SEO Advice 101

May 8th

So this is a new type of content development project for me. I hate that Google's Gmail offers instant message access to you whenever you are in Gmail because I get sooooooo many chat sessions from people I barely know, and am already struggling to keep up on email.

The bad part is I don't want to turn it completely off because some friends send me killer cool tips, but some people just want to chat for a couple hours...which isn't a real business model, especially if it is free and the content never goes beyond the chat.

Recently I chatted with one guy who bought my ebook, but seemed to miss the mark on what I was trying to teach / offer in the ebook. I told him I would offer him tips if he aggreed to let me post the conversation here. I don't think most worthwhile SEO tips are both specific and universal, but generally these are things I have grown to realize.

  • you don't meet customer expectation by creating what you would want the customer to want. you create it by creating exactly what they want.

  • if you build a site that you plan to market through search typically most of your traffic (and your most valuable traffic) should come from deep pages.
  • those deep pages speak to a specific audience.
  • the more deep pages you have and the better they are structured the more audience you can speak to.
  • you can't scale out profits if your business is built on saving people money on others products unless you create reasons for people to talk about you
  • most people you help will not be very greatful for the help you give them.
  • if you help many other people free it is worth trying to share that helpful advice with other people (so format that information in a manner that makes it easy to share and find). it is about the only way free works with personalized while still allowing you to keep your sanity.

That is prettymuch the executive summary of the chat I had, but if you want to read it I figure it is a different type of content than you usually read in most blog posts. I think I was a bit frustrated during the chat, feeling like I was leading a horse to water but there was no drinking. Hopefully they ended up figuring out what I was saying.

i purchaaased your seo book recently
my website is couponsteal.com
i am working very hardo n this site currently
soon it will officially launch
can you please visit my site

me: to do what?

s: id like to improve the site s ranking in google
as it has a 0 ranking currently. the domain was purchased in dec. of 2005. id like to know if you can heko me out with this. any tips?

me: well the problem is, for competitive terms you need to build a brand. I can't look at a page and tell you how to build a brand.

s: well i wil be developing this site into very nice site. i am not sure exactly what you mean to say

me: if you didnt own it, why would you visit it? why would people WANT to visit it?

s: there is many reaons to visit it

me: compared to all other coupon sites

s: yes, that is is exactly

me: well you list your UNIQUE value propositions

s: i have several key reasons. sure

a) the design
veyr clean
and easy
unlinke the other top ranking sites
everything is easy to navigate
in addition, i plan to possibly include live help chat right on the site for a few hours a day. no other coupon site has that feature. in addition, when it comes ot finding coupons some can take a long time to find. for example, paypal coupons

me: so here is what you do... you create a blog

s: my site will always have the available paypal coupons

me: where people can ask you for a coupon and you hunt it down
THAT is your marketing angle. done.

s: and they are right there in a menu of ten links. i plan that it should stay this way. only ten links. everything will be simple again.

me: well I have to go

s: well i have someo thers reasons why this site will be unique; however, im not going to get up in google by doing nothing. i need this ranking to go up. please can you help me out

me: you need to be useful and socially active, then you rank. other way round doesnt happen

s: so what should i do

me: and if i were to take the time to hold your hand into top rankings
then i would probably just spend that time building my own coupon site

s: i mean i can pay you

me: i already gave you my advice

s: so

me: the place where anyone can ask where to find coupons

s: your saying once the site if fully developed

me: you market THAT angle. no i am saying right now, put another way, i could work 1 hour a day developing the blog idea i gave you and i would bet inside of three months it would make far more than your idea, so listen to the idea and run with it. people dont give a crap about structure of your site or how it looks so much as they care about quickly saving money

s: exactly

me: if you are the spot everyone goes to learn how to save money

s: and my site allwos that\

me: then you are good to go

s: it has coupons such as paypal

me: you are not listening to me

s: which others site ranking in that top do not have

me: stop typing. here is what i am saying. ask people to ask for what they want, then give them that. it is more remarkable for you to answer a persons questions and sell that story than it is for you to have a database of stuff.

