Episode 41: Expert SEO Matthew Woodward Joins Us

Our guest is SEO Expert Matthew Woordward, coming from overseas to drop some knowledge on this American SEO community.  It was a great show and though there weren’t any particular deep dives on this podcast almost hitting an hour (one of our longest) there are plenty of interesting takeaways and items to think about without a doubt.  Enjoy! We certainly did.

Learn more about Matthew Woodward using the following links as well:

All Transcriptions are provided by rev.com – please excuse any editing afterwards we may have missed

Paul Warren:                     Hi, I’m Paul Warren.

Ryan Klein:                         And I’m Ryan Klein.

Paul Warren:                     This is another episode of SEO is Dead and Other Lies. Ryan, how are you doing today?

Ryan Klein:                         I’m doing pretty great. You know I was just in Kansas City a week ago, Minneapolis, this week and they’re all still not nearly as hot as there in Florida.

Paul Warren:                     Yeah, I did a lot of traveling this week myself. I was in Tennessee, Nashville for about 24 hours and came right back down for a business meeting. So I’m a little tired from all this travel, but not as much as you are.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. We don’t have time to talk about the most horrific Uber experience I ever had in my life, because we have much more important things to talk about today.

Paul Warren:                     Yeah. We actually have a really, really good episode planned today. We have a really, really special guest coming on. His name is Matthew Woodward. You’ve probably heard of him before, if you’ve been in digital marketing for any amount of time. He’s kind of a known entity. I don’t really like to use the word like SEO celebrities, but they sort of are when you are in this space for a long time. These are just kind of known people who use a lot of content and provide a lot of insight into the industry, and, yeah, we have one on today. So everyone sit tight. It’s going to be a great episode.

Ryan Klein:                         What’s up Matt? He’s over here with us.

Matt Woodward:            Hey, how’re you doing? Thanks for having me on. That’s a pretty solid intro. I hope I do it justice.

Paul Warren:                     Absolutely. I know that a lot of our listeners are super into SEO so a lot are going to be like, “Wow. You guys got literally a guest for once.” Really up fellows. Man of your words, finally.

Matt Woodward:            Well, I’m not sure everyone will agree with that.

Paul Warren:                     That’s okay. They can put it wherever. So the ones that don’t really know your background and expertise, why don’t you just kind of give everyone a little bit of rundown of your background.

Matt Woodward:            Okay. Well, I’ve been building website as long as I could deliver newspapers because that’s how I was paying for the server back in, well, before YouTube, before Google, like, yeah, a long time. Longer than… I’ve forgotten so much than I’ve learned over that time. I was doing things before link building was a thing.

Paul Warren:                     I like to refer the business SEO the like us days, you know.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah, the good days. The 10,000% keyword density days. [Crosstalk 00:02:57] So I’ve seen it all over the years. Things have come and gone. I’ve had successes. I’ve had failures. I’ve had things that pops. I’ve had things that got penalized. Yeah, I’ve done it all.

Matt Woodward:            Before I did things for myself full-time, I was in the corporate world, and we all know that sucks. So I had great success with e-commerce, some big brands. I was able to learn a lot using other people’s money, so that was cool. And you know, eventually corporate world took the leap in the last 10 years or so. I’ve just been focused on growing my empire, learning, selling, resetting, starting a blank, and progressing through the ranks, so to speak.

Paul Warren:                     All right. So to our listeners out there. If you guys want to learn how to do it either from the affiliate side or SEO in general, we’re going to have some good tips in this podcast.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. Hopefully, you can all be walking away with some things to implement.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. One thing I want to say is I was definitely going pretty thoroughly into your website and your blogs and the different funnels you have on your website to kind of come up with some of these questions. And I’m like, I’m never going to have this much content to provide to people in my life. It’s massive.

Paul Warren:                     Actually, I was going through that stuff today and I was looking at that, I’m like, your YouTube, and I was really thinking just how much content that is because sometimes writing one blog post a week for me is kind of like pulling teeth and I sort of put it off. I’m kind of wondering because you have so much of it and obviously you’ve put a couple of years doing it, but what’s your content creation process like though? Do you upload all? Do you front load it and do a bunch of it at one time or you space it out?

Matt Woodward:            Okay. So content is broken down into a couple of areas. At the moment I’m working on more of a static SEO guide, which will take people from literally the question what is SEO all the away for you to being able to build their first campaign. That’s more evergreen content that should have some sticking time. Right now all of the keyword research is done and published, all of the on-page stuff is done and published, and next week I’m going to publish all the link building stuff. That’s something we’ve been working on for, well, quite a while. But the blog was lacking that evergreen start from fresh and how to end up with results step-by-step sequence.

Matt Woodward:            The second type of content that I like to produce is more of the more advanced and in-depth stuff. Things that’s working now that might not necessarily work in the future, deep dives into SEO audits, case studies we’ve based on data, and really deep dive into the technical side of things.

Matt Woodward:            So the two types of content together should support each other and take people from SEO newbie, but also appeal to the advanced SEO that have been doing it for a long time.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah, kind of a journey and you’re trying to take people on. It’s great.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. I’m trying to create an all-in-one learning resource.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah, that’s fantastic. One thing I was going to say is that, Paul, I’m impressed. We have a list of questions and that wasn’t even a question that was on our list. So I guess that’s going to be that kind of interview.

Paul Warren:                     I’m so sorry, you know, I’m speaking from my own experience because really I saw it and I was like, “Man, that’s a lot.” And I was impressed and I was curious, yeah.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. I know a lot of the content is… Yeah. I’m always testing things, looking at things, playing with things. So a lot of it comes from that. And a lot of it comes from just looking in forums and communities and what people are asking, what problems are people having at the moment. And that really is the foundation of it. And how can I leverage my knowledge to help people’s problems really? That is the strategy.

