Starting from scratch is one of the toughest things you can do. No matter how many ways you draw it up, you just don’t know if what you’re doing is going to really take off and have the impact you’re hoping for. When you throw different strategies into the mix like SEO, making real connections with influencers, and more, it can be enough to make your head spin. That’s why I’m so excited to share my conversation with Glen Allsop with you. You may remember him from episode 3 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, or his work on viperchill.com. These days, you can find his work at gaps.com and detailed.com, where he helps countless entrepreneurs rank up and get noticed.
The first time I interviewed Glen, he was twenty years old and already spinning his blogging into a career. Catching up with him nine years later is quite a trip, and he’s been up to a lot in the meantime. As Glen himself points out, “For every success I’ve had, I’ve also had ten things that just didn’t work out.” Failure is a huge part of anything worth doing. One story in particular that resonated with me was when he got hired to write Viral Marketing for Dummies. A huge opportunity, right? The problem he discovered, however, was that nothing about the way he writes is “for dummies,” and we talk about why he ended up walking away rather than put out something that simply didn’t sound like him.
We take a deep dive into SEO strategies to find out what really makes a difference for your page rankings. One quick tip that surprised me was how much of what you make should depend on what’s already out there. If four-thousand-word articles are in the top results, then make a better, more specific four-thousand-word article. If it’s mostly video, then you need to get started making your own. We also get into what unorthodox strategies people have used to work backward and build a business around an expired domain that already ranks highly.
Finally, Glen has great tips for how to be specific about what you’re trying to accomplish with influencer marketing, and how you can get folks excited about what you’re trying to do. There are tons of great tidbits, and I hope it won’t be another nine years before I get a chance to catch up with Glen again.
Glen Allsop: I am so happy you asked me that. So let’s just say, if a no-name person, no one you’ve ever met, no one you’ve ever contact with, somehow got to get in front of you, if it was a Twitter DM or an email, and they said, “Hey Pat! I’m friends with Casey Neistat and I would love him to kind of promote what you’re working on.” You do not care who they are, what kind of relationship you’ve had with them in the past, you are responding to that message.
Pat Flynn: One hundred percent.
Glen: So, they’re—
Pat: You’re listening to one of the several amazing strategies that our special guest today has mentioned on this particular episode.
Pat: This is Glen Allsop, formerly from viperchill.com, although I think he still has that website. You may remember that name from episode 3. Yes, episode 3 of The Smart Passive Income Podcast, way back in August 2010, and here we are eight, nine years later and Glen has gone on to do a lot of gigantic things. He talks about some of those things but, most of all, things like SEO and how to grow your business. A lot of SEO, and we do get pretty granular and into some of the detail there. This may be one of those episodes where you might want to pull out your notepad to take notes on, but, thankfully, you can rewind and always play this, and, again, this is all free. So, have at it. And, again, I’m just super thankful to catch up with Glen again. He’s an amazing, brilliant person who, when I interviewed him a while back, he was only twenty-one. Now he’s almost thirty and continues to crush it and he’s got a lot to share. Just like that tip earlier about how you might be able to provide value to somebody, even if you are, in your head, considered a nobody. And nobody’s a nobody. We all have something to offer. We get into that and so much more in this episode. But first, let’s cue the music.
Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host. He reads every email he sends out loud and he still makes mistakes. Pat Flynn!
Pat: What’s up everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today in session 371 of The Smart Passive Income Podcast. My name is Pat Flynn, here to help you make more money, save more time, and help more people too. If you haven’t already, I would love if you hit that subscribe button, so you can get more episodes like this dropped into your podcast player, or whatever podcast player you end up using. But, again, this is an episode featuring Glen Allsop from detailed.com. He also owns gaps.com. Not the clothing company, but more than that. A company that helps provide a lot of case studies for what is working in business. Specifically, around SEO in particular and he’s got a lot of other great strategies, as you heard earlier.
Pat: This could be one of those mind-blowing episodes for you. So, I want you to sit back and soak it all in. Here he is Glen Allsop. That’s Glen with one N, and Allsopp with two Ls and a S-O-P. Sounds like I’m rapping, but anyway, here we go. Let’s get to it. Glen, welcome back to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thanks for being here man. How are you?
Glen: Pat, thank you for having me again. I really appreciate it. Things are good. It’s a bit after 1 a.m. for me, so apologies if I do sound a bit sleepy to anyone, but I’m ready to go and here to help as much as I can.
Pat: And it’s 1 a.m. where you are. It’s 10 a.m. where I am. Where are you right now, by the way?
Glen: I’m in Thailand, at the moment. I’m in Bangkok, but I’m only here for two more days so I’m happy we could make this happen before I probably have worse internet.
Pat: And you’re all over, and you’re doing a lot of things. For those of you who don’t know, Glen Allsopp was the featured guest in episode 3. Yes, episode 3 in August of 2010. He was my second guest on the show, ever, and it’s been a long time since we caught up. He was on that show to talk about affiliate marketing, niche site strategies, and a little bit of SEO. First of all, I just want to get caught up and see, you know, what is it? Eight, almost nine years later now. What are you up to? What are you doing? Where’s your attention these days, Glen?
