM: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s fantastic. I wonder about the frequency but as you test everything you’ll soon find out.

JAMES: Well I have been doing it for 2 months now, not the podcast, but the videos. And, I know, from the 2 months worth of videos, that my sites have become not at all dependent upon Google search results. I’m able to control and drive my own traffic by putting out premium content that gets shared across other social sites. I get people joining my lists. The open rates are still higher than 85% and it’s growing at over 100 subscribers a month and that’s not from SEO that’s just from Facebook shares and people saying, “Oh, this is good stuff. I actually want to join the newsletter and I find out about this.” So, if you add up my 5 or 6 channels, then that means, the average say business growth costumer will get a video each week. But if they subscribe to the master list, it’ll end up that they’re getting, on average, about one a day.

TIM: Yeah. The frequency of the videos I think is great. Just this new podcast of an episode a day, it’s just, what will the average length of an episode be?

JAMES: About 2 minutes.

TIM: Okay. Interesting. I was listening to, while I was on a treadmill yesterday, I was listening to this podcast that were going for 3 minutes and part of them I enjoyed because the content was pretty good. But the other part was really annoying me because I had to keep flicking on to the next one and there are ways of overcoming that like by doing playlists and stuff. But, anyway mate, as I said, you’ll test the bageezers out of it.

JAMES: We’ll find out, won’t we?

TIM: Yeah. Absolutely you will. So just let me understand mate. So, it’s quite interesting, as you’re talking, we are going to have a bit of a discussion in this episode about authority and building authority. I remember 2 or 3 years ago, just saying to small business owners and clients of mine, as a small business owner these days, going back a step, what I used to say was, as a small business owner and a marketer, you’ve got every reason to be excited because the marketing world has changed so significantly for the better these days for the small business owner because what you got to do is look at yourself as a publisher, right, not a pusher.

JAMES: Exactly!

TIM: So, for my advertising days, as a pusher of information which you would hope someone would listen to and act on now in these last few years, and it’s the reason I started podcasting originally is that it’s the ability to publish good quality content in the hope of attracting customers.

JAMES: We are talking about classic push marketing versus pull marketing.

TIM: Yeah.

JAMES: Which is I’d much prefer to create the stuff and have people coming to me.

TIM: So, authority mate, and so, off the back of that, Google have effectively forced the hand of authority, haven’t they? By particularly with these latest updates of, with their penguin update which is kind of, I was going to say cheapened but lessened to the importance of the back link and the keyword, still important, and I’ll let you talk about that. And then with Bing’s recent update of saying, “Hey, it’s not all about the search engines which is just a great, what a great press release.” There is more to getting found online than getting your keyword ducks in a row.

JAMES: Yeah. Well, they’ve made it harder for people to just overtly manipulate search results by loading up a keyword and getting back links. Now they’re forcing their hand, as you said, they’ve always wanted good quality. It boils down to that one magic word which if our listeners would have focused on or obsess about they will succeed, whether they’re doing SEO, whether they’re an affiliate marketer, whether they are doing any type of paid traffic. It’s about relevance. So they’re forcing relevance. And relevance is not putting a sprinkling of your keyword at the beginning, at the end and in the page title, in the H1 tag, in bold and italicizing it. I mean that was never a human type of thing to do. That was always a manipulative sort of SEO thing to do. So they’re saying, “Well, okay. We just want relevant content. Put relevant content.” And I say, best practice for SEO is describe that relevant content with the right page title. When you do put pictures and media rich content like Infographics, you label that content with the most relevant label, you tag the post with a relevant tag and it’s not going to be one keyword all the time. That is completely unnatural. It’s going to be a relevant phrase to describe that thing. So if you had a website about apples, you wouldn’t just write, apple, apple, apple, apple, apple. It does look a bit silly. If you put a picture of an apple, you could put a picture of say, a hand holding green apple. If that’s what the picture is, just make a relevant description of that particular picture.

