Welcome to the 67th edition of the Content Champion Podcast. On the show this time, I’m delighted to be speaking with SEO and productivity expert, Doug Cunnington, of Niche Site Project - about how to get traffic to your niche sites without building backlinks.
With Amazon recently slashing affiliate payouts in certain product categories, how much it costs you to drive targeted traffic to your sites has never been more important, so I was keen to dig down into Doug’s extensive knowledge for this episode. Let's dive in...
[Podcast] How To Get Rankings & Traffic Without Backlinks With Doug Cunnington #seo
[0:00:09.0] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Content Champion Podcast. We provide the training and tools to help you become a content marketing champion in your online business. Introducing your host, the content champion himself, Loz James.
[0:00:28.7] LJ: Welcome to the content champion podcast. Thanks as ever for listening, I really appreciate it. On the show this time, I’m delighted to be speaking with SEO and productivity expert, Doug Cunnington of nichesiteproject.com, about how to get traffic to your niche sites without building back links.
With Amazon recently slashing affiliate payouts in certain product categories, how much it costs you to drive targeted traffic to your sites has never been more important. So I was keen to dig down into Doug’s extensive knowledge for this call.
Incidentally, for those of you following my Authority Content Experiment, those recent amazon affiliate payment changes mean that I’m considering changing my niche to something that could be more profitable down the road. I’ll update that project with a reboot as soon as I’ve made a decision.
With that all said, let’s dive in.
[0:01:23.7] LJ: Thanks for coming on Doug.
[0:01:25.1] DC: Thanks for having me Loz, it’s quite a pleasure. I’ve listened to your show a lot and I can’t believe I’m talking to you.
[0:01:30.3] LJ: Fantastic. Now look, before we dig down into getting traffic without back links, could you tell us how you got into digital marketing and also about your love of beer?
[0:01:40.6] DC: Sure, it was about four years ago and I discovered the Smart Passive Income Podcast and I think that may be a gateway podcast for a lot of people in the digital marketing and just internet marketing in general. I just happened to find that podcast and sort of dove in. Now, I have a background in corporate project management and software and that sort of thing. So it was kind of natural for me to get interested and geek out into digital marketing.
I pretty quickly started getting in the niche sites and launched a couple and like all good internet marketing stories, I was making thousands of dollars a month and then my site got penalized. Then that happened a couple of more times before it was all said and done. It’s been quite a roller coaster so far, but that was about four years ago and since then, I actually got laid off from my day job and I’m doing digital marketing full-time.
Now beer, I actually am a home brewer and I suppose I get pretty obsessed about anything that I’m interested in. I started brewing beer about seven years ago and got into beer judging. Now I’m sort of a national level BJCP, that’s a Beer Judge Certification Program so I hold classes sometimes and teach other people how to judge beer. It’s a pretty fun hobby.
[0:03:10.2] LJ: I absolutely love that. We could do a podcast just about that. I love real ale. I regularly, I got loads — I’m out in my office now recording this podcast. Over in the house, which this is in the sort of grounds of property, over in the house, I’ve got a load of new real ales to sample and I’m always getting different ones from different microbreweries all around UK and Europe and I’ve had some from America. So to me, a beer judge is just awesome.
[0:03:37.8] DC: We’d have a lot to talk about and I got to be honest, I’ve never had a fresh British Ale. When we get it over here, they’re a little old, so I’d love to have something off a cask at your favorite pub sometime.
[0:03:50.8] LJ: Oh fantastic. Welcome any time. Well look, that’s another podcast but we’ve going to talk about, I guess it’s kind of like the holy grail and you know, I haven’t been drinking before I’ve said this, but you can actually get traffic without back links and there’s a specific way of going about it. But we’re talking about Amazon niche sites for the type you’ve been building for the purposes of this call.
[0:04:14.3] DC: Sure, that’s sort of the results that I could offer up. I’ve done some testing over the past 18 months or so and a few different sites and that helped other people and then, like you said, is primarily Amazon affiliate niche sites.