Glen: Yeah, so it was crazy. I started listening to the start of episode three today. I kind of wanted to see what we talked about, and I couldn’t do it. I just sounded so terrible. It was like one of my first ever podcast interviews. I just couldn’t listen to it. I played about thirty seconds. I had to stop it. So, yeah, that was an honor nine years ago. Almost nine years ago. And I still, even today, like even this month, I still get people saying, “Oh, I heard about you on Pat Flynn’s podcast.” Great to be part of the community. So, actually, I have to thank you for that. That was an incredible thing for me to connect with you all of those years ago. Yeah, so, I know what the podcast is about. I didn’t listen to it, but I know that we focused very much on niche sites, and what I’m building. We talked a lot about pain points, why you build websites, what are the pains you’re trying to solve for other people. That is still part of what I do, but it is such a small percentage. I didn’t know what you were going to ask me today, what we were going to talk about, but I started looking at all the things I’ve done in the past nine years, and, yeah, it was a pretty huge list but that is still part of what I’m doing. But it is a real small part of it today.
Pat: And you had a website, viperchill.com. So you might remember, those of you listening, you might remember that name, because I often reference it quite a bit, and I do still mention this episode we did together back in the day. You were a big inspiration to me, when I first started, because you were this young kid, I think, when we first chatted. How old were you in 2010? Weren’t you like twenty or twenty-one, or something like that?
Glen: Yeah, exactly, twenty years old.
Pat: And now, you know, almost thirty, which is kind of crazy that we’re reconnecting here on the show. I’m curious, what are the highlights of what has happened since 2010. What are some of the big projects that you’ve been working on?
Glen: Yeah, so, I wrote some of them down. I was just curious for myself, and I thought, “God, if I rattle off a list I’m going to sound a bit egotistical.” So, what I’m about to say, the disclaimer I should put up front is that for every success I’ve had, I’ve also had ten things that just didn’t work out. I think that’s always . . . I think in ten years, if we have this conversation again, I’m going to say the same thing. But, a few big things. If I get the dates right . . . So, a few big things that happened for me, in the last few years. So, I had a personal development blog. I think I was just still running it when we last talked. I sold that. That was pretty successful. I sold for a mid-five-figure fee. I had a WordPress plugin, which you were actually a big part of helping me with. That was a . . . I think it was one of the first ever opt-in form plugins for WordPress, so people could . . . It was just basically a nice way to collect people’s email addresses. You helped me a lot with that. You were affiliate for that and that was . . . We made multiple, or I made multiple six figures with that before selling that business. I was offered a book deal by Wiley. They asked me to write “Passive Income for Dummies.” No, that’s a joke. They asked me to write Viral Marketing for Dummies, which I didn’t end up doing that. I got paid in advance, but I didn’t actually end up writing that book. But, that was a big honor for me.
I think it was 2015, I had my first seven figure year, which is still the kind of business that I’m focusing on today. And, yeah, today I’m just kind of . . . I’ve helped a lot of people on the journey, which has always been important to me. I know that’s been important to you as well. When I was struggling online, I always said to myself, “When I figure this out I’m going to tell everyone how I did it.” I have a feeling, what I know from you, that has kind of been your mindset as well. So, had a lot of success personally. Helped a lot of other people on the journey, but I should put the big caveat that for every project, or every book deal, or whatever, every website I’ve sold, there’s also been ten or even twenty websites I’ve built that just never went anywhere. So, there’s a lot of failures in there, but quite a few successes as well.
Pat: Well, thank you for sharing all of that. And I do remember when you had been commissioned to do the Dummies book for Viral Marketing. You had written about why you actually decided not to do that. Is that post and is viperchill.com still available for people, if they want to go see those things?
Glen: It’s still there. I’m ninety-nine percent sure that article is still there as well. I had cleaned things up, probably about a year ago. I was actually planning to redirect that website to another website I run now. So, I was cleaning things up, but that article should still probably be there, but if it’s not the short version of that is that I write very long articles. That is always what I’ve been known for. Four thousand words is probably a short article for me and when I submitted my first few chapters of the Dummies book, they wanted me, and this is no disrespect to them, this is just how Dummies books are, they wanted me to turn many things into bullet points and split everything up. And that’s just not how I write, or how I want to write, and I didn’t want that to be my first book. So, that’s pretty much the reason it didn’t go ahead.
Pat: Cool. Well, we’ll link to that in the show notes and all the other things. Now, I want to know, with what you’re doing now, what is the business that you are involved in now and what are your superpowers? What are you helping people with nowadays?
Glen: Yes, so the thing I started out with, when I was fifteen, sixteen years old, I started building my first websites and I started learning about SEO. So, how to rank websites in Google. And everything I was learning, I was writing about it. So, I had a DJing website, ironically that was actually featured in DJing for Dummies, when that book first came out. So, I had a website, with a few people, about DJing. It started ranking really well in Google for terms like “DJ equipment,” “DJ forums.” So I was like, “Oh, this SEO thing is really interesting. I want to learn more about how Google works and what is behind that.” So, I set up ViperChill. Started documenting my journey and I was like, “Oh, I just want to do this SEO thing. I don’t really care about the DJing thing. I just want to do SEO for more people.”
