Craig Campbell came to speak at a recent Optimisey event – and it’s safe to say he really got the audience’s attention.
Craig spoke about Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO – digging into definitions of each of those terms before going on to explain how he as a ‘Money Hat’ or ‘Results Hat’ uses a range of techniques and tools to rank websites.
It generated the most feedback I’ve had from a single speaker so far. The feedback was hugely positive – words like “brutal but brilliant” summed it up – but lots of people didn’t agree with Craig’s approach.
However, even they could appreciate finding out more about what tactics are available and being shown how people use them.
Thanks to Breadcrumb Media the whole thing was captured on tape – so you can see for yourselves:
Black hat, white hat… or red card?
In the post-event chat we came up with a good analogy for the topics Craig covered: diving in football (when players try to trick the referee into giving them a free-kick or a penalty). It divides football fans. Some are adamant it should be stamped out of the game at any cost – it’s cheating.
Those same fans then cheer wildly when their team’s striker does it to get a decisive penalty in a big derby game.
As a footballer, manager or fan you don’t have to endorse diving – but it can only help your game to know that others do and how they do it.
The same applies to SEO.
Don’t miss the next one
Everyone that heard Craig speak left at least a little wiser.
Make sure you don’t miss out on the next dose of traffic-increasing, conversion building SEO goodness. Get a (free!) seat at the next event:
A note from me here: firstly, there’s some ‘adult language’ in here. If you’re offended by swearing, maybe stop scrolling now.
Also, this was transcribed by me so if there are bits that don’t make sense that’s probably my fault, no Craig’s.
Thanks for coming along. Just about myself – I’m Craig; I’m from Glasgow; I’ve been in the SEO industry for 15, 16 years now and started out as a freelancer in my bedroom – pissing in the wind, the same as everyone else [laughter] and I built up my own digital agency and I’ve changed direction since then I do training and consultancy now, you know, because similar to what Andrew said that to start those stress levels that, you know, once you get to there five or the eight year period, or whatever it was, hundreds of clients, not a lot of profit, whole load of stress and staff and all that stuff it wasn’t for me so…
I revised my of working which is obviously each to their own – agencies are for some people, dealing with clients are for some people – it’s not for me there’s plenty of ways and when you’re an experienced SEO where you can make money and so I put down a different route. I do speak a lot of events: BrightonSEO I’ll be speaking at in April 2018…? Still got to get used to that one, spoke at SMX Milan in November, I regularly speak on SEMrush, I’m a host and feature in a lot of their webinars and and I talk at a lot of other events aswell, just trying to pass on some knowledge to people.
So my SEO career you know everyone looks at people and goes: “Why should I believe this guy?” you know it could just be another dud SEO there are millions of them out there who’ve read a book – so I’ve done a year in-house, training with a company thought I was really good at it – which I probably wasn’t – I really didn’t know anything more than on page – but went out as a freelancer started to charge people money and and started to learn.
Then I started to build up my own agency and that’s where the real learning curve comes. You know you’re dealing with, you know, things that are outwith your remit like, you know, the stuff you were talking about:user experience and stuff like that so you’re learning the whole, the whole works.
And now four years, the past four years I’ve probably been doing what I’ve been doing which is: training agencies and the individuals who want to make money or whatever you know, just passing on your knowledge and the mistakes that I’ve made over the years so…
Agency life wasn’t for me you know I was awarded, I won awards for being an agency you see my name’s somewhere … about there 2014, it wasn’t that long ago, won an award: business leader of the year – but as I say, I had 17 staff at one point they you know staff… are not reliable they, you know they’re not skillful enough, and and you know they let you down, or they want to run away and start up their own business [laughter] so agency life for one reason or another wasn’t for me.
And so, erm, but you know the main question out of everything to do with SEO – so I’ve been there, I’ve been in an agency, I’ve done freelancing, I’ve done training events and stuff like that so I would hope that I would be a credible guy to listen to.
What is White hat SEO?