Paul Warren:                     Kind of like on a side note so I’m going to mention, this isn’t in the question either but I will proceed with the question. I was actually reading that Rand Fishkin’s book Lost and Founder. It’s appropriate because he’s SEO dude and I live in Seattle now and felt like it was right thing to do. He said that when he was starting off he wrote something like four or five times a week. And he said that he didn’t really even strike any traction or organic traffic until he wrote somewhere like 2,000 blogs. Where did you start to see it? Because 2,000 to me sounds like outrageous and a little too arduous, or it adds to the journey. Or, it’s just a little exaggerated or not, I don’t know.

Matt Woodward:            I mean, if you want to call it, look, if you believe in that. The second month of the blog it got four thousand visitors, but from tiered link building videos, which was just a series of six videos. So I can’t say it took me 2,000 posts with the Matthew Woodward blog. Well, again it depends on how you’re doing it. If I’m building out a niche site, I’m certainly not writing 2,000 pages of content before I start seeing results. At most I’ve got 15 or 20 pages and I’m looking for some kind of traction. And if I ain’t hitting it, I ain’t writing 1,980 pages of content.

Ryan Klein:                                 Okay. Imagine if it was like 300, 400 or 500 and still nothing was happening. Yeah, the amount of dedication. I might have been exaggerating but it definitely sounded like it was hundreds and hundreds and hundreds before…

Matt Woodward:            There’s no denying, getting any like… Because my blog is a blog of passion. Let me tell you the amount of resources that go into creating it versus the amount of profit that comes out of it is by far the worst performing web asset by a long, long, long way. If I had investors that tell me to shut it down. So it takes a lot of effort to get things up the ground.

Ryan Klein:                         I guess, one of first ones is, you know, you kind of have a couple of major funnels on your website. So it sounds like blogging and the other is sort of like how to make money online. You know I’m a big believer in when you’re an SEO even if you’re in-house for a large company you should be developing these skillsets and the long-term goal is you should be able to support yourself through your image, kind of like what you’ve done. So I’m sorting based off your audience you get more people that are just interested in making traffic increase for their blogs or they want to dive in headfirst and they’re affiliate marketing or making money online.

Matt Woodward:            Okay. So I’ve got a mix of people and life started as an SEO blog, well, he didn’t really start as an SEO blog, it had no plan, but mostly it went in the direction of SEO. I was just sharing my learnings and knowledge and it’s span few areas, but mostly focused on SEO. Why do those funnels exists and why are they structured in the way that they are? It’s because I literally just asked my reader base which subject categories do you enjoy most? Check all apply: SEO traffic generation, making money, blogging, conversion, social media, that kind of things. And my audience literally told me what they wanted and the top ones were SEO, traffic generation, blogging, and making money online. Except I didn’t call it making money online, it sounds spammy. I called it work.

Paul Warren:                     Yeah. It’s really good way to put it. Actually everyone should say that, how do you work and then get money from that online.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly, yeah. Because I was like, “Goddammit, how am I going to put money online without spamming? Maybe I could call it also, you know Gary V it? Nah, sounds spammy as well.

Ryan Klein:                         Oh, man, dropping the Gary V. on this podcast.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. I was like, no, can’t go with that. You know, one of the things I hate about the SEO world, and generally on making money online, is the fact that it’s so commonly mis-sold as the magic easy pill to making a ton of money. So I decided my make money online would be called work, meaning you gotta do some of that.

Ryan Klein:                         What a noble idea, right?

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. So that’s how the funnels kind of came about. And not funnel that’s just an email funnels, but funnels in terms of the content, you know, they go from the home page, what you want to do? Increase search, traffic, start a blog and then dive into that? It’s like, okay, well, do you need to know what is SEO? Do you need to know what is keyword research? What do you need to know? And it dials down into that.

Matt Woodward:            I think that one of the biggest mistakes SEOs make is they’re forgetting about the human element. How many SEOs survey the audience that they’re speaking to see what content they want, what are you preferred methods of learning, what do you like, what you don’t like about the site? It’s very easy to get distracted by tools and automation and forget about the human element when you do an SEO for a site, but SEO encompasses content keywords everything human and as SEOs we kind of cut the human out.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. They kind of forget about that these are actually human beings that are trying to get information from.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. And it’s easy to like, “Oh, I only got 50 visitors,” and kind of diminish it. But if you’re in a room of 50 people that all stood staring at you listening to what you had to say, feels very different to just looking at, “Oh, I had 50 visitors on Google Analytics today.”

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah.

Matt Woodward:            But it’s the same thing and we often forget about that.

Ryan Klein:                         It’s a good way of putting it. Yeah. Because I don’t really consider, my background was really never marketing where I got into this and I was drawn to the technical side of things. And so when I’m doing, I’m driving traffic, I’m like, I’m not a marketer so I don’t really care about the rest. And it’s like, no, you definitely do. It’s just experience. It’s telling a story. And I never thought it until, even that long ago like a couple years ago, you have to tell a story and then the second we start doing that conversion started going up.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. SEO is like the convergence of all things digital marketing, from codes, copyright, into telling the story to everything. It’s a combination of everything. Unfortunately, what gets left out of that far too much is a human.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. The best point that you made really is you don’t see them, you can’t put a face to it, so it’s easy to touch yourself from a visitor who is a person.

Matt Woodward:            Yes. Yeah. As SEOs we’re particularly prone to that because we’re so obsessed with data and tools and analysis…

Ryan Klein:                         Oh, yes.