So, I set up ViperChill to share everything I was learning, but also with the hope that I could actually do SEO for more people, and that actually turned out to be very, very difficult, it turns out. To get people to pay you money to do SEO for them, you have to be a pretty good salesman, which I certainly was not at the time. That actually led me into doing the niche websites, which is what we talked about. So, I have no issues, looking back, I think everything worked out. I wasn’t really having success landing clients, but I was having success ranking my own websites. Then, maybe—I think it was around 2013, 2014, I was always focused on my own sites until then. Then I kinda figured it out. I kind of figured out what it takes to get clients. What you have to do for people to pay you a lot of money to do SEO for them. So, what I’m doing now, and a big part of the majority of why I had my first seven-figure year, was doing SEO for other people. So, ninety, ninety-five percent of my business focus these days is people who have businesses, they have people working on them, they’ve put a lot of love into them, but they need more search traffic, and that is what I am focused on. So, I didn’t have success selling it to people. It was always what I wanted to do and a few years later I finally figured it out and got to go back to that.
Pat: And where is that business at? You haven’t mentioned the name of it yet.
Glen: Yes, so that is on detailed.com. D-e-t-a-i-l-e-d.
Pat: Detailed.com. You also own another website, right? Gaps.com. What is that?
Glen: Yeah, so Gaps . . . The reason . . . A lot of people ask me this: What is the difference? Why do you split it up into two websites? So, the reason for Gaps, I felt ViperChill has always covered everything. So, I have articles on SEO, but I also have articles on how to create better Facebook fan pages, when that was really important. I have articles on how to get more email subscribers and the thing I teach, and the thing that has been so successful for me in selling SEO, is really focusing on one thing. Really focusing in on a niche. And I was actually doing the complete opposite with my writing. So, I thought, the thing that really did well for me for ViperChill, a lot of the articles people really loved, is when I kind of dove into really successful online businesses. I actually . . . At least two people have credited me with making them millionaires, which kind of blows my mind. There was a single article that made that happen. I talked about the success story of Viral Nova, and that was a kind of very popular . . . I think they sold for about a hundred million dollars. Basically, they were just, when viral news was taking over Facebook news feeds, I talked about that, a few people copied it, and they made millions of dollars and they thanked me for that. So, that was kind of mind blowing, and I thought, “Okay, I’m covering too many topics. Let me just start a new website and I’m just going to focus on one thing. I’m just going to talk about successful online businesses, what you could maybe do to, not copy them, but model their success. And then how to go from there.” So, that is pretty much the sole focus of Gaps.
Pat: Great. Okay, so now I want to shift our discussion to SEO in particular. You’re helping a lot of people do that, and SEO has been a topic that we’ve discussed here on the podcast and on the blog several times, and it just seems to always be changing. And yes, we know the rules of, you know, always providing value, always write great things and that way they get shared and whatnot. But really, in your eyes, as an expert here, what is working in SEO today? How can we rank our websites and the articles that we write higher. This is something that I personally struggle with, and I know a lot of my audience does. How would you recommend we go about just doing better with SEO?
Glen: Sure, so, maybe this is not the answer everyone wants to hear, but actually everything is working with SEO, because there is so . . . You know, there are billions of searches made every day. There are people competing in every industry. You can have a very unattractive website, terrible content that grammatically doesn’t make any sense, no images on the content, and you can be making, literally, hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, per year, from that website. There are people who . . . There are still kind of quote-unquote “loopholes,” usually they involve backlinks and unique sources of backlinks, to rank your website higher. So, the ideal answer for SEO is very good content, focus on the audience they’re trying to serve, get genuine mentions, and you can make money, and you can get rankings. Now, for the most part, that does work. That is what Google recommends and that is what works, but I would be lying if I said that’s the only way to rank websites.
There are people doing “gray haired” or “shady” things, and they are still making a lot of money in ranking websites very well. I actually talked about one of those about two months ago on Detailed. I blogged about this guy, he actually became a friend of mine, Suumit, he’s based in India. He set up this website and all he did is he bought a domain name that already had people talking about it and then he just suddenly started ranking. He was making up to thirty-five thousand dollars a month in the health space, promoting products on Amazon, just because he bought this domain name that already had links and he didn’t really have to do anything as far as promotion, or building a community. His content needed a lot of work.
So, ideally, the thing you should be focusing on, if you want something for the long term, is great content, building an audience, things that people want to talk about. And then, not just creating things that people want to talk about, it’s thinking about what will people search for. So, not just creating a finance podcast, or a make money online podcast, focus on keywords. So, like you did, “passive income.” You rank very well for “passive income.” People search for that. They find your community, and then the interest in what you have to say. So, generally, it should be, you know, if you’re thinking about the long term, it is about creating community, writing great stuff, or producing great content in whatever format, and then finding . . . The most important thing, that a lot of people don’t do, they do the content, they care about the topic, but they don’t do the work to kind of connect with people, or have people talk about their website, which is the most important thing these days.
Pat: Just to get this straight. You mentioned that there are people who are using gray hat to black hat tactics. Is that something that’s necessary for us to do in order to compete?
Glen: I think it’s fair to say it depends on the industry. So, questionable drugs, or anything like that, people want to sell those as affiliates, there will always be messy search results. So, anything to do with gambling, casino . . . I’m trying to think of a few others. Maybe 4X and some verticals, there will always be search results that just change completely. Websites that were the first ten results one day, they won’t even be in the top ten . . . The first ten will totally be gone the next day. Some search results just change all of the time. So it’s definitely not a necessity, it does kind of depend on the industry that you’re playing in, but I just didn’t want to say, “Oh, just write great content.” Because that’s not a good answer. The truth is a lot of people are not . . . Not everyone is doing that and still, they are still having success.