s: ok. so so what do you think of this

me: i have to go ... I have given you a lot of advice already

s: one of the ten links will be mesage board, and then

me: if you want to pay for a consult we can do that

s: in my live help

me: but there is no biz model if i keep answer tons of questions, especially if you are not hearing what I am saying.

s: people can ask for coupons, and i will be there a few hours a day to give them the coupons and to really be there to give them the coupons they need. does that sound good?

me: maybe just ok, but still sucky compared to my idea.

s: ok. so can i hire you?

me: consulting costs $500 an hour

s: ok, so how about 1000 a month

me: http://www.seobook.com/sem-consultation.shtml

s: does that work?

me: $500 per hour, not x per month. i am more time limited than money limited at this point

3:45 PM s: rite. ok. so i am asking will 2 hours of your time be enough to get me to the top?

me: i cant guarantee it will make you successfuil. i can only tell you what i would do to be succesful. implementation is not part of the consulting price. if it were my consulting fees would start off at about $50,000 +

s: ok, but i am just aking its a quick question. how many hours of time a month would you say i need of yours
to= inm your opinion get up to the top?

me: you cant adequately predict a market without investing heavy energy into it. the stuff you are asking me is part of the info that is sold as the consulting product, not information to sell the consulting product

s: ok just a very rough estimate?

me: $50,000... anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000

s: that much

3:49 PM i think thats over my budget. i mean i told you my budget

me: sorry i cant help :(

s: 1000 a month

me: i am not negotiating with you here

s: i understand

me: ie: I have no time to take ongoing work

s: i mean

me: I can sell an hour of consulting here or there

3:50 PM s: considering my budget

me: but have no time for ongoing work

s: what do you recomend

me: reading the stuff I wrote above. and implementing it. put another way, if i listened to what i wrote above i could guarantee it would be a success.

s: ok, granted thats a good business plan. however, as you said, you have to also do stuff in terms of seo to get up to the top. you cant just have a site thats good nad expect people to find you

me: if reading my book did not give you enough seo ideas then i probably cant help you

s: i mean, you basically were vague. you never were specific. you said post on message boards, crosslink

me: specifics dont work. because every situation is unique

s: i mean, you were very basic

me: your marketing methods revolve around your personality if they are effective. if you want me to tell you everything i would do if I were you for free i can give you a half hour or so of time... but i will also post it all to my blog if you want the price of it to be free.

s: ok. fine

me: ok... dont consider google an option anytime soon given the newness of your site

s: ok
me: step 2: eventually u can get google but that will be after you get the others so dont focus on it

s: so your saying ppc

me: NO. i am saying msn and yahoo are easy to game

s: ok

me: make your site decent enough to be accepted by directories

s: interesting cause b4 all i careda bout was google

me: then get it listed in about 25 directories a month

s: ok

me: syndicate an article each month as well... to most of the places I listed in my articles tab. deep link on these articles when you can. link to different sections of your site

s: arite

me: these articles (especially if u put them on searchwarp and ezine artices) will rank for stuff

s: can i write the articles and you find places to post them

me: dont syndicate the content that is on your site

s: will that work?

me: i am not finding places to post your stuff. you want free tips i am giving you free. i am not doing the work for you if you want free

s: i know

me: next step is the blog thing i wrote above... be the spot anyone can ask for coupons at

s: ill pay you to find palces to post the articles that I write

me: make it so that you ALWAYS respond in less than 24 hours

i dont want your money i have no need for your money

3:59 PM s: ok

me: the directory list that comes with my ebook also has an article submission list on it

s: you are really different than most other seo specialists. lol

me: then submit that blog to the various blog directories. again, i think there is a tab on my directory submission sheet. but those low grade links will only take you so far

s: arite

me: if you want a new site to rank in a competitive field in google you either need to buy an old site to work from or create something useful. that is my seo philosophy

s: is coupons a competitive feild?

me: moderately yes

s: also, as far as improving ranking, i cant stand it, i have a pg of 0.

