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 I could ... you've 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.
Glen Allsop: So there ...
Pat Flynn: You're listening to one of the several just amazing strategies that our special guest today has mentioned on this particular episode. This is Glen Allsop, formerly from viperchill.com, although I think he still has that website. You may remember that name from episode three, yes, episode three 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.
Pat Flynn: 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 into some of the detail there. This may be one of those episodes where you might wanna 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.
Pat Flynn: And again, I'm just super thankful to catch up with Glen again. He's an amazing, brilliant person who, when I interviewed him awhile back, he was only 21. And now he's almost 30, 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 is 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 Flynn: 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, whatever podcast player you end up using.
Pat Flynn: But again, this is an episode featuring Glen Allsop from Detailed.com. He also owns Gaps, yes, G-A-P-S.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. 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 Allsop with two Ls and an S-O-P. Sounds like I'm rapping. But anyway, here we go. Let's get to it.
Pat Flynn: Glen, welcome back to the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thanks for being here, man. How are you?
Glen Allsop: 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 Flynn: 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 Allsop: I'm in Thailand at the moment, so 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 Flynn: And you're all over and you're doing a lot of things. And for those of you who don't know, Glen Allsop was the featured guest in episode three. Yes, episode three 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. And first of all, I just wanna get caught up and see, what is it, eight, almost nine years later now, what are you up to, what are you doing, where is your attention these days, Glen?
Glen Allsop: Yeah, so it was crazy. I started listening to the start of episode three today. I kinda wanted to see what we talked about, and I couldn't do it. I just sounded so terrible. It's like one of my first ever podcast interviews. I just couldn't listen to it, and I played about 30 seconds, I had to stop it. So yeah, that was an honor, nine years ago, almost nine years ago, and I still, even today, even this month, I still get people saying, "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.
Glen Allsop: 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 building ... We talked a lot about pain points, so 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's such a small percentage. I didn't know what you were gonna ask me today and what we were gonna talk about, but I started looking at all the things I'd done in the past nine years, and it was a pretty huge list, but that is still part of what I'm doing, but it is a real smart part of it today.
Pat Flynn: And you had a website, viperchill.com. So you might remember, those of you who are 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. And you were a big inspiration to me when I first started, 'cause you were this young kid, I think, when we first chatted. How old are you in 2010? Weren't you like 20, or 21, or something like that?
Glen Allsop: Yeah, exactly, 20 years old.
Pat Flynn: And now, almost 30, which is kinda 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 Allsop: I wrote some of them down, just so I was just curious for myself. And I thought, god, if I rattle off a list, I'm gonna 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 10 things that just didn't work out. I think that's always, I think in 10 years, if we have this conversation again, I'm gonna say the same thing.
Glen Allsop: 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. 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 that for a mid five figure fee. I had a WordPress plugin, which you were actually a big part of helping me with. I think that 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 an affiliate for that, and that was, we made multiple, or I made multiple six figures with that before selling that business.
Glen Allsop: 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 their 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 gonna tell everyone how I did it. And I have a feeling, what I know from you, that has kind of been your mindset as well.
Glen Allsop: So, had a lot of success personally, helped a lot of other people on their journey, but I should put the big caveat that for every project, or every book deal, or whatever, every website that I've sold, there's also been 10 or even 20 websites I've built that just never went anywhere. So, that's a lot of failures in there, but quite a few successes as well.
Pat Flynn: 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. And 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 wanna go see those things?
Glen Allsop: It's still there. I'm 99% 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.
Glen Allsop: 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. 4,000 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 Flynn: Cool. Well, we'll link to that in the show notes and all the other things. Now, I wanna 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 Allsop: Yeah, so, the thing I started out with when I was 15, 16 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, this SEO thing is really interesting. I wanna learn more about how Google works, and what is behind that.
Glen Allsop: So I set up ViperChill, started documenting my journey. And I was like, I just wanna do this SEO thing. I don't really care about the DJing thing. I just wanna 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.
Glen Allsop: And that actually led me into 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, I wasn't really having success landing clients, but I was having success ranking my own websites. And then, maybe I think it was around 2013, 2014, I was always focused on my own sites until then, and then I kind of 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.
Glen Allsop: And 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, 90, 95% 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'm 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 Flynn: And where is that business at? You haven't mentioned the name of it yet.
Glen Allsop: Yeah, so that is on Detailed.com, D-E-T-A-I-L-E-D.
Pat Flynn: Detailed.com. You also own another website, right, gaps.com? What is that?
Glen Allsop: Yeah, so Gaps, the reason a lot of people ask me this, what is the difference, why did 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.