So there’s a big debate in SEO – and you’ll always hear people saying white hat SEO, black hat SEO and you know what does that actually mean?
So I’ll give you, you know, 20-odd minutes of what that actually means for me and how I went about over the years learning what I’ve learned and what tools I use and what hat that I claim to wear.
So what is white hat SEO? You know the people out there claim that it’s ethical SEO you know you would need a huge budget to to do white hat SEO you know big brands do it they’ve got brand awareness, they’re getting featured in magazines, papers all that kind of stuff and all of that kind of stuff does help them and it’s it’s you know can be you know seen as white hat SEO but you know loads of us are – not you guys – but loads of customers are one-man bands they can’t afford the PR team and they can’t afford this, that and the next thing.
So small budgets won’t stretch that far but can you still do a good job?
Yes, it’s the same as anything in life, you have to cut corners you know – even you said something earlier how do you do that stuff for free? Do you steal something or whatever you know ideally that’s not ethical to do but you you said there you know if you want to go buy a code of ethics but you know if you have no budget then you’ve no option so you do what you have to do.
And so that’s what white hat is – as far as I’m concerned you know it’s a lot of nonsense as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t really exist anyone who thinks people are going to link to them naturally because they’ve got amazing videos or amazing content are probably just dreamers because every SEO in here will be writing blogs, articles trying to put them into social media no-one really cares what you’re writing to be fair as you know no one’s going to link to it and and stuff like that so it has to be manipulation that goes on behind that’s hidden.
So what not to do though is black hat SEO. There’s a lot of people that call themselves a blackhat SEO where they’ll spam everything, they’ll use automation, they go on Fiverr to buy links and use spun content – just copy and paste stuff and absolutely just rip off everything that there is online and that stuff will get you banned by Google.
What is Black Hat SEO?
There is something in the middle and that they don’t really tell – so when you hear of white hat SEO’s talking they’ll say I’m this and I’m a ethical. I had an argument with Dixon Jones – is a guy who owns Majestic SEO and his argument to me was he’s a big… he he was – he’s retired now but – Dixon Jones and you know was their managing… I don’t know what he was? What is he? And he doesn’t own it does he? Majestic?
He’s one of the head honchos there anyway and he went: “We talked at 20 conferences a year, we get links from this, this and this and you know… they spend probably half a million a year on marketing or whatever and that’s all good and well they’re getting all the links from all the conferences everyone’s linking to them and SEO blogs and stuff and he claims he’s white hat and no tricks have to be played and yes he’s right, he doesn’t have to play any tricks but you know we
don’t all have half a million pound budgets.
So he would determine a guy like me a black hat SEO but I don’t go out and do all the trash of the day either you know that’s what you would find on Fiverr or some low-life that’s starting out in the game that uses automation you know GSA is one, Scrapebox.
There’s tons of spaming tools out there and that’s what I would call a black hat SEO. What I would determine a successful SEO would be someone who’s interested in a return on investment or a money hat or or you know what you want you know you have to make money online regardless of how you do it you’ve got if you have to trample in someone’s head then you have to trample in someone’s head to make money – it’s the bottom line.
So it’s silly to label yourself as white or black hat and one of Google’s – and Google have admitted this, you can Google it – one of the main ranking signals is link building. But what they tell you in their Terms of Service is that building one link can get you banned so it kinda contradicts itself?
But they look for links as part of a kinda ranking signal – along with you know a whole heap of other stuff. So there’s a difference between being clever and being spammy and you have to basically feed the search engines what they want. A lot of people out there think Google are that clever that they can watch everything, they can hear you, the whole lot.
Google are not that clever they really aren’t and anyone who thinks they are – you know what by all means go and test it and prove me wrong.
But the best SEO approach is to use them a wide range of link building strategies, do local citations, do outreach, do guest blog posts, and use private blog networks – which I’ll go in to in a minute – and get featured in expert roundups, appear in webinars and you know continue to learn new strategies and build relationships with other people.