Matt Woodward:            …and all the rest of that with wrong personality type, you know.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah, sometimes we are. So this is a question that I’ve definitely been excited about asking and it kind of like goes back to a lot of things that Paul talked about, and I talked about it in our podcast and it’s definitely focusing a little bit on Bing. So when Paul and I talk about traffic in search engines, we always just like skip right over it. We talk about Bing and people bring it up, we’re like, “Don’t worry about it. Skip over at Google. Google, that’s all there is.”

Ryan Klein:                         But on your website you definitely put an emphasis on Bing. So then that makes me take a step back and I was like, “Okay. What’s Matt know that I don’t? What’s happening in Bing?” So I definitely would love to know your take on kind of it being an opportunity nowadays whether it be organic or whether it be under paid options?

Matt Woodward:            Okay. I’m not going to tell you that you should focus on Bing over Google because you shouldn’t. But Bing is growing. It’s market share is growing and it has been growing consistently for the last 10 years. Now whether Bing is useful to you is a very personal question. But we have data to answer that question. Jump into Google Analytics, look at your traffic sources, and look how does Bing’s traffic compared to Google. Does it bounce more? Are they visiting more pages? How does it convert? And just look yourself, you know, no two sites are the same.

Matt Woodward:            Now for me, I often find that Bing traffic is converting better, spends more time on pages, visits more pages, and so forth. But the volume just isn’t there to say, yes, you should really target Bing. But you should certainly consider Bing and have it as part of your strategy. People ignore Bing to the point that… Did you know that Bing’s got its own version of authorship?

Ryan Klein:                         No.

Paul Warren:                     No.

Matt Woodward:            Okay. Sign up to Bing Webmaster Tools. There’s an area called, I think it’s called connected pages or connected profiles and a site explorer, don’t connect all those up. Little things like that will have a big difference. The Bing team are generally pretty SEO friendly. They have their own SEO analysis tool that you can run and find issues that you might not consider when ranking for Google. So there’s opportunities there that are quick wins, quick things to integrate. I’ve got a more detailed post and video on my YouTube channel about it.

Matt Woodward:            But it is often ignored, and I think it is a great opportunity for people. But you certainly shouldn’t be like, “Oh, yeah. I’m going to run for Bing and not Google.”

Ryan Klein:                         I think that Paul and I still have been doing a little bit of disservice by saying, “Don’t even freaking think about it.” So let’s rephrase that a little bit.

Matt Woodward:            I mean, it might not be right for everyone. You might look at how the traffic performs and think, “Yeah, screw that.” But you might look at it and be like, “Wow. Okay. The conversion rate is double than what Google brings. This is something that we should pay attention to.” And you might not do it through SEO. Paid traffic from Bing is super, super, super cheap. Like one, two, three cents clicks on popular keywords that in Google, you’d be paying five, 10, 15 dollars for.

Matt Woodward:            So opportunity is there. Everyone ignores it. And you’re right, it is very rare for someone to just say, “Open your eyes.” But have a look to see how the traffic performs for you. There’s some quick wins there. Monitor that if you want to scale up just by the traffic and see how it performs for a little while before you decide and go from there, yeah.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. I’m actually in a situation like that right now. So the company that I work in housework everything, their entire niche was blocked, removed from Google AdWords so that we can’t show any Google Ads for any of those keywords anymore.

Matt Woodward:            Okay.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. Kind of like what happened to… It’s certainly not Penny Loans, but what happened was like Penny Loans a few years ago they kind of like got rid of all that.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah.

Ryan Klein:                         We’re in a situation now where there’s been a lot of fraud in the industry and they’re trying to come up with a system to get approval set in place. But everything’s been demonetized over there. The amount we’re spending $200,000, $300,00 a month on ads. Well, we’ve got to move that spend to some other areas and we’ve started up with Bing. So far we don’t get the same volume because, you know, it’s not Google, but like you said, those keywords are a whole lot cheaper.

Matt Woodward:            Yes.

Ryan Klein:                         In terms of money you can still get some good results.

Matt Woodward:            You don’t have the competition. Most people that are using Bing are people that don’t know how to install Firefox and Chrome. Those people generally have money.

Ryan Klein:                         The IE crowd.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah, right? I mean, there ain’t no light under 30 year old using Bing and Internet Explorer by choice.

Paul Warren:                     They got to be really easy.

Matt Woodward:            So, you know, it’s the same where it is though black and white, yes or no, should you target Bing, it depends on your business, your current day, the quick wins are there. Yeah, the volume is not there, but neither is the competition. So in some niches you only need a handful of leads to make a ton of money, and in that respect the volume is there.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. I have one quick story about being Bing ads. Since it’s very recent I might as well mention it. Occasionally, I help lawyers. My background is legal marketing and professional services and whatnot. And so every once while there’ll be a mass tort like this one thing that a bunch of lawyers want to hop on and just sue bunch of people, make a crap ton of money at once. One of the hot things right now is e-cigarette. They’re finally figuring out that people die from one. Can you believe it?

Matt Woodward:            Yeah.

Ryan Klein:                         Vaping might be bad for your health. So you try bidding on some of the brands on Google. And once you get past the e-cigarette, you’re like, “No. I’m not signed tobacco products.” It’s like a legal service. They’re cool at that part but you start bidding on the brand names. They’re like, “Absolutely not. You have to have a reseller account. You have to be approved to do it.” So they just completely stole it on Google. You go over to Bing, some of these brand names, and same thing, you’ll go through like the process like e-cigarettes whenever they said no, it’s legal services, and then they’ll say like, “I want to bid on the brand now,” and they’re like, “Okay, cool. Go for it.” They’re like, “Okay. Thank you. Fine.” There’s real opportunity, for anyone listening.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. The opportunity is there [inaudible 00:22:05] as well.

