SEO Development Cycle: Iterations Aren’t Just For PPC

I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about how people learn SEO. It never really begins with SEO…

I’ve never been talking to some guy online and shooting the breeze about where our pasts were from and how we came to be talking about SEO to begin with and I’ve never heard (or saw) someone say…

“Yeah, I was hanging out at my friend’s house for the Superbowl and during half time someone started talking about SEO and I was just hooked…”

Nope… That just isn’t how it goes. Normally, it’s a much less classy affair….

“I heard you can make a lot of money online and I knew I needed to get me some of that….”

Come on, you know it’s true.

I don’t care if you are completely new to the industry or if you have been in it for years – you’ve met plenty of guys that started by wanting to make money online.

Sure, there’s some guys that were web developers, or wanted to package SEO as a service they could offer – but most of the time it’s internet and affiliate marketers pounding away at it trying to earn that quick buck.

And hey, I don’t blame them. I learned that there was good money in it and I went after it as well…

The Right Now Mindset

Because of where most people who are now working in SEO begin – that is the immediate need to make fast cash as they are often told they will – you begin to understand some of the culture on various forums and perspective that a lot of “SEO’s” or SEO advocates are working from.

They want results and they want them right now. Everything has to be right now, because a sale today is better than a sale tomorrow.

It’s about the immediate payoff. The need to get what they want at a moments notice. The fast payoff….

I think this has created a disservice to the greater SEO community. Let me explain that by first taking a step back to talk about what it is that we really do here…

Iterations in Digital Marketing (outside of SEO)

No matter what people do in marketing, they will almost always begin with the first draft, the first effort, the first site or the first landing page.

They are all firsts because and almost exclusively because there is always a second… a third… a fourth.

Digital marketing by it’s very nature is evolutionary…

In the PPC word, creating and tracking iterations of ADS is CRUCIAL to their success and profitability. Sure, every now and then they will knock one out of the park – by 99.9% of that industry revolves around adjusting copy (or if display) colors, fonts, images, borders, etc.

The exact same thing goes for email marketing. You test landers all the time and against all sorts of traffic. SOLO Ads, PPC, POPS, Display, etc… you track it all. And you test iterations of each ad against them all to get the highest opt-in rate possible. (In most cases anyways.)

The Smart Marketer (outside of SEO)

You see, digital marketing – all of digital marketing – is really simple.

Once you’ve learned some of the basis, digital marketing comes down to split testing, experience and evolution of thoughts, ideas, concepts and combinations.

The smart marketer is the one that collects this information and though as if by an act of pure mental magic they will coalesce that information into a final product with the judicious application of their unique intuition and creativity.

Mind you, I said judicious. Neither intuition nor creativity are given too much freedom; these two must work together and they are bonded by the information learned from split testing.

So, what happened to “SEO’s?” Did we all ride the short bus?

SEO Iterations for Performance Driven Search Visibility

Back to those internet marketers who want to make a fast buck.

These guys are typically hungry. They might not be the brightest, and they might not have the most knowledge – but what they lack in those areas they will make up for in work tenacity.

That’s pretty much why I’m sitting here. I wanted to market a small business. My money was offline…

I learned SEO that way. THEN I heard about how you could potentially make money online based on skills that I was already applying to the real world business… Then I became a bit of an idiot for while because I simply worked hard, grinding out posts and articles (which was the thing at the time in 2007, 2008?). I blame affiliate marketing for that – it’s easier than saying I made a mistake after all.

I made a few bucks pretty quickly, but then realized that I wasn’t actually learning anything. I was just throwing shit at a wall and not even watching it to see what stuck….

I’d build links and then forget about it what I created, what I wrote. It simply became a old, vague post on my site that was used primarily to host an advertisement of some sort.

I wasn’t sitting down to test things and watch what was really working and then repeat that and reverify it.

But I was An Idiot…

If you are into performance driven results – that is to say results that you can repeat with an expected level of performance… then you need to be testing, recording, iteration and verifying.

When I read forums these days, I often find myself separated – separated from all camps.

White hats – they can be good guys, I like a lot of their thoughts and strategies. But when they start talking about anything outside of white hat, I want to pull my eyes out because it quickly becomes clear that they don’t have the experience that years of doing it will teach you.

Grey hats – this is where I see most conversations, and this is where most affiliate and internet marketers live. This is the area of conversation where I’ve been so fixated lately as I’ve been on my own little assessment on what happened to me and why so few participants can discuss these topics on any real mature or knowledgable level.

Black hats – Hey, love you guys (fist bump), but I mean, really …. some times it’s pretentious. And sometimes it’s equally ignorant as the pure white hat forums. Typically though, it’s not even worth entering into a discussion at this point. The AGRO factor is just too high…

So if someone wanted to avoid these camps – and I mean all of them – and just get to the basic works of SEO, I’d say to start iterating.

Basically, figure out some basic link building strategies and then test things on the page and see what happens….

Iteration Development Cycle Suggestions

Since we are really only going to be talking about on page things, I thought I should at least mention the areas that I would look at.


As far as I’m concerned, everything starts and end with the title element. (Ahh, ahh, not title tag – it’s not a tag, it’s an element… [this is an inside joke.])

Anyways, Google weighs titles pretty heavily, even if people say they don’t – they do.

Hummingbird created all sort of confusion in SEO land. Because it has a separate ‘engine’ to find synonyms of words and phrases in titles, sometimes Google doesn’t display the exact keyword in the title of various search results.

So… what’s the answer. If you write a post with your main keyword in it and you’ve got good links to that page, with a domain of somewhat equal internal linking structure (strength) to the competition and you aren’t ranking – but you see others with what might appear to be ‘Synonymized’ title results, then start iterating your title.

Go ahead, play with it, see what happens. Hey, if you aren’t ranking as well as you might link and you’ve got the link juice going to the page – mix things up with the title and see what happens.

Reword your initial title into something very similar, but yet different.


First of all, I highly suggest using image the image title element, alt tag, and description to your maximum benefit.

That having been said, all of these things can be manipulated and keep your primary keyword in mind… just mix this up.

If for instance the title of your post or article was to be an answer to a question, as is so popular these days (hummm, wonder why?)…. MOBILE, not me. Gezzzz, I’m not that arrogant….  Anyways, change the text in these areas of the images up to almost give an answer to the question if the answer was to be purely based on the images elements themselves.

I know, it might sound crazy, but give it a shot. If nothing else – these are things that are a factor in the SERPS, there’s no question. Why would you not iterate this?


Look, I’m a big fan of them. I get it, people might not think it means much…. but I do.

In fact, I consider not using subheadings just stupid. It improves the readability of your content if nothing else… But yes, I also think subheadings (or enlarged text) has a role in SEO.

So again, keep Hummingbird in mind and create more of a logical thought using these.

Change, wait, record, change, wait, record….

What I Don’t Suggest Your Iterate

For the love of god, unless you are going to make one big change and stick with it – don’t iterate your internal linking structure.

In my opinion, once that is set, it is set. You could risk ‘crashing’ the site if you do something ridiculous or change things too frequently. I’ve seen it happen all the time. In fact, when people move sites, crashing the internal link structure is often the number one reason that sites flop post-move.

It’s the big fear with WordPress themes as well. Well, that’s assuming the theme isn’t doing anything odd… like not include a title element or something.

That’s all….

I don’t know what to tell you. That’s what I got for you tonight. That’s my thought….

So, what’s up with you? “You come here often?”

Why A SEO Switched To Macs & OSX

The SEO and digital marketing world is a funny thing. We are all often tied up in our own self importance, trends, preconceived notions of what is right/wrong or ethical/unethical… It gets to be a bit much quite honestly.