Like Tom over there who I work with are a local guy in Northampton – well it’s not that local – but you know just by networking Tom you know, do you want me, you know, I’ve got links on your website, you’ve got links on my website – you have to talk to other people and how do we fit that in?
And you know we do a guest blog post or an interview of whatever it may be it’s a link at the end of the day so you have to build relationships with other people within the industry because going out and getting crappy directory links and stuff like that just doesn’t cut the mustard when you want to rank for nationwide stuff it might work well for you if you want to do some local SEO.
Using black hat techniques, as I said, using automated tools, low quality freelancers guys that will sell you a hundred links for a fiver all that kind of stuff
you know avoid them like the plague.
You know they’ll get out there saying social bookmarking still works – it doesn’t you know it died 2011 or whatever and you know being put on loads of
directories was once a good thing in 2007 until every Tom, Dick and Harry rammed every other website on it and Google have to go: “What’s the point? I
can’t take that stuff serious – I don’t know what’s good, what’s bad.” so that’s where they now look at relevancy and stuff like that.
So don’t use black hat techniques they will get you banned but you have to be somewhere in the middle.
And a lot of people will also chase domain metrics, so you’ve got Majestic for example who gave a Trust Flow and Citation Flow, you’ve got Moz who give out Page Authority – these are not Google they are third-party tools who give you a rough guide as to what power your domain name’s got and that is good to use that is a guide.
You know, I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t use it, but people obsess going: That Trust Flow’s crap you know or “I’ve got a Trust Flow of seven” or whatever and you know “I’m doing really bad on there”.
You can still get good rankings with a fairly low Trust Flow and – I showed that to you today Tom – and so that’s… so you know don’t always chase domain metrics.
Don’t always believe Google either. Google do lie.
And they’re not as clever as they make out to be and as I said you have to feed Google what it wants.
You know everyone knows site speed’s important, click through rate’s important, links are important, unique content’s important and on all your kinda on page SEO is important: your title tags and all internal linking and all that kind of stuff is really important you have to get all of those elements in place.
But, as I said, don’t always believe what Google say.
A lot of people turnaround and go you know I speak it of events people go; “That guy’s talking crap you know he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, because Matt Cutts said in 2011 that…” you know, whatever it may be.
So an example of some bullshit from Google [laughter] and as Gary Illyes works for Google and Christophe Semper owns a tool called Link Research Tools – these guys were at BrightonSEO in September and Gary from Google said to Christophe who owns a tool that does disavow – you obviously, if you get spammy links you need to disavow them – he said “Christophe we hate the fact that you’re highlighting this disavow tool you’re, you know, you’re causing problems for Google where you know we commend what you’re doing but Google think you’re a pain in the arse for telling everyone to disavow bad links.”
And a month later Google released this statement saying ‘You don’t have to do a disavow unless you get a manual action taken against you’ – which as far as I’m concerned, through my testing, is complete and utter bullshit.
And it still is.
You know people have tried and tested it – Christophe Semper called them out on Facebook saying: ‘What the Hell? You told me this last month yet you’re saying now you don’t have to do it unless you get a manual action taken against you’ so you have to, you have to follow what works tried and tested stuff believe in what
people say – and that’s where networking is important.
This way like Tom and Milosz sitting over there are guys that I work with and the guys go away and try something and it may go wrong or tits up but you know we’re learning from each other and that’s when it’s important to learn from each other.
Same with you guys you know we may say, you know, that we tried that and it was shit, you know, and then you sit and that’s in your head then in the next time you talk to a client you can try and avoid that or whatever.
So it’s always just about constantly evolving don’t always follow what Google or you know other people for that matter say. And that, you know, there’s loads of
bloggers – Barry Schwartz as I said it up there – you know Barry Schwartz is a well-known guy that just says anything that Google says and everyone thinks he’s this guru.
