I was able to spend a few minutes in December talking with Diggy, who works with his business partner Glen Allsop at viperchill.com. It was a real pleasure talking with Diggy since he has a wealth of information about SEO and internet marketing in general. He’s just a nice guy and if you have a chance to interact with Diggy take advantage of the opportunity.
We cover a variety of topics ranging from my Amazon site, to link building strategies, PBNs, Diggy’s Amazon sites, and corrective action for over optimized anchor text.
Diggy: I had a look on your website and you’re doing really well with your Amazon stuff, right?
Doug: It’s really, it’s taken off especially round the holidays so I can do a quick quick rundown on some of the earning so, I actually started this site in mid-July of this year 2013.
Diggy: One site.
Doug: Yes, just one site.
Doug: Right and it hit number one in the google rankings for my main term by like the first week in October and the October earning, let me back up sorry, 20 dollars in August, about 500 in September, about 1200 in October, 2700 in November and it’s like mud December right now, the 19th I think and were at about 4500.
Diggy: Wow that’s crazy progress every month.
Doug: I can’t believe it every day when I check the earning it’s something you, you know? It’s really the retail season obviously helped out a lot.
Diggy: Would you mind sharing how much you spent on this site and kind of if you’re still adding content to this site or if it’s just aesthetics site at the moment like???? Don’t give away too much…
Doug: Sure, I didn’t spend; it was minimal so I wrote 90% of the content. I hired a couple of writers just to fill in some areas once I started the link building process, so probably spent a couple of hundred dollars on hosting and some of the writing, I built all the links on my own so there was no cost there so it was really minimal and even at the time it would like long tail pro or anything so I was just using the key word plainer form google so pretty cheap site overall. I have about 20 – 25 articles and there are some product reviews out there but I haven’t really added anything since mid October.
Diggy: Wow – that’s pretty awesome, so you say you added the links yourself, do you have a blog network or is it just free links that you’re adding.
Doug: Its primarily free links. I had the shiny object syndrome, I tried to build a small PBN but as you know it’s a whole lot of work, I think I had maybe three domains and there – not that good so most of the links were sort of the tiered model that a lot of people have endorsed over the years. So the web 2.0 free blogs, some nice social profiles, article directories, some PDF sharing sites, pretty standard stuff. You know, it does work. You really control those links and the one thing that I did do was that I added was that I went to fiver and I got a bunch of gigs for like SEO nuke and stuff like that to point to the first tier to sort of insulate myself from those sort of spammy sort of links. In the long run it helped out, I checked some of those free blogs the other day, you know PA, 33 and 38 they actually have a pretty decent authority numbers.
Diggy: So your strategy was kind of building manual web properties on like the 2.0’s PDF’s and things like and the just ordering gigs, you didn’t even use the tools yourself for anything.
Diggy: Wow! that impressive, man! congrats. so what the strategy now you expand that, would you be able to duplicate your site to other niches or is it possible to add more stuff to it, how do you get it better?
Doug: Right so, two fold, one I am actually looking at some closely related products to just take advantage of the strong domain and the fact the google looks on it favourably so I am looking at that and targeted some of the smaller secondary key words so that’s working out well. It is bringing in some traffic. The other part is yes I can scale it – I have another site. It doesn’t have as many searches as my big money site right now but were starting to climb over the fold on the first page which obviously great. We’re already making a few sales. When you look at the aggregate of all the searches I have on that other, new site I have been working on, its respectable, you know, it will probably level out to maybe 500 to 1000 dollars a month once we get to first place for some of those top key words.
Diggy: Ok, that sounds good, so basically what I gather from all of this it all comes down to the right key word research because like you said you haven’t spent a lot on SEO and you’ve done the classic basic free website with tiered linking SEO so the secret of the recipe of the success comes from the keyword research right.
Doug: I think so, and I guess the fact that I wasn’t afraid to build some links. I’ve actually have a lot of people contact me – they are quite concerned about any links and taking that risk. My angle on it – I take a project manager approach so I look at it as a risk management exercise so if I have a site that’s not really making me no money there’s not really much risk if I build some links. Maybe the content on the web 2.0 sites to the articles are not that great but it turns out it doesn’t really matter that much and the risk is pretty low especially when you consider the consequences, I’m not losing any money.
Diggy: Yeah and are you still building links on a daily weekly basis.
Doug: I haven’t been. I probably should you know link to some of my deeper pages on the site but you know yes it’s pretty much been hands off for quite a while.
Diggy: I’m actually working on some amazon sites myself, I haven’t done too much SEO to different industries and I’m ranking pretty much of page 2, page 3 for big key words that are like 20,000, 30,000 like searches a month key words, so I’m pretty sure if that gets in the top 5 for those then there’s big money in that.
Doug: So for yours are they pretty much buyer type key words were people are on the way to amazon to buy anyway?