There’s no secret that I have some experience in the spam game… It’s a space that is basically dominated by windows on the low end (GSA, Scrapebox, Xrumer) and linux on the high end (in-house developed scripts). There’s really no room for OSX in this landscape.

Sure, using something like parallels you can run windows (or any other OS) on virtual machine. Of course while this is a great asset in some ways, it’s not a perfect solution. I’ll speak more on that later…

But with these things in mind – the fact that most link building software is developed specifically with Windows in mind and all of the link-heads speak only in Microsoft terms there would seem to be no motivation at all to move to Mac and it’s somewhat vacant OSX landscape.

The Tired SEO

After having done this for so many years… quite honestly you can only keep doing it for so long before you eventually being to fatigue. Whether it’s mental fatigue, physical fatigue or what I’ve come to call ‘Soul Fatigue.’

I found that my ability to produce work had been deteriorating over the past 18 months or so and I just couldn’t stay focused. I had every excuse to mind you… I’ve found Google’s new directions to be somewhat stimulating and in combination with the challenges that they have presented link spammers, the field of study is fresh and interesting.

But none the less, my eyes hurt. My anxiety over Windows 8.1 mindless “Fuck you I’m auto dimming now” display utility and split personality OS made me not even want to turn on my computer.

Sure I still had Windows 7 machines, but… it’s old. I don’t mean in the sense of being outdated or not performing well – I consider Windows 7 to be one of the best operating systems released, ever. But it’s… old. I’m use to it and not in a comfortable way…

More in a sense of it choking the creativity right out of me. Point, click, open, type, publish, close, kill-my-soul.

The truth is that I began hating what I did on a daily basis.

Wanna Buy My iMac?

In my social circle I’m pretty well established for being someone with a thirst for anything that technology oriented.

I enjoy the click of a keyboard and the animation of a app opening. I’ll spend hours playing with the newest iPad and not because of any great software change but because of how it’s new over-powered processor snaps through applications ‘so much faster’ than my 11 month old iPad.

So it might not come as a great surprise that when someone bought an iMac and couldn’t make the adjustment that they would turn to me to find a buyer.

Now, I had no interest in Mac’s. I was in the SEO uber-society where I disregarded Mac’s as something hipsters in Panera’s or Coffee Shops would use to annoy PC users who would later claim that ‘Those darn Mac users are using all of the bandwidth.’

As it would turn out however, this iMac was 6 weeks old and had the best hardware that was still currently available. Being someone who is always open the negotiation I decided to flirt with the idea of buying it just to resell it… so I hammered him on the price and ended up walking away with a $1900 iMac for $400.

Like A Virgin, The Very First Time

So I brought the big white box home and let it sit in my living room for a few days. I really didn’t even pay it much thought to be honest and then one day my Vaio decided to go into a screen auto-dimming hissy fit.

Now, if you’ve never heard me complain about Windows 8 and auto dimming, just take my word – it’s the kind of hate that might be considered legendary by some standards…

Enraged, I snapped my laptop closed and poured a short glass of my favorite Whiskey. Took a sip, rubbed my eyes, leaned back in my chair and looked at that big white box.

“What the hell? Why not?” I took the shot of Whiskey down and cleared a space on my work desk. I suspiciously unpacked the iMac wondering what the hell I was even doing and why I would want to subject myself to even more frustration this even considering what just happened with the Vaio.

Once the monitor – well entire computer as it turns out – was up on the desk and the batteries were in the fragile feminine looking keyboard (which I initially used as a frisbee against my chair) I spent the next 10 minutes looking for a power button.

[enter glass os whiskey #2]

I refused to even look at the Vaio at this point and sure as hell wasn’t going to read the manual so I pulled out my S5 and Googled the solution. Boy did I feel like as ass for having not noticed the power switch but if you have even been in this scenario, I’m sure you understand where I was coming from. And if you haven’t ever looked for the power button on an iMac, I won’t ruin the surprise. Just go to a local Best Buy and see if you can find it easily.

Oh, This Is Interesting

Shooting down the next glass of whiskey I saw that familiar White apple on the screen in the familiar crisp detail that I had come to recognize from my iPad’s retina display.

I looked down at the keyboard with suspicion for no more than 4 or 5 seconds and when my eyes returned to the screen the OS was already loaded and almost taunting me… as if to ask why I had the nerve to make it wait…

I was suspicious of this appearance of readiness so I sat there and waited another 15-20 seconds and nothing had changed… Was this thing really ready to go? Was I missing something?

Suspicious I grabbed the ‘Magic Mouse’ and it’s feel instantly appealed to me but I felt insecure about there by no scroll wheel or buttons… I didn’t know what I was doing so I approached things like an engineer might and began in the upper left corner.

Clicking on the Apple symbol I noticed the open to restart the computer… Still being suspicious of the whole startup process to begin with I opted to do that right away.

Again… in no more than 7 or 8 seconds I was in the OS and ready to rock. I wanted to see if there was something I was missing so I instantly began opening as many of the programs in the Dock as I could to see if there was the obvious performance impairment that Windows machines will typically have during the initial boot and loading stage… even with SSD’s.

There was none… Time to pour that third glass of whiskey.

I Can See, Oh My Dear Sweet Jesus I Can See!

The first thing I did was head to some familiar forums. Why? Not sure. Habit probably. But when I got there… I feel in love.

Everything was easy to read and despite knowing the the CSS/HTML/PHP/JS was all the same stuff the PC was rendering – everything seemed to fit on the page more neatly. Everything was easily to navigate and follow. There wasn’t the terrible eye fatigue and strain that I had so frequently become use to when visiting the same sites on my PC’s – which had wonderful 1080+ displays as well.

None the less, I spent hours reading forums, blogs, things I didn’t even care about just a few hours before.

I jumped into some of my site’s WordPress backends and continued to be equally impressed by the sharpness, user friendliness, the ease with which I could see and interact with on screen elements.

I know to a diehard PC guy, this probably reads like I’m Mac-fangirling, but there really is a difference. A huge difference. Gone was the fatigue and frustration that I was experiencing and it was instead replaced with something strange…

I didn’t just like using the iMac… I actually WANTED TO USE IT. There was something rewarding about using it, fulfilling almost.

As the fifth glass of Whiskey drew to an end and I heard my neighbors car door open and shut I knew that I had been up too late. In one final act of desperation to continue experiencing this new thing I decided to reinstall the OS and put everything under my Apple account.

To process was quick, easy, effortless… I decided that I should come back to this in the morning to see if I really still felt the same way.

Okay, Let’s See What The Real Problems Are…

The next morning I strolled into my office and looked at the iMac, almost in defiance. With all of my mental faculties about me I found myself returning to my strong PC mindset – quickly dismissing my previous night’s experiences as being entertained by a new toy. Surely these things would fade.

Cup of coffee in hand, I flicked the mouse and the iMac was on quickly again…

I decided that the time had come to look into this App store… to see what was in there. Was it all garbage? Was there anything useful?

What I found was a plethora of free or low cost apps that added functionality to OSX that I never would have dreamed of having with Windows. Curious, I began looking for the other big apps I might use frequently and quickly discovered than 99% of what I needed was already prebuilt for OSX.

Within 45 minutes of waking up I had reassembled a work station on my iMac that almost completely replaced my PC and with virtually no effort or cost.

There were a few things I was missing still – notably Notepad++ which I love and which I also love. Then there were a few other odds and ends that I wanted, like Scrapebox and the like – but two purchases later I had Windows 7 on my Mac at moments notice, whenever I might need something I just couldn’t live without otherwise.