Everything that Google release Barry Schwartz is on it and you know he’s been doing it for years and you know that’s his job he just pushes out what Google say and you know they can 80% of the world out there will love Barry Schwartz for that purely because they think he’s right but those 80% of people don’t rank that well – because they’re following what he says. [laughter]
So a story – before I go in to some of the tools – I was talking in Milan in November and I met a guy called Peter Van der Graaff and he doesn’t call himself an SEO anymore he calls himself an opinion sculptor or opinion sculpting that’s the service the he provides.
This guy was actually involved in the U.S. elections and for Donald Trump and putting out fake news and all that kinda stuff – so can you actually believe what you read online even if you went to Google: how do you do this, or how do you do that everything that’s on page one in Google has been manipulated you can’t trust it.
You know I could put a blog post up there saying you know playing with some of their toys helps your website ranking in Google and someone might believe it or whatever you know it doesn’t you know because I said that, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually true.
So Peter worked for Donald Trump – all they done was build PBNs and put out fake news and stuff to change people’s opinions and vote for Donald Trump you know he was given a twenty million pound budget to do that over a four year period – and or whatever it was I don’t know how long Trump was, whatever the period was – he was given twenty million quid to build PBNs and form people’s opinions because people do go on to Google and go: should they vote for Donald Trump – because there’s so many people this sit there.
Now, it wasn’t Donald Trump himself who paid for that it was the lobby groups and stuff like that that they’d pay for their stuff so Peter’s obviously a very interesting guy we met in Milan he’s now allowed to release this story because he’s, you know, it’s done and dusted – and so can you believe what you see online?
You know everything is manipulated and as I say you know it’s lobby groups U.S. elections people do research and then they form opinions and think that Donald Trump’s the best guy to vote for.
But we go back to ranking websites and so this is as a website – I wanted to show you some examples – so ‘Can I rank a website?’ you know you might have formed an opinion: ‘This guy’s just going to talk crap and he can’t rank a website’.
And here’s just an example of a new e-commerce store and you know that turns over, you can’t really read it, a bit something like a six hundred and forty six thousand pound a year purely through online sales and in the past – in fact that say is ninety six thousands – and that was from 13th of December to the 13th of January which is when I’ve done my slides – a hundred grand a month, they’re doing online.
So obviously I’ve got the ability to rank sites and some of the tools that I’m going to show you and will, you know I’ll show you some of the some of the kinda black hat stuff that I do.
That’s their overall stuff for a year – 646 thousand pounds and you know one of their first years, I think they’re about eighteen months old all online sales, constant growth and that’s what would form a good SEO campaign.
And this is another client so and another example of good SEO – which is the one I showed you today Tom – the ‘traffic boner’ as a lot of people call it! [laughter]
This guy started September 2017 was having you know 500 visits a month or whatever he’s now up to over 7,000 hits a month after a three-month period
he’s got ten times more sales so SEO can be effective still works really well to this day – and then you know, what how did I get that to happen?
You know, Tom said it today: ‘What the effin hell did you do there? Did you have to build them a new website?’
No – the website was good it had a good user experience, had all the right buttons in the right place and all of that kind of stuff that the guy’s said earlier is really
important because clients are not the cleverest of people sad to say.
They’re you know they can’t find the button or they Add to Cart but don’t know how to go and process the payment or whatever because the buttons are not in
their face or as you guys said you know in ribbon along the bottom or whatever – so over and above that you know I wouldn’t be expected to do a job you
know I’m not a web designer, I hate web design – I would expect when someone wants to use my services that they do have all of those boxes ticked it’s not something I want to sit and get involved in.
What are Private Blog Networks (PBNs)?
But private blog networks – how many of you guys have heard of private blog networks? And some of yous may hate them love them whatever I’ll show you how I work them and how they work for me – and so as I say link building is one of Google’s main ranking signals – as I say Terms and Conditions also say that you know buidling one link can get you banned I believe that to be scare tactics but I also believe that PBN may not be the right word to use for it as well.
Everyone just associates a PBN as a website someone’s bought and expired domain name chucked up website and use it to to manipulate the search engines.
And yes that you know that’s that is the can a general way it works but there’s a bit more to it than that.
