New Business – Introduction

Hi guys,

Over the past 2-3 months I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up a new business. The business model itself is very close to the SEO / Digital marketing agency model but it’s something I personally haven’t seen anyone offering, but has the potential to become extremely successful. This is only a pre-launch notification to individuals who might be interested in following along. I don’t want to reveal too much about the business yet until it is fully up and running, but as of today I have made the decision to create this business.

The reason I’m going to do it as a case study through the SEO Oasis blog is so people can get an idea of what needs to be done when setting up a business. I’m a huge believer in putting in the effort up-front, in the first year, 2 years, heck 10 years if it takes that long, but once its in a certain position, you can make X amount of money on a semi-passive basis. I say semi passive as the business model in question still relies on clients and there is always a level of work involved in client style businesses.

The Marketing

Marketing the business especially in the early days is going to be done through SEO (surprise) and also an emphasis on Paid ads. Unlike SEO this market isn’t as flooded and as a result should be easier to get up and running, the main issue is going to be convincing individuals about the profitability of the service (again similar to seo.) Below is the 5 marketing channels I am going to be utilising:

  1. SEO – Ranking on Google for the primary keywords as quickly as possible.
  2. PPC – Google & Facebook ad campaigns.
  3. Blog Comments – For traffic / referrals and not the seo value.
  4. Guest Posts – This one could be huge or a flop but I will likely try to get on some authortative blogs to gain referrals and again the SEO value is a nice bonus.
  5. Quora – Looking to generate a couple of leads through quora answering.
  6. Forums – Depending on how much time is left over I may become active on some marketing/business forums with this service.
  7. Video – Ranking YouTube videos for relevant keywords.

This is all I can say so far, but the general aim of the business will be to generate £1,500 in profit (around 3 “jobs” per month.) I will be doing monthly updates here, so if you want to say up to date give me a follow on twitter and look out for the “NEW POST” tweets! Cheers.

“Bing” SEO Case Study – [UPDATE]

A few months ago I launched a brand new website with the aim to rank his site in Bing using black hat SEO to see if this was a profitable process. Bing is a lot easier (and quicker) to rank in than Google, so instead of going for a low competition niche and ranking long tails in Google I decided to try to rank a highly competitive niche in Bing and see what the results were. If you haven’t read the details and strategy, you can do so here.

I started the campaign in January so we are almost 4 months in now.

The results are completely unexpected.

At the start of April I noticed a very interesting concept that I have been continuing, this is using social (and a lot of it) to cover the black hat links. As this continued the site was able to climb up in Google as well as Bing for some rather large keywords. Screenshots below.

Current Rankings for lol

The 2 keywords I initially targeted have about 4,500 and 10,000 monthly searches and rank 24th and 39th at the moment. The organic traffic is also starting to come in, 4/5 UV a day currently.

So as a result of the site ranking in Google a lot better than I thought it would, I’ve decided to lower the velocity and aim to rank in Google instead of Bing (because why not.) The methods are still the same, but the link velocity is going to be reduced, so now I guess this becomes a Black Hat Google Case Study… But I’m cool with that.

The next 30 days

Over the next 30 days I will be continuing my social + black hat linking experiments. If the site begins to get into the top of page 2 realm I will also be purchasing a press release and may consider starting to clean up the link profile. A quick note on this – One of my favourite ranking strategy involves ranking a site using black hat techniques and then slowly working to clean up the link profile. You can slowly remove the sape links and instead replace them with high quality PBN links or even guest posts / contextual links if you have the budget.

The site could drop back or get penalised completely so I don’t want to reveal too much of the ranking strategy itself yet.

Oh and as a sidenote to the people who use Majestic stats to see how high quality a domain is. Check this out, these are the stats for this heavily saped, black hat site. Majestic can be so easily manipulated so a TF30+ domain can really just be a piece of crap domain.

Majestic SS

Next update on 1st May….

