Note: This is a very very long interview, so I suggest you take a coffee, pen & paper as @Leith shared some really great golden nuggets here.
To begin with, I'd like to say thanks to @Geasy for this opportunity. The last time I did an "interview" was years ago, and although I'm no guru or celebrity.. it's still pretty cool that some members wanted to find out more about myself. I've said this time and time again but BHW has been instrumental in my SEO career so far and the connections I've made here over the last few years has been invaluable.
And before we begin, I have to warn you.
I have a tendency to write... a lot.
The answers below ended up totalling 7k words (WTF?)
If I bore you at any point please feel free to curse me in the comments, lol.
Can you tell us about your background? How did you get into this business?
Before I start rambling on about my background, a question I get asked quite frequently is whether or not Leith is my name. Thought I'd take this chance to clarify. It's my 'online' name/alias (the name comes from the area I grew up in).
This is going to sound cliched (and you've probably heard this a million times elsewhere). I wasn't born in a wealthy family; quite the opposite actually. Mum didn't work - she was usually too busy keeping myself and my two younger brothers in check. That wasn't easy, lol. Dad worked 2 jobs. 7am - 1pm stacking shelves and then 6pm - 2am as a chef at a restaurant. We really didn't have money. But that didn't matter. Whatever little money my Dad made went towards rent, food and paying for my private tuition. My parents did everything they could to ensure I got quality education, both in school and outside. After all, they were relying on me and my future. I didn't have any games consoles, didn't have a mobile phone and we didn't have money to eat out or go on holiday. Despite this, my parents would always somehow find ways to give me money to go out with friends here and there. Deep down though, I knew we were struggling and that sparked my initial desire to make money.
I could write an entire book about what happened next, but I'm going to skip right to the end. After experimenting with various offline money making methods (reselling sweets in school, trying to make my own playing cards (failed miserably, lmao), selling whatever items I could find in my house, going to auctions to snag cheap bargains) I eventually realized I had to do something else. I've always had a fascination towards computers. I would go to typewriting class during my lunch break at school and since it was only me that was at the class (LOL), the teacher would work with me on a 1 to 1 basis (I can now hit 150+ WPM when writing long-form content, so I'd say it paid off). After begging my Dad for what felt like years for a computer, my wish was finally granted. To be precise, this was my first computer.
It was the cheapest option available at Curry's. I'll always remember my Dad haggling with the sales rep, even though we knew the price (which was actually on sale for £249) was final.
And since I didn't have any Internet (we couldn't afford it), I spent the first few months playing Pinball and attempting to play Minesweeper (I had no idea how to play).
After what felt like another few years, we finally purchased an Internet package -- and this is where things started to get interesting. Again, I could write an entire book about how I started but I'm going to cut to the chase. After stumbling across several "make money from home" ads, I found myself clicking some of them and ending up on a GPT site (these are sites that pay you $0.20 - $0.50 for doing surveys). I made a tiny amount of money on these sites ($20 or so), but ultimately I leaped through various other verticals such as affiliate marketing, video marketing, torrents, PPD... and in the end, SEO. It was mid 2009 at this point.
The connection I felt once I grasped the very basics of SEO will always have a special place in my heart. For anyone who was in the industry back then, you'd know literally how easy it was to rank. So easy you could do it blindfolded. In a way, SEO really screwed up my education at school. My Dad was paying for my private tuition, but I wasn't paying attention in those classes. I wasn't doing my homework and my social life quickly evaporated. You'd find me always rushing to the library during lunch break to soak up my knowledge on SEO. Even after school when I arrived home, it was straight to the computer to read, read, read. It's safe to say when I literally had no social life, lol. Whatever chance I got, I made sure I was absorbing information. It became worryingly addictive. At my age back then, most kids were going to the movies, playing football, on the games console or just sitting in front of the TV all day.