Glen Allsop: So I thought, the thing that really did well for me for ViperChill, a lot of the articles people really loved, is when I kinda 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 them happened. I talked about the success story of ViralNova, and that was a kind of very popular ... I think they sold for about $100 million. Basically, they would just, when viral news was taking over Facebook newsfeeds, I talked about that, a few people copied it, and they made millions of dollars, and they thanked me for that.
Glen Allsop: 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 gonna focus on one thing. I'm just gonna 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 Flynn: Great, okay. So now I wanna just 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 always providing value, always write great things, and that way they get shared, and whatnot.
Pat Flynn: 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 Allsop: Sure. So maybe this is not the answer everyone wants to hear, but actually, everything is working with SEO. Because there are billions of searches made everyday, 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.
Glen Allsop: There are people who, there are still kind of quote-unquote loopholes. Usually they involve back links and unique sources of back links to rank your website higher. So, the ideal answer for SEO is, create good content, focus on the audience you'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 quote-unquote gray hat or shady things, and they are still making a lot of money in ranking websites very well.
Glen Allsop: 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. Sumit, who's based in India, he set up this website, and all he did was he bought the domain name that already had people talking about it, and then he just suddenly started ranking. He was making up to $35,000 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.
Glen Allsop: 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 wanna talk about, it's thinking about what would 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 they're interested in what you have to say.
Glen Allsop: So generally, it should be, if you're thinking about the long term, it is about creating a 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 kinda connect with people or have people talk about their website, which is the most important thing these days.
Pat Flynn: 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 Allsop: I think it's fair to say it depends on the industry. So, questionable drugs or anything like that, people who wanna 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 forex and some verticals. There will always be search results that just change complete, websites with the first 10 results one day, they won't even be in the top 10 ... the first 10 will totally be gone the next day. Some search results just change all of the time.
Glen Allsop: So it's definitely not a necessity. It does kinda depend on the industry that you're playing in. But I just didn't wanna say, just write great content, 'cause that's not a good answer. The truth is a lot of people are not ... not everyone is just doing that, and still, they are still having success.
Pat Flynn: What are some of those things that they are doing, that we can do, that ... I think some people who might be listening to this, they 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.
Pat Flynn: And 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 gonna people who go, oh, well, what are those strategies that we can do, that are on that level. And I don't wanna promote, and I'm not a proponent of using black hat strategies. Gray hat strategies are another thing, and again, like you said, gray is a blurred line. It could be very gray, and it could be just not that gray.
Pat Flynn: And I remember, back in the niche site dual days, there were some things that I were doing that I was taught that were okay at the time, that aren't okay anymore, such as setting up secondary blogs that then point to your primary one, which then built 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 Allsop: 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 gonna rank because they are doing that. I think you shouldn't kinda 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.
Glen Allsop: I haven't analyzed their strategies, so please don't kinda 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 10 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 servers can have things, their search traffic and their business can disappear very quickly.
Glen Allsop: So, I wouldn't let that stop you. I would just see it as an opportunity, just not everyone will 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 kinda thing, just really, really bad stuff.
Glen Allsop: 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 a domain name and kind of 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's is not gray hat, that's just a smart thing you could possibly do.
Glen Allsop: 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.
Glen Allsop: 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 Flynn: Gotcha. Okay, so, when it comes to writing for not just what we know our community wants, but also for search engines, 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 hone in on what lanes to be writing into?
Glen Allsop: Yeah, so a few good tools out there, I like to use Ahrefs. Just a disclaimer, I did work with them as a client in 2018. They're a huge SaaS company. But I was using them long before we worked together. So Ahrefs is a good one, they're a great keyword too.
Pat Flynn: I use them too, yeah. They're fantastic.
Glen Allsop: 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 awhile. 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 kinda tell you if something got 100,000 shares, but never picked up any links. It's probably not doing that well in search results. So, they're not really a link or search traffic focused tool, but BuzzSumo is pretty useful for that as well.
Pat Flynn: 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 Allsop: Sure, so I think that the search results tell you everything, and that is, we're kind of lucky that that is the case. So for example, if you said to me, "Glen, I wanna write an article on passive income advice for people under 21." 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, just go to the search results. Go and see who is ranking for the terms that you, maybe 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.
Glen Allsop: 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 kinda websites, or is it new websites you don't recognize the name from, and then go look at their content. Do they have 10,000 word articles, or do they just have 400 words, a video, and maybe an audio file, or something like that.
Glen Allsop: And these actually change so much. So, passive income for teenagers might have such totally different search results compared to passive income for under 21s, 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 the content you're putting out there, just go and 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 Flynn: So, if you go and ... So just literally go to Google, type in the keyword that you perhaps wanna rank for, and see what's ranking there, go into those articles, and just kinda see what they're doing, and essentially just try to make something better?
Glen Allsop: 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 wanna know if that helps their search traffic. I believe I rank number one for that in 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.