You go to the effort to put a unique description on every single page in the where you get to put the meta description that is relevant to that particular page and you build out a really nice quality authority site. And I think that’s good. But there’s so many ways to share that content now that don’t just rely on someone searching into Google and that’s what people should be paying more attention to. That’s exactly why I’m putting out a lot more videos and a lot more audio content because…

TIM: Before you get to that because that’s what we want to talk about, but just to finish on that meta description discussion, it’s still important, right? Every page, complete your metadata, your headline, your description, your keyword.


TIM: No?

JAMES: No. Just put the description because that’s what shows up in the search results. You’ll see the page title and the description. Although Google sometimes just put their own description. They might necessarily run with yours.

TIM: Really?

JAMES: Yeah.

TIM: So, put the description and the page title?

JAMES: Yeah. You set the page title for your page and you set the description for the page.

TIM: Yep.

JAMES: Don’t worry about putting your keywords in the metadata.

TIM: Really?

JAMES: Don’t worry about putting your keyword in the headline. Don’t worry about bolding it or italicizing it because I don’t think that ever worked actually. It’s just one of those perpetual SEO wives tales.

TIM: So, following on from our discussion last week or the week before, you really, the three tick boxes for your metadata, Permalink, headline, description, correct?

JAMES: Yep. Just make sure that your page title contains one instance of your keyword and that it reads well for human. So it’s not like using the pipe or dashes or columns or anything, apple-apples, apple-cart, apple, that’s just silly. You put a description that a human would read in a normal natural sentence.

TIM: I don’t know whether you know what I’ve been working on the last few weeks but I’ve just put together a shopify site for a client or had a shopify site for a client put together selling apple trees. Did you know that?

JAMES: I did not know that.

TIM: It’s very weird.

JAMES: Maybe I’m a clairvoyant.

TIM: Maybe you are. Maybe you are.

JAMES: Maybe I could read you’re your thoughts. You’re feeling really hungry now.

TIM: Don’t go there. Don’t go there. Mate, I’m that close to just running down and breaking in to a Krispy Kreme shop.

JAMES: Describe how that Krispy Kreme would taste.

TIM: Full of fat. Full of beautiful, beautiful fat. I feel like Homer Simpson. Okay. This is interesting. So, we’ve got, that’s your own page SEO. Before we get into the authority stuff, the content stuff, the juicy stuff, the people want to see and hear and read. Back links, have they lessened in importance.

JAMES: No. It’s still important to get back links. But Google are trying to disarm the effectiveness of them through the traditional way that people did it. You used to be able to just laser target a keyword, get a high pound back link and pop the page up. Now, people who have private blog networks or ability to get these really good quality back links will know that it still works just fine. But you don’t want to be just rifle snipping now. You really need to shotgun approach. You need to have a cluster of phrases that you back link, not just one. If you just have one, it looks very, very disproportionate. If you had an apple site and every single link said apple that would be disproportionate. You’d expect to see other things, like a juice maker.

TIM: Type of apple.

JAMES: Yeah. Apple strudel recipe, whatever is related to the content. You’d expect all sorts of different links coming to that site and to different pages on the site. So the old practice of just sticking 100 or 200 links with the exact same phrase in it to the exact same page, usually the home page, it’s a dead giveaway and no other links, it just looks ridiculously unnatural. So the key is to put out a cloud cover I like to call it of links that all don’t have the keyword that don’t have the exact anchor text. You want to have a mix of author names, website names, and then random ones like click here or check this graphic or whatever.

TIM: Right!

JAMES: So that’s what we do is we have found particularly effective to do that, things like press releases and social media websites, site fan pages and Tumblr accounts.

TIM: Okay. Got you! So let’s talk beyond the SEO type way of building traffic. Let’s talk authority. So, podcasting, tick, what else have you been finding effective of recent weeks? This is all happening now, isn’t it?

JAMES: Yeah. This is on the last month or so. If I were to summarize it, we’ve got a pretty large team. The shift for us is we’ve shifted away from words like SEO and back links and we’ve focused purely on quality content creation and quality content distribution and our focus is on humans. So we have content created by humans for humans. So we’ve cut all the mechanics and all the tools. We do everything by hand. We submit by hand. We create by hand. And, we put them to places where humans go. So that’s why our results are coming in with amazing success.

