Welcome back to the SEO Spotlight for Episode 3 of this ongoing series. The SEO Spotlights are designed to allow you to get to know others in the SEO industry that have made great successes in their businesses by thinking out-side-the-box in order to solve problems.
In Part 1, we met Daniel Moskovitch, Jacob Kettner, and Michael Landau-Spiers who made huge breakthroughs in the realms of client acquisition, authority hacking, and website flipping, respectively. Part 2 introduced us to Daryl Rosser, Joseph Elshazly, and Lior Ohayon who found clever solutions for finding non-competitive niches, outsourcing, and software development.
We’ll stick to tradition in this episode by staying focused on alternative thinking while exploring unique approaches to common SEO problems. You’ll meet three clever individuals whom have made advancements in PBN, huge search volume affiliate SEO, and client SEO.
Hernan Vazquez – Powering Up PBNs with IFTTT
You may have heard about Hernan from his part in Semantic Mastery, founders of the IFTTT SEO Academy. I met Hernan about a year and a half ago. He’s a smart guy and gets great results with his SEO. If you’ve ever wondered what this IFTTT SEO technique is all about, listen up. Hernan is about to spill the beans.
Name: Hernan Vazquez
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Matt: When did you get into SEO and how?
Hernan: I got into SEO around 9 years ago when I was trying to get traffic to my affiliate sites. At that time I was only testing and trying to rank stuff, until I got good at it and I started offering services to clients. That was the first step to forming my own SEO agency. Then I started showing other fellow SEOs what I was doing and that’s one of the reasons Semantic Mastery was born.
Matt: Most people know Semantic Mastery from its IFTTT course. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Hernan: As we all know already, every time you purchase a PBN domain, you’re basing your decision on its past history and backlinks. Not only that, but when it comes to actually mounting the PBN, these websites don’t have a clear owner or purpose other than ranking your website.
When using IFTTT you’re not only bringing new life to your PBN with fresh backlinks and social signals, but also providing search engines with high authority and trust signals of social activity. So they become more relevant and powerful. They’ll rank you higher and give you better results, on complete autopilot.
Matt: In as much detail as you’d like to share, what does the IFTTT PBN process look like?
Hernan: Full disclaimer, when you’re putting together this technique it’s a lot of work. Even further, if you have a big PBN and you want to implement this IFTTT strategy to all of those websites. However, once it’s set, it runs on complete autopilot.
Step 1) Get a Gmail account for each PBN domain. These are easily purchased on Buybulkaccounts.com or similar. Each PBN will have a “persona” or social profile behind it. Gmail works best because it will also give you a YouTube channel, a Google Plus account and a Blogspot.com account and we’ll use them all. Log in at least once in each Gmail account (login, logout, flush cache and cookies) to make them last longer.
Step 2) Use that Gmail account to open these social media profiles:
- Google Plus (already comes with the Gmail account)
- Blogger (already comes with the Gmail account)
- YouTube (already comes with the Gmail account)
Step 3) Create a picture, a description and a “history” for your persona. This needs to be consistent across all of the profiles.
So for example let’s say that you got JohnDoe123@gmail.com. Your persona will be called John Doe. So you’ll go to Google Images or YouTube and take a couple of screenshots from people in the videos. Use that as John Doe’s avatar. Then come up with a story or bio relevant to your niche. If your money site is about shoes, make John Doe a fashion designer, etc. Use the same avatar, short bio, long bio, place and date of birth, etc., on all of the profiles above. They need to be consistent.
Step 4) Include John Doe as your main author on your PBN. You can use John Doe’s info to fill all of Yoast’s social information as well as the about and contact pages. In the admin panel use your Gravatar to update your picture within WordPress.
Note: Install WordPress SEO by Yoast, go to Settings -> Advanced -> RSS Feed and setup your Attribution link properly. This is important for the next step.
Step 5) Tie them all together using IFTTT.com. Go to IFTTT.com, open an account with your new Gmail address, go to “Channels” and start activating all of your new social media profiles. Then, use your PBN’s RSS Feed to post into all of these profiles. You’ll need to make a “recipe” (that’s how IFTTT calls them) that has your RSS as a trigger (IF THIS) and the result will be the post on your social profile (THEN THAT).