Um so what people do or what not what not to do is buy an expired domain name stick it on a shared server which has all got one IP address you know if
you buy a reseller account – stick fifty domain names on it and then start linking out to your main website you’re leaving a massive footprint and it’s going to get you banned.
That that’s crazy and not what we’re trying to promote here.
And there are tools out there like goPBN.com for example and which is a hosting company made by a guy who believes in PBNs and which you can have multiple CMSs on it – WordPress and all the other standard ones that are out there – and every time you put a website on there it gives you like a 123reg account
or whatever you know from this one dashboard so that you’re not, all your websites are not stacked on the same server, with the same IP address and it avoids any footprints.
You can also change your server locations so if you want to build PBN and target an American audience then you can have GoPBN give you just American servers so you can dictate what servers go on there as part of your PBN.
That’s what the dashboard looks like as I say you get to select your domain name, WordPress, London and you know that’s it.
You can pick whether it’s London you can pick it, you know Romania whatever you’re trying to target and you can use that and what this tool does, it’s an all-in-one tool, because previously what someone like me had to do was have hundreds of different hosting accounts all under fake names and all that kind of stuff to avoid footprints.
And that’s just a massive amount of stress so in this day and age people are building tools to meet this a bit easier and goPBN.com is one of those tools.
The job with a real PBN and a lot of people will say: your PBNs cost money and all that kind of stuff if your PBN does not return you money then you’re doing it wrong as far as I’m concerned every single PBN should make you money whether it’s through affiliate marketing whether it’s through Adsense or whether you rent that website out because it ranks really well, we can have a clients you know a client’s details on it.
The way that I started my PBN was years ago and when exact match domain names used to rank really well.
All you had to do was buy Builders-in-Cambridge or Builders-Cambridge, slap a one-page website on it and you know you’re guaranteed page one position
without even building a link.
Content alone would rank you and what I used to do back in the day was rather than go to people say ‘I’m a good SEO, I might be able to rank you over a three or four month period’ I ranked the website first and then went to people saying do you want your logos and stuff on there – give me 200 quid then we get logos on there and whatever.
And that’s something I still do to this day- I still have a lot of guys that rank really well and just rent the websites out to them – so rather than them taking a risk on an SEO because I’m sure you know most of you have heard horror stories where people are getting turned over for tens of thousands of pounds and SEO’s have not lifted a finger so that’s how I started mine.
You know a real PBNs got to be a real website, real traffic, real rankings, no no mad footprints where they all inter-link with each other, they’re all registered under my own personal name and they’ve got to be regularly updated you can’t just put up a website and just leave it – every PBN has to be a real website that
makes money and does regularly get updated and I don’t mean I’m adding five blog posts a week or whatever whether it’s one in a month or two a month or
whatever you would normally do with your own website would be perfectly fine.
So the job with a PBN is to work smart do it properly and don’t always think of the low-cost options because otherwise you’re going to start to leave footprints.
The don’t think cheap part there people will always go ‘I’m going to build a PBN and that all sounds really good but I’m going to whack it all on a shared server because I can’t afford to pay for a couple of different accounts or I can’t afford goPBN or whatever’ and it’s a massive mistake to make that’s where you start to get penalized and stuff like that by the search engines.
And so there’s other tips and tools here: to buy an expired domain name and you can use tools like expireddomains.net where you can go on there and see all of the domain names that are expiring how many backlinks they’ve got and how much power they’ve got and then jump in and grab it for five quid or whatever they the cost of a domain name is these days.
And it’s also important before you buy an expired domain name do your research use Majestic or whatever to see if the domain does have power you can also go on to the Wayback Machine see what was on your previously make sure it was a real website and and stuff like that because what you don’t want to do is buy
a piece of garbage you know it’s just a waste of time.
So do your research – and there are tools there like Domrecovery.com – so at the push of a button you can take a website from the Wayback Machine and chuck it up on to your website so you can basically take – so say it’s a local letting agent in Cambridge you can take that domain name use Domrecovery and put it back up within minutes and that’s you get a PBN.