Ryan Klein:                         Okay. So this podcast being SEO is Dead and Other Lies, right?

Matt Woodward:            Yup.

Ryan Klein:                         You hear all the time. Well, there’s a lot of misconceptions and lies out there about SEO nowadays. What do you believe are some like the most common ones?

Matt Woodward:            Wow. How long have we got? You guys got anything else booked after this?

Paul Warren:                     No. I got four hours all cleared. Why don’t you give us maybe like two of the top.

Matt Woodward:            Okay. My biggest gripe has got to be whitehat SEO and blackhat SEO. If you identify as a whitehat SEO or a blackhat SEO, let me tell you you’re an idiot. The reason you’re an idiot is because the blackhat, whitehat thing is an argument of human ethics and morals which is actually completely cannibalizing. And I’ll explain why in a moment.

Matt Woodward:            Look, there’s a Google search algorithm. It’s a computer and it’s looking for certain metrics. All our job as SEOs is to give it the metrics it wants. But for some reason we got our stupid little human egos in the way and made a divide, and you’ve got to either be whitehat or blackhat and there’s no crossover. It’s ridiculous.

Matt Woodward:            If you tell me that you’re a blackhat SEO, I think you’re an idiot. Why? Because you only understand half of the game. The same as if you tell me you’re whitehat, I’d say you’re an idiot. The fact that you identify with that like, “Oh, I’m a whitehat,” it makes you ignorant of anything blackhat. You don’t want to know about it. You turn your nose up at it, it’s below you. Right? If you identify as a blackhat SEO, it’s the other way around. So it creates ignorance, which in turn stops you from growing and learning and all of that.

Matt Woodward:            This is what’s funny for me, whitehat SEO, traditionally, has come full circle whitehat link building. What even is that? Link building is against Google guidelines. What’s whitehat link building? There isn’t.

Ryan Klein:                         There isn’t any whitehat link building, right?

Matt Woodward:            There isn’t. So what are you talking about? You’re literally saying whitehat, blackhat when you say that, right?

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. I couldn’t agree more, honestly. Someone was asking this question the other day and they were talking about buying links and they were shocked that you could buy links and that was wrong. I was like, “I’m not really sure how that’s any better than just spamming a bunch of people’s inboxes and asking for a link.”

Matt Woodward:            Okay. So let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about outreach because that is whitehat link building tactics of choice outreach and anyone who’s got the whitehat on really gets on the moral high ground about this. I don’t know how many outreach emails you guys send, but let me tell you very rarely do they even end in a free link placement. If I send outreach emails I’m sending with the expectation I’m going to have to pay because that’s how it works.

Matt Woodward:            Free guest posts now or free anything to do with a link is rare. People know they have value. So whitehat link building in outreach in essence it’s just buying links. That’s all it is, buying links.

Matt Woodward:            And that’s blackhat it goes. So that’s why it’s come full circle, whitehat SEOs now are in essence buying links at scale while holding the nose up in the air like, “Oh, I’m whitehat.” A blackhat with an inbox.

Ryan Klein:                         It’s an amazing point considering it’s like, do you want to just go to this third-party straight up buy links you get the links or do you want to hire someone in-house you’re paying the salary which is essentially just paying for links in a roundabout way? And then what? Does that make you feel better?

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. But even that person is going to do the outreach and they’re going to be like, “Oh, yeah, guest post do-follow links $50.00.” Oh, yeah.

Matt Woodward:            You’re buying links at the end of it. That’s what you’re doing. When did anyone free guest posts that are just so few and far between now. In fact, blackhats just buy links with guest posting. And not only I’ve got to buy the link, I got to write the content.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah, it’s endless.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. So in the end, if you are on either side, I’m a blackhat SEO or I’m a whitehat SEO fence, you’re an idiot. You’re creating a divide that only serves to stop your own learning and progress.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah.

Matt Woodward:            The second, you build a link it’s by traditional labels blackhat. That’s it, so stop arguing about it. Just give the algorithm what it wants. It’s simple. That’s it.

Ryan Klein:                         You’ve got to experiment. You’ve got to experiment with everything, see if it works. And if it works, do it until you got a change. It’s more of are we wrong because a rule says so? I mean, that’s kind of silly.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. It’s an algorithm. It’s a computer algorithm looking for certain metrics. Who decided we’re going to apply human morals and ethics to that? It’s ridiculous. And even so, a link is a link, what are we arguing for that? It’s not the same trade.

Matt Woodward:            So, yeah. Just if you’re a whitehat, open your eyes; if your blackhat, open your eyes. Forget those labels. Just focus on giving the algorithm and what it wants and experiment with what that is because that changes over time and how you do it really is up to you.

Paul Warren:                     I’m glad that I only did… I probably did about 20 outreach emails in my entire existence, which I’m pretty happy about that. I think I did it like six, seven years ago. That’s the only time I did it and I was working in-house. And I read a good, comprehensive article about how to do links and then it was the old, you know, use this tool and find broken links on people’s websites, and then they’ll repair the link. Or they’ll link to you because you’ll provide the whole thing. They were linking to this authority link broke then you relink it to your one of your properties.

Matt Woodward:            That works if you can do it systemized and scaled. That is really effective. Even to this day that’s a great link building strategy.

Paul Warren:                     I know I got this courage to stop after a couple days and quit that kind of SEO.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. But, well, I don’t know in a couple of days there should have been like 500 emails go out at least.