Pat: What are some of those things that they are doing, that we can do, that . . . You know I think some people might be listening to this and might be worried that either, A, they can’t compete in the space that they’re in, because other people have access to strategies, and tactics, and money, and all those kinds of things, and it’s pretty deflating to hear that sometimes. Where I know that that’s not true, there are ways to genuinely, without a lot of money, still rank higher. I think a lot of that comes down to research, which we’ll get to in just a minute. But the other part of this is I know there are going to be people who go, “Oh, well what are those strategies that we can do that are on that level?” I don’t want to promote, and I’m not a proponent of using black hat strategies. Gray hat strategies are another thing, and again, like you said, like gray is a blurred line. It could be very gray and it could be just not that gray. I remember, back in the niche site duel days, there were some things that I was doing that I was taught that were okay at the time, that aren’t okay any more. Such as setting up secondary blogs that then point to your primary one, which then build more authority for your website and those kinds of things. So, what is, within the boundaries of Google’s guidelines, okay to do today that maybe most people who are writing, who they’re just writing and that’s it, can do to help give themselves a boost?
Glen: Yeah, so, that’s a good question. I think anyone who thinks, “Oh, well maybe I can’t compete” or, “Maybe there’s someone doing shady stuff and I can’t. I’m not going to rank, because they are doing that.” I think you shouldn’t kind of devalue your project, or your ability, or your opportunity, before you get started. So I wouldn’t let that stop you. There are websites that do incredibly well. They do things by the book, and they drop out of search results as well. I haven’t analyzed their strategy, so please don’t kind of dive in and say, “Oh, Glen. You missed this.” But, a good example in the last few months, I believe it was August of 2018, doctorx.com, he was getting about ten million visitors a month to his website, and overnight it dropped to three million. So, maybe he was doing something bad. I honestly haven’t analyzed the website, but even websites that look totally legitimate on the surface can have things kind of, you know, their search traffic and their business can disappear very quickly. So, I wouldn’t let that stop you. I would just see it as an opportunity. Just, look, if you want to do everything the legit way, that’s totally fine.
As far as black hat and gray hat, I personally view black hat as anything illegal. So, hacking websites and putting your links in there, or creating WordPress plugins that will inject links, and all that kind of thing, just really, really bad stuff. For me, gray hat is a good example of what I said before. So, instead of starting a website from zero, and just going to Namecheap, thinking of a new name, or GoDaddy, thinking of a new name, buying the domain name and starting from scratch, you could go out there and buy an already established website. That would certainly reduce the amount of time it probably takes for you to rank pages and get content noticed. So, that is not gray hat. That’s just a smart thing you could possibly do.
The gray hat side of things is when you start buying a lot of these domains that have . . . They already have links and they expired, but they already had people linking to them, and you try to take advantage of that and then you point those domains back to the website that you want to rank, and so on. So, those are the kind of gray hat things that I think about. I don’t necessarily think of them as bad, but there are people who are using them as well. But, yeah, I guess if you want to do things totally legitimate and you want to speed up the process a bit, one thing you could do is maybe get involved in an established website or team up with someone already doing some things. That could be one option.
Pat: Gotcha. Okay, so when it comes to writing for, not just what we know our community wants, but also for search engines—you know, what people are searching for—there’s a billion tools out there that we can use. What tools do you recommend we use for keyword research to help us sort of hone in on what lanes to be running into?
Glen: Yeah, so a few good tools out there. I like to use Ahrefs. Just a disclaimer, I did work for them as a client in 2018. They’re a huge SAS company, but I was using them long before we worked together. So, Ahrefs is a great one. They’re a great keyword tool.
Pat: I use them too. Yeah, they’re fantastic.
Glen: Yeah, so definitely one of the best out there. They have a few competitors. So they have SEMrush. They have moz.com. I was also a paying customer of Moz for a while. And I really like BuzzSumo. I like to see what people have wrote that got a lot of shares, and what got a lot of links, and then see if that actually gets a lot of search traffic. They can kind of tell you if something got a hundred thousand shares but never picked up any links, it’s probably not doing that well in search results. They are not a really a link or search focus traffic tool, but BuzzSumo is pretty useful for that as well.
Pat: Great, and then, for all of us who are going to be writing articles very soon, what’s the sort of order of operations for us to go and find out what we should be writing about next, and then, perhaps, how to write that for maximum search engine visibility, if possible?
Glen: Sure, so I think that the search results tell you everything, and that is . . . we are kind of lucky that that is the case. So, for example: If you said to me, “Glen, I want write an article on passive income advice for people under twenty-one.” Or teenagers, or kids, or whatever it may be. And you say, “Glen, does it have to be a long article? Should I focus on videos?” I would say, “Pat, just go to the search results.” Go and see who is ranking for the terms that you . . . Maybe you don’t know how much search traffic “passive income for teenagers” or “passive income for under 21” gets, but just go type them in, see what Google suggests in the dropdown, but more importantly, go look at who is ranking. Go look at the pages that are ranking. Is it huge websites? So is it, I don’t know, Zen Habits and Steve Pavlina, and those kind of websites? Or is it new websites you don’t recognize the name from? Then go and look at their content. Do they have ten-thousand-word articles, or do they just have four hundreds words and video and maybe an audio file, or something like that?