You’ve obviously got to take away agent’s number down or their logo or whatever and just put something basic on there but that tool it’s a one-off fee
and you know you can just get a website from the Wayback Machine and use that as part of your PBN strategy. You can also use domain hunter gatherer which is
a paid tool.
You can also buy domains from auction websites like GoDaddy and many of the other ones and you you know you don’t have to use goPBN you can just mix up your hosting accounts with 123reg anything like that just make sure that everything is all mixed up.
Domain hunter gatherer and that can obviously find expired domain names for you.
It uses Majestic and Moz APIs to give you the domain metrics of the domain names you’re looking at and it can also scrape for expired web 2.0s.
Web 2.0s are not a great link building tactic anymore because again people ripped the backside out of that and it’s, it’s you know, dead really but you know domain hunter gatherer can find them – there might be a wee gem in there somewhere. And website hosting as I say, the most important part for this – and I can’t stress it enough is use multiple web hosts, use different locations and different IP addresses to stay under the radar.
Avoiding the footprints is vital so you’ve obviously got to very your WHOis data as well and use different templates on different websites if you do choose not to use Dom recovery and then and you’re going to use WordPress or whatever don’t keep using the same template because everyone else building that uses the same
templates you know the OnFold template or whatever it might be and again that’s a footprint in itself if all your websites are all using Onfold and all linking to the same websites you’re leaving a massive footprint.
You also want to vary your plugins and stuff as well so people ou there will use All-in-one-SEO or Yoast or whatever you know it’s probably 50/50 you want to mix that up in your PBNs you don’t want to have them all using the 10 plugins that you use whether it’s All-in-one-SEO or Google XML sitemaps, Contact Form 7 or whatever just mix it all up just there again avoid footprints.
Proxies and personas
And so how what other stuff goes on out there to help you along with buying your PBNs there’s a nice tool called Browzio – has anyone ever heard of this?
What this tool does is allows you to set up loads of fake personas which is quite a cool tool for a number of different reasons you can use your your brain to work out how this can fit into your strategy best but what it can do is set up loads of fake profiles like you know Adam Smith or whatever the names are and you can
buy your domains and hosting through this so every time you log in – a fake persona you could go and do Adam Smith he owns all these domain names or these five domain names.
Then you can go to the next persona and you know Mary Jones or whatever buy some domain names and it just keeps you from avoiding that footprint but the cool part about Browzio as well is it works with a script so you can do loads of stuff on there – like giving people Google reviews, fake reviews and all that kind of stuff which is common practice anyone who believes that that doesn’t happen has to be off their head – you know everyone’s doing it.
Fake Google reviews you know faked social signals all that kind of stuff happens so for example and that’s one of my fake personas there: Adam Howard
just a fake guy retweet stuff tweet stuff, he’s get 2,500 followers – he’s as fake as they come.
But you know if’s he’s sharing stuff and saying ‘Craig’s the best guy blah blah blah blah’ or you know giving people Google reviews you know there’s lots of different ways you can use that to kind of help your strategies as well.
So what what how how did I get 2,500 reviews with that so there’s another tool – called Mass Planner now this tool’s amazing – and everyone loves it, it’s not
available for anyone to buy if anyone does like what they see here you can come up to me if I’m busy talking to someone – then Tom and Milosz can help you
get it out is we – they two work with us so they can you can approach them and we can get you hooked up with this.
It’s still available to get as long as you know someone.
Now Instagram tried to get this tool taken down but a lot of people will say to me how have you got such a massive following – and I think you’ve also asked me that as well how do you get such a massive following?
And I think I’ve got 40,000 people follow me on LinkedIn, I’ve got 300,000 on Twitter and whatever on Facebook so god knows but obviously speaking at events this stuff and that do help you get that but not 300,000 you know – I’m not David Beckham or whatever.
So you know or whatever but you know how does that work?
So for me there’s a lot of social media people out there who sell a lot of garbage you know they sell social media they’ll just post and post and post a whole lot I crap and just annoy people.