me: right getting links give you more PageRank

s: do you recomend me findingn the site that link to the top ranking coupon websites

me: well you can get a few links from some of those sites

s: and ask them to link to me in exchange for money

me: but dont expect too much help on that front. look a bit on that way and try to get a few of those links, but also push the blog idea of being the spot where anyone can ask for coupons at any hour

s: right

me: and others will link at that

s: ill def incorp . that idea into my site. into 1 0f the ten links.
i mean, so ill write an article about the launching of my website and ill find tose places where you said to post them also to start off can you do a me a favor and when you post this chat in your messaage board please includea link to my website, as you sais that that will help in your seo ebook

aslo antoher question, i recently spoke with an seo specialist about my website. they told me that in my case
they recomend ppc. they also told me that ppc can help google pr is that true?

me: i cant answer 1000 background questions, like stuff like ppc helping seo the answer is usually not a direct relationship existing.

s: i understand, those were the last ones

me: best of luck with your site

s: thankyou very much. also please can you place a link to my site from your message board

me: i dont have a message board

s: i mean your blog. also i wanted to ask you, what do you think of the domain name couponsteal.com? And that is truly the last question!

me: it is a good name... especially if you make the blog concept the home page or heavily market it on the home page

s: i originally planned to have 1 coupon. the featured coupon on the homepage

me: well, woot already sorta runs that concept, but i guess deal of the day could work. but finding other peoples desires is more remarkable most likely

s: Steal Of The Day!

i mean the problem thjato ccured to me with having a blog is that people will not want to wait for my answer
for even a few hours. i thought it would be cooler to have a smaller site, concenterating on service with live help.

me: u r missing the point.

s: and keeping it clean

me: you cant have live help 24 hours a day and run it yourself
clean = has no real volume of content
and thus wont rank

s: yes but i can have it for 4 hourd a day

me: my idea builds content fast
you dont create value by answering peoples questions free unless you can get them to talk about you or it somehow creates content for your site

s: so your saying that this would be good because id be adding more content to my site
and the goal of my site should be to be big?

me: not to be big, but once you offer assistance to 1 person there should be a record of the help

s: to be useful?

me: that you can leverage to help others

s: i mean i dont see how my idea doesnt help tohers

me: well people need to know why they should use you and that you stick to your claims. a written record is a nice way to do it

s: i mean what about the fact that people can just find the coupons themselves

me: well most people you help are not going to even say thank you, let alone help you with your marketing... you are hoping that a few will. well that is the point... that you search hard for the best deals, coupon or not

s: and whyw oulkd they need or want to wait for me to answer there question

me: and then you also write how to articles on how to use price comparison engines, and how to hunt for coupons, boolean searches etc. mention other channels that offer deals, like woot

s: ok, so does this sound good. keep the site as it is, just for one of my 10 links the blog page will be. does that sound good to you?

me: you need to highlight the question answering service strongly. it cant be one of 10 options. it has to be heavily promoted as the best option off the start.

s: so how about the first option? cause my goal of my site is to be useful

me: but then after you build up content and become selective you can move your emphasis to the other parts of the site

s: not huge and diffucicult to find what you are looking for like some of the other high ranking coupon sites

me: the point i am making is for your concept to work AND BE PROFITABLE most of your referals will probably be from search engines. coupon is probably not such a strong topic that people will come back day after day unless you are focused on one vertical, like http://www.slickdeals.net/ for computers. oops, looks like they are focused on a number of things... they already are doing your model. thus the way you one up them is by adding more context and personalizing the experience

s: well my model is to not have huge page, where you have to scroll, and there is so much clutter. i wanted the site to be small and personalized, clean. to not to ever have scrolling on the first page

me: sure, the homepage can be clean, BUT MOST PEOPLE WHO VISIT YOUR SITE WILL NEVER SEE THE HOMEPAGE.

s: what? only the blog page?

me: most traffic goes to deep pages. thats how search works

s: then how come in most sites i see, the highest ranking page is almost always the homepage?