That’s what we’re talking about today, however, I believe it should hold true, this sort of motto that we’ll get in to for keyword research, it should hold true for any kind of content and any type of key word. Really, we’re looking at a specific kind of long tail keyword that meets our metrics and criteria. Does that make sense?
[0:04:53.4] LJ: Yeah, perfect. Okay, well let’s start with the keyword research then. Tell us about the key word golden ratio and how that sort of feeds into this system?
[0:05:02.4] DC: Okay. First off, I’ll do my best to explain it in words but I also have a video, which I can share with the listeners at the end I’ll give you a link later on. But I’ll try to explain it in words but it’s a little bit wordy so bear with me and if you have questions, feel free to jump in and clarify.
The keyword golden ratio basically gives you a data driven way to find keywords that are basically underserved on the internet. The way it works, the actual ratio, it’s created by using the Google advanced search string of “allintitle”. So that’s the all one word, it’s “allintitle:” and then you put your phrase and your keyword phrase. That’s, again, one of the advanced search strings.
Now, you take the allintitle like the total number of results that you get so let’s say it’s 59 or something like that and then you divide it by the local monthly searches that you get in your keyword research tool. Now, you do need to make sure that the local monthly searches are LMS, some people call it, that the LMS is under 250. Now, once you get that ratio, you want it to be less than .25. Now, Loz, did I say that correctly?
[0:06:22.0] LJ: Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me because I’ve seen your video as well. We’ll put a link to that below this podcast on contentchampion.com in the show notes. But why is it — so we’re looking at how many competing websites are using that exact phrase in Google and then we’re dividing it by the total local monthly searches. Is that right?
[0:06:43.5] DC: Correct. Yes, let’s break it down and why we’re using these specific, like the numerator and the denominator, and then 250. The “allintitle” basically indicates that a person publish something, publish a post and essentially they were targeting that specific phrase because they use all the words in the title.
If they used all the words in the title then they’re probably SEO savvy and they understand what they need to do for on page SEO, so they put it all on the title. Now, if you look or if you find a phrase and you search for it and there’s only like 10 or 15 pages in the whole internet where they actually target that phrase, well that means it’s underserved, generally.
That’s why we’re looking at the “allintitle” because someone’s intentionally trying to rank for that term. The local monthly searches of course, you know, what we’re looking for is under 250. So 250, I think it’s sort of arbitrary. I know in a lot of keyword research tools that report rankings or rank tracking apps, they actually use 250 as sort of a threshold.
I think it sort of comes from there, but when you think about it logically, if say 250 people are searching for a particular phrase and there’s only say 25 different results on the internet then, you know, if you do the math there you’ll find that you’ll probably going to be able to rank for it and if you think about it logically, if not that many pages on the internet are out there and you publish something and there’s a lot of people searching for it each month, you’re probably going to be able to rank, especially if your content’s better.
Like I said, I got into digital marketing only about four years ago so I think this type of keyword research was before my time but I think this is sort of like a classic way of doing keyword research. Loz, when did you get started, by the way?
[0:08:55.0] LJ: I actually started in all this stuff as a journalist and then move sideways into copywriting and SEO copywriting and then I started building sites like years ago before the Google sort of crash, I had some amazon sites and a few of them sort of survived that but I’ve always done client copyrighting and SEO work.
What fascinates me about all this is that it’s something I keep coming back to, I keep building sites. I’ve got a couple of sites going at the moment, I got a yoga site which I’m doing sort of niche site project on and for me, I’ve been through dozens and dozens of tools over the years and different ways of looking at things and the reason that this struck me so much is because the absolute best way of doing keyword research I’ve ever come across is literally — I know it’s related to how authoritative your site is now and obviously the content and we’re going to go into all that.
But the keyword research thing for me that’s really worked is literally looking at those how many people are competing and I know it’s old school but look at literally what is the competition for that keyword? What’s the search intent? Can I provide a good answer to that question in terms of the content that I’m creating? Moreover, like you say, is there actually hardly any competition at all? Then once you get that content up there for that specific keyword and the keyword golden ratio is a great example of how to do that, you can rank that content for very little or indeed no back links.