What MAC Did For My SEO Efforts

Within 12 hours I was now thrust from an existence of not being sure if I ever wanted to look at a computer again to loving using one.

It was bad, so bad in fact that I began to miss my Mac when I was doing normal things – pumping gas, making dinner or being out with friends….

Switching from a PC to a MAC completely changed how I looked at work. I unlocked my stuck mindset, removed the straps of frustration and gave me a new energy towards doing what I knew how to do.

I allowed me to get excited again about exploring these new things that Google was doing and thinking of new ways to tackle problems. All of this only got better of course as the Macbook Pro was purchased shortly there after. Then the Airport Time Capsule that I could use as a free 3TB cloud storage from anywhere I was… (Think about what you can do with 3TB of cloud storage… for free… that is totally yours and nobody else can see.)

Sick Of SEO? Get A Mac

While this post turned into more of a detailing of what I experienced … really what I want to leave with is that if you are feeling stuck by work and maybe even crushed by it… consider making a switch.

I’m not saying to go out and spend $2,000+ on a new iMac or Macbook Pro but check them out on eBay.

Get something with at least 8GB of Ram, a newer i5 and a retina display (<<IMPORTANT!)

See if it doesn’t maybe free you up a little bit and get you moving in some new directions. You might just be surprised…

GODOVERYOU.COM Version 2.0 Has Begun

Not really big or important stuff here, but I thought I would at least mention that GODOVERYOU.COM is going under the knife, as of tonight.

Version 2.0 is currently being worked on and promises to be a much larger, robust website with a more modern and formative appearance – as well as usability.

Things should be ready to roll within a month depending how how content and what not goes.

Stay tuned…

godoveryou version 2

GODOVERYOU.COM is getting a whole new replacement that is user friendly and should carry us through 2016.

Google Penguin’s Effect On The Search Engine’s Speed

Penguin, it’s one of those words that some SEO’s fear, hate and loath while other SEO’s get gitty with excitement over. As of the time of this writing it has been 11 months since the last Penguin update and some people are getting… nervous.

Recently, John Mueller spoke about the newest iteration of Penguin, specifically stating that the team is working on a version which will update more quickly. Here’s the video:

There are some obvious reasons why Google would want a Penguin that refreshes faster – but I think there’s some indication that they aren’t really ready to move the search engine ahead as a whole until they have such a creature.

A Little SERP History

google penguin

Is Google waiting for a new, faster penguin to move ahead with their search product?

Google has been a funny tool during it’s life span, but things really got interesting with BigTable (& here) and Caffeine. These changes (or updates) allowed Google to move the search engine much more quickly.

Search engine placement (or SERPs) could be ordered quickly and on the fly without requiring a complete rebuilding of the index. This was HUGE in terms of being able to rank a site within days, not weeks or months for BH SEO’s.

But lately, things have been slowing down. It’s been noticed over the past 9-12 months that sometimes backlinks take up to 10-30 days to really show their effect on a pages placement in the results. In addition, new domains can take up to 90+ days before they really begin ranking.

But why?

My theory is due to the weakness of the current iteration of Penguin. While it works well (…sort of…) it takes forever to refresh effectively. In that time between refreshes a BH SEO could rank a bunch of spammy sites, make a ton of cash and move on. When Penguin refreshed, they would just start new sites and bank a bucket-load of money before Google could react.

So what’s the answer? Well, one answer would have been to slow down the rate that the search engine made changes to their results and put a delay on how long it would take a new site to rank at all. Conveniently, that is exactly what has happened…

It was essentially a forced downgrading of their product’s potential and ability.

A Faster Penguin Update

With a penguin that could update more quickly, say every few weeks or once a month like Panda it would free Google up to increase the responsiveness of their search product back to it’s original potential… what it was really built to do and do well.

It’s my feeling that this new faster Penguin is exactly what they are waiting for. I bet there is a lot of pressure on their team to perform and deliver a solid alternative to their original penguin.

The question we all should be asking ourselves is what will change with it?

Obviously, if it just came down to the signals it wouldn’t be a big deal to make a faster Penguin. My guess is that the quality of the signal set they are currently using can be degraded in sort periods of time, meaning that they would need a new set of signals for Penguin to operate on.

Think about it – if it was purely anchor text – what if you commented on a single blog and then that comment’s anchor ended up on every page of that site for a week? These kinds of problems could play hell on the SERP’s over a sort period of time…

I’m thinking that this faster Penguin actually requires a whole rebuild for them on the methods they use to identify spammers to begin with.

We shall see…


Authority Sites Vs Niche Sites – A Completely Pointless Debate

I know, I know – I just posted about the authority site rage and here I am again posting about them once more. The reason for that is that they are a hot topic right now and there is a huge amount of ‘chatter’ about them on various forums, so I’ve decided that I would express my view and clear the air a little bit this silly, pointless debate.

What Is A Niche Site

Before we really dig into the authority site, let’s briefly cover niche sites.

niche about babies

This has nothing to do with anything involving niche sites. Why are you still looking at it and laughing?

We are all familiar with sites like CNN, Fox News, CRACKED, so on and so forth. These are sites that talk about all sorts of topics. Business, politics, funny cat videos, etc. They don’t really have a ‘niche’ other than maybe “News” but news really isn’t a niche so much as it is a market. (And by the way, describing a niche versus a market is for another post completely.)

A niche is a topic, a little section, a corner of the internet. Health is not a niche. Whole Foods Diets on the other hand might be a niche, with many subniches at that. So, lets say that you want to promote a clickbank product like the Cruise Control Diet – a product that’s based on following a whole foods diet to lose weight. You would be wise to then create a site that discusses whole foods diets overall. The benefits, the drawbacks, etc. That would be considered a niche site, because it covers one mean topic.

What Is An Authority Site

Oh boy, here is a loaded question because everyone has seemed to make up their own definition and almost nobody agrees completely.

In my opinion, an authority site is a site that is so well developed in any one topic that it completely covers all aspects of that topic. Under this understanding, I do not consider CNN, Fox News or CRACKED an authority on anything. They don’t have the kind of thick, dense material and coverage needed to really make them “An Authority” on a topic. Instead they provide a general overview of many topics…

When I think “Authority” I reason it to be a resource that really has not just great answers, but great answers to virtually every aspect of a certain field of study.

So… How should we create authority sites? What’s the direction to follow? Is it obvious yet…

What Is An Authority Niche Site

authority definition

Authority Sites will cover a niche as well as all of its sub-niches completely.

If you ask me, an authority niche site is really the only kind of site that counts as an “Authority Site” for marketers. That is a site that is so well developed on one specific niche that it not only covers the main points, but covers all of the subniches as well.

Let’s go back to our Whole Foods Diet example…

So you want to promote this product, The Cruise Control Diet. It’s a weight loss guide that promotes eating a whole foods diet to lose the weight. Great right. So you develop a 30-50 page niche site on general Whole Foods Diet based information. But is that an authority site? No…

If you want to create an authority site from here, you should then take that base material that you’ve already developed and continue to develop it further by covering topics (or sub-niches) like:

  • A Fruitarian Whole Foods Diet
  • A Plant Based Whole Foods Diet
  • A Paleo Whole Foods Diet
  • A Vegan Whole Foods Diet
  • Etc…

Then within each other those you are going to have another 30-50 posts per sub-niche. After developing this site, you will then have a true authority site – you will absolutely have demonstrated an authority of knowledge over the whole foods diet niche in just about every way and from every angle.