me: and then on your archived pages put contextual ads, and also an optinon for people to contact you if the coupon is out of date

s: ok, so how does this sound? first link blog page, then a few electronic related websites like dell and best buy as shjown on the site and then my highest ranking pg will be the blog page, not the homepage, because my articles will link to my blog page. Good?

me: well pagerank and traffic streams are not one and the same. yes your home page may have a higher pagerank or rank better for generic queries, but the deep targeted traffic is where the money is. thats why having volumes of content is important. and the personalization of digging stuff up for people makes it remarkable enough for them to talk about it and share the information with others.

s: but my traffic will be from my blog pg

me: if you are creating useful well structured content pages most of your traffic (and your most profitable traffic) will be the people who land on the deep pages

Published: May 8, 2006

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Comments

Paul
May 8, 2006 - 9:02am

classic. i read it all the way down and kept waiting for the bit where you lost it. sadly you were too nice to the dude, or cut off the transcript at an appropriate moment :)

May 8, 2006 - 9:03am

This is probably the longest blog entry I have ever read . . . couldn't help but smile...then laugh...then fall on the floor.

May 8, 2006 - 9:13am

When I write posts like this one to my site I not only hope to help some people, but also like to have a place to point to. So if down the road I get similar feedback or questions I can just point the person to this page.

The other day someone asked a question like "so aaron what do you think of this" and I had a post titled something like "what I think of this right now" and it felt cool just sending them the link.

I really need to do about 200 more Q&A posts and then I should be able to reply to email wicked fast.

May 8, 2006 - 11:23am

Sheesh. You outlined an entire business model, explained search AND kept your cool. Hats off to you.

If it were me, I'd have been curled up in a corner drooling and sucking my thumb after a chat like that.

May 8, 2006 - 12:52pm

I can offer him some golden advice:

Never touch a computer again . . . ever.

Some people are good at sports, some are good at computers and business, you need to find something else because this is just not for you.

Aaron, I thought that I had patience but your like a freaking buddhist monk . . . or a masochist!

May 8, 2006 - 1:25pm

I don't want the guy getting flamed.

My point is that we all think our own stuff is brilliant, and until you view your offering from the potential costumer angle you are usually going to be missing the mark.

My first few sites were probably far more hosed up than his - by a lot too.

May 8, 2006 - 6:43pm

You just can't help some people because their box that says "Help me" is greyed-out and disabled.

It was a great read however. Thanks.

May 8, 2006 - 8:12pm

That looked like about an hours worth of work. I tell you... I have the same problem. I spend time with people on the phones, explain what I do, then they never go through with it. I guess that is the price of doing business. I am working to make sure that happens a lot less.

May 8, 2006 - 9:03pm

i can't believe that guy actually agreed to let you use the chat session.

May 9, 2006 - 1:12am

Well, it was humorous, but you're right, we shouldn't flame someone for being blindly devoted to their own ideas.... empathy yes, flame no.

If anything, it illustrates how complex and confusing the web world and SEO is... once you get under the surface. In this case, I commend the guy because, my assumption, here is a guy who purchased the book to help himself, rather than someone looking to practice SEO for others-- it is easy for those of us who deal with the web or SEO on a day to day to forget how complex somethings may be to grasp when you don't have the same background.

It also illustrates how we can get so blinded by our own ideas and what we feel is a brilliant approach, that we can't see anything else-- and come on now, even with half-honesties we all have been down that dark alley.

And sometimes, on that note, I think it also illustrates the dangers of approaching a concept from the wrong angle. Too often we check out the competition, identify what they are doing wrong, and develop our plan on how to do it better. Tomatoe - tomato in the end, it's still a fruit... even if we all want to believe it is a vegetable-- it still doesn't change what it is... it may be bigger or smaller, deep red, or green, etc. His mistake and the reason he didn't see value in the "finder" idea is because he focused on what the other sites are doing, not on what people might value. In this way, he could incorporate the finder idea with his site, still delivering everything he originally thought, and have a unique concept.

Either way, it was an entertaining post as well as a good reminder to us all either in our own ideas or in dealing with those who don't live and breath in the same world.