It takes us a lot longer to do and we have had small price increase but the quality of work is much, much higher than other people and we’re tapping into different areas for people to come and find a customer site. So even though they might rank well, they’re actually getting converting traffic because when you put a high quality video on YouTube, that finds someone in their most relevant target demographic then that actually may translate into a purchase same for a high quality information graphic and high quality press release. Those are going to find real buyers and bring you the actual person you want on your site.

TIM: Could you rank them, could you prioritize them or they’re all equally important? I suppose it depends on what you have the ability to create. But, if I said James you have to choose between a press release, anInfographic and a video, and a podcast, what would you do?

JAMES: I’d be putting a really good quality piece of content on this site before anything else because that’s the point. Everyone wants that. The human wants it. Google wants it. They want to have relevant quality content on the site. And, right now, Infographics are hot. They are easy to take advantage of very, very popular sites, especially things like Facebook and Pinterest because they’re so visual and people love sharing pictures that tell a story or contain great information.

TIM: How would you, just for our listeners who don’t know what it is, how would you describe an Infographic?

JAMES: It’s information that is graphically represented.

TIM: Okay. The ones I’ve seen, and they’re brilliant, I mean, it’s a brilliant piece of communication, I saw it on Pinterest the other day that was just Infographics from advertising agencies. Now, advertising agencies have the ability to create beautiful looking Infographics. They’re essentially, they look like a brochure, but they’ve got a flow of thought if you like. But how does the average person go off and create an Infographic?

JAMES: Well, there are sites that you can create Infographics on. But in our case, we research the content like we go and look for statistics and survey results, research reports, we may go and dig around a bit and then we put them into a Google doc. So that’s a researcher who, the person who would write the press release actually does the research and then that would be sent to the design team and they would graphically represent that information. So, we’ve done all sorts of Infographics from the music industry through to legal industry and then, even in Infographic about Pinterest.

TIM: Is there a structure that you need to follow?

JAMES: I imagine there probably is. But the bottom line is that you want the picture to tell the story of the numbers. Usually going to have some sort of numbers or statistics and then the designer illustrates it and creates it and makes it look beautiful and then they give it back to the team who then will put it on their website and then the person who did the research will write a press release to announce the Infographics. So that’s how combo like a one-two knockout punch.

TIM: Yeah, right!

JAMES: Setting up the Infographic and then knocking it out of the park. So, we just put out an Infographic on how to recover from Penguin and Panda updates. So it’s a graphical representation of what you can do to fix up your website if you got slapped then we put it on our own sites. And, of course, it does what I mentioned before, it’s got all this different people sharing it and linking it and Tweeting it and Facebooking it. So, you’ve actually turned your traffic into advertisers for you. In most cases, they’ll do it for free, they’ll Tweet it or Pin it or share it and pass it around. Like, Pinterest is a big billboard where people will put your advertisement on it. And of course, you watermark this document with your brand and your website address so that you are getting recognition for it. You can even provide an embed code so that people can put it on their site.

TIM: It’s interesting. Infographic, I think it’s brilliant. It’s a classic example of really quality content. It’s actually really easy to digest.

JAMES: That’s it. It’s like a story book version. Just show me one picture and I can understand it.

TIM: Yeah. Yeah, okay. So, worth putting the effort around an Infographic and I like the idea of then clearly creating an Infographic, a unique Infographic for your business is news and is worthy of a press release, yeah?

JAMES: Exactly. I mean this all makes such sense. It’s the same as my videos. You know how I make videos every week now.

TIM: Yep.

JAMES: I put the effort in to, I go and do my research or I don’t mind pulling my RSS feeds or I will check my emails, I’ll note anything that’s really, really interesting. I’ll put it into Evernote and then I’ll pull out a little whiteboard and jot down 6 or 7 bullet points from my Evernote. I’ll go out and film it onto my Canon. I’ll then download it, make a nice video, upload it to the site, and then I’ll share it to my list and then they’ll tell other people and other people join my list and it just grows in snowballs and then I strip out the audio and that’s my podcast. So, the more we focus on quality content creation, the more that the distribution will start to take care of itself. See, the old way was, put up a crap site and then pound it with distribution budget like push, push, push. Now I’m saying, create amazing content that is so good people want to share it anyway. If you put a lot more focus on the quality content side of it, the rest of it will take care of itself.