My First Foreign SEO Website – 1 Year On

Almost a year ago today I started a foreign seo project. The niche was weight loss and the language was Spanish. 1 year in and these are the results and my thoughts.

To cut a long story short, it did not go as well as I thought it would, but not for the reason I thought it would….If that makes sense….. My biggest concerns were simply ranking for the keywords, and everything else associated with the language barrier. For example creating content in Spanish…. But luckily I found a good Spanish content writer early and got some nice articles on the site and the language barrier wasn’t really an issue thanks to Google translate and semrush.

My biggest mistake by far was not researching the market effectively. SEO, whether that be client seo or affiliate seo is like having your own mini business. 99% of the time you only sell through your website, but you still need to know what the back-end looks like. I had an old client who wasn’t happy about the number of leads they were getting through, despite explaining conversions and simple stuff like phone number placement ect, they just couldn’t get their head around why people were on the site and didn’t call (turns out they did call, just weren’t converted to clients or customers.) The same thing happens in affiliate SEO (in any language!) Ensure you know what you will be selling before getting started. I’ll be the first to admit that I am bad at monetisation!! The serpshaker review I did last week pretty much sums that up too. Learn from my mistakes and ensure there is some sort of a market before going into a niche.

Results

The results were poor, but only from an earnings point of view. I was very happy with the traffic, which is strange as usually both are related to each other. My keyword research was great and we even ranked 1st for the Spanish version of ‘weight loss products’ but the market was simply too Cold. The organic traffic stats are below for the year.

Spanish aff site stats

Initially I monetised the audience to a specific product. The sales page was in Spanish and the results were horrid! Zero sales from close to 590 clicks. That’s not random clicks either. Those are targeted clicks! After this I had a bit of a break from the site and just decided to put adsense on the site and let it do what it would.

The site only generates currently about 15 quid a month which for a highly ranking weight loss site is pretty terrible. I haven’t touched the site in almost 6 months and it still continues to rank and make that money. I’m a big fan of scale, so if that £15 a month was quick and inexpensive to earn then I’d say this project was a success as I could simply scale the method, build 100 sites a month and get to a six figure business inside a year…..

Unfortunately with link costs, hosting, domain, social signals and a bunch of other things my costs came close to £700!! So needless to say I won’t be doing this again. Moving forward on the site I will probably just leave it be, let it generate it’s pennies and then eventually just flip it for a couple of hundred quid and try to break even from it.

Moral

The moral of the story is simple, test the market before going into it! I would have been better targeting a long tail English keyword and monetising that traffic than ranking 1st for a number of large Spanish keywords!

Foreign seo in general is a lot easier to rank, and if I can reach #1 for weight loss products with 600 quid and about 20 hours of work, you can rank for some huge stuff! Just be careful of the market and make sure it converts and is worth the initial funds and time.

Thanks.

Tom.

SerpShaker Review – My Personal Strategy & Thoughts

Before I get started I just want to say I use Serpshaker quite a lot, but am by no means an expert. I’ve also included my affiliate link throughout the article, but if you don’t want to purchase via that then just Google it, it’s the same price either way. Currently I have around 120 websites all built with the serpshaker plugin, generating around £5-£10 a day through adsense. It’s not a lot by any means but the method is highly scalable and I could be earning 10x this amount if I hadn’t made a couple of big mistakes in monetisation which I will outline below.

What is Serpshaker?

Serpshaker is a WordPress plugin created by Andres Tobar. There are a number of updates to help automate the build process, but at $147 / month I think this is a bit steep for the average beginner. The price of the plugin itself is only $127 one time, which is very cheap when I explain the power of it later on. You can also pick up the Pro version which contains some extra training, not really needed BUT it allows you the rights to flip the sites you’ve built. This is a big one, as you can sell these sites for thousands in some cases, but more on that in the monetisation section.

How does it Work?

Serpshaker works by automatically creating thousands of posts with relevant locational elements. For example you create the initial “shaker page”, on this page you enter all the relevant text, images, videos, maps and {city} tags. The city elements are then changed to the relevant city (whether you target the UK or the US or even worldwide.)