The first site I ranked went on to generate hundreds in revenue and it wasn't long before I met my business partner (who is still my business partner today) @d3t0x online and we hit $2k/day in revenue on some of our sites. This was a game-changer for me in particular, since during this period I was making my Dad's monthly wage in a day, lol. Being able to give my parents the full payment for rent, food expenses, new clothes, restaurant meals and holidays to meet family abroad (who we never had the chance to meet) all thanks to my online marketing revenue was unbelievable. Oh, and I was still a "kid", still in school and was nowhere near the legal age required to open a PayPal account. But I knew there was lots more to learn but I was more than ready. Little did I know though that almost 10 years later, SEO would still be the driving force of my income.
This is how I got into this business and thankfully I'm still going strong to this day. I'm very fortunate to be in a position where I can continue to make money doing what I love and I'll never forget how it all started. We all have a story that is close to our heart; this was mine.
Tell us a bit about your current projects, what are you working on?
The beauty of online marketing is you're in control of your fate. If you put the work in, stay consistent with it and push through with your efforts, you're going to see success. You can earn as much as you want or as little as you want. There are several people I look up to in this industry (if you're reading this, you know who you are). Some of my industry friends are very successful and I've been able to witness first hand some of them pulling in $50k/day, $100k/day, $5M/month with their businesses. This is seriously motivating. If someone asked you who your idols in business are, some common answers would be famous billionaires (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates..) but for me my idols/inspiration are the other successful digital marketers killing it in our industry.
Back to the question. I'm currently working on a wide variety of projects. Most of you will know me through some of the services I've launched here on the BHW marketplace section. Most of them were massive hits and went on to generate a combined 7 figures plus in revenue. One of my favorite services to run was Ghost Rank, which was eventually targeted/taken down by Google/Matt Cutts and we received several mentions on SEO news sites. Matt Cutts even tweeted about us indirectly.
Although this isn't a current ongoing project, this was something that made me quite a bit of money back in the day so I figure it's worth mentioning. I assume we've all heard of the CPA hack niche. You know, terms like "clash of clans hack", "gta 5 hack", etc. At our peak, our network of sites (we were ranking in foreign markets too where payouts were higher; FR, DE, CH, IT) were ranking #1/Top 3 for some of the toughest CPA niches at the time (clash of clans, clash royale, pokemon go.. you get the idea). In the early days (2013), it was almost too easy since competition was quite small and SEO was a piece of cake. It didn't take long to build up a network doing some decent numbers.
If you think these daily numbers are impressive, just know that this was only a small piece of the pie. There were some real OG's in the game doing way bigger numbers at the time. If you were in the CPA hack niche between 2013-2015 you'd know what I'm talking about.
Surprisingly, this lasted very well for several years (2013 to 2017) before Google started regulating the niche and cracking down on these fake hack sites. So if you've ever wondered why some of the Page 1 results for terms like "clash of clans hack" isn't the same anymore - now you know why. Plus, severe competition kicked in and certain games started getting saturated... so it was only a matter of time before the entire niche lost its juice.
I've currently switched my focus to building legitimate, long term businesses. Some of these include affiliate sites. Now when I say affiliate sites, I don't mean the generic, typical affiliate site you see with the same old review table, table of contents and "Top 10" articles. Everyone seems to be doing this these days and it's hard to stand out. I'm talking about real online businesses that provide value to users. These are the type of businesses that you can flip a few years down the line for 60-120x multipliers. Real online brands, with real value. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the typical "Best VR Headset 2018" type affiliate sites, but they're sort of abused now and the ROI is harder to achieve unless you're an authority. I've done my fair share of churn/burn projects so I'm now focused on creating long-term orientated sites. I've currently got a handful of sites I'm working on - and more in development/in the pipeline. It's important not to get carried away and burn yourself out, so I try to balance time equally to each project without neglecting one or the other.