So The Debate Is One Had By Fools

The bottom line is simple. If you want to build a niche site it should really cover that niche well. In doing so, if you actually go out and do it well that is – you will have essentially created an authority niche site, which is probably the most effective kind of site that any marketer can build today.

Instead of trying like hell to rank just a few pages of your site, you will be able to ‘feed the domain’ and rank hundreds of pages for various terms all related to your niche and ideally, to the products or services that you are promoting.

But Hold On GOY, What About Sales…

authority sites make money

With an authority site you have the opportunity to convert potential leads into sales using a well designed funnel.

I’m not going to end this without covering a very important point about our example. If you are promoting the Cruise Control Diet you might ask yourself how well a person interested in Paleo diet information might convert into a sale on a whole foods diet weight loss program. Ultimately, the answer is up to you.

You should be familiar with what a sales funnel is by now (and if not, please go read up on it) and users that come into your site from these other sub-niches should be treated as if they are entering the front (or top) of your sales funnel.

When constructing your authority niche site you’ve got to have your site structure laid out in advance because you are going to want to be able to walk a user through a decision making process and convert them into a sale.

In the example of a Paleo diet, it could be as simple as using one simple line:

If you are interested in starting a Paleio diet to lose weight then take a moment and read our article on safe weight loss with whole foods diets.

Then send them to a nice general article designed to capture people specifically interested in Paleo diets (who very well may be interested in them to lose weight to begin with) and simply guide them slightly away from Paleo while maintaining strong sight of using a whole foods diet to get them to their goals.

It’s simply telling them that they can do what they want to do, but that they don’t need to be following a Paleo specific diet to do it. Then maybe follow that article up with another general “Catch All” article where you direct all of these sub-niche users to once you’ve detached the specific sub-niche component in their minds. Something like…

You know that you can lose weight with a natural whole foods diet, but you should read about the benefits of doing so.

This article is where you would introduce the idea of following a specific plan for weight loss on a whole foods diet. I’d introduce the Cruise Control Diet for the first time here…

One highly success way to lose weight on a whole foods based diet is to follow the advice given in the “Cruise Control Diet.” If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 3 years and have never heard of it, learn more about it here.

Authority Niche Sites Make Money

At this point you should see how easily you can generate affiliate sales by capturing traffic from dozens of sub-niches once you decide to develop your authority niche site.

It doesn’t have to be sleazy, it doesn’t even involve trying to rank your site for “(Product) Review” or “Does (Product) Work” keywords because your traffic will organically get to those pages if you are properly directing them through your on-site sales funnel.

In Conclusion

A lot of people may now be upset that I suggested a proper niche site should be an authority, but that's life. You can either build something worth having or you can cry about it...

A lot of people may now be upset that I suggested a proper niche site should be an authority, but that’s life. You can either build something worth having or you can cry about it…

If you are debating on building an authority site, this post should have clarified to you exactly what that site should look like and how it should work.

It should cover a niche and all of the sub-niches in detail. Further more it should have a pre-built funnel ready to focus the attention of your users on whatever conversion goals you have in mind.

In my example I used a diet plan, but you can even just build a general information authority site and rely on banner ads for CPA offers or Adsense if you wanted to.

But whatever you do, I would stop thinking about general topic sites as authority sites. Sure they are popular and yes they have a lot of ‘weight’ with certain search engines – but are they really “Authorities” on any one topic? When it comes right down to it – they aren’t.

Further more I would stop debated between a niche site and an authority site. An effective niche site will be an authority site and an effective authority site will deeply cover a specific niche. They really are one-in-the-same when done correctly.

My point: Stop arguing and debating… it’s pointless.

The Authority Site Rage, White Is The New Black?

I’ve been hanging around a bit lately and I’ve noticed a trend on a lot of BH forums. That is that their members are now beginning to create far more ‘authority sites’ than they had in the past.

I personally think this is a great move and there are several reasons for that.

blackhats go whiteFirst of all – as I noted back in my hummingbird analysis post, question/answer posts have really seem to fall in favor with Google’s synonym engine and the conversational search dynamic that mobile devices have since created (since queries are often spoken and not typed at a user terminal.)

Authority sites and question/answer posts go together like peanut butter and jelly. The fact is that posts which answer queries are exactly what an authority site should have – if it really is trying to be an authority in a niche.

While this is great for the user (and therefore Google would claim it is what they are looking for), it can also be great for the marketer.

The Marketer’s Edge

When someone comes to your site through a question-based query, you already know exactly what they are looking for. You might not know their exact motivation but you will probably be reasonably able to guess at it.

That puts you in a unique position of control…

This is a huge opportunity to key into someone’s problem or query and deliver a message – YOUR MESSAGE.

I’m not saying that it’s right to be a sleazy salesman. Just the opposite actually. I think it’s an opportunity to present yourself and an expert or authority on a topic and provide them with just what they were looking for.

By doing something good for them, you will be creating a transactional-relationship. That is to say that you are giving something to them and they will want to give you something back. It’s almost an obligation that the may feel… and then you can strike right then, when the iron is hot.

You’ve Got Your Hooks In

Think about it…

Someone comes to your with a question. They may have ‘asked’ the same question to a few other websites that failed to provide a fulfilling answer. If you can be ‘that one authority’ who provided not just the right answer, but the right answer in an engaging and intriguing way then you are giving them something valuable. Not just information but an experience as well.

value meaningYour goal should be to make them feel fulfillment, maybe even relief that they have what the wanted and the way they wanted it. You want those reward centers of the brain firing for them… think of your content like a piece of chocolate that provides them joy in the middle of uncertainty.

At the peak of this pleasure you need to ask them for something. I’m not saying that you should ask them to buy something… In fact that may be a horrible idea since it may erode the trust you just earned. Instead, get an email address…

I know, I know – it’s not like I’m breaking new ground here. Hell – you don’t even see an email subscription box on my blog. (I do that for a reason at this point.)

I’m just trying to walk you through the emotional process with them so that you know exactly what kind of content you should be delivering on your authority site if you are going to build one, that’s all.

So What About The Money

Well, this is where things fall apart unfortunately. While this new generation of so called “Black hats” has got a great thing going for them, they aren’t actually thinking like a marketer for the most part. They are thinking like publisher more or less, and that’s fine if you just love to write… I happen to like making money though.

Take this thread on BHW and you will see that the original posters intention is to make $75,000 a year from Adsense ads. He mentions that he has one other monetization method in mind but goes to no great length to define what exactly that may be.

not jsut adsense

Not everyone will click on adsense ads…

Well, that’s all well and good – but as others have pointed out – what happens when Google decides they don’t like his website anymore, or his backlinks or his ad position. He’s screwed, that’s what happens.

Now, I’m not knocking the guy and in fact I hope he has awesome success. What I am doing is drawing a line in the sand for you.

If you want to make an authority site, figure out why you want to do it first. Do you want to do it because you love writing articles and being a publisher or do you want to do it to make money?

If you’re goal, and I mean your REAL goal, is to make money then you need to tackle the monetization methodology upfront. None of this hope and pray that Adsense doesn’t ban you stuff… That doesn’t work in my book. In fact, it’s a complete newbie move.

If you are reading this page, then you are on GODOVERYOU.COM and that means that you don’t have the right to be a newbie anymore, got it?

So figure out the money side of it first.

Are These People Really Blackhat’s Anymore?

no black hat fun hatNot really.

Unless they are going to be using link spam and blog networks to rank their authority sites – they have basically become white hats. I’m fine with that, but let’s just keep our eyes on what things really are here…

So… Is there room for Blackhat’s in the authority site model?