Every time your RSS feed gets updated (aka you post something new on your PBN), the rest of the social profiles will also update. This will give you backlinks and social signals, based on your attribution link, back to your PBN.
Step 6) Power up your IFTTT wheels. Use FCS Networker or GSA for this. The good news is that you won’t be pointing links directly to your PBN (not to mention your own money site), so you can get a bit more aggressive with this link building.
Matt: I agree, it’s a lot of work, but I’ve seen nice returns from implementing this on my PBN. What kind of results do people typically see?
Hernan: First off, you’ll experience less PBN deindexes. They’ll have a strong relevant profile behind each of them, which makes them more likely to pass a manual review. They are also getting tons of social signals and backlinks, which turns them into much more valuable assets for the search engine.
Matt: Thank you for generously sharing. Any additional parting words of advice for the readers?
Hernan: Focus on the visitor and Google will come. When in doubt about an SEO technique, just think about the visitor. Will he or she benefit from it? If the answer is YES, then go ahead.
Priyangshu Borgohain – Plan Carefully and Go “All-in”
Priyangshu is one of my clients. As a customer service gesture, I often record new clients’ results and follow up with them on their progress. When it came time to check on Priyangshu’s rankings, I noticed that he jumped to #1 for a 1 million search per month term. Yep, 1 million. I reached out to Priyangshu and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. Great guy and talented SEO.
Name: Priyangshu Borgohain
Location: Assam, India
Matt: When did you get into SEO and how?
Priyangshu: I started building blogs and sites back in 2010 when I was still a high school student. I was building blogs just for fun in the beginning, but later realized that I could actually make money out of it. And in this process, I gained knowledge about SEO by reading forums, blogs and my own experiments.
Matt: You’ve been able to rank #1 for some huge volume keywords. What’s your secret?
Priyangshu: Before starting any project, I research the niche properly and ask myself if I can get it ranked with the current budget and man power I have. As you know, not every SEO strategy works for every site. I plan a specific set of strategies to apply on a new site (both onsite and off page SEO stuff), which I curate out based on my experience. And if I find something that works, I rinse and repeat the process until it gets to the top of the SERPs.
Matt: This is very different than what most SEO’s do. Most folks have a set procedure for how they get sites ranked which they apply every time. But you’re able to prescribe a new ranking strategy for each niche. Can you go into what that might look like?
Priyangshu: First, I test run a small test to find out what works on a particular site and then apply it on a larger scale.
For example, with the anchor text percentage, I’d normally go with a particular distribution of exact match, phrases, brand, URL and generic anchors (usually based on competition analysis), on a smaller scale. Once I’m able to find a balanced distribution that works well, I apply it on a larger scale with many links.
Other tests I might consider would be the style of content, structure of the site, types of links, etc.
It’s also worth mentioning that I invest a lot into my projects. I invest up to 5-6 month’s projected income of a site, even before it starts making any significant income.
Matt: That takes a lot of confidence.
Priyangshu: I believe in my ability to get a site ranked. I’ve ranked in pretty tough competition niches with millions of search volumes. That’s an accomplishment, I suppose. SEO is my primary business and it has allowed me to become self-independent, and allowed me to buy all the things I wanted as a kid from a middle class family.
Matt: Congratulations. You deserve it. Any words of advice for other SEOs that might be aspiring to get results like these?
Priyangshu: SEO keeps changing. You can’t really give any advice about it, since that advice might expire tomorrow. The biggest part of SEO (or any other kind of business), is to keep experimenting. You’ll eventually find out what works right now.
Meet Priyangshu by reaching out to him on Facebook.
Joey Mure – When You Get Stuck… Call on an Expert
Joey is a great guy who is relatively new to SEO but has come up the ranks real quick by leveraging the existing knowledge available on the web. He’s an OMG member, so as expected, he has good foundation which helps him to get the results he gets.
Name: Joey Mure
Location: Chicago, IL
Matt: When did you get into SEO and how?
Joey: I got into SEO around 2012. At the time, I had just graduated with a Computer Science degree and the mobile application development industry was growing. I teamed up with a friend to start our own mobile app development firm. Before you knew it we were developing various iOS applications for local companies.
As time went on, the companies we had developed apps for started asking if we could provide website development. So we started offering that. Next, our clients started to ask if we could offer them an SEO package, so we decided to offer SEO as well.
