Over the next couple of days you’re in for a treat because I’ve managed to secure an interview with Aaron Wall – a blogger and author that has literally added thousands (if not tens of thousands) to my own blogging earnings over the last few years as a result of me reading his great eBook – SEObook. Aaron’s book is 300 pages of pure Search Engine Optimization gold and he’s been generous enough to answer some of my questions.
His answers are so good that I’ve decided to split this into a two part interview so you don’t scan over them too fast and miss something.
Aaron – thanks for your time. Can you give us a short introduction to yourself and what you do?
I am a blogger who wrote a popular book about SEO. I also publish a wide array of websites and do a limited amount of high end SEO consulting with my partner Scott Smith at ClientsideSEM.com.
In addition to writing about SEO I offer free tools to help people automate doing research. I recently created a couple Google Gadgets that were well received, and my programmer created SEO for Firefox, which puts marketing data right in the search results.
It seems that a lot of people are getting into SEO at the moment – how and when did you get into it?
My first website, in early 2003, was a poorly done rant site. I wanted others to see my opinions and I figured the easiest and cheapest way to do so was to learn how to make it rank in search engines. I asked lots of questions at forums and then started moderating many of them. I had a site that listed my own notes about SEO stuff and a person hired me before I knew I was selling anything. A few months later they had already seen a 20x return on their spend and I felt pretty good about that.
By the end of 2003 I was ranking in the top 10 of Google’s results for search engine marketing, and my article about the Google florida update became popular and got me more client inquires than I could handle.
I’ve said on numerous occasions that I’ve learned almost everything that I know about SEO from your resource – SEO Book – but can you tell us why you wrote it and why ProBlogger readers might want to consider making the purchase?
When I got on the web I bought SEO services from a scammy company that ripped me off. I also went down many dead end paths, trying to find where there was free traffic, doing arbitrage from unclean sources that stole my money, signing up for programs that teach you the world revolves around spreading their crap. etc. That led me to an inbox full of spam but no rankings.
I saw at the end of 2003 that the client services lifestyle was a bit feast or famine. I was getting about 2 calls a month. Then overnight it was up to like 30 in a day. Then it went back down a bit. And honestly I tended to undersell services because I didn’t fully appreciate the value of search off the start.
After I started learning more about SEO and business I thought it would be a good idea to share what I knew. My goal when I first wrote SEO Book was to write the book I wished I had read when I first got on the web. The first version was a modest 24 page HTML document that I gave away on Christmas of 2003.
Search has since got more complex and important, my experience has increased, and my knowledge of marketing has increased. As a result, the book is now over 300 pages, and rather than talking about do this do that in specific white and black my book also offers reasons why I think an idea will work or not.
When it comes to building links to a blog – do you recommend bloggers buy links, ‘use’ social media sites, trade links, linkbait, something else…. or some combination of the above?
I say try everything and see what works best for you. You might come across a trick that I haven’t used much that works well for you given your personality and your market.
- I wouldn’t recommend renting too many links right out of the gate, because it adds cost and you may not be able to recoup the costs unless you are business savvy, plus sites get trusted more as they age. I would recommend listing in the Yahoo! Directory and some of the other higher quality general directories and blogging directories if you intend on creating a long term successful blog as a business.
- Comment on related blogs and participate in related communities. These may not provide direct links, but links flow naturally after you have subscribers. You need to raise awareness if you are new and starting from scratch.
- After you have awareness many people will frequently cite you just because they are subscribed to you.
- Buy specific ads from specific sites.
- Take concepts you see poorly done and do them exceptionally well, then use email to notify people who might care. Don’t forget to ping people you know well, especially if you have done them favors too.
- Create social content as a form of marketing. Interview people, create tools, hold contests, give out awards, etc.
One other thing I would probably add is that for most people it is probably not going to be worth it to spend tons and tons of time building up a social media account on a large generalist website. If you only have a few hours a day to spend online then you should spend most of that reading and participating on sites specifically about your topic, or writing your site.
Tomorrow I’ll share the second part to this interview with Aaron and will ask him about the best ever link building strategy that he’s used, where he gives 5 key SEO tips that bloggers should implement, where he talks about Page Rank and gives some hints on how to launch a successful ebook (plus more).
In the mean time – take a little time out to check out SEO Book – which comes with a money back guarantee, free lifetime updates (and he does update) plus a few worthwhile bonuses.