I’ll probably be developing more on this later but in short, building large domains centered around a niche is nothing new. We just have to automate some of it and there are tools that do just that.

You see, internal links are still links. So, if you can create solid content upfront there’s nothing stopping you from autogenerating a category of not-so-hot video/comment posts that act as link donors towards your other priority pages for example. :)

I do this with Content Foundry on several domains and it has worked out really well. I scrape a bunch of videos with it, auto generate a few hundred words and guess what – there’s a new post.

Now, I don’t ‘Feature’ these posts of course. They just sit in some rarely visited category that would otherwise be tough to find on the site. But they do contribute links to other internal pages that improves the chances of those other pages to rank for their intended terms.

In Conclusion

black hat money

Just kidding, there’s actually a ton of money in this for the smart blackhat. The only question is if they have the tools for the job.

I think this new move towards authority sites is a good one. It’s a shame that you only see it being discussed on BH boards for the most part, but it is what it is.

There’s still room for BH on these otherwise well intentioned authority sites – it’s just a matter of getting in there and doing it. Of course, at that point – why not just autogenerate the whole thing and cloak it? Oh, wait… yeah, we do that… and it works.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

WarriorForum May Soon Die A Sad, Scammy Death

To be clear, I don’t think that WarriorForum will close anytime soon. However, I do think that it’s future is now more in question than ever before.

WarriorForum Sold To FreeLancer

warrior forum scams will go through the roof On 4/14/14 it was announced that WarriorForum had now joined the Freelance family. Tech Crunch also reported the sale, which was supposed to be for a cool 3.2 Million dollars.

On the surface this appears to be a good fit for Freelancer, particularly if they are able to creatively drive traffic to their main business without offending the core membership of WarriorForum.

However when you dig a little deeper you can already see that problems may be near. So near in fact that the future of WF may be in serious question.

Changes Lead To Uncertainty

There are two sections of WF that are designed as profit centers for the forum. They are the WarRoom and the WSO section. Both are pay-to-play sections, costing money either for access or for listing an offer for sale.

As a first step, Freelancer is changing the rates for these sections and it’s going the wrong way.

WSO Offers

warrior forum soldWF is probably best known for their ‘WSO Section.’ This is a part of the forum where members sell information products or services to other members and they are typically had at a low price.

While some of these offers are well produced and offer genuine benefit to the purchaser, not all of them are built so well. In fact some are just this side of an outright scam – a problem that as plagued the forum for years.

To battle this issue and help protect it’s members from horribly produced products or in some cases – outright lies – they charged would be WSO sellers $40 to create a listing. This put the bar of entry just high enough to dissuade some would-be scam artists from taking advantage of otherwise well-intentioned buyers in mass.

Freelancer’s first move is to reduce the price to $20 and thereby inviting the worst-of-the-worst offers back into the forum.

At $20 producers of horrible WSO’s need to make just 2 $10 sales or 4 $5 sales to break even, something even the worst promoter can accomplish. Further more, the potential for explosive profits will be very tempting through the use of shadow accounts to falsely ‘sing-the-praises’ of poorly produced documents in mass.

I can already see people writing new Xrumer XAS.txt files specifically for posting falsely positive reviews on their scammy offers. When the potential to make this much money is on the table – it only makes sense to gear up now and profit as fast as possible when the bar-of-entry is officially lowered.

Ultimately this will erode the already fragile trust in the WSO marketplace and possibly killing the one unique draw that WF has ever had.

The WarRoom

war_roomThe WarRoom is a private section of the WarriorForum where experienced members share exclusive tips and tricks with fellow WarRoom members for free.

It’s very existence depends on the kindness and willingness to share of it’s members.

The price was set at around $40 for 20 years or lifetime access to the WarRoom – which is a reasonable price given the fact that the staff of the forum don’t actually do anything to produce unique or valuable content to justify paying for a membership to the private area.

Now, with FreeLancer’s take over that pricing structure is changing to $20 a year. This will do two things – neither of them are good for the forum.

First, it will again lower the bar of entry for freebie chasers that will offer nothing in return for access to the generosity of fellow war room members. These leachers will take and consume everything they can while offering nothing of value in return.

Secondly, because there will be on-going annual charges for access to the WarRoom, members who do contribute regularly will now have even greater motivation or stimulus to profit from their contributions. After all, internet marketing is a business and we’ve all got to justify our expenses.

The combination of freebie-chasers and profit-driving contributors will ultimately yield a lower value for the information in the WarRoom, less trust and greater motivation for unethical behavior.

The Wasteland Cometh

scamnewbiesOver the past few years, talented contributors across the entire forum have left for greener pastures. This has already severely tilted the scales to ‘the blind leading the blind’ and poor quality conversations being had in virtually every subforum.

In other words the quality, value and resources of the forum have been eroding slowly even before this purchase was announced. Now with these two changes there is nothing left to keep the forum from being an even bigger joke than it has been already.

It would seem that Freelancer either has no idea what they are doing with the WarriorForum or they are purposefully holding the doors open for scammers, tricksters and con-artists alike. To what end I ask?

How do these changes possibly benefit Freelancer in the long run? In the short term they will have a surge in WSO and WarRoom fee’s collected – but both of these things will only damage the longterm membership of the site, turning helpful and useful members away in droves.

Prepare yourself, this will not end well for anyone involved…

Best Buy & Beyond

What? Breaking 6 months of silence to talk about a big box store? Yes, and it’s because I find this to be something significant to our industry.

As internet marketers our careers are directly connected to how people live and interact with technology. Luckily for us in America, we are absolutely engrossed in technology. It’s not just how we connect to the world around us, but it can be the determining factor that drives success or failure for the rest of our lives.

Between social media, personal branding and creating an industry defining edge that can get you noticed in the real, professional world – technology is ‘Important stuff.’

I’m sure there is some extremist who can make an argument that you could create and maintain an online persona without purchasing a piece of technology, but that’s really not realistic. So we are all confronted with a purchasing decision at some point.

Unfortunately, the largest tech retailer in America is doing everything in their power to close their own doors, one pissed off customer at a time – which now includes me. That doesn’t come easily and I will later describe my difficulty with it but before I do let’s take a look at the playing field.

The Devices We Use To Engage With The Internet

As marketers, one thing we have really had hit us during the last 2 years was how ‘Mobile is taking over the world’ and there is certainly truth to that. Mobile has absolutely changed the way we surf the net.

To me, it’s tablets not smartphones that are the real game changer. Just take a look at this image, which I’m using from SMARTInsights (a blog that I highly suggest you read yourself).

Here we have it:

While Smart Phones do certainly seem to have a great average rate of us, it is taken over by desktops and tablets during respective peak hours. In fact the only time smart phones really experience a class-leading rate of use is during a brief period in the mornings.

What This Says About How We Buy Our Technology

Most of us enjoy using our tablet or desktop, particularly for research. Looking at reviews, reading about new products, searching new trends – all of these are normal and healthy but when it comes to actually making a choice it’s probably not going to lead to a real purchase for your average person… If you are thinking that you buy via online research all of the time, well you probably are also an internet marketer that makes a living online, so you aren’t exactly the ‘average person.’ In other words, this isn’t all about you. :)

But the point is, to get these bigger devices (desktops and tablets), the average consumer will often head to their local technology giant to get a real person’s advice…

To the average person, personal recommendations are still a big factor in the buying decision-making model. We should all be familiar with social proof by now, so you know it works. Standing in front of someone and having them tell you ‘This is the best device because X, Y, and Z’ will almost always mean more than an anonymous ‘author’ saying a device is great and by the way, buy it through my link HERE. (<- Not a real link, stop trying to click on it.)