Matt Woodward:            I got better, let’s just say that. It’s funny, those old school, simple things work. If you just pay attention to the basics, if you just do the very basics right eventually you’ll see success. And you know you laugh about the broken link building, great strategy. It’s really effective.

Paul Warren:                     You heard it heard it, broken link. Still works. Now if you’re better in guest posting maybe just provide more value. Who knows?

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. Well, guest posting is buying links now, isn’t it?

Paul Warren:                     Yeah. It’s really out of control though. I remember when it really like took off, it’s probably around like 2012, 2013, you were just getting links anywhere that would accept a free guest post. Right? I remember when it’s like, “Hey, you have a blog. I sell car parts. That’s fine, throw a link on there. I’ll write something for it.”

Matt Woodward:            Yeah.

Paul Warren:                     It’s so ridiculous, you know.

Matt Woodward:            And the trend at that time people were creating right through those pages. Solely so like as a strategy for them not to have to write their own content.

Paul Warren:                     Sure. I researched that.

Matt Woodward:            Exactly. And bloggers knew that. They knew if they didn’t write their own content they just need to create that page. So that’s why it exploded, the two things fight each other and then bloggers are like, “Huh, maybe we can make them pay to write our content.”

Male:                                    Yeah. I’ve been cash on an agency website and other stuff. I’m like, “That’s just a little too bizarre for me. Do you know who you’re talking to?” So do you want to do one more myth? Is there anything else top of mind?

Matt Woodward:            It’s not really a myth but it’s something common that I see, it’s a common recurring theme. Tons of people come to my blog for SEO help, any comment, any announcement to look at their sites and everything else. People never seem to put the effort into building a foundation that Google would love, or even humans love would love with their site. The dual quality of sites that I see and the content within them is just terrible in general. It’s very rare that I see a site and I’m like, “Wow. Great job, buddy.”

Matt Woodward:            And people are obsessed with link building, they’re like, “I built this site and it’s not ranking. How many links do I need to build?” I’m like, “You know, well…”

Matt Woodward:            The links aren’t the problem. But they don’t want to hear that, you know. And that’s evident when I send out broadcast emails. If I send a new link building strategy everyone’s like, “The open rate is high. The click-through rate is high.” If I send something about on-page or audit or anything that invokes a person responsible for it, the open and click-through rate dies, like people just don’t care.

Matt Woodward:            So there’s a definite issue and I see people are wrongly obsessed with link building when they haven’t built a foundation that Google loves or even any intelligent human could love first. And I just think of it like if you were opening a store in the high street, a real store, and you had an opening day. On that opening day, it’s likely you’d have all the shops fitted really nicely, the shelves right, all products perfect, everything lined up nice and neat, everything, all the milk would be together in one place, all the drinks would be in one place or the vegetables would be you all, you know. Everything will be categorized and organized nicely.

Matt Woodward:            You need to open a store and people come in, find a certain… and buy. People don’t do that on a website. They don’t consider that you should be treating your digital business the same way that you treat a real business. And to just see overall qualities of the agency is shocking and that ties into the fact that I see so many bad foundation, so many bad sites with poor content, poor on-page SEO, and then from the other side when I’m sending out emails on my list, I see that no one really wants to read that content. I’m like, “Yeah. Well…”

Ryan Klein:                             I wouldn’t even say a misconception because it is [inaudible 00:33:43]. There’s a lot more work to be put into learning. Like you act and how people interact with sites, and there’s a lot of like testing that can go along with that. And I think just the overall knowledge level in digital marketing on those aspects is kind of low.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah.

Ryan Klein:                             The link building is a pretty easy concept to understand. For a small amount of money you can buy some links so you can feel like maybe it’s going to make a change for you. Right?

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. You really got to put in some work, you got to read things, and you kind of have to experiment. It’s work to do it. At the end of the day I think a lot of people just don’t want to put that amount of work.

Ryan Klein:               Yeah. I guess we kind of touched on that’s why I call it my how to make money section work.

Ryan Klein:                              Otherwise it would just be buy links and wait.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. And link building, look, there’s no argument, backlinks are the number one ranking factor. They are. But that is amplified 10 times when you’ve built a foundation that Google and humans love first. We did a case study in a health niche, and actually it’s published on the blog and with 14 times the search traffic in eight months. That’s taken from a few thousand to 50,000 of highly qualified leads. And during that time we only built 76 links. And we were competing with big, big, big brands, big, big, big brands and we only built 76 links.

Matt Woodward:            But what we did was we upgraded all of the content and we actually made it useful. So even though we only built 76 links over the course of the campaign it attracted 400. Now if you did the math on how much it would have cost to go out and buy, create, or however it is that you like to go out and do it to go and acquire those extra 320 links, it far, far, far outweighs the cost of upgrading the content.

Ryan Klein:                                Yeah, you’re going to get way better links.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah.

Ryan Klein:                                  And probably even cost a whole lot.

Matt Woodward:            Exactly. People going to come to the page and going to link to it naturally, because no one likes linking to a lemon. You know what I mean? It’s got to be link worthy and people aren’t putting that effort into the foundation. It’s almost like building that foundation is like having an amplifier for your SEO efforts.

Ryan Klein:                         Absolutely, yeah.

Matt Woodward:            One link suddenly ends up becoming 10 links.

Ryan Klein:                         Traffic’s only good if it converts.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah, of course. So that’s not really a myth, but one of those common things I see. People are so obsessed with link building they can’t see the woods for the trees. You got to build a foundation that Google loves and people love before anything else. When you do that your link building and all your other efforts will be amplified 10 times. You’ll end up spending so much less budget just by getting the foundations and the basics right before you run off and start worrying about link building.