That’s kind of like the holy grail and I know people are probably going to be listening to this going, “Well, you know, how realistic is it to do that now?” But if you, I think, build up that sort of ball of content and ball of authority and trust on the site and then ally it with this kind of keyword research, you can make really good gains with little or no back links, can’t you?
[0:10:54.8] DC: Yes, definitely. The big elephant in the room, the obvious thing is, if we’re looking at search terms that are under 250, well that means that not that many people are going to be searching for that term even if you do rank say number one with no back links.
So it’s definitely a volume play, you’re going to have to publish a decent amount of content just in general. I know you have a wide ranging audience but, you know, if you’re working say with clients, they may be sort of less interested if they’re trying to rank for some very big commercial term. So I totally understand that.
However, I think as content marketers, we know that the wider your funnel can be so that there’s more traffic to your site, the wider your funnel, the better off you’re going to be. That’s how it can apply for sort of client SEO. When I look at niche site owners, especially beginners I would say, where they’re not quite sure if all this stuff works. I mean, I was there, I thought everybody was lying to me when they told me how much money they were making from these simple websites.
The thing is, when you’re just getting started, no traffic’s coming to your site and this keyword golden ratio gives you a vehicle where you can publish something and even if it’s on a brand new site, you’re going to rank probably in the top 100 if you followed the model exactly. You’re probably going to rank in the top 100 if you're on page SEO is solid, you’re probably going to rank in the top 30 or so, in a day. It’s amazing and, I mean, I’ve had readers basically tell me the results that they’ve had and I’m happy that it’s repeatable and just brand new sites, this stuff works for them too.
[0:12:48.0] LJ: Let’s make it clear then. Obviously, there are different types of content, there are different types of keyword research and there are different types of sites and strategic approaches to this and, you know, we’re not talking about those big competitive terms where you’re still going to have to create those massive content assets and go out and do your outreach.
We’re talking about the sort of content that we can rank very quickly on a small and growing site. What’s that content look like Doug? What are we creating? Reviews, informational pieces? Or just what fits with the search term?
[0:13:19.3] DC: Really just what fits with the search terms. For my couple of case studies that I did, essentially they were like 80% product review type content and then the rest was informational. So 20% informational. However, honestly, a better ratio would be like 50% for each but again, when you start digging in to keyword research and you start to find — I like to think of it as just sort of pockets of these keywords, once you find an area or like a topic that you can go deep into, you’re going to find a whole lot of this keywords.
They may be informational perhaps it’s an eCommerce site and you could take advantage of the fact that there’s not that many people actually targeting whatever that product is that you’re trying to sell, especially around maybe like how to guides and/or maintenance and tutorials. So that sort of stuff that is not inherently commercial, maybe a great way to bring people into your site and then get them on your email list or whatever action you’d like for them to take.
As far as the length of the content, I pretty much stay around the 600 to 1,000 word length, especially for the reviews and typically, like all content and many things, there’s going to be some winners and there will be some losers. So some are just going to naturally rank a little bit better and do a little bit better. I actually don’t even check too closely on why they’re not ranking better, I just take the good ones and then I may lengthen the content or improve it if it’s actually getting some traffic and ranking well.
[0:15:05.1] LJ: Okay, so two things that come out of that; you never put any pillar content, like 2,000 word post on the sites and secondly, in terms of volume, it talked about it being a high volume game, how much content are you putting on weekly. This kind of two prongs there.
[0:15:21.0] DC: First off, I do sort of a blend right? So there’s huge value in targeting the high volume search terms so I have a handful of those, right? Say five pillar posts, as you mentioned, and those are long. 2,000 words is just like the price of admission, I’m doing 10,000 words these days.
These are huge, very long where the competition will check out the page and they’ll think, “I’m not going to be able to write anything that long.” Part of it is like shock and awe where I just don’t want people to think that they can write something that long. I do pillar content as well but then, like I said, I blend it with this volume. So in the particular cases that I worked on, I added about 200 new posts based on the KGR, the keyword golden ratio, 200 new post over about five months and it took a little while.