The most important part of social media is building a real audience everyone can go a Fiverr and buy 5,000 fake followers it’s all ‘Eggheads’ no one’s going to be there so anything you post to them no one’s going to buy from you.
So what this Mass Planner does is it builds a real following for you it works on all social platforms whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and
all the other kind of stuff that’s out there.
And it works 24/7, 365 days a year.
So what it does as I say that’s all the stuff it does – you need proxies to use it though. And there’s – does everyone know what a proxy is? No?
Right, so a proxy basically so if you get multiple accounts you don’t want them all running from your one computer which is one IP address again it looks very
spammy you can buy proxies, so say you’ve got 30 fake personas you probably want to have 30 proxies to do all your automation and which cost you $50 but again it’s well-worth doing if you’ve got all these fake personas I’m sure you’ll be making a lot of money.
But what this Mass Planner actually does is you can follow people so: say all of you guys are digital marketing experts in here here – I could go in my Mass Planner and say anyone who follows everyone in here I want to follow them and my tool will automatically start following all of your followers because they’re probably likely to be interested in what I’ve got to say.
And there you can do that with you know SEMrush or any SEO tool and people will automatically start following you back the tool can then unfollow them if you don’t follow them back so you can adjust this all in the settings it’s very simple and easy to use and you can follow people based on keywords you can
favorite people stuff on autopilot you can retweet people’s stuff on autopilot and you can actually make direct message them on autopilot.
So you have obviously see yourself if you got Twitter people say ‘Oh you know thanks for following me’ or whatever on you’re going ‘Jesus Christ that guy’s on the ball!’ you know they’re using automation there and this stuff just works 24/7 based on your settings whatever message you want to put out to these people – it will work for you.
And obviously as I say the most important part is the follow and the unfollow part this will follow so everyone who follows
Andrew for example, is likely to want to listen to what I’ve got to say because we’re in this similar industry so I just set mine on yours follow everyone who follows Andrew some of these people follow me back me and I’ll move on from you – you’re in the bin move on to someone else and they’re not… [laughter] and once I’ve used and abused you move on to the next guy and the next guy and the next – cause you can set all of this up and as I say it builds you up a real following.
And then what you actually do put out there, actually it’s out in front of real people and it can obviously turn into visitors to your website hopefully they’ll buy your product or services or or whatever the hell it is you’re trying to sell.
So as I say PBN websites though and the web design – use different templates, different plugins, unique content, every PBN has its own social presence as well
because if someone grasses you know I don’t know if that’s a Scottish word?
But if someone is grassing you up and so if someone grasses you up and says ‘That’s a PBN’ and Google manually go and check that and they see that Adam Howard owns it and he’s got all these retweets and 3,000 followers they can’t determine whether that’s a fake or not.
So again using automation to kind of cover your tracks is a key part but as I say it’s not all about just covering your tracks it can build you up massive audiences and you can retweet your own stuff and and make yourself look semi-famous – I do that sometimes so it’s always helping it’s gotta be done.
Can you use… so some PBN common questions: can I use spun content absolutely not.
Spinning content on your PBNs doesn’t work.
How long before you link to the money site or money sites that you’ve got? People normally throw up a PBN and they’ll not link for 30 or 40 days just again to
to make sure that you don’t look spammy or whatever just throw it up put the content up don’t really do any any anything else I just put them up and just leave it for you know maybe even sixty days because I’m quite lazy.
But a and then what can you sell links on your PBNs? Yes you can sell links on your PBNs if you want make money that way but it’s a surefire way to get yourself banned very quickly because those guys out there who sell links and they put all this effort in to getting all this power and then they just sell it to every
Tom, Dick and Harry and tell everyone where it is and Google just ban them and that’s that.
They have a wee fall out with someone, someone sticks them in and they’re gone.
And how many links go on my PBNs? Probably 10, 15 something like that I don’t have a PBN that’s got a hundred thousand links on it again that’s a footprint and you’ll get banned.