As well as my own personal sites, I also do client SEO for a few high end, personal clients at the moment. Most of these clients own businesses that generate $X-$XXm per year. A lot of you would wonder why I do client SEO when I could easily make my income via my own sites. I guess the answer to that is... I enjoy it. I can't lie - the money is a solid motivator, but more than that, I get a sense of excitement when working on a client's site when I'm able to double, triple, quadtriple (and even more) their revenue through SEO. Keeping a balance between client SEO and my own personal arsenal of sites is important. Remember that diversification is key. I also have a BST currently on BHW, although I've set it up in a way that it's hands-free and doesn't require much input from me on a daily basis. When it comes to online marketing, being able to scale your operations efficiently is equally as important. Otherwise, you're limiting your potential for growth. At least this is what I've experienced anyway.
As well as the above, me and @d3t0x are currently working on a link building agency. Most of our clients at the moment are either through word of mouth, referrals or from this forum so it's time we take things to the next level and compete with the big dogs. We have many exciting plans for this agency and at the moment a lot of my time is going towards this project. Not going to give anything away just now... but I've been working on this for close to 10 months and it's something you guys should look out for! We seriously think it's going to make a mark in the industry.
Going back to the topic of diversification, I've always wanted to try money making methods outside of online marketing. I've invested in a few offline projects and have also entered the realm of film distribution for regional movies in the UK. This is where me and my team purchase the UK theatrical rights to regional movies and we distribute them across the UK in select cinemas, taking a % cut with the cinema chain. I've co-distributed 4 movies in total so far in the UK, and although it's fun, it's a lot of work - so I've taken a break for now to work on my upcoming agency/other more lucrative projects.
What kind of SEO tools do you regularly use?
Disclaimer: I am NOT affiliated with any of the mentioned tools below.
I used to be quite an avid Majestic fan, but over the last few years Ahrefs have been stepping up their game really well. Ahrefs is hands down the #1 SEO tool I use on a daily basis (probably even the all time #1 SEO tool right now on the market). The amount of data and information you can collect with this tool is ridiculous. From spying on competitors, to analysing your technical SEO, to looking for unique link opportunities, to auditing a site - Ahrefs can do them all. They truly have an exceptional product and it's crazy to think they put it up for sale for under $200k.
This useful, free tool is great for uncovering keyword/blog post ideas for your authority/informational site. Some of my current projects rely heavily on content (informational sites) so it can sometimes be a daunting task for my team to come up with fresh content ideas. Using this tool, you just have to enter in your seed keywords and the tool generates keyword/content ideas based on questions other people are asking on forums, social networking sites, etc. All you need to do is download the .csv file, filter the list manually and you'll be left with a list of content ideas which you can send off to your writer.
SERPWoo is a pretty "new" tool when compared to some of the other leading tools on the market but it's quickly becoming an important piece of kit in my inventory. They're like a rank tracker but on steroids. I don't use SERPWoo for rank tracking but rather for reverse engineering and monitoring the rankings of competitors. It essentially gives you a full archive of your competitors and their keyword rankings which can be super helpful when it comes to analyzing your competition for weaknesses and potential opportunities. For example, after the so called recent "Medic" update, I was able to use SERPWoo to do some deep research into the niches where sites tanked the most. What would have taken me several days only took a few hours.
As we know, content can get quite expensive when wanting to build hundreds and thousands of contextual links. ArticleForge is an AI based tool that generates unique content based on keywords you provide. For $47, you could get around 650x 300 word articles in less than 24 hours. Bear in mind though that these are computer generated so the articles are obviously not going to read as fluent or consistent as a native English writer. So, if you're looking for content to use on your money sites, this isn't for you.
This is for those who are looking for bulk content to use on their tiered contextual links. For under $100, you could generate 1300x 300 word articles. Compare that with a really horrible, non native writer who charges a measly $0.25/100 words.
1300x 300 word articles using ArticleForge = $94
1300x 300 word articles using a horrible writer = $975
Now calculate the above for thousands and thousands of articles and you'll understand why ArticleForge makes so much sense.
This is a program I had developed in-house so it isn't available publicly. Figured it's worth mentioning since links need to be indexed for them to take effect. Most people would say natural indexing does the job fine.. but when you're building links on a large scale, I want them to index as soon as possible. The methodology behind my custom indexer is similar to that of Index Inject and other indexing tools on the market.