Paul Warren:                     So if I can piggyback off your analogy, you did not too long ago at the store that you’re stocking all the shelves. I’ve been guilty of this in the past. So the way I think we can maybe summarize this is, you know, a lot of people don’t want to stock the shelves because they’re like, “What’s the point of doing all this until I get people in the store? So it’s like if I start seeing traffic come in, if I start seeing people walk in, yeah, I’ll start stocking everything.”

Paul Warren:                     And then they’re sitting there and the place of the shelves are barren but still there’s no traffic and they’re wondering what’s going on. It turns out that all those people found out that you didn’t bother stocking your shelves, and that’s why they’re not coming.

Matt Woodward:            Exactly. Like if you walked into a really terrible restaurant, you’re like, “Oh. Out.” You got to treat it like you were building in a real business. You’ve got to think about that experience. “Okay. I wouldn’t go right in 2,000 blog posts in style, but I definitely make sure I had at least 15, 20 pieces of really solid, genuinely helpful, problem-solving content that really was a strong linkable asset.” The kind of thing that if anyone looks at it, they’re like, “Yeah. I’ll link to that.” You’ve got to build that base. And if you build a few of those you see which grabs attraction and then you can start expanding and throwing a gas on the fire. But you got to open your store and it’s got to look good. You can’t just throw up a lemonade stand on the side of the road anymore.

Ryan Klein:                         That’s for the little kids. We’re adults here.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah.

Ryan Klein:                         Well, that was immense. I covered a lot. We went into … No, we’re good as far as that goes. I might edit some of its parts just for us to discuss if you want to proceed with another couple of questions or…?

Matt Woodward:            Whatever you want, hit me.

Ryan Klein:                         Paul, do you want to ask one more question.

Paul Warren:                     I got two that we can ask to talk about the Ahrefs and Majestic. That’s a pretty interesting topic.

Matt Woodward:            Okay.

Ryan Klein:                         That one’s a cap to me so I want to throw in there.

Paul Warren:                     And we’ll wind with what your suggestions would be [inaudible 00:39:17] for affiliate for you.

Matt Woodward:            That’s sounds good. Okay. Hit me.

Paul Warren:                     Recently you had an article kind of talking about a winner between Ahrefs and Majestic. If you don’t know what Ahrefs and Majestic, caller, if you’re a listener, check them out. They’re pretty well-known tools in the industry. They both do some pretty interesting things. But you declared a winner between the two. So you can tell us a little about the study that did and how you came to a winner?

Matt Woodward:            Okay. So this is a test of repeated two or three times. It started, I created a best backlink checkers test just to see who had the best database. I only ran it across three or four of my sites. There was like five backlink checkers I publish or post and Majestic took issue of it. They said I was biased, my dataset was small, blah blah blah, blah blah blah, all the rest of it. And they were right. Everything that they said was right. I can’t argue with it.

Matt Woodward:            So I decided to take the two winners of the test, Majestic and Ahrefs. Actually, it was funny they said that I was biased that Ahrefs won, but actually the people that came last in the test have literally the week before given away thousands of dollar’s worth of prizes to my audience. And then I was like, “Yeah. So thanks for that, but you came last and now I will publish it.”

Matt Woodward:            So it was funny Majestic claimed bias because I literally had that conversation. So then I decided, okay, yeah, they had points. So I took the two winners of tests, Ahrefs and Majestic. And Majestic published a Majestic Million. It’s the million domains that they know the most about. It’s what they consider the most popular million domains on the Internet and it tells you how many backlinks are tracking for each of those and bits of data.

Matt Woodward:            So I took the Majestic Million. And then using a testing methodology created by Majestic, I then took the Ahrefs’ data for the million domains. Compared them and it turned out that Ahrefs know significantly more about the Majestic Million than Majestic does. So you can imagine how that went when I published it.

Paul Warren:                     You got backlinks from both of them, right?

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. I went to a bunch of places, some selected words.

Paul Warren:                     And Majestic.

Ryan Klein:                         From email backlinks [inaudible 00:41:53]

Matt Woodward:            Well, all I did was, they pointed out the flaws in my experiment, they were right so I fixed it, rerun the experiment. And they still lost. But this time they lost on an undeniable scale. They should have just left it. So then I repeated the test and it turns out Majestic have grown a little bit. They do now know a little bit more, but Ahrefs is still the clear winner.

Matt Woodward:            Now it’s important to say when I’m declaring the winner I’m clearly saying winner in terms of who’s reporting the most amount of links in their database. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best backlink checker tool because if the data is not fresh, if the data is not accurate, how the data is presented, is the data presented in a usable format and such things, or contribute to what the best backlink checker is? But in terms of database size, Ahrefs has a significant lead over Majestic.

Matt Woodward:            Now you might have been seeing that Moz and SEMRush have been making lots of noise. They’re battling database is the biggest. SEMRush selected 100 domains for their tests. Now, hell, if I selected 100 domains, yeah, I could build it all and have that win tomorrow. So then Moz were like, “Oh, well, you only selected 100 domains. We’ve done over 1,000 and now we’re the best.” I’m like, “Well, yeah. I could do that as well. 100,000 really. No, really, here or there you literally just pull in the same trick and calling each other out on it.

Matt Woodward:            So I’m going to do the million domain test of Ahrefs, and Majestic, SEMRush, Moz, and SEO Spyglass to really find out who has the best data or the biggest link database. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best backlink checker because there’s lots of other elements that go into that decision.

Matt Woodward:            So that’s probably going to cause a few waves because I’ve got the data.

Ryan Klein:                            Yeah. This time then you got five and…

Matt Woodward:            Yeah.