I could actually share some images with you, lodge to put on the page here but essentially, the traffic started ticking up just a little bit and then it sort of snowballed after about 60 days or so and the growth was pretty impressive, pretty phenomenal, it corresponded with the retail season so that was helpful.
[0:16:45.0] LJ: That’s five pillar posts of massive, huge epics and then you’re talking one to two there already about 30 to 40 pieces of content a month for the first sort of four, five months.
[0:16:57.1] DC: Yes, exactly.
[0:16:58.3] LJ: How much did that cost?
[0:17:00.2] DC: It cost $4,000 in that case. So about $20 plus or minus a few bucks per article there.
[0:17:08.6] LJ: Okay, just thinking about the guys and girls listening to this show now, $4,000, you might be thinking, “Well that’s quite a lot of money to spend on a niche site.” However, we’re basing this on a proven system, aren’t we? You know, you’re not gambling with that money because you know that the system, you’ve got the processes you put in place.
Which we’re going to go and look at, to upscale this in a minute. You know that this is going to work, they’re not all going to be when as you said but the main body of content based on this keyword research is going to work so it’s worth the investment?
[0:17:41.9] DC: Exactly. It was scary at first because I had not yet proved the model in a large scale, but I started slow. The first month I only say published 20 articles and then as I saw momentum picking up, I felt comfortable in adding and scaling up and actually investing more. So when you think about $4,000 over five months, it is an investment but I never actually went in the red. So I was just reinvesting the profits, essentially.
[0:18:19.9] LJ: Okay, I’m also thinking about Chris Lee at RankXL, he’s got a great niche site course as well and I’ve been looking at both of your sites a lot recently. He’s talking about his pillar posts and then these smaller post fall into line under those, this sort of silo structure and I know you’ve written about the silo structure as well. Is that how you’re sort of creating the hierarchy for content on the site?
[0:18:42.1] DC: Sort of. So I used to really like the structured approach of the silos. The difficult part is the architecture and planning of it. So if you don’t plan it right in the beginning then you're in trouble. There’s a lot of work to get it fixed up right into make sure everything’s in the right silo.
I looked at really what was happening in a silo and it’s just interlinking, right? It’s a smart way, a methodical way of interlinking your site. So rather than actually creating silos using pages in WordPress and in child pages. I simply interlink my site like all over the place. Anything that’s relevant, I’ll link everything together. So once I published the 200 pieces of content, you know, each time a new piece was added, I added links from the new piece to other relevant pieces and vice versa. I sort of take care of the silo effect through linking even though I don’t have the URL structure of a proper silo.
[0:19:49.6] LJ: Okay, you’re not building links to the smaller posts, but do you build links to the pillar posts and all those based on keyword golden ratio as well?
[0:19:59.3] DC: I do build links, lots of links to the bigger post and the pillar post and they are not based on keyword golden ratio. Once you get over the local monthly searches of 250, the whole model sort of falls apart.
[0:20:15.5] LJ: Okay, what are you basing those pillar posts on? The more traditional, “Okay, we’re going to go for bigger fish in terms of keywords and we’re going to produce the skyscraper approach, the Brian Dean, epic content to be everything else.”
[0:20:30.5] DC: Yup, exactly that. Great content, traditional sort of competition analysis, taking a look at the top 10 results and looking at their back links, looking at their authority just their content, even dissecting their anchor text ratio as far as their back links and just reverse engineering as much as possible but you can sort of tell after you’ve been in it for a little while, you can tell the keywords that are going to be profitable.
[0:21:08.2] ANNOUNCER: You’re listening to the Content Champion Podcast, showcasing the training and tools you need to become a content marketing champion in your online business.
[0:21:28.2] LJ: Okay, so I’m getting a really good idea, I’m a real nerd for this, I love all the details. You’ve got your site up there, you’ve got all this reviews, perhaps 50/50 with informational type searchers and content. You’ve got five pillar post that are going for bigger, more competitive keywords, and you’re doing your outreach, you're guest blogging and perhaps some blog commenting to those, and we’ll go into that later as well.
