Aaron Wall, one of the forefathers of the SEO industry, sat down with Trademark Productions and our own, Dwight Zahringer, where Wall shared invaluable tips on how to make your website survive and be successful when using SEO to market your company, business, or brand. Wall, the CEO and Owner of SEOBook.com, offers training, search engine news, tool reviews, and even an e-book to those who want to learn more about the industry in the easiest way possible.
Anyone who is trying to build their website to receive the traffic and business it needs to stay afloat, needs to look into Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Within the last decade, SEO has become an avenue for businesses to look into as it continues to grow and has been an asset to companies who want to be a mainstay in Internet-run businesses. While agencies and knowledgeable firms can help businesses get the exposure they need to SEO, there are also individuals who have played a large role in why SEO is as successful as it is.
Regardless of what industry your business falls under, there is a right and wrong way to go about marketing and using SEO as a way to promote your company. While there are many techniques that can be used, Wall and his website, SEOBook.com, became an instant hit once he did some research.
“What you can do is take a list of 10 or 20 competitors or so, put them into a tool, find out which common back links they have, then look at those pages, see if there’s a way you can contact those webmasters, and get on them. If you know someone else’s website moved locations, then you can look for people that are linking at that site, plus other sites in the industry, and you can email some of those other webmasters, and say, ‘Hey, just like Fred’s site moved, here’s a couple other decent SEO sites you might consider listing.’”
Wall wrote a book for his website, SEOBook.com, and our own Dwight Zahringer just so happened to get the publication for free through his non-profit organization. While it was relatively inexpensive, Wall wanted people to read what he had to say about SEO whether or not they got it for a fee or not.
“Since it’s kind of long and complex, and includes a lot of intro, I thought that if I gave away that much information in one chunk, a lot of people go, ‘Oh, this is overwhelming,’ because they don’t want to get into it.”
Many businesses do not want to get involved in the online or SEO industry out of fear. But, Wall says that companies should not be worried about anything of the sort. Online marketing and SEO is all about growing your brand, your name, which can be beneficial if done the right way.
“Some people are worried about when they’re brand new and obscure. They’re worried about people stealing their stuff. And when you’re new, if people do steal your stuff, it’s actually beneficial because retail only matters if you have an audience and it is costing you to sell it.”
With anything in life, there is always a white, black, and gray area. This is very true for those in SEO, where individuals try to get a leg up on the competition through spamming. The industry is very competitive, and individuals in SEO are always trying to find new ways to come out on top.
“In general with SEO, when you’re new, you just got to try to get momentum any way you can. I wouldn’t suggest doing the spamming of 5,000 blogs, or submit your site to 5,000 web directories. Nothing like that. But some of the other techniques, submitting to some of the better directories or trying to interview people.”
While there is a clear white, black, and gray area in the SEO industry, Wall believes that people can certainly operate in the gray area, even though the outcome may not be ideal. The end result may not necessarily possible while working in the gray area. But, by the same token, your view of how marketing operates may be altered.
“I’m not saying that a person has to spam me, but they can certainly operate in the gray region somewhere. And there’s a lot of stuff where if you listen to the advice that’s given – I think if you listen to the search engine guidelines too strictly, you can have a view of marketing that’s so puritanical, it never gains any momentum.”
When an individual or a group of people want to run a business, sacrifice is heavily involved. Whether it is with family or monetary, businesses, regardless of whether or not they are online-based, operating a business venture is risky. Everyone wants to make a profit; otherwise, they would not go into the business world. Wall puts the operating of a business in perspective.
“Yeah, if you think about any sort of business, rarely do you get any sort of sustained momentum, unless you really put effort in for awhile, and the easiest way – if you ever have a lot of money, you can leverage capital to buy a nice domain name or buy an existing site, but if you don’t have a lot of capital, then how you catch up is putting in more time than the next guy.”
With any and all businesses, whether online or not, each want to have a long-lasting impression through their reputation. The Internet, however, can work against a company if their website is viewed as spammy. Not surprisingly, many companies try to take advantage of SEO through keywords and domain names that are already in use, and therefore, look suspiciously spammy.
“Let’s say you buy a bunch of high-paid links that all say credit cards and point them at your site. That will probably seem pretty easy, be deemed as pretty spammy; especially if you have a new site, and it’s an affiliate site.”
The bankruptcy of Circuit City has been one of the largest liquidations in the most recent of years. Even though the stores may no longer be in operation, the website still exists like it did before filing for bankruptcy, as CircuitCity.com. Because the website was bought, ran just how it was when the company still reached actual stores, it has been able to thrive simply because nothing changed. It goes all back to the domain name – CircuitCity.com.