TIM: You know, what I’ve been doing with my first podcast is an example of this and where I fell down for a period of time was, okay, what I did was create a really good podcast that got lots of good traffic just by creating good quality content. I didn’t need to know, as you say, it’s obvious, and as a result, I’ve now got a website and a podcast that ranks well and gets a lot of traffic. The other part of that is to have really clear calls to action and things to sell.

JAMES: Yep. And the best thing is that news sells. If you want to sell something, rather than a sales letter, you make a really good quality newsletter. And, all of my updates have…

TIM: As in press release?

JAMES: Well, the press release is not supposed to sell. It’s supposed to announce news.

TIM: What do you mean newsletter?

JAMES: Newsletter, news video, news update, I’m saying that news sales, right?

TIM: Yeah. Yeah.

JAMES: People, they like to read news. We go and watch the channel 9 news here in Australia but in between the news segments are advertisements. That’s how the commercial publishing world works.

TIM: Yep.

JAMES: So, they bring you in with the news and then they put their little information segments their 30 second commercials in there, they stitch them in the middle of it. You could do the same with your own news. So, I’m saying, create a news approach. So, my entire reshuffle lately has been to turn superfastbusiness.com into my news center. So I have news by channel of the different topics that I cover and I put really good content, I mean, my business tips has really good tips in it. And it also, it suggests that if you’re not a member of my silver circle mastermind that these are the sort of topics we discuss each week and you can pre-register on the waiting list but if you are a member, you can log in. So, it’s just a little weekly newsletter for my silver circle members that gets published on the outside of the community to show people what’s inside. So it is an infomercial I guess but it’s good enough quality that it stands on its own.

TIM: What about people, I’ve got a couple of questions here, what about people who, I will talk video, you’ll talk video. So, you just bought the Wizbang Camera and your videos are looking ever so crisp. But, what about people who are just thinking, “Oh jeez.” The idea of creating video, it seems very technical and very complicated and surely I’m going to need a couple of people on my team to help me out. What do you say to that?

JAMES: You could always work at McDonalds I guess.

TIM: Yeah. Yeah. Probably. Not good for the diet.

JAMES: Get over yourself. You either want to do it or you don’t. I don’t care. I’m doing it and it works fantastically well. So, if $1,000 worth of equipment is too much of an obstacle, use your iPhone if you’ve got one. If you don’t, use any digital camera on movie mode that will be good enough to upload to YouTube. If you’ve got no budget, I can’t imagine it’ll be too hard to go and find somebody who has a digital camera or an iPhone that you could flick to movie mode or if you don’t even want to go on camera, just use screen recording software. It’s free on every Mac. You’d only need the extra software. Actually, every Mac will do it, and, if you don’t have a Mac, unfortunately…

TIM: Go get one

JAMES: You could get screen sharing software or screen recording software. There’s even free ones or very cheap ones.

TIM: Right!

JAMES: And like videos aren’t your thing. But, if you don’t want to do it, don’t do it. I don’t care. But I’m into publishing. I don’t think it’s ever been easy to create your own show but my camera still costs under $1,000, my Canon, and it’s movie quality SLR that people make films and documentaries from. And, for under 1,000 bucks, I’m making high quality videos that I put out every single week and almost every day and I’m adding to my subscriber base and I will beat you. I will beat the person who doesn’t put
the videos out. I’ve put out more videos in the last 2 months than most people have ever put out in their entire time online.

TIM: I’m about to jump into that next week. I’ve, one of the parts of small business big marketing has been answering listener questions and I found that they just take up quite a lot of time and I’d rather spend more time in the interview. So, I’m still taking listener questions which are coming through thick and fast. I’m just going to answer each one to video and create a YouTube channel around or a playlist around listener questions.