The point of this is shopping for a new desktop or tablet online is fine, but when it comes to powerful proof – having a discussion with someone who lives and breaths the subject matter will normally mean much more to your average person than anything else out there…..

…. And that’s an advantage that a box-store like best Buy can really capitalize on – but they don’t and I’ve got tangible proof they don’t even care about it.

My Best Buy History

best-buy-failAs a teenager in 1996 & 1997, I worked at a Best Buy in North Olmsted, Ohio. The store manager was a guy named Guy Vance. Really cool guy, and I had a great experience at that store. In fact I wouldn’t have left if it weren’t for my parent’s pressure to improve my grades.

In my short time working there I learned a lot of skills that I still use to this day when handling sales: overcoming objections, discovering and addressing customer needs, etc. It was my first sales job and I became very good at what I did as I was quickly transferred from a then-opening cellular department to P.C.H.O. which was their ‘computer section’ and a cornerstone of the store’s sales.

I loved the no-commission structure, but honestly would have made much more had there been such a structure in place. Nonetheless – I grew blue so to say. While the company has undergone changes in the past almost 20 years, I’ve been in the shoes as those kids that work in those stores today…


What Role Best Buy Fills

Look, if you want the best prices on computers, laptops, parts, etc – go to TigerDirect or NewEgg. You can shop without being disturbed and pay a low price for what you want.

If you want to get a cell phone, you can get it directly from the service provider’s website, and you won’t be disturbed while doing it.

Appliance? Heck even Amazon is an option for you and you don’t have to have anyone approach you if you don’t want to be bothered.

…. Hey, now that I look back at it you can shop at Best Buy without being disturbed either if you really want to. All you have to do is walk in!

That’s a big problem if you are Best Buy…

Here’s how it all started on March 23rd –


What You’re Paying For

When I walk into a Best Buy, I know going into it that I will probably be paying a little more for the newest little gadget on my shopping list, but I’m while to pay that in exchange for SERVICE. I want to talk to someone who lives and breaths pixels all day long because the truth of the matter is that I run two businesses in two different industries and don’t have time for it anymore.

So, imagine my surprise when after nearly tackling a sales associate on 3/23 to get a little attention and asking about a Solid State Hard Drive I was told to go home and look at their website.

Apparently nobody explained to this young lad why people walk into Best Buy stores to begin with. I was hit with a wave of disgust, and then anger. I wanted to sit that employee down and explain it to him – and if given the chance it would go a little like this…

Look, I’ve got the credit card and it’s attached to this stuff called ‘Money.’ I’m willing to give your employer $400, $500, or even $600 for the convenience of having you around to provide me with this thing called ‘Service.’ I’m even willing to give your employer more of that ‘Money stuff’ for the item I want than if I had bought it someplace else, just because they keep you around to help me get what I want.

Annoyed, pissed off and highly disappointed I grabbed the only Hybrid Drive they had on the shelf and went home. It wasn’t what I really wanted, but it’s tax season and I really didn’t have the time to screw around online.

But The Fail Was Strong In Best Buy This Week

helpI couldn’t shake what had occurred that Sunday, but having such a strong attachment to the chain I went back when I needed a new Retail Copy of Windows 7.

I headed back into the store on 3/25 promising myself that this time would be different. Back to their computer section I went and found 3 of their employees hanging around the desk in the department. They seemed particularly preoccupied this day, whispering to each other and one typing furiously on a keyboard.

After about 20 seconds of desperately trying to make eye contact, I moved around the department to see if I could find a ‘Walker.’ Much like in The Walking Dead, I thought my chances would be better if I could get one alone than if they were in a hoard.

No such luck, back to the desk I went. I hung around another 15-20 seconds and wouldn’t you know it, one of the employees looked up at me and made eye contact.

Yes, finally my moment! I could finally get a Retail copy of Windows 7 and move on with my day. Or so I thought…

Immediately after making eye contact, he broke our sacred and intimate bond immediately turning to the employee to his right and they simultaneously broke out in laughter. It was almost a ballet of bliss that I was witnessing….

Ahh yes, I remember those days and the fun we had. The difference is that there wasn’t a customer standing 10 feet in front of me begging for a little recognition, even if it was just to be told ‘We’ll be with you in a second sir.’

Obviously this group of associates were closely related to the one I nearly had to tackle a two days before….

My Moment Arrived!

‘Sir, is there something you need’ said a voice from my right as he was quickly headed in my direction. I was so startled by his obvious intent to provide some degree of service that I had to look at his name tag. All I could make out of it was ‘Sales Supervisor’ and didn’t grab his name, a move I later regretted.

He looked at this gathering of staff in front of me and asked one of them to help me but even he was denied!

Let me repeat that… the supervisor wasn’t influential enough to break up whatever was so important and apparently humorous to these young men. Even his position of authority was not enough to get me 30 seconds worth of service. It was then that I knew something has seriously changed at Best Buy….

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

best buy complaintFrustrated himself that he couldn’t get his staff to respond, the sales supervisor asked me what I needed. I quickly explained that I needed a Retail copy of Windows 7 Home Premium and he masterfully responded that he didn’t have any on the shelves anymore, it could be ordered.

I understand that. Look, if it’s not on the shelf ordering it was the next best thing and what more could I really ask for. I’m still a willing participant in this exchange of money for services thing I described above, and it looked like I was finally going to get it.

Since he couldn’t break up the cluster-of-fail in the back of the store, we headed up to the Geek Squad.

Here we are, these are my people. Fellow geeks… They will surely know exactly what I mean when I tell them that I need a RETAIL COPY of Windows 7 Home Premium. They will understand RETAIL COPY, especially when I ask them to verify that this is in fact a RETAIL COPY and not a system-builder OEM install.

They get that, right? Yeah… of course they do, it’s the Geek Squad with their white shirts and all. I hand over my credit card and leave with the small satisfaction of having finally gotten a little service.

But the story doesn’t end just yet…

March 27th, 2014 – The Day Best Buy Died

I checked my email for a few days, eagerly waiting to get my work laptop back up and running in all of its i7 glory, which was also bought from Best Buy.

Here we go, my package has arrived. I ripped it open like I was 7 year old and there was an extra special piece of battery-eating, noise making greatness waiting for me inside.

Inside was no retail box… in fact, it was the last thing I wanted to see…

Trust me, you can not appreciate my inner rage when I found….


Ladies and gentlemen, that is not a Retail Copy of Windows 7. That is in fact a copy of Windows 7 OEM, as in the thing that I kept making sure I wasn’t getting TWICE with the so-called geek at the helm of register.

And I only say helm because it was as if he was the Captain of my ‘Best Buy Fantasy Ship’ and directing it right into an iceberg – and then straight to hell where another of Best Buy’s fine staff would presumably defecate on it if the past week was any evidence of where this chain is headed as a company.

Best Buy Might As Well Close Up Shop

Best BuyIf the one advantage you have as a company is that you can provide in-person service, something no online retailer can do and your staff willfully flushes that down the toilet – then why even be in business?

As a publicly held company, at what point is your staff effectively deceiving the share holders? They are simply unwilling to follow through on their deal to actively pursue profits, instead looking to make sales purely just for existing and paying rent in a large building.

But the real question is, what does this mean for a technology-hungry America?

Will Best Buy effectively kill its own model of doing business? Will the in-person recommendation, dripping with all of its authority and social proof officially become a thing of the past and go the way of VCR?