I'm on SerpBook multiple times a day to monitor rankings of my own sites as well as for clients. Although sometimes the accuracy can be slightly flawed, their interface is what keeps me hooked. I've tried pretty much all the other SERP trackers on the market (literally all of them), and SerpBook is by far the easiest and friendlist to use. Kevin (the founder) is a great guy and is always readily available to fix any issues you may have. For example, I reported a "glitch" yesterday to Kevin and it was fixed the same day. This sort of customer appreciation/importance is what I look for in a SEO tool.
If you go into Google and search for "best SEO tools", you'll find heaps of recommendations from others in the industry. The above was just a quick list of tools that I use on a daily basis for either my own sites or my clients.
What is the most exciting project you've worked on?
I've worked on multiple exciting projects but the best has to be a client I worked with in the past. For obvious reasons I can't give away too much information, but this was a client we signed in the Health niche. They were already a pretty well established authority (since 2013) and their site was focused around providing information towards a specific Health-based subject. This site was already doing quite well before we took over for SEO, but what excited me the most was the potential of the site with a fully managed SEO campaign.
Long story short - almost 2 years later, the site was ranking for 750K+ keywords (previously 150K) and was receiving close to 10M views a month (previously 1.5M). As for the strategy, we went aggressive with the outreach securing more than 50 placements per month (tied in with a very well formulated content plan where we were publishing lots of value-packed, interactive, engaging materials). I guess it's somewhat easier securing outreach placements when you're a fairly well known authority in the niche, but still, the amount of placements we were able to secure on a consistent basis was impressive. We also built a massive 500+ site PBN over the course of 18 months which we used, strategically, to help push up a lot of the big keywords. Some of these keywords had individual search volumes in the millions and we got those rankings to #1 (previously in the Top 10).
What was most exciting about this project was the fact that we were always able to smash our own internal targets/objectives every month. I guess you could say it was a bit of luck, but the site was responding so well with our campaign. And the best bit about all this....
The site was finally sold for mid $XXm through a private broker (purchased by a massive, worldwide-known Health company). This was super satisfying for us knowing that we managed to boost the valuation of this brand by huge multiples.. and it's exactly one of the main reasons why I'll always enjoy client SEO. With this being said, of course we have our ups/downs with client SEO. No matter what anyone tells you, being a SEO is hard work and not every site will respond in the same way. At the end of the day, experience is going to help big time. I've been fortunate enough to work with some massive brands/sites which in turn has allowed me to become a smarter SEO.
I know that you work for some big clients. How does a link building campaign change from a local business to a 500 Fortune Company?
The main difference between doing SEO for a small business and a multinational one is the size of the campaign. From my experience, carrying out the SEO for a business that generates $50M/year for example is going to take a lot more creativity, carefulness and in depth research. Usually, these larger businesses have heavier pockets and don't mind spending 5-6 figures a month for link building and so with a higher budget, the campaign size is going to naturally be bigger, which allows us to put more effort and resources into the campaign.
In the past, we were hired by one of the leading SEO agencies in the UK to handle SEO efforts for a Fortune 500 company. Although we were never in contact with the company, we were the ones doing all the work.
The key difference between a local business and a Fortune 500 company is the brand authority. A F500 company will have thousands of mentions online due to their brand recognition, which is quite the opposite from a small, local business. In terms of SEO, the authority/brand recognition of the F500 company is an advantage, since it makes certain link building strategies (for example, PR) significantly more straight forward. However, the downside to this is the competition. These F500 companies aren't going up against small-time affiliate sites or local businesses. They're going head to head with other massive, potential F500 companies. You could get away with building your typical web 2.0s and citations for a local business, but links like those are ineffective and will do nothing for a F500 company. Creativity is a must and the link building has to be taken to a much higher level. Simply purchasing a 'Superman SEO' package from the BHW marketplace isn't going to do anything.