So we will use an example based on a website I have built with this tool. Let’s say one of your clients was a plumber and had a wide service range (maybe South Wales.) Instead of trying to rank their website for the individual cities one at a time, you can build a South Wales serpshaker site based around Plumbers. This would then index and rank #1 for the very small towns and still likely rank on page 1 for larger ones. Obviously for competitive niches and cities the posts won’t rank as it is too competitive and you’ll need links to rank for that. Once indexed you can then simply overlay your client’s website and generate leads inside a couple of weeks! Generally the more cities you target the more leads you get in.

You can also use this method in reverse, building the site and then setting up call tracking for leads sent to a plumber. But again more on this in the next section.

Building a UK serpshaker site with over 7,000 posts, only takes between 20-30 mins. Even less once you become more efficient with the method used.

Serpshaker Example website

Duplicate Content

I can already hear all the SEOs crying about duplicate content…. “It won’t rank because you didn’t have unique content….” Well I’ve got even more news for you. When building the sites I don’t even write my own content, I take content from websites that are already ranking for the target keywords and simply add the city short-codes to them. This means I don’t even need to spend 20 mins writing an article. Sure, you can but the results are exactly the same. Below is a screenshot from a single serpshaker site’s GWT.

Click Throughs

As you can see the site gets around 50-60 clicks a day through from Google. This is one of the more successful sites, but if you build them in the correct way you can have 10 sites up generating 500 clicks a day in as little as 2-3 weeks. The only costs are hosting (£20-£50 / month), domain names (10 x £5) and Serpshaker ($127 one time fee.)

You might also be thinking these sites only rank for really long tail keywords and hence don’t have all that much value… Think again. The below screenshot shows the search terms that came through. I want to keep the site off this post so I’ll be deleting the main keyword everytime. 7 clicks within 1 month from a one word keyword!

Serpshaker Plugin

The Build Itself

If there is enough interest in the plugin I’ll create a full build video, using the exact strategy I use! The builds don’t take long at all. After a build I’d recommend adding the site to Google webmaster tools and submitting a sitemap, this helps with indexing greatly. You can also check out this video for more information on build basics.

Note: Anyone that does decide to pick up SS via my affiliate link, give me a message and I’ll skype you through the main elements to a successful build. [tom@seooasis.co.uk]

The Importance of Monetisation

This was by far my biggest mistake of my mini serpshaker business so far. Over the last few months I’ve built the sites as quickly as possible and threw adsense up on them to try and get some quick earnings. Sites started making a few pounds a week and so I continued with this method, but this is probably the worst monetisation method you can use for an SS site and here’s why.

When people are searching for “keyword + location” they want to find something usually very quickly. Chances are the adsense ads being shown to the individual are relevant to them, but more their previous search history and not so much what they are looking for right now! As a result the conversion rate isn’t very good (0.5-2% in most cases.)

Instead of simply throwing ads up on a site, try to create a lead gen model. For example if you can find a UK wide supplier of whatever your site is about. Let’s say “Tow trucks” for example. Someone searches “tow trucks location” in Google and boom your site appears. Now if you have adsense on the site and an article that just text talking about how tow trucks work or whatever it might be, this person is going to bounce back to the serps. BUT if you overlay a client’s website, they will call the number and hence your client gets a lead (and probably a client too.) Even if you only earn £5 per lead/client, a site that get’s 55 clicks a day from the serps will likely generate you 10-20 leads a day and hence £50-£100 in revenue. That’s £1,500-£3,000 a month from 1 SS site.

How much can you realistically make?

As I mentioned above, the best monetisation method is lead generation. It’s more beneficial for the customer searching, more beneficial for you as you make more money, and better for the business you’re giving the targeted lead too. I’ve seen people earn £5,000+ a month through lead gen SS sites. Although the usual figure is around £1,000-£3,000 per month.