“Circuit City went bankrupt, and then the website was bought for something like 14 million. All you’d have to do is slap any old website on there. After you get the website up, you would probably produce that much sales per month at least, just based on the old links and the authority of the website.”
Not only can individuals and businesses receive help from developers and SEO elitists, but there are tools and toolbars that can provide them with the necessities to make their SEO and marketing campaign successful. In order for a business or company to have success with SEO, the main component to receiving a higher search engine ranking is the usage of keywords. Even though there are numerous amounts of tools and toolbars out there for anyone who is involved in any form of online marketing or SEO, Wall informs listeners of his favorite keyword tool. And even though he has a toolbar himself at his website, SEOBook.com, he prefers to use the one from Internet powerhouse, Google.
“The Google toolset is my favorite keyword tool. One is called the search-based keyword – the search-based keyword tool, the traffic estimator, and then there is the basic keyword tool. The only issue with them is that sometimes Google selectively filters some stuff. I like to use the Google tools as my first step, and then I also like using Wordtracker, and cross compare and cross reference back and forth a few times. If I have a really big keyword list, I might run it through the Google AdWords ATI, and have it grab the data as far as estimated search volume, estimated keyword value, and then from there, sort it by value, and look at what keywords fit well in your business.”
In order for a website and its business to survive online, there needs to be a plan in place. In the realm of SEO, Wall shares three tips that every small business should abide by if they want to get the results and numbers they need and want. After all, without customers, without profit, without any marketing, businesses do not survive. Unfortunately, this happens to many companies, but in the matter of SEO, Wall shares three key components that any small business needs to survive in this day and age of the Internet.
“A domain name is important. Then, if you can encourage your customers to give reviews to your site, on Google Local or other services, if you get a bunch of positive reviews, that’ll help you rank better. So that’s two. Three is the physical location of the business. The location, the more central you are to the city, the better it’ll be.”
Social media has become a force to be reckoned with as more and more businesses are finding websites, like Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, useful to market their company and brand. Like many websites, their features, how they operate, and the demographic that they are trying to attract are constantly changing. As social media websites continue to evolve with real-time search being one of the newest features on the likes Twitter, Wall does not think it’s the answer to many small businesses’ SEO ventures.
“The impact is mostly going to be on the personal. There’s not a lot of signal with social media, so promoting it quickly, it doesn’t have a lot of signal. Like most areas where it would have a lot of signal because there are supposed to be a lot of traditional weblinks as well, going around those areas. I think it can be helpful for some, but for most small business it’s typically a mismanaged amount of resources, that they put too much effort directly into Twitter or Facebook because most of them would be better off spending that time to write how-to blog posts on their own website.”
With any company in business, there will always be ones that are better than others with regards to the work that they do, the effort that they put forth, and how much they charge for their services. While some businesses want the best of the best when it comes to the look and feel of their website, some could care less, which is more than unfortunate. Always do everything and anything to keep customers on your website.
“I think there will always be shoddy providers. I think it’ll just be some amount of people will care, some won’t. Different people will talk about improvements using different language. Some will call it usability. Some will call it SEO. Some people will call it design. But I think there will be winners and losers in every market, and there’s always going to be way more losers than winners.”
In order to survive in the online marketplace, the company needs to pay close attention to all of the details that will help it stay in business. From audience to the market that you are trying to attract, Wall shares some helpful tips in how those ingredients can help in designing and developing a successful website.
“If you know what a market wants, then you can out-provide for what it wants. If you know your market well, you can see, hopefully, some of the halls in the marketing strategies that might work in it, but if you don’t know much about a market, then the person that knows a lot about that market has a huge advantage over you.”
There are many facets to online marketing and SEO. Wall, given his vast expertise in the industry, specializes in link building, which is one of the many topics he covers in his training modules through his website, SEOBook.com. While Wall’s training sessions are through a private forum for members, he shared tips and ideas that usually he would charge $500 for. And as we later found out, Wall has a great sense of humor.
“Do a site search on our website for the exact match domain, and read up on that. Search for your topic, and then look for sites that aren’t quite breaking the top, and see if you can buy them. One more. You will rank better on Google if you link to my site.”
While it may be our longest podcast interview to-date, Wall provides listeners with the simplest and easiest of tools and tips they need to be successful in the SEO realm. To have someone of his caliber and expertise join the Trademark Productions’ SEO WebTalk Radio Show is more than impressive, and we were delighted to have him as our guest. Listen to one of the SEO forefathers discuss what he did to be successful, and what you can do to earn the results you and your business’ website deserve.