And you just link out to your clients or whatever you know if Milosz says to me go and link to this and link to that yeah I’ll help him, you know, pay me and I’ll help you and that’s it – you can make money that way.
But you know Milosz hasn’t got a clue where they go what they do and you just gotta base his decision on me on results and and that’s it you know job done he’s
happy I’m happy no one can get grassed in.
And so you need to be careful with what you’re telling people about your PBNs as well.
And do you need to build links to your PBNs? Yes, obviously treat your PBNs like a real website.
Do get citations, do get links from other people and treat them like a real website.
And how to manage and monitor your PBN? Obviously if you’re doing it in a large scale like a hundred websites or more you’re going to have the monitor the up
time, rank tracking, domain metrics all of that stuff and again there’s another tool they’re called serped.net which has 45 other tools and integrated with it: rank tracking, expired domains.
What else does it do Tom? In fact I’ve got it here – it’s got Backlinks Explorer, longtail keyword finder and you can always get site auditing tools, citation scanner, goal tracking you can backup your website from it so to manage 100 websites is a lot of work so again a tool like that is key if you’ve got a big PBN.
If it’s only five websites then you don’t need it. Then, you know, you just check your give websites manually every day.
But if you’re going to do it at scale then serped.net is a very good tool.
As I say feed Google what it wants – domain metrics is a good way to figure out whether a domain name has any kind of power and relevance.
The most important part for Google is if Milosz is an accountant for example – he’s not but – if he was an accountant he needs financial related links.
He doesn’t need one from a web designer. It’s not relevant it’s not really going to carry as much power. He needs as many accountants or any kind of finance or
forex trading guys or whatever pointing to him so that he’s seen as an authority so it’s got to be relevant.
And use your use your PBN as part of your bargaining tools as well so I could go to someone again I’m going to use Milosz as an example and say I want a link to Milosz’s website and I’m going to say: ‘Well – what are you going to offer me?’ if I’ve got a PBN and I’ve got ten other accountant websites I can link back from any one of them so you can use them as a bargaining tool to exchange links with other website owners.
And you also want to keep your PBN a secret.
Never report that stuff in to any client you can if you want but I think you’d be shooting yourself in the foot.
As I say never sell links. Treat your PBNs well and it will give you a hell of a lot of link building power which is exactly all I’ve done for the the blind company who shot up like that over a three month period and they went from 500 hits a month to just under 8,000 just know and that’s continually grown month on month and they you know hopefully they will get to 50,000 or whatever the limit is.
As I say I never report on backlinks. No SEO out there – you Milosz again used a guy called Finn from some dodgy forum and he did report these backlinks but
they’re all absolutely horrendous.
Any SEO worth his salt is not going to report on that stuff.
The job of as SEO is a service and the job is to rank websites and get more traffic and get conversions and that’s what you really should be reporting on and that’s what real really you know agencies that claim to go white hat SEO outsource the link building anyway and the chances are some scumbag will be doing a PBN but probably very badly [laughter].
So client demands – clients want to know too much the part here building PBNs – I can say to a client now because of my track record – I can show anyone analytics I can show them anything.
And I just say to people you know I can’t be bothered reporting to you – I don’t want to listen to all your crap [laughter] and they want to know too much so I can just say to people now – give you a bit of education just base me on this or we can give you training that’s it.
We’re not here to sit and sell out souls to the devil or jump through hoops to justify what we do.
PBNs as I say is a very real thing that work’s very well for me and ranking for keywords is your main target and if you rank for keywords then you’re gonna get traffic and you’re gonna get sales no matter what way you want to look at it.
And so that’s it. Beer break for me!
And if you guys want to ask me any questions or know anything about the tools or whatever you can get me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook you can email
me or Milosz and Tom are there as well if I’m chatting to someone else later or whatever but if you want anything about the tools then we can if there’s anything that tickles your fancy then fair enough but that’s my contact details there and that’s me so…
Experience it live
That was pretty good, eh?
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