Glen Allsop: So the difference I did is I really went in depth. I did a massive case study. It was about 4,000 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 or SEO can work, and here's why. It was really incredibly in depth, getting other sources, getting other voices, and making them better.
Glen Allsop: 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 99% of what other people have created. So if you search for something, you go out there and you search for, again, just using this example, passive income for teenagers, and there's someone who has dedicated an entire website to that. They've been doing this for 10 years and they've just been studying every business models 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 Flynn: Okay, look, 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 gonna let the Google gods kind of do their job, and eventually I'll see my article out there. I would imagine that a lot of people have approached their articles in that way, and just haven't seen any results.
Pat Flynn: 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 Allsop: 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 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.
Glen Allsop: 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 everyday I get thousands of people actually landing, up to 1,500 people a day landing on those specific pages because I 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.
Glen Allsop: So there is a percentage of your audience who has enough domain authority, that they can create something and will actually get search traffic. But in the real world, probably 90% 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 gonna need to be the focus.
Glen Allsop: So, something I really love, there's a topic called the Dream 100, I don't know if you've ever had people talking about this on the show, so I don't wanna 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 100 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 the 100 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 be just on those 100 people, who could potentially talk about it, and help you sell more, and raise more money, and hopefully make this a massive thing.
Glen Allsop: So, anyone who's listening to this now, who doesn't have anyone talking about their websites, who doesn't have anyone ... 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 100 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 rankings end up coming as a byproduct of that.
Pat Flynn: Well, sounds a lot easier than it is to execute, I'm sure, 'cause I could write down a list of the 100 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. 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? 'cause just writing it down isn't gonna do anything, but as soon as you start to try to build relationships with these people, I can imagine your self doubt and resistance will get in the way.
Glen Allsop: I am so happy you asked me that. So, let's just say I could ... you've a no-name person, no one you've ever made, 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: 100%.
Glen Allsop: 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.
Glen Allsop: So, there is always something that someone else is working on that you can add value to, and 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, 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 kinda thing?
Glen Allsop: 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 gonna 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.
Glen Allsop: Or, there's little things you can do as well. For some people, I said, on retina screens, on retina and MacBook screens, your logo is 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. 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.
Glen Allsop: I saw, for Gary V, he had, I don't know what it was, it was like 10 years of Gary V, or something with 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 10 minute video for him. You have to know they're on Gary's radar as soon as they do that. He actually shared this video on YouTube.
Glen Allsop: So for everyone you think that isn't gonna care about you, there is something about them that you can care about, you can focus on first, and if you're 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 Flynn: 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 superpowers, 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.
Pat Flynn: 'cause you had mentioned, offer value into these communities. And 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. Going into other people's communities and offering their audience values, or them themselves. 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 20 minutes. Can I get on a call with you and show you how? I'm not asking for anything in return."
Pat Flynn: And he did that, he showed it to me. I actually filmed a video of what he did, and then I shared that, and 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.
Pat Flynn: Another thing is that 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? 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 wanna be?
Glen Allsop: Pat, am I okay to give a specific example about your website? Is that okay with you?
Pat Flynn: It is, because I can edit anything out after you say it if I don't like it. I'm just kidding. But yeah-
Glen Allsop: 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 90 to 95% 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, it's between 10 and 20 million visitors per month in Google. I don't wanna be too specific, just in case anyone can figure them out. But 10 to 20 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.
Glen Allsop: 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 anymore. 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 a kind of example where you have a hugely successful brand, people working with you, great website, a great team, but there's still little issues here and there that can be worked on.
Glen Allsop: 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 title tag says 2018, but everyone else is clicking on the title that says 2019.
Glen Allsop: 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 Google traffic is gonna be forever.
Glen Allsop: Maybe even try Google ads. 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. 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.
Glen Allsop: 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 the featured, the knowledge boxes, or the answer graph, and the big boxes that you see in 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 ranking, the search results will tell you generally what you need to do next.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I've noticed that in a number of keywords that I used to be ranking for that, a lot of the definition boxes, and the carousel for YouTube, those have sort of taken over. What is Google trying to do there, and what can we do to combat that?
Glen Allsop: So I think the first thing, the most important thing is if you suddenly notice that traffic was gone, and Google have 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 title tag of this page. And they're just too reactive, and it was just, Google actually make, and they're open about this, they make multiple changes to their algorithm every single day. I don't wanna get the number wrong, but I believe they made over 1,000 changes to their algorithm in 2018.
Glen Allsop: So, 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. 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 it 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 result?
Glen Allsop: Go and read some guide 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 Flynn: Gotcha. Okay, cool, thank you. Obviously, SEO is how we can get people into our brand, and 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? 'cause you're helping all these websites, and 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 Allsop: 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 charities.