Another strong monetisation method is simply renting the sites out as a whole for £500-£2,000 a month. This is a more hands off approach that I would personally be looking for. There is more selling involved in this, although if you can simply set-up an overlay of their website and track the calls to a new number, then you can go back to the business and say something along the lines of “In 1 week we managed to generate you 30 new leads all from the site. 10 of these converted to clients and that made you £1,500 in revenue. If you want to rent the site out for £500 a month, that means you’ll generate 1,200% ROI every month” – Or something along those lines. If you’re good at selling there is no reason why you can’t have 10-20 serpshaker sites live in a few weeks and most of those rented in a couple of months!

Another “better than adsense” monetisation method is CPA or affiliate marketing. Although it can be difficult to find an offer that converts for all cities. If you’re site is in a specific niche that isn’t a service style niche, say “fitness” for example. You can display more targeted ads with free CPA offers that will improve conversions drastically and is still totally hands off for you. Something along the lines of “Why Not Buy Online” with a visual ad should do the trick.

So back to my question, how much can you really make? Well if you only use adsense + UK model I’d say anywhere from £1-£20 a month per website. So if you managed to build 100 then you’ll be around the £200-300 / month. If you monetise through CPA then I’d say around £2-£50 per site. Which means 100 makes you £500-£5,000 per month (not bad, although probably nearer the £500 than £5k mark.) But lead generation or renting the sites out themselves, if you managed to build 20 (100 would be extremely difficult to find prospects for), you’d be looking at 20 x £500-£2,000 = £10,000-£40,000 a month! Needless to say this is the direction I’m personally moving at the moment.

Who is it for? (Experience not required)

As long as you are familiar with wordpress the build process is incredibly simple. Even if you’re not overly familiar or confident on the platform, it’s not difficult to follow the step by step guide, it will just take a bit longer. (I taught my girlfriend how to do this, and she had no experience with wordpress or SEO previously!)

I would recommend this plugin for people looking to either a.) earn their first bit of money online. b.) Supplement the income they already have by scaling the SS model. c.) Earn by providing this service for pre-established clients as an “add-on” service.

Is it Safe?

This is probably a question you’re thinking right about now. The whole SS model is based off earning through ranking high in the serps, yet we are using duplicate content…. Well I’ll just answer this with the figures. So far I’ve built just over 100 sites and not 1 has been de-indexed or failed to index. Also I know of someone who has over 5,000 SS sites in total. Of which only 8 have ever been not indexed or de-indexed! That’s only 0.16%…. Probably due to issues not related to the build or SS itself anyway.

Conclusion

I highly recommend serpshaker to pretty much anyone with the time to input into it. If you have an extra hour or 2 and want to slowly build up an adsense business or if you have the confidence to sell the sites to small businesses on the lead gen model. I’d be happy to do a live tutorial for anyone interested in how it works, also showing everyone a build from start to finish and how long it actually takes (about 20-30 mins.) Anyway that about does it. If you want to pick up the plugin then click here.

Thanks for reading.

Tom.

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Explaining SEO Return on Investment (Barber & Hairdresser edition.

Selling seo is one of the most difficult things to do. Most of the time your selling to small or medium sized businesses with a relatively low marketing budget and all they usually care about is quick results and not what you can do for them in 12 months. Obviously seo is a bit different as it takes time to rank websites, especially local seo for new business sites. But once ranked the ROI is so much better than almost any marketing method!

The reason selling SEO is so difficult is 2 fold. The first point is that people receive spam emails daily from everyone and their mother about “I can get you to the first page of Google”, No sh*t, anyone can get you to the first page of Google for 1 15 word phrase! Heck, I could write 15 words in a row and then Google would rank me first! But anyway, these spam emails mean people have a negative perception of the industry and hence “You Are EVIL” before you’ve even started.