These actually change so much. So, passive income for teenagers might have such totally different search results compared to passive income for under twenty-ones, and the content people have, and the focus they have in search results might be wildly different. So, for anything you’re looking to create, if you are also focused on search traffic for that content you’re putting out there, just go look at the search results. Look what Google is currently prioritizing and that will give you a good idea of what you should be doing as well.
Pat: So, if you go and . . . So, just literally go to Google, type in the keyword that you perhaps want to rank for, and see what’s ranking there. Go into those articles and just kind of see what they’re doing and, essentially, just try to make something better?
Glen: Exactly. So, can you make something better than what is already out there? So, I put out, for example, I think I rank number one, or I did a couple of days ago, for “expired domains SEO.” So, people who are buying domains that have expired, people didn’t renew them, but they have links, and they want to know if that helps their search traffic. I believe I rank number one for that and most of the variations. Even though I only wrote that article last month. Literally one or two months ago, and there was quite some good competition in there. So, the difference I did was I really went in-depth. I did a massive case study, it was about four thousand words. I got other experts from the SEO field and got their opinions on the website, and the case study. So it wasn’t just, “Oh yes. Expired domains for SEO can work and here’s why.” It was really incredibly in depth. Getting other sources. Getting other voices and making that better.
So, I actually, generally these days I won’t take on a topic, at least in the public stuff that people know me for, I won’t take on a topic if I don’t think I can create something better than ninety-nine percent of what other people have created. So, if you search for something, if you go out there and you search for, again just using this example, “passive income for teenagers,” and there’s someone who has dedicated entire website to that, they’ve been doing this for ten years; they’ve just been studying every business model that teenagers have been involved in, for the last decade, and you think, “I really can’t compete with that. I don’t think I can make something better.” It might be, it doesn’t have to be, but it might be a sign that you should focus on maybe another piece of content.
Pat: Okay, let’s say we do the research and we see the first three articles for a particular term are decent, they have long form articles, but you know that you can write something and create something better. You can even add videos and other things around it, and you do that and you publish your thing. Is that just, “All right. I did what I needed to do and I’m just going to let the Google gods kind of do their job and, you know, eventually I’ll see my article up there.” I would imagine that a lot of people have approached their articles in that way and just haven’t seen any results. What can we do after we publish, or even as we’re writing, to ensure that we are creating something better? And how do we get it out there? How do we make Google see the great thing that we’ve written?
Glen: Yeah, so actually, for a lot of your audience, this sounds a bit too, maybe, out of reality. But, actually, for a percentage of your audience listening to this right now, that is literally all they will need to do. There is just a lot of websites, once you’ve built up enough authority with your website, you can write something and you can probably rank it pretty easily. I rank in the first page of Google for best food blogs, best travel blogs. Actually I rank, usually the first three results, for literally best blogs, or best blogs in the world. I didn’t do anything to promote those. It’s just my domain has authority. I created a great page on those topics and then every day I get thousands of people actually landing—up to about fifteen hundred people a day—landing on those specific pages because I’ve created something for them. And I didn’t have to do anything else. I didn’t go and try and promote them, or email people for links. It just kind of happened.
So, there is a percentage of your audience who has enough domain authority that they can create something and it will actually get search traffic, but in the real world, probably ninety percent of the people listening, maybe they’re just starting out. Maybe they have never had anyone link to their website, or talk about them. So, that is going to need to be the focus.
So, something I really love. There’s a topic called “the dream one hundred.” I don’t know if you’ve ever had people talking about this on the show, so I don’t want to ramble on it, but I’m pretty obsessed with this. The idea was created by Chet Holmes, and he has a book, The Ultimate Sales Machine. Absolutely incredible book. And the idea is you find the dream one hundred people that you would need for some aspect of your business. So, Pat I know you’re having success right now with SwitchPod. You’ve got that going on with Kickstarter. So, if you were following this model, you would hone in who are one hundred people who could help me get SwitchPod and the Kickstarter out there to more people? And you would forget about everything else. All of your focus would just be on those one hundred people, who could potentially talk about it and help you sell more, and raise more money, and hopefully make this a massive thing. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
So, anyone who’s listening to this now, who doesn’t have anyone talking about their websites. Who doesn’t have anyone . . . You know they haven’t even built a community. They might have just set up their Twitter profile and they don’t have any followers. Hone in on the one hundred people who would be the dream people to talk about you. The people who would actually care about your content. The people who already have the audience that you are looking to reach. Hone in on them. Give value to them. And then once you have something worth talking about, once you’ve created the content, if it really is better than other things in your niche, you will find, eventually, that those people start talking about it for you and kind of Google ranking end up coming as a byproduct of that.
Pat: Well, it sounds a lot easier than it is executed I’m sure, because you know I could write down a list of the hundred people who I would love to speak about my new website, but what do you say to somebody who goes, “Okay, I’ve written all these things down, but they would never pay attention to me. I’m just starting out. Like even if I write something great, I’ve only got five articles on my website and they’re so busy.” What would you say to that person who has that sort of resistance to something like this? Because just writing it down isn’t going to do anything, but as soon as you start to sort of try to build relationships with these people, I can imagine that your self doubt and resistance will get in the way.