May 9, 2006 - 1:18am

Solid comment Brian.

That was the exact point of this post, and I think you said it far better than I did :)

May 9, 2006 - 2:59am

WOW, is all I can say. Here goes my best sum up of what I just read.

HIM: Please tell me how to make my site work.

YOU: Here do ABC and D.

HIM: My idea rules, please help me make my site work.

YOU: Ok here, do ABCEF AND G.

OK, I can go on with this, but you get the point. People like this that have to be told how to do everything will never become successful (because the DONT LISTEN). It reminds me of an old saying a friend once had on his business card...Dreamers and Doers..which are you?

I deal with people like this every day and I know what it takes to not lose it! Hats off Aaron!

Marlin
May 9, 2006 - 4:49am

I see old domains being mentioned as having value for ranking...

If a domain has been owned by someone for several years -- but never had a site on it -- does that domain have the "old domain factor" going for it when putting a new site on it and hoping for a quicker ranking on google?

Or does the "old domain factor" only come into play when a domain has actually had a site on it for years?

Ivan C
May 9, 2006 - 5:20am

Funny and long blog post. I have to say, when i started building my site(s) i was just like that guy, self-centered and truly believing i could make a silly idea work. It is always important to consider how many people are doing the same thing you are trying to do (competition) and how to give it a spin and make it even better. Blogs are extremely important; i dont think i would sitck around if there was no way to interact with other people and share my ideas....
Anyhow.... way2go Saint Aaron!

May 9, 2006 - 5:55am

Hi Marlin
I believe the trust issue relates to the age and quality of links and also the age of the site.

Even with shit links, so long as it is old you can still rank as long as Google has known of the information existing for an extended period of time.

The page I mention here, for example, had no quality inbound links - just scraper links and the like, but it was a couple years old.

I don't think just having it registered for a while counts, I think Google has to have seen a track record of their being some content without obvious spammy infractions.

I generally use the Archive.org site history or page history to see how long a site has been around. If Archive.org saw a site from 5 years ago I assume that Google probably did as well.

Marlin
May 9, 2006 - 6:31am

Thanks, Aaron!

May 9, 2006 - 9:55am

Totally agree on posting responses to questions. I just started doing this about a week ago to put fresh content on my book sales page to get more search engine traffic. I realized that I should have put the questions and answers from the last 3 months, it was a lot of wasted information.

March 10, 2007 - 6:45am

Thank you very much for the advice. :-)

After taking a look at the above site I see nowhere that people can ask for the coupons they are in need of. It's a shame that he didn't take the advice. I can assure you that your chat time was not waisted. I will try the idea, and see what happens. Something more in line with computer advice. Although I have a LOT to learn this may be a good place to start. After a while I think he was more interested in getting his own site listed on yours.

May 10, 2006 - 4:37am

This is the owner of couponsteal and the one who had the chat here with aaron.
My Commens:
Mat Siltala I GOT THE FUCKING message
Im not trying to be fucking annoying here. I was trying to get as much info as I can because I am NEW to this seo. I plan on working hard and to take aaron's advice, to write articles, submit to directories, etc. NOW som eof you may understand this and some of you may flame. To aaron, Im not a horse! Damn! I guess you get what you PAY for! HA!
Cheers.

May 11, 2006 - 10:28pm

In response to: ****Mat Siltala I GOT THE FUCKING message****

Did not intend to make you mad, just calling it as I see it , and wish "S" nothing but the best of luck with his SEO!

vbignacio
May 29, 2007 - 1:10am

regardless, a lot of noobs will surely benefit from this chat session... this post is priceless!

May 10, 2006 - 12:12pm

Good on you for drinking...and not being a horse ;)

Best of luck S. I am really happy you read this and hope you kick ass.

May 10, 2006 - 10:20pm

Appreciate yout help aaron. Thankyou.

May 8, 2006 - 7:31am

You seriously have the patience of a saint. I wouldn't have lasted two minutes with that guy. Good information, too, for those of us who don't know that much about the practice of SEO.

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