But you’ve got those firing in all cylinders, they’re starting to pick up long tail keywords and perhaps moving up towards the nested keywords of the bigger more competitive keywords you’ve gone after. Then, you can click in to your 700 to a thousand word post without back links using the keyword golden ratio keywords you’ve researched and then you can then go into overdrive.
What I want to talk about now is cranking that up, cranking up the zero back links system. You’ve got a process for this, how did you put the team together, because you can’t do it all yourself, so you can scale it up? And there’s several sections that we can go through about that, but tell us what a team looks like to build out the site from there on?
[0:22:35.3] DC: Okay, I want to give a background too so in my corporate job, I was a project manager and I built teams and basically interviewed a bunch of people and setup roles and responsibilities and literally built teams and setup processes like I’m about to describe.
When I started thinking about how this would look and how to sort of 10X whatever results I was looking for. I knew, like you mentioned Loz, that I was not going to be able to do the writing. In fact, I did no writing in this exercise. So essentially, I took my skills from my corporate job and applied it directly to what I’m about to describe.
The second point is, there are some templates that I’ll share, it will be a nicehsiteproject.com/loz and then you’ll be able to get the templates that I’m going to describe and all the stuff you need to implement this yourself. With that out of the way, essentially, I served as a project manager like you would imagine and I started small. I think that’s one of the keys. I hired one writer, you know? I just hired one writer to make sure that I had some content coming in the door and then I hired a couple more.
At that point, I had my choice between the writers as far as trying to promote them and that sort of key. So what I’m going to describe is the team of myself, a content manager who also worked as an editor and the content manager also served as a buffer between the writers a little bit too. So if you have a lot of writers, you don’t necessarily want to be talking to 10 different writers all at the same time. The more people you are communicating with, the more stressful it is.
So that’s what the team looked like so I sat at the top, a content manager reported to me and then there were several writers. So, Loz, I want to make sure that I am not going down the wrong path here, does that make sense as far as the team structure?
[0:24:42.5] LJ: No, that’s perfect and I’ll just say I started out in copywriting probably about 18 years ago and I’ve worked on projects of all different sizes and over the course of the last 18 years, I’ve literally worked with hundreds and hundreds of writers and sometimes in the editor role, sometimes as a writer, sometimes as the owner of the site and it can be a real mine field. So the process of hiring the right people and putting that job, posting up and everything else that we can talk about, it’s hard to get right and when you do find a gem, you’ve got to hang on to them, haven’t you?
[0:25:18.5] DC: Yes, indeed. Another part that I want to point out is expectations. So if you read the 4-Hour Workweek, like many people do, and you think that you are going to be able to hire someone and they’re going to understand what you’re talking about right off the bat and you’re not going to have any issues, you’re going to be very disappointed. So that’s to say you’re going to have to hire some people and there’s going to be some problems.
And if you’re expecting it, it’s going to be okay but if you are not expecting it you’re going to be disappointed. So with that said, when I hire people from Upwork, I know there’s other places to get writers and get content but I find building my team works best out of Upwork and essentially, I’ll hire about twice as many writers as I think that I’m going to need for a trial job and I pay them for the trial job, I give them the same instructions and then I give them good feedback right away.
Of course, it’s only if they deserve a good feedback but essentially I hire twice as many people as I need. That way you can filter out the very best from the people that just got the job done. Of course, you’re going to have some people that maybe they don’t turn anything in, so you have to expect that too.
[0:26:40.4] LJ: It is tricky because you want to give sort of positive reinforcement because I started out as I said as a writer and I know what it’s like to have a really bad feedback and you get down on yourself and you think, “Oh I need to pick my game up.” So it’s always helpful, like you say, to give good feedback where it’s deserve but then like you say often people fall between the cracks and don’t deliver anything or miss deadlines, which is a real dead give away from the start. Anyone that misses the deadline is got to go straight away because that’s a prerequisite isn’t it? So what is your job posting look like? Is this in the templates that you’re talking about?