JAMES: Well you’ll get, you’ll pick up a different modality of customer. And, you’re raising the bar on the quality. Production value’s go up, then it separates the men from the boys. But I can tell you. A good quality camera and a good quality microphone, like the once we used to record our podcasts, will place you among, they’ll place you one notch above the tens of thousands of cheap ass quality versions who just aren’t going to cut it in a year or two from now, like we’re thinking ahead of the game here. I have got as much stuff in my lab here that they would have had in a TV studio 10 years ago that would have costs hundreds of thousands but I’d say for under $2,000, our average business owner could set themselves up nicely for film, for sound and for lighting which is the other component. But you can film outdoors like I do, most of the time I just film outside. So, the camera, tripod and microphone, that’s it. That gets you a very high level of content. And if you actually put, the things you’re actually film are useful as well, that’s a bonus. Now you get good stuff out there often and you’ll build up your audience and it doesn’t matter what algorithm updates tomorrow. You don’t care. There’s not only traffics coming from Google. I detuned quite a lot of my websites and that’s going to sound really weird. But, I actually took keywords off them. The first sign of keywords being desensitized, I started to tune out my keyword incidences, my sites are nice and safe, they’re virtually unslapapble, my good sites, and they’re just going to sit up there and I would still get Google traffic, sure, but I’m getting a lot of traffic from iTunes and from YouTube and from my own email list and from cross promoting my own products and affiliates. See, none of those things are
Google dependent at all.

TIM: Hey, I recon there’s another episode in this James where we continue the discussion around authority because we’ve already just touched on some of the major things but there’s clearly other things you could do. We are at the, nearly the 45 minute mark. One thing we went to say at the start and we will say now is that last episode and the one before we’ve put it out to our listeners, that wondering whether they’d like us to do a live workshop either Melbourne or Sydney or anywhere else. And, the
feedback was pretty good.

JAMES: It is. We had a lot of emails. We had over 20 emails. So that’s not even just peoples commenting or saying, yeah, that’s actually, they hit reply and said yes I’d like to come.

TIM: We’re in.

JAMES: We will do something and we’ll email our Freedom Ocean subscriber lists with the details. And I’ll also, I think we’ll email people who sent us a reply. We’ll make sure that you get the message.

TIM: Yeah. They would be the first to know, absolutely. So, it’s great. It was a really a very positive reply to that. So, it’d be like one day a business building workshop with James and I, venue, location, to be decided, but if you, and it’ll be in the next 2 to 3 months. So if you sign up at FreedomOcean.com, you will be the first to know and those people who have already emailed will also be, will be that first, first to know. Mate, that’s excellent. What a great insight into this whole thing called Authority, Building Authority, and you’ve got a whole product, information product around that on our website. So if you go to products at freedomocean.com, you will find, you’ll be able to dig a bit deeper on this whole topic. But how about we pick it up in the next episode?

JAMES: Well, I’m always, I’m in your hands Timbo.

TIM: I’ll have your word mate.

JAMES: So, what do you want to talk about. I’m here for you.

TIM: Love it! You go create and create a video. I’ll go and eat an apple.

JAMES: I was going to create a video but I think I’m just going to whip down to Krispy Kreme instead.

TIM: Haha! See you!

JAMES: See you mate!


  1. Tim asked James- what if it is just too difficult for someone to make a video- James said – just get over your self – what a profound statement – James is doing videos without too much trouble – this is what one needs to think about when things do seem really hard – exactly the thought I will be using to get over the challenges
    Thanks guys – your content is excellent, honest and helpful

  2. Great stuff again guys
    Couldn’t agree more about quality creating authority – as it happens I’ve just this second picked up two softbox lights ($140 eBay), purchased the Canon D60 with directional microphone and two lenses ($1400) and with a few extra bits like tripods and backdrops I’ll have a complete home studio for under $2000 – as you say. Also, if people wanted to create their own infographic, Piktochart is a good way to start.
    If you want to come to Canberra on the workshop roadshow let me know and I can help organise – have some great bakeries here too Timbo!

  3. Great podcast james that is excellent content.

  4. A great informative show. Just what i needed to hear to keep me focused. I’m going to be doing a few videos from my phone soon because i can. All practice and i will be replacing the writing on my homepage with a short video . Having a go is my middle name lol

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