Following on from the above point, handling the SEO for a F500 company comes with an added risk. Just to give you an idea, let's imagine a small, local business generating $5k/m in revenue received a manual penalty and sales tanked overnight. Sure, although this is quite frustrating, it's not the same as a F500 company dropping several positions for their keywords and losing millions in potential sales. The difference is very noticable. The bigger the site, the greater the risk factor. If you're going to handle the SEO for a massive business/brand, you need confidence in your skills and approach. Having said all this, most F500 companies usually have their own in-house SEO team due to the risks mentioned above. They'd rather keep everything in-house to avoid such issues. However, some do outsource certain parts of their SEO to external freelancers/experts/agencies. I've rejected various high value clients because the risk/reward calculation wasn't worth it. Sometimes I have to admit maybe I'm not the best guy for the job.
Here are a few more differences between handling SEO for a local business vs Fortune 500 company:
F500 companies are already ranking for thousands and thousands of keywords. It doesn't make sense to just target 20 keywords like you would for a smaller website. And so, when handling SEO for a large corporation, instead of using keywords as a metric you would be looking at other criteria such as overall organic search traffic, bounce rate, conversions, brand mentions.
When we sign on a small/medium sized business for SEO, we give the client an option to subscribe for 3, 6 or 12 months. In some cases, we even offer a month to month rolling contract where they only pay at the beginning of each month after work is completed. On the other hand, from experience (although I could be wrong), F500 companies are looking to pay on a long-term basis, usually an annual contract. They understand SEO isn't done in a month and due to the size of their business and the amount of disposable income they usually have, they're more open to signing longer term contacts (12 months, 24 months, etc).
Link Building Creativity
As mentioned above, you can't get away with building 50 web 2.0s, 50 bookmarks and 50 blog comments for a F500 company. They are ineffective and so you need to think outside the box. Instead of physically building links for the company, you need to implement a strategy which attracts links without you actually going out and building them one by one. One way this can be achieved is with a solid content marketing plan, where you produce high quality, engaging content that naturally earns and attracts links from top PR and media publications all over the world. There is no specific template to follow for the link building as it's going to depend entirely on the client. The link building strategy has to be specifically designed to cater to the company you're working with. SEO "packages" are useless.
Ultimately, you're in control of the company's online search presense. Screwing up could have huge consequences which you normally wouldn't get from a smaller, local business's SEO campaign. Experience is essential and this is one reason why I sometimes reject SEO proposals from extremely large corporations. There is a lot of responsibility attached with the link building campaign and you need to look at the bigger picture. It's honestly not always about the money.
What do you think is the most important factor for standing out to other service providers?
This is an easy one. Customer support. I don't need to regurgitate why customer support is important. There's plenty of articles online for that already.
In the SEO industry, it's outright impossible to have a 100% success rate. Sometimes link building doesn't quite respond the way you expect it to and rankings can drop/fluctuate outside of your control. When this happens, it's important you have solid customer service with your client and you're there to patiently explain the situation and try to help them understand. Most clients are very understanding so all it takes is being honest, transparent and fair with your client. I've seen other service providers swear at their clients, block them off Skype/email or viciously attack them without offering open-minded solutions.
As Bill Gates apparently once said - "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning".
There has been a big shift into SEO industry from PBNs to outreach links. Do you think everyone should switch to outreach links or PBNs still work?
I'm super glad you asked. I'm a huge fan of PBNs.
Before I go into the details, let me provide a quick summary. Do PBNs still work? Hell yes. I'm sorry but if you haven't been able to see results from PBNs then there's something else in the wrong. Seriously. I'm going to show you 2 sites of mine, which are fairly new but entirely powered using PBN links (for the time being). There is an art to building PBN links. It's not just about sending 50 links to your main keywords and waiting for results. There's more to it. Link velocity (how many links you build), frequency (how often you build them), anchor usage (what keywords you target), link relevancy (how relevant the links are)... the list goes on. If you do everything correctly, there is no reason why you won't see results from PBNs.
This is a site that went live on 10th August. Brand new domain, one page site with approx 2500 words of content (high quality) and a few CTA button's linking to an external product page. I made sure the on-page/technical SEO was flawless. Pretty much all I've been doing in terms of link building are PBN links. As mentioned above, I don't just fire them to the site and expect results. The links are dripped under a specific strategy tailor made for the site. This is where most people go wrong. You can't just order 50 links to a bunch of keywords and expect the links to work like magic. Most often than not, it doesn't work.