Diggy: Yeah, there pretty closely related to that to my buyers keywords. I’ve kind of taken the approach of a big authorities site rather than a small niche site. I started small but it has the possibility of expanding too the different sub niches of the category and also to have whole section related to tutorials to that kind of niche and content as well and a blog and things like that. It can really become like a useful resource rather than just selling the product.
Doug: Right. excellent.
Diggy: It’s kind of a long term project as well but I think in the long term if you build up a site like that it has more chance to stay in and it has more chances to do more sales as well.
Doug: Right, what is your time frame to start building links?
Diggy: Actually, I built these sites about 3 months ago and I haven’t done too much, I did some initial SEO, in the beginning I’ll just do some basic stuff like a < affiliate link >HOTH package, social profiles, some web2.0’s and stuff you’re doing as well. After that I just start adding the private blog network links so the higher links you’re getting from your free web 2.0 and things like that with just a high PA and DA, I haven’t done that at all actually, it’s just matter those PR links you know you add 5 then 10 then you need to add 30 or 40 or 60 or whatever it is but keep adding those and you should get to the top 5 results within 1 to 2 months.
Diggy: I’ve actually just set up a network; I’ve just finished all the sites and got that set up, about 100 sites for my private blog network, ranking affiliate sites for these amazon things so I’m pretty excited to see what happens so I’ve got all my SEO and I’m ranking on page 2 or 3 and once these sites are set up I can really start adding a lot of high PR links so it should be able to rank quite quickly in the next month or two.
Doug: That’s awesome.
Diggy: I’m excited to see what happens, I’m also targeting high end products too so pretty much anything from a 100 to 1200 dollars for the industry that I’m in so the commissions are pretty high as well which is nice.
Doug: Wow! That’s pretty awesome. I think my average products is around about 100 buck but it’s pretty wide ranged but yours is definitely in the premium side.
Diggy: Yeah, but it’s interesting I actually never thought that amazon could be profitable because of the low commission rate but it’s pretty interesting that you can make a couple a thousand dollars a month with it.
Doug: Yeah, I was pretty surprised too, Like I said around the retail season people just but a tremendous amount so I hit the 8% tier maybe after a week or so, people were buying so much stuff in every order.
Diggy: So, over all how much time would you say you put into this site building it, just a rough estimate, hours a day into it?
Doug: I did a really poor job keeping track of my time, but I would say probably for about 6 weeks I was putting in a pretty decent amount of time so if I estimate probably maybe 50 or 60 hours in that first big chunk, so I worked pretty hard on it, you know manually crating those links its takes a long long time.
Diggy: Yeah the link process was the most time consuming?
Doug: Yes by far.
Diggy: Yeah, when you have to do it manually like that its definitely time consuming. Why don’t you like with what you have now? why don’t you scale it up in another niche or another industry? Maybe kind of like hire a VA to train and to build the links and kind of outsource that and scale it up in that way…
Doug: Right, I definitely I will do that and I did have a VA on that second site, she did a pretty good job, I mean its pretty straight forward to create those web 2.0’s and I had her do that and provided the spun content stuff so I mean that was a great way to leverage my time and I will do that in the future. However I got really distracted with my Niche Site Project site that took up a lot of time, you know, writing there so you know once the new year hits I’m ready to scale this up and get a couple more sites going.
Diggy: Yes, it sounds good as well cos within half a year you got that site up to 4,500 a month and the month isn’t even over. Yes its retail season but I mean you can see the consistent growth in your site every month so.
Diggy: It’s looking good.
Doug: Well, I’m really curious to find out how much it’s going to drop in in January /February, I think it may level out, hopefully between 1,000 and 1,500 for the majority of the year and then climb in October through December.
Diggy: Yes, it depends if it’s a seasonal thing as well but even if you’re making 1,000 – 1,500 a month you’ve got a 30,000 site there if you want to sell it so it’s a good business.
Diggy: It’s not bad.
Doug: Yeah, I’m glad I stumbled upon this so it’s pretty fun.
Diggy: The interesting thing that I’m always interested in is the automation and the scale of it. You have this model that works but I think how can you scale with maybe an investment upfront – investment that might cost a bit more if you put in your own time. Then as the same time you can just kind of manage the projects you also talk about so you can maybe run 3 or 4 at the same time. You need to spend 1,000 – 2,000 dollars up front but of the same principles work. That would be kind of an interesting model and you can kind of scale it.
Doug: I think with the information on my blog, the website and my book that’s kind of the idea that it takes maybe a week to two weeks to get one of these project kicked off to get the content prepared- posting the articles doing the editing and making sure everything looks good and then and I think you could probably start another project after that if you can outsource the majority of the link building and maybe take care of your stuff on your PBN after that’s done and I think the time frame to get these things ranked is, I think you mentioned it, is about two to three months is what I’ve seen. You know under 60 days is pretty tough to crack the top five but after that period, it’s reasonable.