[0:27:15.9] DC: Yes, it will be in the template. So I typically am very direct and straightforward. I try not to make it too long. However, if you actually go and take a look at a lot of job postings on Upwork, they are very short, they’re one or two lines or you see like an HR manager has copied and pasted a job responsibilities list and then they’ll just paste it in there. So all that to say, the job postings on Upwork usually are terrible.
So mine’s well organized, I make sure that the person is a native English speaker. So if that applies to whatever content that you need, you need to make sure that you’re getting a native English speaker and don’t bend on it. You are placing the requirements on the job role so you don’t have to negotiate with your contractors, right? So I will also ask a couple free form questions to tell me why they’re interested in the particular topic, if it happens to be relevant.
Most of the time, my topics are fairly general. If someone does a little research they’re able to figure it out and I’m trying to think if there is anything else very interesting in the job posting. I mentioned early on that I like to work with new contractors, freelancers rather, and I give good feedback and I give complete feedback and I do it quickly.
So a lot of times, a new freelancer will work for cheaper than someone that is pretty experienced just because they don’t have any reviews so they can’t charge a higher rate and if you are willing to actually leave a complete review for them, most of them really appreciate it and they’ll take a chance on working for you for a little bit less, especially in the trial job. So they know it’s just a one off writing gig and they could do that for a day, get a review and then they’re happy and you’re happy.
[0:29:16.5] LJ: I use the code words as well in a recent needed job posting for a project that I’ve got running, The Ace Project, Authority Content Experiment and I got some amazing quite humbling people applying for the job who were just fantastic but who hadn’t seen this code word I put in the note that showed that they’d read the brief. So that is a giveaway of itself that they’re not — the attention to detail perhaps isn’t there and I know it’s like the trick question in the quiz.
But it does help you to see through the people who’ve actually read it and can follow a brief, which is obviously essential to copywriting and to blogging, and it also then shows you that the people that have read that really looked in detail at it. Some of the applications were amazing like the gems that really stick out. You could tell they’d really taken sometime so I’m going to get back it to everyone personally like that and I think that it’s about building that relationship, isn’t it?
[0:30:16.3] DC: Yes, exactly. I agree.
[0:30:19.6] LJ: Okay so let’s go on to look at pay and the role of the content manager particularly. What are they doing? Are they the editor, are they putting images in? What exactly are they doing and how much are you paying them?
[0:30:34.1] DC: Sure. So that role of a content manager, I usually pay between eight and $10 an hour depending on how long they’ve been working for me. So I usually start around eight, as you can imagine. I give people raises, right? It’s good to get a raise no matter what job you have and I build that in so that I can give people raises as I continue working with them. So with that said, the content manager does a couple of things, actually several things and it saves me a ton of time.
So number one, you should realize that if you’re paying writers like I’m paying them about 1.5 to two cents per word. So it’s not a huge rate so you should realize that if people are writing for that price, they’re going to edit their work a little bit but it’s pretty hard to proofread your own work and it’s pretty hard to do it well at that price and I understand it and for that reason, I don’t have the writers edit their own work. So they write it, they do their own whatever checks before they turn it in to me and then that piece of content goes over to the content manager.
So I will describe the roles and responsibilities for the content manager. So they edit the content of course, they make sure that the grammar is tight, they make sure the voice fits in with the site whatever site it happens to be. They’ll get images from Flickr Creative Commons. I have a whole process for providing the right attribution for those images. Sometimes they’ll go to some of the royalty free image sources that are out there like Unsplash.
They will also grab a YouTube video that is relevant to the topic. They’ll add my affiliate links if that’s appropriate, you know, if it’s a review type article and they’ll also add interlinking throughout the site. So basically, all these stuff that I used to do for every article, it should have only taken me about an hour but I’m a perfectionist I guess and I got into the details and I will spend two hours per article. When you’re talking about 200 posts that I wanted to publish, that’s a lot of time.