As a society, Best Buy is foolish if they think we won’t adapt to avoid these disappointments. In fact, ‘Avoid Disappointment And Future Regret’ is often used a sales hook, because people really do want to avoid it…

If my recent experiences of disappointment and sure-to-come future regret are any indication, then Best Buy is already making the strongest argument for shopping online there has ever been in the technology sector.

Good job Best Buy, way to let down everyone that has ever ‘Grew Blue.’ Time to get used to shopping on my tablet.

How To Hunt Down MoreNiche Affiliate Websites

This story is a little personal for me. I’ve worked with Moreniche and their sister site Impactfive as an affiliate on a very ‘light’ basis. It started as these things normally do for me.

I signed up as an affiliate and then didn’t touch my account for months. I returned to their site when I discovered they had a forum and decided that I would interact with the other affiliates and staff on a somewhat limited basis.

I tried to play nice on the forum. I even rolled over on my back, showed my belly and invited anyone who thought that they were a really successful white hat SEO to engage me in conversation. It was mostly bullshit, but I wanted to open that door since the staff took a very ‘White Hat Or DEATH’ stance.

To me, their real saving grace is a guy named Martyn Slack. I’ve worked with a lot of affiliate managers over the years, but I’ve never offered to fly overseas and buy one a pint until I dealt with Martyn. (In fact, I owe him 2…)

Most of their staff has also been extremely easy to work with and professional to boot. I said most…. Don’t worry, I’ll come back to this…

The Moreniche Affiliate Badge Doomsday

affildisclosureMoreniche doesn’t quite operate like we do here in the states… Their government is a bit of a pain in their ass and apparently they thought it would be a fantastic idea to force Moreniche Affiliates to display this absolutely insane badge on their site.

The badge I’m displaying here isn’t a completely accurate version of it. They want your real name on it, contact email, and further more have even asked me to create a separate contact page further displaying my name.

What’s the problem? Transparency right?

Wrong. Do you have any idea who half the people that visit your site(s) are? Why the hell would I want every drunk hillbilly who stumbles across my site at 3 in the morning to know my real name and how to get a hold of me at any point in time?

I like the folks that read and SEOSUnite, but any of my other sites… uh huh… well… I’m a marketer. I’m not your friend. I’m not your buddy. I probably don’t even like you. My goal is to connect a reader with an answer and make a commission – that’s it.

Now Let’s Be Fair

If it’s a blog I can understand connecting with your audience. The people that read this site have probably known me for years or have had some degree of interaction with me on various forums. I understand getting to know people that are a part of something like a blog.

In that very limited scenario, I can at least say that the badge is ‘passable.’ I’m by no means a fan of it, but I can accept that it may not be the most damaging thing ever. In addition, it only has to be shown to UK traffic.


What About Landing Pages?

There are some real pro’s out there who spend years building, testing and perfecting landing pages. They will then pay for traffic, each individual click and depend on having a high performing landing page to justify spending hundreds of dollars a day on traffic.

Guess what. You’ve got to have the badge as well.

Yeah, fit that big ugly thing into an optimized lander… LOL.

Doesn’t matter though. The rules are the rules and you’ve got to have it – even if that means it costs you money. Stick that in your marketing pipe and smoke it.

At First They Were Images

As a blackhat marketer that uses multiple servers to scrape the web for various things (links, content, images, etc) I knew this was a horrible idea.

Essentially, Google would come along, save the image and then you could literally use Google Image Search to find almost any MoreNiche affiliate website that Google had indexed.

I voiced my opinion and was told to shove it. But, they did stop using images only a few weeks into the programs implementation. Unfortunately, the change was just as bad.

The Change

The next thing they did was change it to Javascript. I immediately tried to slam on the brakes with that.

Having known a certain group of guys that specifically crawled pages and built their own indexes to track Adsense marketers and niches, I knew that sticking some easily and UNIVERSALLY identifiable Javascript on the site of every MoreNiche affiliate was a horrible idea.

I took it to the forum and didn’t hold back.

Remember When I Said Most Of Their Staff Was Awesome?

pickafightUpon telling them that what they were doing was a horrible idea, they politely told me to go fuck myself. 1 of their staff in particular…

He wrote an enormous reply on how blackhats couldn’t comb the internet looking for javascript and that I was creating problematic and unnecessary noise just to draw attention to myself.

Okay fucko…. (I really hope you are reading this)

I left the forum for awhile and checked in a little bit every now and then but not much after that. I think I made 30-40 posts total after that and left it alone.

Hi I’m GOY And Here’s How To Hunt Down MoreNiche Affiliates For SPORT (which they said you couldn’t do….)

I’d like to introduce you to a service called

Take a minute and go look at it.

Notice something it can do? Search by Javascript. (Someone at more niche just clenched their fist.)

Want to just hunt down general MoreNiche sites? Search this:

<script type=”text/javascript”>var geoip=true;</script><script type=”text/javascript” src=”



You now have 409 sets of design ideas, content ideas, etc.

Why This Is So Bad

There are a couple major problems with this…

The First Problem Is Theft

I can go into any of those 409 sites and take their content to mash up and algorithmically reproduce content for myself.

I can take the images and modify them slightly if I think they might work well. It would save me several hours and maybe even some money if I was the type that bought every image I used.

But that’s ‘chicken shit’ stuff. Let’s go get something much more valuable… Sales Copy.

I can go in and look at the sales copy of 409 different example sites. If there’s something I like, I can take it.

Sure you’ll want to change it up a little bit but the point is that if you are hunting down the good marketers, you aren’t just taking their words – you’re taking their angles!

That’s the creativity life blood of most successful marketers.

The Second Problem Is Much More Insidious

stuffmycookiesLet’s pretend… and just pretend for a moment that I was a blackhat marketer (eek!)

And let’s just pretend for a moment that I wanted to make sure that I was paid for my marketing efforts and cookie stuffed people who landed on my one specific sales page.

Cookie stuffing is a major no-no with MoreNiche…. and they check for it. So that would be account suicide right?

Well, not anymore. I now have access to up to 409 different affiliate cookies.

And being that blackhat marketer that we are pretending I am (eek! eek!) – I could start auto-generating literally hundreds of domains where the entire domain is cookie stuffing one specific affiliate cookie that’s not mine.

Then, blending into the mix I could, if I was so inclined cookie stuff the page I wanted to all along.

What are they going to do? BAN US ALL!?!

To Be Clear….

I’m not actually suggesting that anyone go out there and start auto-generating hundreds or thousands of domains to basically hide in the masses with your cookie stuffed offer.

Look at it this way. There are whitehat hackers that find problems with medical equipment and could literally shut off people’s pacemakers virtually at will if they wanted to.

They will typically publish their information (as I am doing here) or discuss it at a conference with no intention of harming anyone.

I’m Doing This For Two Reasons

The first is going to be pretty obvious. I knew something was possible and there was a hole in the design of a universally implemented measure. I went to the originator and told them about the problem hoping they would fix it.

They had no idea who I was and mocked me…

I took it for awhile, but needed something to blog about and I’m not above settling the score when I’m publicly thrashed.

The second reason is that to make the marketers who read this blog much more aware of the now publicly available tools out there.

  • Do you still think it’s safe to use the same tracking script on every one of your sites?
  • Do you think it’s still a good idea to use the same cloaking script on every site you’ve got cloaked?
  • Do you still think it’s just fine to paste your adsense code someplace (with your publisher ID) and that some jerk like me won’t come along and clickbomb all of your sites at once because I didn’t like what you said to me on a forum?

Big, Scary World

Look, most marketers get into a certain methodology of doing things. They like one script, one plugin, one ‘WAY’ of doing what they do.