Glen: I am so happy you asked me that. So, let’s just say I could . . . If a no name person, no one you’ve ever met, no one you’ve ever contacted with, somehow got to get in front of you. If it was a Twitter DM, or an email, and they said, “Hey Pat! I’m friends with Casey Neistat and I would love him to kind of promote what you’re working on.” You do not care who they are, what kind of relationship you’ve had with them in the past, you are responding to that message.
Pat: One hundred percent.
Glen: So, there is something for everyone that you can do for them, or care about what they have going on, that they will respond to. So, maybe that was a bit of an extreme example. I don’t think too many people have a great connection with Casey Neistat, but for example, for me, I’m not a photographer. I have no connection with photography, but I actually know a very successful photographer on YouTube. He has a few hundred thousand subscribers. He would actually love to talk with you. I could make that connection happen and you would appreciate that. And if I told you what I have going on, maybe you would care about that as well. So, there is always something that someone else is working on that you can add value to.
There’s a great book, and the title itself kind of talks about the whole mission, and the title of the book is Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. So, can you create connections with people before you need people to talk about you? So, before you need links to your website, can you actually have people who would link to you already in your circle, and in your network? That kind of thing. So, some of the really, really simple things you can do and you’re thinking, “Oh, well this person doesn’t care about me.” Go and have success with their product. So, if you really care about someone, you care about what they have going on, go join their newsletter. If you enjoy it, tell them about it. Offer them a testimonial. Use their product. Have success with it. No product creator, unless they’re making millions of dollars already and get tons of people doing this, no product creator is going to ignore anyone who says, “Hey, I just had success with that product that you sell. I’d love to give you a testimonial.” No one is ignoring that. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
There’s little things you can do as well. For some people, I said, “Oh, on Retina screens. On Retina MacBook screens, your logo’s a little bit blurry. I just fixed that for you. Here’s the file.” Or “You don’t have a favicon on your website. Here’s the icon.” Just, “I took this thing from your logo, I created that favicon for you.” Just little things. Anything. It doesn’t have to be design related. What is it that you care about? What is it that you’re good at? I saw, for Gary V, I don’t know what it was, it was like ten years of Gary V, or something of his videos, and someone created, someone took three seconds of every video he’s ever done, put them in a mashup. He had never heard of them. They created this ten minute video for him. You have to know they are on Gary’s radar as soon as they do that. He actually shared this video on YouTube. So, for everyone you think that isn’t going to care about you, there is something about them that you can care about. You can focus on first, and if you are doing cool stuff as well, you can know that a lot of them will come back and try to help you with what you have going on as well.
Pat: I love that you said that, because that’s essentially what I try to teach people, is that they always have something to offer others. Even if they’re just starting out. And it may not be related to the new thing that you’re doing, but we all have unique abilities, unique super powers, and it’s really important to know what those things are because those are the ways that you can get into other people’s communities, other people’s brands, by helping them. Because you know, you had mentioned offer value into these communities. Whenever anybody says that, they never give any examples. So I’m really glad that you kept going with that, because that is the truth. Like going into other peoples communities and offering their audience value, or them themselves. I mean, this is how Derek Halpern and I got connected. He came to me and said, “Pat, I can increase your email subscriber conversions for you in just twenty minutes. Can I get on a call with you and show you how? I’m not asking for anything in return.” He did that. He showed it to me. I actually filmed the video of what he did and then I shared that. Then he and I have been friends ever since, and I give him credit for helping me increase my email subscribers all the time. And it’s exactly what you’re talking about. So, thank you for sharing that and being very specific there.
Another thing is that, you know a lot of times, and this is very common in my audience as well, we’ll do a lot of the work up front and we make these connections and we sometimes either earn our way there, or sometimes we get lucky, but we are getting rankings. We are on the first page and we’re ranking. How do we ensure that we stay there? You know, SEO and things change all the time. Do you recommend a consistent audit of your stuff? Do you recommend republishing, and if so how often? How do we remain where we’re at in the search engines, once we start ranking where we want to be?
Glen: Yes, Pat am I okay to give a specific example about your website? Is that okay with you?
Pat: It is, because I can edit anything out after you say it, if I don’t like it. I’m just kidding. Yeah, go ahead.
Glen: I don’t think you will. I don’t think you will edit it out, but it’s okay. See, I’m very biased. So, I didn’t really say this, but ninety to ninety-five percent of what Detailed does right now, detailed.com, we do audits for some of the biggest websites in the world. The last week, or the last few weeks, I’ve been auditing a five million plus page website. One of the biggest newspaper sites in the world. They are killing it in Google. They’re getting between ten and twenty million visitors per month in Google. I don’t want to be too specific, just in case anyone can figure them out. But, ten to twenty million visitors per month, from Google. Huge website. They have a lot of problems. So, even though they are killing it in Google, a lot of technical issues with their website that need to be worked on.
So, good example, just on your website Pat, is I was listening to some of your . . . I went back. I’m not a huge podcast listener, but I’m happy to listen to your stuff. I went back to some of your old episodes, that you have on the blog, and your pages are actually not secure any more. So you have an SSL certificate, but the pages on your website are loading some images over http rather than https. Not a huge issue, but it’s the kind of example where you have a hugely successful brand, people working with you, you know a great website, a great team, but there’s still little issues here and there that can be worked on. So, I am biased, because this is what I do for my business, for a lot of companies, but yeah, absolutely. It’s always a good idea to audit your content.