So I knew that I couldn’t have that level of control and had to let go of it. With this content manager/editor in place, for me to publish an article it would only take three minutes. So going from an hour to two hours to three minutes per article, I will take a look at the preview, make sure the links look good. I’ll read the first couple of sentences and then just move on. So it saves a huge amount of time and it’s a bargain at $10 bucks an hour.
[0:33:21.4] LJ: And you mentioned affiliate links then, are you text linking or do you put buttons in sometimes?
[0:33:26.3] DC: Primarily text linking, yeah just text links.
[0:33:30.1] LJ: Okay. We also touched upon the process of documenting everything and just to mention for those templates that you can get as well, how do you keep track of this? Are there lots and lots of spreadsheets and people that maybe have a fear of — because you are coming from a project management side of things. So this is your forte, but if you’re not used to working with all of these spreadsheets is it fairly straight forward to follow?
[0:33:52.6] DC: Yes and you know the trap of project managers, and I guess knowing that there is a lot of apps out there in different ways to track this, you could make it really complicated and you could think that you want to automate it and I’ve tried Asana, which is a project management tool, Trello, which is a task manager set up like a combine board, if you’re familiar with that. But essentially, I just use a — it’s hard to explain the words but I’ll do my best.
I use a spreadsheet to keep track of the content that’s being written for each writer. So they could just see the keyword and then I have a status like started, in progress, or done and then whether I’ve paid them or not. So super simple spreadsheet and then once it’s written, I move that piece of content — this is all in Google sheets and Google docs by the way. It’s just the easiest way for me to share this stuff and then I’ll actually get that Google doc with the finished content and then move it into a “process this content folder” for the content manager and then once that’s done, he or she, the content manager will change the name of the file so that it starts with done.
So the whole point of me explaining that is, it’s simple. That’s literally the simplest solution that I can do. It’s all managed with easily shareable documents. So no document repository kind of system or uploading that’s complicated. It’s literally in the cloud, everything lives in the cloud and then we could have some complicated hand offs where I’m tagged in a certain task or something. But instead, we just keep track of it in the file name and it’s super easy to see that, “Oh, that file has been processed. I can see that it’s been drafted in my WordPress dashboard.” So super simple, it’s the best way to do it and the biggest benefit on that is you don’t have to train a content person on a project management tool.
[0:36:06.9] LJ: Do you know what? The secret to success I guess with all of this is refining your processes, which is what you’re really good at, which is really why I wanted to talk to you and sometimes, I’ve done exactly the same thing. I’ve looked at all of these tools like about a dozen of them and I was going through one particular one, which will remain nameless and I just thought I could just send them an email say, “Hey have you done this bit yet?”
Rather than pressing that button there. Flicking that screen, wondering where that bit of screen’s gone and going back into there. I just thought I’ll just send them an email with a thing saying have you done this bit and they’ll say yes and then we’d get onto the next part of the process. So it sounds simple but the devil is in the details with it and that’s where the success is found I think.
So okay, look I’m going to move on because you’ve been really generous with your time. Let’s just talk about giving keywords a push. You’ve talked about building links to some of these pillar post but the where you’ve got these keyword golden ratio smaller posts and they’re not quite reacting in the surfaces you want them to, do you sort of guest blogging and blog commenting to build a few links to them? Talk us through that.
[0:37:14.6] DC: Sure, yeah. So this gets into my link building process. As I mentioned before, I had some troubles with some penalties from Google back in the day. I know PBN’s work, I have a great respect for people that are implementing PBN’s well. However, for me and my sites, I’m not doing that. So I literally do this two-step process where you do blog commenting and then guest posting.
As we know or most people that are listening probably do know that blog commenting is going to provide you a no follow link. Not super helpful and we’re not going to be ranking any big competitive terms with just blog commenting.
However, blog commenting is a networking tool, right? This is the top of our funnel to get guest posts on the other side. Essentially, I’ll do a blog commenting campaign and, you know, say I’ll comment on 50 blogs and maybe 25 of them get approved and I’ll sort of develop a relationship with that blogger, email him, give him a complement, sign up for their email list, show some interaction and essentially you’re getting that person to like you.