Well, it’s all easily tracked down.

And quite frankly, if it wouldn’t bother you that someone with a short fuse like myself might screw up your business over night…

… Just think about what Google knows about your business?

If these types of tools are out there for public access, don’t you think that ‘just maybe’ Google can identify your specific business operation pattern and discover your entire network?


Happy Halloween!

Google Hummingbird SEO Tutorial – A Deeper Look Into A Site That Performed Well

In my last post I described what I believe the history of Google’s Hummingbird was, the effects of it, examples of sites that were affected by it and a brief look at what you could do to optimize your content for it.

I’ve received some feedback on that post asking for more details about the exact SEO strategy I used for my example site that performed extremely well as a result of Google’s new algorithm.

But to be clear, I’m going to only go over the ‘Content Related SEO’ that I used when building my site. This post won’t be able building links or internal link structure.

So let’s dig in…

A Brief Review Of A Site That Performed Well In Hummingbird

Let’s look at the traffic chart again:


As you can see from the chart, the traffic to that site began to pick up starting September 13th, but by September 14th a new all time high had been established and kept climbing over the next few weeks.

To go back over the same information shared in my original Hummingbird post, here are some basic facts about the domain:

The domain in the chart has just over 50 pages indexed by Google and is receiving as many as 170 unique views per day as a result of the Hummingbird update.

  • Every page on the domain uses a question as it’s title and in the subheadings of each page.
  • The average document length is roughly 1300 words and as many as 3800 words.
  • The domain is only a few months old and established post-penguin 2.0
  • The only link building done has been a few comments on relevant blogs

Hopefully that gives you most of the basic facts you may need about the site.

But let’s dig in a little deeper yet…

How Keyword Research Was Conducted

I’ve been reading a lot about how Google Hummingbird will ‘kill keyword research‘ and that is laughable at best.

It probably comes from people misunderstanding the importance and roll of keywords with the news that Hummingbird was a move AWAY from ‘Keyword-Driven Search.’

Unfortunately I think that people are confused about what ‘Keyword-Driven Search’ is, so I’ll take a moment to talk about that before digging into how I did my keyword research.

How A Device Affects The Search Query

Search queries change based on the type of devices we use to conduct them. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing – but it is a difference that Google has to adjust for.

Let’s look at two popular examples.

Desktop Search

When you sit down at your desk and open up Google to search for something, you will often use keywords.

cheapbluewidgetsFor instance, if you want to buy a ‘Blue Widget’ you might type ‘BUY BLUE WIDGET’ into the search box. Maybe even ‘CHEAP BLUE WIDGET.’

But you tend to use keywords and not full sentences to conduct the search. The query is typically just 3 or 4 words and then it’s done.

That’s called a ‘Keyword-Driven Query.’ Google had been optimized to serve results based on that criteria in the past because that’s how most searches were conducted.

As time has gone on and smartphones have become more popular, search trends have changed. That required Google to change what type of queries it was able to handle and optimized to serve results for.

‘Conversational’ Search

What do you use your phone for? Play games? Listen to music? Surf the web?

How about having conversations…?

A phone was meant to be used as a means of spoken communication. Because of that, when we are using a phone to conduct searches we will often speak them.

Unless you are a machine, you aren’t going to change the way you talk just to conduct a search. Your speech pattern will likely remain the same as it always has been.

The problem with that for Google is that as a search query becomes longer, the number of results they return will decrease. In addition, the quality of those results degraded as well.

They simply weren’t prepared to serve results for those longtail questions – hence the change to Hummingbird.

A Closer Look

Let’s use the example above.

If you were looking for ‘Blue Widgets’ and using your phone to search, your query might be something along the lines of:

‘Where Can I Buy Blue Widgets?’ or ‘Where can I find the best price on Blue Widgets?’


Do you see the difference between that type of longtail question and the keyword-driven search examples from above?

That’s exactly why Hummingbird was developed and put into place.

So How Does That Affect Keyword Research?

As far as I’m concerned, this change has been  long-time coming.

Over the course of the past 18 months Google has been negatively affecting the ability of marketers to optimize and rank for single keywords.

Penguin damaged the ability for SEO’s to target extremely specific keywords by manipulating anchor text. So that left us using the tools we have available – including the keyword in the title, or subheadings where possible.

Hummingbird is nothing but another evolution in this cycle and again affected how we look at ‘Keywords.’

Now instead of laser targeting one keyword, we have to target the same keyword, but in phrases and questions.

In other words, the longtail search is now the bread and butter of keyword research.

So, with all of that finally covered and put on the table – let’s finally look at keyword research.

Keyword Research Tools

kwtwhatdoidoOnce upon a time, you would put a keyword into Google’s now defunct Keyword Research Tool and hunt down keywords that were 2-5 words long and pound them with links.

NOW – I have found that keyword research done to drive traffic to your site must be a more planned out and organized effort.

That means that tools designed to serve up one short keyword still have their place – but only to serve up seed keywords.

They are no longer the be-all, end-all answer to keyword research.

But not all is lost.

Dig Deep & Help Others While Helping Yourself

To come up with my specific keywords you are going to have to find out what about your keyword people want to know. See what questions they are asking and then turn those questions into document titles and answer them in the content.

If you want to cheat, visit – and popular forums to see what people are asking about. This is where the site: operator comes in handy.

For example, one such search you might use to dig up good questions might be: intitle:”blue widgets”

Find out what people want to know, and then write your content around those questions.

 How To Construct Your Content For Hummingbird

When I was writing my content for the site shown in the chart above, I used a very basic formula – the exact same one I’m about to show you.

This is so incredibly simple that I didn’t really feel the need to include it in my original post on Hummingbird and you will see exactly why I say that.


A simple layout that was used with success in hummingbird


It really is just that simple.

Factors I Used That May Have Nothing To Do With Google’s Hummingbird

When constructing my content, I did some basic things that are just common sense. I can’t say whether or not hummingbird considers them, but they were a part of my game plan so I’ll include them.


I tried to use between 3 and 5 images per post. They were meant to be directly related to the topic and further explain certain points of my answers and explanations.


Again, I would include youtube videos where they made sense. If they helped explain or answer the primary question I would make the video and include it into the post.


Would you trust a research document that didn’t cite it’s sources?

That’s the stance I took with Google. I wanted them to trust my material and therefore linked out to the best sources possible when explaining my answers.

Of course – I was also linking out to my affiliate offers using Cloaked Links.


I avoided big chunks of content where possible and instead opted for small, easily digestible sentences and paragraphs.

My rule of thumb was 2-to-1. Two short sentences for every one long sentence. Sometimes one long sentence would then be followed by a paragraph break.

I feel that it helps avoid reader fatigue & frustration.

Production Schedule

I would normally write 3 articles per day and spent about 2 weeks doing that.

My goal was just to give myself something to test with and therefore I didn’t blow it out into a complete mini-authority site, although I could at any time I wanted to now.

Content Length

The average document was 1300 words long, with some reaching up to 3800 words.

I didn’t aim to produce large documents, but rather it was a side effect of writing the best answers possible.

As with everything above, I have nothing to indicate document size having a relationship to favorable ranking other than the fact the long documents ranked in this example.

SEO For Google Hummingbird Wrap-Up

Hopefully this provides you with all of the essential information you need to understand how I built my site and what factors I considered while doing so.

SEO is simple. You just have to feed the beast.

Think for yourself a little bit and use this only as an example.

You’ve got to think for yourself and think about what is best for your readers. The more you focus on them, the less you have to worry about Google as long as you are giving them what they want at the same time.

Good Luck & Take Care,