In 2013 we started to do some research to pick up some SEO basics. This was really the time that the SEO industry was “growing” so to speak. There were a few courses, but we ended up running into Becker’s Source Infinitum. Ironically, that’s where I also met you.
I applied the information and I was pre-ranking plastic surgeon websites and had a few guys at the office reach out to surgeons. Next thing you know, we had surgeons renting out our sites from all over the country. They were so happy with the level of service we provided, we started to get referrals and surgeons would leave NKP Medical, a large web/SEO firm for surgeons, and switch to us.
Matt: Well that escalated quickly. Have the ranking techniques you use stayed relatively the same, or have things changed?
Joey: I’ve tried everything from trust tiering and domain authority stacking (DAS) to just simply using PBNs. What works for me has been literally sticking to the basics. As mentioned, there are a lot of different methods and ideologies that are taught out there, but keeping SEO simple seems to be what works the best.
- For Local: On-page (follow Diggity’s guide if you need help on this), Local Citations, Reviews, Social Signals, and polish off with PBNs
- For Affiliate: Pretty much same as above, excluding reviews.
Matt: Are there any situations where the basics don’t get the job done? What do you do then?
Joey: If you’re stuck, I highly recommend turning to some help with someone who has more experience. It’s worth paying someone for some help rather than losing a client or banging your head on the wall trying to self-diagnose the problem.
Try to find someone who offers coaching sessions and make sure that they know what they’re doing. There are plenty of people out there who simply have more SEO knowledge. There are a few reasons for this:
- Their budget might be far greater than yours for ranking a site. Thus, they can afford for something to go wrong in order to find out what works and what doesn’t.
- If they offer SEO coaching/courses, they need to invest the time in testing methods in order to share credible information.
- They have been in the SEO game longer and have been through it all.
Of course these are just a few reasons. The bottom line is put your ego aside and get some help if you need it.
I had a limo client that was stuck in the 12th spot for a while. Some people don’t care if they lose a client but I would never want to lose a client if there is some way to fix the website from being stuck. I decided to get some coaching to help me debug the issue.
Long story short, a month later the site shot up to the first page. Not only is it on the first page but it’s ranking in the maps for literally every single limo term out there. My client could not be any happier. That coaching investment turned my client to be a client for life. This coaching was with you.
In addition, you helped me learn the best way I could scale my businesses efficiently. Most recently, I teamed up with a few web development firms in the area who have been forwarding new clients weekly and the blueprint you developed made it possible to handle the new workload.
Matt: I know we’ve had some really productive and fun consulting sessions together. What other coaches would you recommend to others and what were they able to help you out with?
Gregory Ortiz: He helped me understand the foundation of PBNs and how to analyze metrics to always get good domains. He also shared some cool tactics he does behind the scenes that he doesn’t share to the public. Be prepared to learn a lot of cool stuff. You’ll have to sign a NDA with him if you want all the goodies though.
Derwek Iwasiuk: Derek took me into a new path of how to do SEO with limited PBNs and using a trust tier (DAS). When I had a limited budget, I was able to use what he taught me to rank local sites without having to buy 10+ PBNs per site.
Matt: In short summary, what are some of your biggest accomplishments to date?
Joey: In three years, my biggest accomplishments have been:
- Affiliate website that generates $150,000.00 in sales on a yearly basis.
- Pre-ranked dozens of local websites and rented them out to doctors and plastic surgeons. This has been the largest portion of my income.
Matt: Any last words of advice for the readers?
Joey: Not everyone is an SEO guru. The majority of us who are reading these blogs, joining FB groups and signing up to courses are doing so because we want to stay up to date with the current trends in SEO.
I wanted to share my story so that others understand you don’t have to be an SEO genius to start ranking websites or getting clients. With the resources available, you can become successful without paying thousands of dollars for a course. I am not telling anyone not to sign up for courses, but what I am really trying to get at is make sure you find a program, or person, that you can follow and stick to them. These people are able to sell courses/training because they are constantly testing and seeing what works and what doesn’t so that we don’t have to.
To conclude, use the resources that are available to you. Whether you consider yourself an SEO expert or you’re just starting off, don’t be afraid to find a mentor to help you grow and become more successful. We are lucky that we are in an era where we have people that are testing and sharing their results.