Here's a screenshot of the organic search graph from Ahrefs. One thing to note is Ahrefs states the site receives 13k users a month but it's actually a lot higher than this. Notice how quickly the traffic spiked. This was the result of several keywords hitting #1. Take a look. It took me around 45 days to achieve these rankings and all that was done was a calculated strategy involving PBN links. If you're thinking I built hundreds and thousands of links, that's incorrect. These rankings were achieved with less than 50 PBN links. The site is on track to do $xx,xxx/m.
This is a site that went live on 15th June. Slightly older site compared to above, but still fairly new in the grand scheme of things. Again, the site has perfect on-page/technical SEO and very high quality, user engaging content. Unlike Site #1, this site has around 5 or so outreach placements targeting brand anchors on DA 30-40 sites. Nothing overly special. And then came the PBN links. Have a look. There was a fluctuation in the rankings a few weeks ago but it seems to have normalized again now and is ranking Top 3 for around 15 keywords.
Although these are 2 recent examples, I've seen PBN links work on literally hundreds of sites this year alone. And I'm not just saying this because I run a service here. PBNs work extremely well; but you need to know how to use them. If you haven't already, have a read at this.
Referring back to your original question, I agree that there has been a drastic shift from PBNs to outreach links. This is because, like it or not, SEO is rapidly shifting towards a "white hat" based era. Previously known black hat methods are slowly becoming less effective.. so it only makes sense to switch to a "white hat" orientated approach. Outreach works great. We incorporate outreach with all our client's SEO campaigns... because it works. It's the next best thing after PBNs - and what makes it so appealing (for a SEO) is the ability for you to show off the links in a report. You wouldn't normally be able to do that with a generic PBN service. Having said this, I'd like to say something about PBNs.
When I say PBN, what immediately comes to mind?
For most people, a PBN is a poorly set up WordPress site, using a magazine style theme that is packed with mountains of content, all totally irrelevant from each other. This is what comes to mind when you think of a PBN, right?
This is where the problem lies.
For a long time, the industry has looked down on PBNs because they're "spammy", "unnatural" and "risky".
Again... what typically defines a PBN? A PBN consists of sites that are set up for the sole purpose of trying to game rankings for your own money sites/properties. This is what makes them "spammy" and "risky". All you need to do to take away this problem is to eliminate the one factor that deems them high risk in the first place. Instead of setting up a PBN as shitty, thin WordPress sites - turn them into legitimate business sites that actually provide genuine value to readers. Google isn't going to penalize a niche-based site that is packed with valuable content and materials. Forget that you're creating a PBN site. Instead, imagine you're creating a niche-based site.
Yes, this is going to result in a lot more work but these sites will literally last you forever. And the great thing about this is: the more you publish content on these sites, the stronger the site becomes over time (as it'll be ranking for longtails and bringing in traffic as a result of those keywords ranking).
Let me break this down so it makes more sense:
- You find an expired/auction domain like you would normally for a PBN.
- You register the domain/host it like you would normally (without footprints).
- Go into Wayback and identify what niche the domain was used for in the past. For example, you might see that 10 years back the domain was used for a tech blog. Or if you're trying to build a niche relevant network, do this step right at the beginning to ensure the domain matches the niche you require.
- Design the site as a legitimate tech blog. This step is going to take some time to complete, but SEO is becoming more of an investment than ever. If you can't be arsed putting some time into the set up, maybe this industry isn't for you. You don't have to go out and spend thousands hiring a professional developer. Use an appealing premium theme, add relevant pages to the site, use appropriate widgets in the sidebar.. you get the drift. Design it as a legitimate tech blog and not as a generic, stereotypical PBN. This can easily be outsourced to a VA at very affordable rates.