It’s a little bit easier at that point to ask to do a guest post on their site and you’ll be able to get a few links out of that. Like I said, if you do maybe 50 blog comments, you may be able to get three or four or five guest posts out of that deal and in this way, you’re sort of getting guest posts on blogs in which they don’t get spammed, right?
They don’t have a quote “write for us page” or a “contributor’s page” or anything like that. These are just people with blogs that maybe they don’t have a bunch of guest post and that makes it a little bit more valuable and, you know, kind of like the keyword golden ratio, it takes a little while to do, it’s work right? This sort of method of getting the guest post, it takes a while and a lot of people are lazy. If you’re willing to do the work, you should be able to come out ahead.
Now, on most of the time, the keyword golden ratio terms are going to rank somewhere and get a trickle of traffic even if they don’t rank for the particular term that you are trying to rank them for, they still may get a long tail of that term, if that makes sense? Typically, I see like one to two or more visitors a day on each one of those post and because the volume’s so low, I may not go this full route of getting a guest post but what I may do is get a guest post for where I’m linking to one of my pillar posts. But I’ll put in say three links instead of just one, right? I’ll link to my own site a few times because it’s relevant.
[0:40:12.8] LJ: Okay, so you’ll give the site owner with the guest post basically whatever they want if they want a 1,200 word high quality article you’ll do that and then you’ll link it back to a couple of your pillar posts and maybe another keyword golden ratio post that needs a little nudge.
[0:40:29.9] DC: Exactly.
[0:40:30.6] LJ: Okay, brilliant. Now look, you’ve been so generous with your time for this, just a couple more questions before you go. You’ve mentioned all those resources but tell us where we can find you online and tell us where we can find those templates again please Doug.
[0:40:45.7] DC: Sure, I’m at nichesiteproject.com and if you go to nichesiteproject.com/loz, you’ll be able to get all the templates that we talked about, I’ll ask you for your email address but, you know, you can unsubscribe later if you want to. But I’ll give you all the templates that we talked about and I also have like 15,000 keywords that are from basically very profitable amazon affiliate niche sites. If you need some ideas about keywords, that’s a great source to take a look at.
[0:41:18.1] LJ: That’s fantastic, I’ve got all these already, I downloaded them last week and I’ve been going through them, so iit’s fantastic stuff.
[0:41:27.1] ANNOUNCER: Wait for it listeners, here comes the PS question.
[0:41:38.4] LJ: This is what I call PS question. Could you please, before you go, share one advanced content marketing tactic we could use right off to the show?
[0:41:47.5] DC: Okay. Like a lot of the stuff that I mentioned, it’s something that you’re going to use right away, however, it’s not sort of a quick fix and it kind of relies on some of the ideas that I mentioned before with the guest posting, that’s to build relationships within the niche.
If you can be sort of connector, a hub within your niche, you’re going to be seen as a leader and in that way, you’re going to get a lot of benefits like you may be able to guest post on multiple sites. Maybe that’s putting together a roundup in an industry where roundups aren’t too common. If you’re in internet marketing, you’re doing a roundup, that’s been done before.
There are some industries where they don’t do roundups. If you can be a hub and a connector for other people, it’s going to take you very far, you may be able to be on podcast and, like I said, do more guest posts. When it comes down to it, a lot of the content marketing that we’re looking at is getting some back links and trying to build our email list.
So if you are someone that people like, you’re going to be shared a little bit more, people will think of you when they’re linking out from their articles.
[0:43:08.0] LJ: Fantastic, well that’s a great answer to the PS question. Fantastic value packed show there, I could talk about this all day, really appreciate you coming on and all that remains to say Doug is, thanks for your time and I’d like to raise a glass of Adnams Ale from Southwold to you from here in the UK.
[0:43:25.6] DC: Cheers Loz. Really appreciate it, it’s a pleasure.
[0:43:30.0] ANNOUNCER: You’ve been listening to The Content Champion Podcast, available at contentchampion.com and on iTunes.
Until next time, thanks for listening.
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