Reason 2 why selling SEO is difficult is because most of the time you can’t guarantee anything, at all! So your sales pitch goes like this: I might be able to get you ranked for these keywords, if you were ranked it would definitely make you money, How much? Well I’m not quite sure, but give me £500 a month for about 6 months and you might be ranked and get some return on this investment….. And guess what everyone says…. There is a better way where you can at least take out the “how much” element to the businesses and give them a monetary figure of what you estimate they will make once ranked. Although this is only an estimate, in my experience this method works pretty well and is quite accurate.

Calculate the Return on their Investment

I’m a big fan of calculating potential ROI for businesses. If you can explain to a business owner how much they cam benefit from your services they will usually pick up these services from you. As long as they believe you!! But that’s a totally new topic.

In this article I’m going to outline how to explain ROI or return on an seo investment to a hairdresser or barber. These are generally small businesses that can’t afford large scale SEO campaigns, but can benefit greatly from small local campaigns.

In this example I’ll be using a £300 per month local seo example. £300 a month is a lot of money for a small business so you need to explain exactly how you can make them more than this as quickly as possible. And the best way to do that is below.

I’m going to use Cardiff for this example, but you can do it for almost any city as long as there is a demand for your product or service.

The first aspect you need to know before all else is the lifetime value of a client or customer for the business type. For barbers let’s say this is £30, some people might become lifetime customers, others might only come to you once, so 30 is a happy medium and probably on the low side too.

This means we have to generate about 10 new customers a month for the business to break even.

The next step is to research how many customers we could potentially generate for the business once the website itself is ranked. Calculating this we have to use the Google keyword planner.

Choose all the keyword relevant to the business you are trying to rank. For example ‘hairdresser Cardiff’ ‘barber Cardiff’ ect.

Be sure to include those long tail keywords as well, these are super easy to rank for and make up a huge proportion of searches that most seo companies just ignore.

Once you have all your keywords put them in the keyword planner and find the monthly search volumes.

The next step is to estimate a click through rate from the serps. This is a more difficult estimate as even if you end up ranking first in the map pack AND top of the organic listings you will still only receive between 30-60% of the clicks.

For this example I will use a CTR of 25%. Mainly because in a 6 month period I believe I could rank any barber 1st for most of the keywords selected. If the city or industry had more competition then I’d use a more conservative CTR but in this case 25% is about right.

The next stage is to calculate a conversion rate. This is a conversion rate for the number of people who have visited the website who actually go to the business and become a customer. This varies from business to business but for this example I’ll use a relatively conservative conversion rate of 10%. That’s 1 in 10, if you have a conversion rate less than that for highly targeted organic traffic then you have a problem!

Example:

For our example then we have about 10-15 keywords with a total search volume of just over 3000 searches a month. This includes long tails as well which made up almost 300 monthly searches, which is why they are so important. You can see the larger keywords + search volumes below (remember to set your target location to the UK.)

Search Volumes

Using these numbers we can calculate exactly how much the business can make:

1.) Total search volume = 3,000.
2.) 30% Click Through Rate = 900.
3.) 10% Conversion Rate = 90.
4.) LVC 25 x 90 = £2,250 per month.

It’s also important to remember these are conservative figures. For another client we had 4 leads a month for a keyword that only generated 10 searches per month according to the keyword planner!! So take that data with a pinch of salt.

Minus the fee of 300 pounds a month this business would generate £1,950 pounds of revenue every month once ranked!

Judging by the competition it would only take 3-5 months to rank! And although in that time the ROI would be negative or around the 100-200% mark, once ranked the ROI is 600-700% a month, month after month. Would you make an investment of £300 a month if in 6 months that same figure made you £2,000 a month? Yeah thought so. And this is how you should try to explain it to the local businesses. Your services (if done right) really will make them money!

That’s the power of seo and how it should be explained to smaller businesses.

Over the course of the next few months I’ll be breaking down seo ROI and costings further. For both businesses and for seos.

If you’re a hairdresser or a barber feel free to give me a email [tom@seooasis.co.uk] as I am looking to prove this theory with a case study.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.