- By now you have an expired/auction domain that is set up as a real tech blog. Go get some high quality content. No spun crap. User engaging content that is relevant to the site. Create an Excel sheet and set a reminder for yourself to top up the site with fresh content every month or so.
- You now have a real tech blog based site that will start to rank for various longtails and will eventually drive in some traffic.
- When you begin linking, don't just add a single contextual link to your money site. Keep things natural. Link out to 2-3 other authority sources in the article to keep the heat off your money link. If the PBN site is a tech blog but you want to link to your dating site, no problem. Just reword the content to add some relevance to dating.
- Build up a few more sites like this in your network and before you know it you'll have your own robust, effective PBN. The difference is your network is going to last literally forever.
Trust me. This works so well. I'm not kidding when I tell you I get emails from SEO agencies every week on all my PBN sites asking for guest post opportunities, since the sites look so legit. Google has no reason to penalize a site that provides value to its readers. This is the difference between a spammy PBN and a well-built PBN. I've also written about this briefly in the past, click here to check it out.
The downside is the complexity involved in getting these sites set up. They will require more effort, time and resources.. but you have to be prepared to put in the time if you want your results to last. This is where the SEO industry is heading towards, and those too scared or stubborn to realise this are going to struggle to see positive results.
We currently handle the PBN set ups for various huge SEO agencies and individuals. I wouldn't be getting these orders from them every month if they weren't getting results. I'm due to finish 3 PBN set up orders this year totalling almost 700 sites. These clients wouldn't be investing big bucks into these networks if they weren't going to produce them results that generated a substantial ROI.
PBN links if done correctly can be more effective than outreach, especially for clients who do not have massive budgets and are more risk tolerant. You can get yourself 3 extremely juicy PBN links for the price of one quality outreach link.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I honestly don't know.. but as long as I'm doing what I love, around good company, able to take care of my family, spread love and help others where I can, and have good health, I'll be happy.
I'd also love for our upcoming SEO agency to be an industry leader and be recognised by other industry SEO's. SEO spending is set to increase exponentially over the next few years so ideally we want to grab a nice % of this by creating a solid, respected brand.
What’s been your biggest regret since starting out and your biggest lesson?
Diversify your income streams and never get too comfortable. There have been moments in my life where I could have taken certain decisions which would have resulted in massive benefits financially... but I got too comfortable. I eventually realised I need to keep my hunger levels high, no matter what I achieve. There is always someone else out there working harder and smarter than you... so you don't want to get left behind.
No matter how steady your income stream may be, it's never a good idea to rely entirely on it. I learned this lesson the hard way. Here I come with another cliched, unoriginal statement: Do not put all your eggs in a single basket.
What's something most people don't know about you?
I left this one till the very end on purpose.
The second most popular question I get asked is my age. I've always kept this to myself and only a few members who know me personally know. I'm not really sure how to word this... but I'll give it a try. When I got into this industry I'd say I was fairly young -- and there is something about being young and in a business field that makes people look at you with a sense of doubt/skepticism. You don't get the same credibility as someone who is maybe 10, 20, 30 years older. I recall one time when I was invited to a meeting a few years ago to discuss handling the SEO for a local real estate company. Although I thought my presentation and campaign strategy went well, I was quickly but politely turned down since I didn't have the "15, 20 years experience in the industry". I've had to lie about my age in certain circumstances due to this.
Instead, I came to the conclusion that age wasn't important and if I was to show others how talented (or not talented) I was, it would be through the information and knowledge I share as well as my maturity. Thankfully, this has worked exceptionally well for me so far and I'm now in a position where I don't need to excessively prove myself or be in fear of being rejected. At the time of writing this, I'm 22 years old. I guess some of you may find this shocking (in a good way?), others may find it surprising.... but hey, that's something most people don't know about me.
Speaking of age, I know a few digital marketers and SEOs in the industry who are only 18 and 19 who are absolutely killing it... (if you're reading this, you know who you are!) It's heart-warming to see a lot of the younger guys do well in this field. The SEO industry pie is gigantic (billion dollar industry, duh!) so there's a piece of the pie for everyone. Go get it