So, just a really, really simple example is that now we’re in 2019. A lot of the companies I work with, they have guides focused on these are the best whatever it is. The best mattresses 2017. Or the best massage chairs for 2018. And they still haven’t updated their content. So when people are searching “best massage chairs,” their tile tag says 2018, but everyone else is clicking on the tile that says 2019. So, there’s always opportunities to go back, check what is going on, but I think the important thing is if you are ranking well, and things are going well, certainly don’t be complacent with that. I think actually, more than anything, you should also try diverse traffic sources. So, consider what you’re doing on Twitter, or Facebook. Certainly don’t sit back and think that traffic is going to be forever. Maybe even try Google Ads. Just see if you . . . If you can profit with Google Ads you can just grow your audience massively. You already know what keywords are driving traffic to your website organically, can you try bidding on those and just seeing if you can still make money there? People like Google Ads, they can be expensive, but the reason Google is making billions of dollars is because people are buying those ads and still being profitable. So, there’s still lots of things you can do. Certainly don’t sit back and relax, but, yeah, I’m certainly an advocate of auditing the site.
And just one more thing, as I said earlier, is just keep looking at the search results. If you suddenly lose rankings for something, just go check the search results and see what’s there. In some cases, Google have added new video carousels. Or, you know, the featured . . . The knowledge boxes, or the answer graph and the big boxes that you see in the search results when you search for something. Maybe that’s taken over. Maybe you can look to optimize for that, but often if you lose traffic and rankings, the search results will tell you, generally, what you need to do next.
Pat: Yeah, I’ve noticed that in a number of keywords that I used to be ranking for that a lot of the sort of definition boxes and the carousel for YouTube, they’ve sort of taken over. What is Google trying to do there? And what can we do to combat that?
Glen: So, I think the first thing, the most important thing, is if you suddenly notice the traffic was gone, and Google has changed things, don’t be too reactive. I see people make this mistake, “Oh God! I lost my rankings one day, let me go buy links, or let me go change the tile tag of this page.” And they’re just too reactive and it was just . . . Google actually make, and they are open about this, they make multiple changes to their algorithm every single day. I don’t want to get the number wrong, but I believe they made over a thousand changes to their algorithm in 2018. So, you know if something is going crazy one day it may well be back the next day. So, don’t be too reactive. Give things a bit of time. It can be hard not to react to, “Oh my God! I’ve lost all my search traffic.”
Glen: But, yeah, if you have lost traffic, just go and see what changed. Did they go and add more video carousels, or the video carousel—could you maybe create video content? Is worth you creating a video, or maybe hiring someone else to create a video for you to potentially recuperate that? Is the featured snippet, is the huge answer box taking over the search results? Go and read some guides on how to get that. How to get those featured snippets, and then see if you can optimize your content for that. So, try not to be too reactive, but then just really look at the search results and see what Google is rewarding.
Pat: Gotcha. Okay, cool, thank you. You know, obviously, SEO is how we can get people into our brand and, you know you do a great job of helping big brands and businesses with that. However, how would you recommend a person, when they collect this traffic—because you know you’re helping all these websites, and you know it’s not just about the collection of traffic, it’s about what you do with it. And how are you helping maximize conversions? What’s working for you and your clients these days? Into like an email list, for example?
Glen: Yeah, so, a few important things are make it clear from the start exactly what your website is about. In the start of January 2019, every year or so, this is only the second year, so I can’t say every year, but every year I’m trying to do . . . What I do is I do audits for charity. So, I will look at your website for five minutes. I will record my screen. I’ll tell you exactly what’s wrong with it, and I made a donation to charity. So, at the start of January 2019, we raised over two thousand dollars. At the start it was ten dollars per review, then I just got too many, so I made it fifteen dollars, a hundred percent of that went to charity. So that means in the space of a couple of weeks, I reviewed over two hundred websites.
So, the most common problems I saw on these websites, first of all, they had very interesting titles, but the titles—I mean the headline on the page not the title tag—the headline on the page just said, “Simplicity, not perfection,” or something like that. Which is cool and interesting, but it tells you nothing about the website or the business, and you have to go and read all the small text to figure out what’s going on. So, if that is you, if I cannot go to your homepage and get the hook straight away . . . If I don’t see—for example, the hook on Pat’s website is the nice little thing in the top right hand bar which says, you know, income stats, and things like that, or where he’s been featured, or the Will It Fly? book, and how successful that was. Something like that hooks me in straight away as a first time reader. If you don’t have something like that on your website, I would certainly look to make that happen and really focus on the headline of the homepage, or the pages that people land on the most. And make sure that hooks people in.
Another thing, just because you brought up the email section, this is another thing that people make a mistake with a lot, in my opinion, is that they say “newsletter” or “sign up here” or “give me your email address” and that is the big heading before the opt-in form. I would say about seventy percent of websites do this. So “newsletter signup” or “get our updates” and they don’t say why. They don’t say what is the reason. What is the pain point I’m going to solve for you? What is the benefit you’re going to get straight away from getting on my email list? So, mine is something like “get more search traffic.” I don’t say “newsletter,” and that’s the big font. I say, “Get more search traffic to your website.” You already know exactly what I’m promising to do for you, if you get on my email list. So, I think that’s the important one.