Diggy: Yeah, two or three months is kind of like the bench mark if you do the SEO and you’re not going for a super competitive key words. That would be about the time frame to get those top ranking.
Doug: Right. Yes so I think your right at this point. At this point I will be able to make the upfront in the investment in the content. I spent a lot of time writing previously but now it’s just, it takes an hour for me to write up the articles, you know in five days I get them all back.
Diggy: Because of course you want to diversify your income a bit you can’t have everything reliant on one site especially if everything comes from SEO, I kind of learned that the hard way as well. If you have one site as your main income and some update hits and all your income is gone. So if you have multiple sites and you get that 1,500 – 2,000 dollars a month from a couple of sites the of course you’ve got a good income. You can scale that from there again and within a year if you really build hard at it you can build a five figure amount business pretty easily.
Doug: That’s the hope! I’m looking forward to the New Year when I can scale this up a little but so what are your plans, are you going to try and scale it up with your PBN that you’re working on at all.
Diggy: Yeah. I’ve got these two sites that I’m working on. I’ve kind of done a small section of the authority site so I just want to try and get that ranking first and when it starts getting income I can you know what we talked about maybe get a full time writer just to write reviews for me, kind of do blog posts and just keep building links for that. I also think these sites should easily be able to do 1,000 – 2,000 dollars a month maybe more depending on the rankings and things like that but that’s just the amazon kind of site that I’m doing. I’m also doing sites for different industries.
Diggy: Just started working on that recently, actually and also doing local SEO sites, ranking for local business terms and then renting those out. That’s also one of the easier things to do at the moment because the key words are not so competitive for local terms. You’ll just take a city and an industry whatever it is, preferably where the average clients brings a couple of thousand dollars per client or something and even if you only get a couple of searches every month, if your number one for that client is worth, I don’t know, may 5 or 10 or 20,000 dollars per customer it’s easy to kind of rent that site out for a 1000 maybe 2000 dollars. You can build those sites pretty easily.
Doug: Wow, that’s pretty powerful. I mean there’s obviously tons of local business you could target and find a low competition area.
Diggy: Yeah, even like big manufacturers that sell like specialized machines for 40 to 50,000 dollars, if you get them one or two leads a month it easily justifies them paying 1 to 2,000 dollars a month to be able to get those leads.
Doug: Wow. That’s awesome
Diggy: Yeah, so those are all sort of things that were doing at the moment. Just like you we’ll see how things go and update the blogs and things like that.
Diggy: It was interesting talking and I’m curious to see how your niche develops.
Doug: Thanks hey if you have time I have one more question for you.
Diggy: Yeah sure.
Doug: Ok – I understand the distribution of anchor text, right now one of the easy ways to get penalized so and I think your guidelines now are 3 to 5% for the exact match that you’re going for – is that accurate?
Diggy: Yes, that what we’re doing now it seems to be what happened after the latest 2.1 and mainly what working now the most important the dominant anchor text the variation of ??? the variations of your brand and long tail phrases which are key words so if your keyword is dog food you don’t want to use dog food you want to what is the best dog food, where can I buy dog food, what kind of dog food can I buy,. You’re still using your main key word but you’re using them in phrases and each phrase is different so it creates a much more natural effect.
Doug: Ok – how does one correct the distribution? do you recommend automated software or do you use bookmarks just to diversify your distribution? How would you handle it if you do see you need corrective action? what do you do?
Diggy: If you only have 30 links to your site you can change them manually I guess your control, but if you have a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand its more difficult, you need to add links. If you have experience of software then you can use the software, if you don’t know it too much then I wouldn’t recommend it. Then what I’ve used the last couple of weeks pretty successfully is blackhatlinks.com and you can order good quality links, they have spam links as well like 20,000 links for like 30 bucks but you don’t want to get those. You want to get 20 and 30 and 50 and 100 of like high PR to follow up blog comments and you can use those to kind of diversify your anchor text and you can order them like one batch at a time so maybe one week do 50 of two different batches of 20 and 30 links and then you can wait for the update and increase like that and gradually you increase your anchor diversity like that and its working really well and its really cheap. It cost you about 10 bucks for small package like that.
Diggy: It’s not worth doing it on your own.
Doug: Got it. Ok that’s really useful because my distribution is out of whack. I have some really nice links from Wikipedia and stuff. That sort of insulated me but I do see my anchor text’s much too high based on the recommendation that your putting out now, 3 to 5% so. Thanks!
Diggy: Yeah, but if its working just be careful don’t mess around with it too much. It’s strange sometimes there’s exceptions of sites that have huge amounts of anchor text like for their main key words that are still ranking. So if it’s not broken don’t fix it would be my recommendation.
Doug: That’s my thoughts too. ok, cool!
Diggy: So it’s been good chatting, so Happy New Year, Happy holidays and let’s keep in touch next year and see what happens
Doug: All right thanks, Diggy. I appreciate it.
Diggy: Ok have a good one.
Doug: You too, bye.