Ryan Klein:                               It’s really reading the results of the tests for sure.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. I’m probably going to go into hiding for a little bit for my own safety after I published that.

Ryan Klein:                               You should go on a publicity tour with all your findings.

Ryan Klein:                            I mean, just personally, I’ve never done a test. But I always thought that Ahrefs from a backlink standpoint was way more comprehensive than the other tool sets. I mean, they all do kind of something pretty well in different areas. Right?

Matt Woodward:            Yeah.

Ryan Klein:                                You’re kind of just basing this test just on that. I always thought they had a much better historical index of what’s happening.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. But Ahrefs I’m finding that it’s not exactly the freshest data. And when they’re reporting it was last updated two days ago.

Matt Woodward:            I’m not seeing that’s the case. For example, if you compare what they say on their front-end versus archive.org record, you can see that, okay, maybe you crawled it two days ago but you haven’t updated the database with the data you found yet. Or there’s something. It’s telling me all the time, “Oh, this link’s broken, this link’s broken,” and I go and look and it’s not broken.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. You can say well, maybe the page was down at the time and whatnot, but it’s happened in such frequency at such volume that something’s not working right. So, yes, Ahrefs does have the biggest database based on my tests. If I only had the money to buy one tool, it is the tool I would buy to look up anything to do with backlinks and anything like that. But at the same time, they’re all over alternatives and they present data different ways and sometimes it’s just a thing of personal preference.

Matt Woodward:            Certainly all of the tools find the best backlinks. Just because Ahrefs finds all the backlinks it might just find all the good ones, but then a million spammy ones that you don’t even want anyway. So just because it finds the most it doesn’t mean it finds the most usable data.

Ryan Klein:                                    Yeah. Okay. So we got it here. It’s Ahrefs for now until further tests.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah.

Ryan Klein:                          I can’t wait till Moz in the boxing arena. I’m really looking forward for that article and I’m going to have an alert for that one.

Matt Woodward:            Oh, yeah.

Paul Warren:                        How about make a break for doggy snuggies and I’ll leave you alone?

Ryan Klein:                         Hopefully. These are my people and I’m in Seattle. They can make me look bad. No. I’ll just say we’re going to have one more question, but I just want to say I’m glad that we were able to discuss a variety of very interesting topics thus far. We covered a lot of ground, a lot in SEO, a lot about link building, a lot about ethics involved with SEO, and labeling yourself things that are completely irrelevant, which is hilarious.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. One thing that we definitely want to conclude with, because this is a lot of the information you’re providing and I don’t think that we technically went into too much, but you know. affiliate and you’d be speaking at one place you just spoke at Affiliate Summit and affiliate marketing is something that Paul and I don’t really talk about a whole lot. So obviously we can have a little bit of your input.

Ryan Klein:                         As far as some of our listeners that are a little bit more in that field or looking to get in there, what are some interesting niches do you think someone that is looking to some affiliate might find themselves having a little success in?

Matt Woodward:            Okay. Well, sorry to correct you, but it was Affiliate World.

Ryan Klein:                         Paul?

Matt Woodward:                  Sorry. [Crosstalk 00:47:51] I applied to speak at Affiliate Summit and he denied me.

Ryan Klein:                         Paul, you totally did that on purpose.

Paul Warren:                     Yeah.

Ryan Klein:                         I’m like braving it here and it’s like he’s editing it as we’re speaking right now. Like it makes a difference, right? You just spoke at Affiliate Summit. That’s hilarious. Okay. Just take a step back. This never happened.

Matt Woodward:            Okay. I loved that conference because there’s not many SEOs there. And you speak to some dude to send in eight million emails a day and you’re like, “What?” Like mind-blowing to me. But then I tell him about outreach and stuff and he’s like, “Whoa, that’s cool.” So I really liked that. You don’t you don’t get those learnings from SEO conferences. It’s why you don’t see me at many SEO conferences actually.

Matt Woodward:            But your question was really about, if you’re starting out as an affiliate right now, what niche should you go into? Now there’s two types of people. There’s people that are doing this kind of thing for the first time. They’re just learning, they’re just getting to grips, they don’t really know how to write good content yet, they don’t know about how to monetize. And then there’s people intermediate or advanced and they’ve got a good understanding.

Matt Woodward:            Now if you’re intermediate or advanced, you don’t need to worry about niche selection too much, whichever is the most profit or based on your analysis and your research. Right? But if you just starting out and you’re learning what really, really, really helps is that you go into a niche that you can relate to. Because it’s likely you’re going to be learning a lot of your lessons a hard way, especially when it comes to writing content and it really helps if you’re writing about something you care about.

Matt Woodward:            So the exercise that you should do to find the niche you should go into is just get a pen and paper and write down a list of three things that you like, three things that you’re bad at, and three things that you want to learn about. In that list of nine things is your niche. Which one you select? Well, now you need to go and do some research, do some Google searches, look at what competitors exist. What you like about the site, what you don’t like about the site? How are they making money? Banner ads, have they got affiliate products? Is it Amazon links? Has they got their own product? Do they sell consultation? Do they sell services? What is it that they’re doing to generate revenue?