Glen Allsop: So, at the start of January 2019, we raised over $2,000. At the start, it was $10 per review, then I just got too many, so I made it $15. 100% of that went to charity. So that means in the space of a couple of weeks, I reviewed over 200 websites. So, the most common problems I saw on these websites, first of all is 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.
Glen Allsop: So if that is you, if I cannot go to your homepage and get the hook straightaway, 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, 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 straightaway 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.
Glen Allsop: Another thing, just 'cause 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 70% 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 gonna solve for you, what is the benefit you're gonna get straightaway from getting on my email list.
Glen Allsop: 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 are 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 Flynn: Great. Well, thank you, Glen. I have one more question for you before we sign off here, 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 if this is what you are interested in, then definitely, this is the person to go to. So thank you again for coming on, Glen.
Pat Flynn: 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 take advantage of those as the future comes?
Glen Allsop: Sure. That's a good question. There's a bit of a kind of running joke in the SEO world that every people say the same things, like Google is gonna change, search results are gonna be different, voice search is gonna be more important, and people have been saying that for years. I'm not disagreeing with those, but it's, people tend to kinda say the same things over and over again.
Glen Allsop: I think the important thing with Google, especially, because you know, we're not so worried about being in DuckDuckGo as much as ranking our websites, is just see what they're doing product-wise. So we have Google Home, we have Google Assistant. How are they trying to solve people's problems?
Glen Allsop: So, a lot of people actually 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, 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.
Glen Allsop: So I don't wanna make any crazy predictions. I think something that is never going to go away is ads and search results. I believe that Google ... I believe that ads were clicked on 66% 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 are getting into hotels, they're getting into travel, and kind of getting in those industries.
Glen Allsop: So, for the large part, you just have to watch what's going on. No one really knows. 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, following Google blogs if you have to, but otherwise, just don't focus too much on one traffic source. See if you can diverse. 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 kind of something you check in on semi-regularly, so you're not out of the loop.
Pat Flynn: 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, and 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. Thank you so much for being an inspiration.
Pat Flynn: One more time, where can people go to see what you're up to?
Glen Allsop: So again, Pat, thank you so much. It's been nine years, so if we talk in nine years again, hopefully we have ... hopefully we're both doing more exciting things as well. Yeah, so if you wanna reach out to me, I check my emails all personally, so [email protected], so detailed is the dictionary spelling of that world. [email protected] Detailed.com is my main focus these days, so yeah, that's it.
Pat Flynn: Detailed.com. Glen, thanks so much, man. I appreciate you-
Glen Allsop: Sorry. Sorry, can I just add, it's Glen with one N. Everyone calls me Glen with two Ns. There's just one N.
Pat Flynn: Okay, [email protected], Glen with one N.
Glen Allsop: Yeah.
Pat Flynn: Awesome. Thanks, man. Take care, and have a great one.
Glen Allsop: Thanks, Pat.
Pat Flynn: All right, hope you enjoyed that episode with Glen Allsop. 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. He 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.
Pat Flynn: So make sure you check that out. If you wanna 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.
Pat Flynn: 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 ... I can't even speak, I'm so excited. If all goes according to plan, we're gonna have just a giant mega star scheduled for the next podcast. So you make sure you hit subscribe so you get that delivered to you. It's gonna 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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Special thanks to Glen Allsop for joining me this week and to Ahrefs for sponsoring today's show. Until next time!
Today I talk to Glen Allsop, serial entrepreneur and SEO expert, to learn what you can do to fly up the page rankings.
- How Glen got started making money from his blog.
- What he's been up to in the last nine years.
- Why there's ten failures behind every success.
- Why he ultimately backed out of a seemingly great book deal.
- Why Glen has split his business into two different websites.
- What articles Glen has written that could make a difference for you.
- What grey hat strategies you can incorporate to build your business.
- Which tools Glen uses to analyze page rankings.
- How to look at top search results and what to do about it.
- How Glen puts himself in front of influencers.
- Why patience is so important with SEO.
Note: Some of the resources below may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.
- “Sorry, I’m Not a ‘for Dummies’ Writer” by Glen Allsop
- “How to Reach 100,000,000 Unique Visitors in Just 6 Months” by Glen Allsop
- “Expired Domains for SEO: Generating Up to $35K/m from Best Product Reviews” by Glen Allsop
- The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes [Amazon affiliate link]
- Meet the SwitchPod
- Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty by Harvey Mackay [Amazon affiliate link]
- Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn
- The Google Webmaster Central Blog
- Ahrefs Thanks Ahrefs for sponsoring this episode! Ahrefs helps you learn why your competitors rank so high and what you need to do to outrank them. Get help with keyword research and monitoring of your website's performance.