Make sure the headline makes sense. Don’t make people have to guess what the website is about. Don’t make people have to read your domain name to know what the website is about. It should be clear within a few seconds. And especially when it comes to email opt-ins, make sure you’re addressing the pain point and that it’s creative and interesting, and really hooks people in to what it is that you do and what your business is focused on.
Pat: Great. Well, thank you Glen. I have one more question for you, before we sign off here.
Pat: And, again, make sure everybody check out detailed.com, and he sends some amazing newsletters from there. And, also, at gaps.com. Just some really good, and sometimes overwhelming, but you know if this is what you’re interested in then definitely this is the person to go to. So, thank you again for coming on Glen. The final question is: Now that we are in 2019 and looking forward into the future, what can we look out for? How can we stay ahead of what is happening and the changes that are being made, in addition to always continually thinking about our audience and how to best write for them and create content and rank in certain ways? What are the, maybe, one or two top things we should be looking forward to, and how can we sort of take advantage of those as the future comes?
Glen: Sure, that’s a good question. There’s a bit of a running joke in the SEO world is that every year people say the same things. Google is going to change. Search results are going to be different. Voice search is going to be more important. And, you know, people have been saying that for years. I’m not disagreeing with those, but people kind of tend to say the same things over and over again. I think the important thing, with Google especially, because you know we’re not so worried about Bing and DuckDuckGo as much as ranking our websites. It’s just see what they’re doing product wise. So, we have Google Home, Google Assistant, how are they trying to solve peoples problems?
A lot of people refer to SEO these days as kind of a growing movement of people who refer to these search engine optimization as answer engine optimization. So, people are just speaking to their phone and waiting for search results, and Google are actually giving us more ways to optimize for that. So, I would just kind of . . . They have a blog. They have a Google Webmaster Blog, where they tell webmasters what is going on, what is being updated. They have a few blogs of great info to watch out for.
So, I don’t want to make any crazy predictions. I think something that is never going to go away is ads in search results. I believe that Google . . . I believe that ads were clicked on sixty-six percent more times in 2018 than they were in 2017, so if you’re seeing more ads in search results, or you think you are, you’re probably not wrong. There are a lot more ads than there were before, and usually fewer organic results. Google is getting into hotels. They’re getting into travel and kind of getting in those industries. So, for the large part, you just have to watch what’s going on. No one really knows, unless you . . . Even if you work at Google, you’re probably held back from knowing some things. I think, just kind of the theme of this talk, is just go to the search results. See what is going on. See what is happening. Follow Google blogs if you have to, but otherwise just don’t focus too much on one traffic source. See if you can diverse. You know, like Pat, you’re not just focused on search. You have your email list. You have your podcast subscribers on iTunes and other places. So, don’t just focus on one channel. Really just watch the search results to see what’s going on and make that something you check in on semi-regularly, so you’re not out of the loop.
Pat: Awesome. Glen, thank you so much for taking the time and coming on again. It’s really great to catch up with you and see all that you’re involved with. Man, you’re just doing some bigger things every time I see you and check on you and see what you’re up to, even from the sidelines. You just keep blowing my mind man. Like thank you so much for being an inspiration. One more time, where can people go to see what you’re up to?
Glen: Yeah, so again Pat, thank you so much. It’s been nine years. So, if we talk in nine years again, hopefully we’re both doing more exciting things as well. Yeah, so if you want to reach out to me, I check my emails all personally. So, [email protected]. So, detailed is a dictionary spelling of that word. [email protected] Detailed.com is my main focus these days. So, yeah, that’s it.
Pat: Detailed.com. Glen, thanks so much-
Glen: Oh, sorry, can I just add it’s Glen with one N. Everyone calls me Glen with two N’s. So, just one N.
Pat: Okay. [email protected] Glen with one N.
Pat: Awesome. Thanks man. Take care and have a great one.
Glen: Thanks man.
Pat: All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode with Glen Allsopp. Again, you can find him and all of his case studies and sign up for his amazing newsletter and his very detailed content at detailed.com. It just has that magic touch when it comes to ranking websites, and he’s a great person who has a lot to share. And always really actually cares about people, which is the coolest thing. So, make sure you check that out. If you want to get the show notes and links to all the things that we mentioned today, all you have to do is go to smartpassiveincome.com/session371. Once again that’s smartpassiveincome.com/session371. If you wanted to give him a shout out on the Twitter, as our good friend Chris Tucker would say, give him a shout out @ViperChill, just like it sounds, and make sure you tag me on that too @PatFlynn.
Anyway, hit subscribe if you haven’t already. Team Flynn you’re amazing. Thank you so much for sticking with me in this episode. I appreciate you so, so much. And like I said earlier, if you haven’t hit subscribe yet, do that now. If all goes according to plan, sometimes plans change, but if all goes according to . . . I can’t even speak I’m so excited. If all goes according to plan, we’re going to have just a giant megastar scheduled for the next podcast. So, you make sure you hit subscribe so you get that delivered to you. It’s going to be somebody who is pretty much everywhere right now. So, I’ll leave it up to you to guess who that might be, but until next week, keep crushing it. Team Flynn, I love you. Team Flynn for the win.
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