Matt Woodward:            Just spend time researching each niche, going through it, and making notes, making notes, making notes. And after a couple of days or so, you’ll know which is the right niche for you. You’ll feel that. You’ll just know. If you’re just starting out, the process that I recommend you start from, you start from something personal rather than you start from an idea in a tool, if that makes sense.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah, definitely. Especially, if you’re going to be rating the content because a lot of times that the best person write the content for some, you know, your website is typically you, like going to niche and immediately start outsourcing all the content. You don’t know if it’s good or not or if it’s going to speak to anyone.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. You got to learn the lessons a hard way. You will learn a lot of lessons with content. You’ll start picking up copywriting tricks, how to structure things. All of that will flow into your work when you write an email broadcast or ads or titles to get clicks and Google search results or writing an outreach email. All these things that you really need to refine your writing skill. There’s no better way to refine your writing skill than a niche site because you’re probably going to hate your life after it. But you’re going to learn a lot and then that will give you the ability to process it and outsource it in an effective way.

Ryan Klein:                         It’s not enough to come up with good stuff that’s going to convert if you’re interested in it. So if you’re not, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. Whereas for me an experienced niche site builders we don’t care about that. It’s systemized its process. We got writer team, we’ve got a site building team, we’ve got link building team, we’ve got graphics team. It’s just a conveyor belt. It’s here’s a keyword research, here’s a topics, here’s a question we an answer, here’s the posts that are going to monetize, these posts we’re going to use to attract links. It’s just a systemized conveyor belt of a process so I’m not banging my head against the wall writing about to import sneakers from China.

Ryan Klein:                         So you’ve picked your niche.

Matt Woodward:            But it’s process, you see. I don’t have to go through the hard work of those lessons, but I had to when I started. Yeah, definitely make it something relevant and personal to you to go first one or two or three times of doing things.

Ryan Klein:                         All right. Great advice. Well, Matthew, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. We’re really happy that you could be a guest on here and I think you gave some really great insights into the industry and just some good takeaways.

Matt Woodward:            No, thanks for having me. It’s been great sharing it all. If anyone listening has any questions or anything, just get in touch with me. I’m generally pretty accessible and I’ll reply to any questions and comments or problems that you have. Just let me know and I’ll be there to help you out.

Ryan Klein:                         Absolutely no plugs whatsoever? I mean, you got like a guide you want people to check out that’s like fresh off the press, you got any speaking gig?

Matt Woodward:            Yeah. I got to plug things, right? But all I want to do is connect people’s problems and solutions and help them build their search traffic. The best way to do that, hit my blog MatthewWoodward.co.uk. There’s three categories on there: SEO, blogging, making money online. Pick your poison. Just follow through the tutorials. There’s a ton of content, there’s a ton of videos to work through. I’m accessible to answer your questions.

Matt Woodward:            If you don’t like the idea of doing SEO yourself and you’d rather my team do the hard work for you, no problem. You can hit searchlogistics.com and submit an inquiry through there. In fact, there’s a ton of… If you like case studies, you hit that site and you’ll lose a couple of hours because there’s a ton of case studies on there for you to eat through.

Matt Woodward:            The biggest plug for me is just go and hit my testimonials page. You’ll see that I’ve helped thousands of people have huge results, significant results. And that’s my biggest plug.

Ryan Klein:                         I’ll give you one last one. This occurred right before we actually hit record and we were talking about the structure of your agency. Search Logistics is 100% in-house and I asked you don’t outsource even someone doing meticulous manual citation submissions, and you said no?

Matt Woodward:            Yeah, all of the… No. All of our site building and link building and everything else like that, it’s all under control. Yeah, it’s all done by us. If I was going to have you know directory submissions done well I’d pass it on to a junior VA and have them do it. If the process didn’t exist to do it and have them write the process to do it and do it and then that process would be used to train future stuff but everything that we do is just processed top to bottom. So it really doesn’t matter if you’re inspecting opportunities for link building or if you’re writing content or planning keyword research onsite structure. Everything is just a systemized process that’s easily taught and transferred to other people.

Matt Woodward:            So yeah, of course everything’s done in-house. It’s the Apple approach, you know, integrated hardware, software. If you’ve got control over everything and you fail, well, you know where the problem is.

Ryan Klein:                         Yeah. It’s good point. It’s very impressive in 2019. Paul was like, “Ryan, how do you always find a way to extend the end of a podcast by five minutes every single week?” I always find a way.

Paul Warren:                     You already know.

Ryan Klein:                         You already know. I always ask that last question when you’re about to say, “Thanks everybody,” and then it keeps going. Just like I’m talking right now. But that’s it. That’s all I got.

Matt Woodward:            Systemized process, take control. That’s it.

Ryan Klein:                         We’ll do a podcast on that one day because process is a very important.

Matt Woodward:            Oh, yes.

Paul Warren:                     Well, thank you so much for coming on. To all our listeners out there, hit us up anytime. We had a lot of options for that. You can go to our Facebook page, you can leave comments on our YouTube channel, or you can email us directly at seoisdeadandotherlies@gmail.com. We respond pretty quickly. We love to have new guests on and we love to answer your questions. Please hit us up and be sure to like share or subscribe you see that available.

Ryan Klein:                         That was beautiful. You didn’t read that it from scripts or anything, right?

Paul Warren:                     I memorized it, yeah.

Ryan Klein:                         That was good. You normally do that. Okay. Thanks guys. It’s been awesome.

Matt Woodward:            No, no, no, thanks for having me here. It’s interesting chat and I think we touched lots of different bases, even though we didn’t deep dive into anything.

Paul Warren:                     We can have you back on.

Matt Woodward:            Yes. If people come back and they want it, I mean, I’m in the business of giving people what they want. It’s marketing. Even if you just collected questions or anything like that or whatever. Whatever you want to do I’m always happy to share experience where possible.

Paul Warren:                     Cool. Sounds great been. Thanks a lot. This has been another episode of SEO is Dead and Lies. I’m Paul.

Ryan Klein:                         I’m Ryan Klein. So long. Till next week. Bye.

Paul Warren:                     Bye.

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