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I have a lot of takeaways from this episode, but this one really stands out 👇
Avoid This Mistake When Building Affiliate Sites
The biggest mistake people make when starting an affiliate website is probably getting trapped in this cycle of inaction where they’re just trying to plan everything. Everything needs to be planned down to the last, minute detail and they’re not getting anything done. They’re not actually taking action.
It’s just month after month of trying to make sure that you don’t do anything wrong, but that just results in not actually doing anything. It’s real hard to rank and make money when you’re not putting stuff online and building links.
People just getting stuck in spinning their wheels, trying to make sure that they pick the right niche, they have the right theme, and their plugin stack is right, and the keywords they’re going after the right ones and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
That stuff’s important, but you can’t spend months just trying to tweak and get everything perfect, and then be like, okay, now I’m going to start. You just got to start doing it and find what works and just lean into it.
Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.
Brendan Hufford – 57 ian howells seo for the rest of us
Brendan Hufford: [00:00:00] Record could go terrible. It could go. Great. So, um, Ian, thanks for joining us for a hundred days of SEO.
[00:00:11] Ian Howells: [00:00:11] Thanks for having me. What, uh, what day am I? I
[00:00:14] Brendan Hufford: [00:00:14] don’t know if the day,
[00:00:16] Ian Howells: [00:00:16] day number something
[00:00:18] Brendan Hufford: [00:00:18] we’re halfway through. I had the intention when I started to do like every weekday. Like for a hundred days. And then I realized that that’s, that’s a full-time job.
[00:00:28] Yup. Um, so I was just like, just get a hundred done before the end of the year, man. Just, just do that.
[00:00:34] Ian Howells: [00:00:34] Oh, I get one a day. Um, yeah, that was
[00:00:41] Brendan Hufford: [00:00:41] writing the descriptions for the YouTube videos at the beginning. I was like, I wasn’t doing them in one of my buddies who does a lot of YouTube was like, Yeah, Google won’t unlock or Google YouTube, right?
[00:00:52] Everything’s Google, YouTube. Won’t re index. If you update your description later, they might not crawl that again. But the one time you can guarantee they’re going to crawl your description is when you upload and push it. And I was like, so I got one. I can’t. So I recorded all these videos and I’m like, well, I got to do the descriptions down.
[00:01:10] Those descriptions take like. An hour
[00:01:12] Ian Howells: [00:01:12] awhile. Yeah.
[00:01:13] Brendan Hufford: [00:01:13] Um, and I don’t really edit like the interviews and stuff. Cause it’s pretty much just fire, you know, it’s great stuff, but it still is. It’s a lot of time saved. It was adding up to like three or four hours a day. And I was just like very good client work right now.
[00:01:27] So I kinda like. I got to focus. I mean,
[00:01:30] Ian Howells: [00:01:30] they’re, they’re awesome though. I’m glad that you’re doing them. I just watched Joel’s video and, uh, John Henry’s was the other one that, that I really liked recently.
[00:01:37] Brendan Hufford: [00:01:37] John Henry, the SEO is SEO. He tweeted me, he tweeted me the other day. His tweet started. Hey, man.
[00:01:44] You’re great. But, and then he just like lit me up and I was just, I like read it and then I re-read it. And I was like, he’s right. He’s right. I didn’t, I was just a quick like hop tape and I was wrong. So he’s.
[00:01:58] Ian Howells: [00:01:58] He, and I became friends because I dumped all over a blog post that he wrote in like 2010 and just left like eight, 900 word blog comment about how like, this is wrong and you’re wrong and you should feel bad.
[00:02:11] But he was working at an agency and wrote the blog posts on the agency’s blog. And I just like dumped all over him. Like just being a complete asshole, not even processing that like, Oh yeah, like this is this guy’s job. And his boss is gonna read that. Like didn’t even occur to me because I was an idiot.
[00:02:28] Uh, but that’s how we met and became friends.
[00:02:31] Brendan Hufford: [00:02:31] That’s how, that’s the best way. That’s about he, when he and I first started talking, he used the phrase, a new friend NDA. Um, and then he was like, all right, we’re under a new friend, MDA. We’re like, we’ve just became friends, but don’t tell anybody this stuff.
[00:02:44] And then you just like, here’s all of the truth about everything. And I was like, I like you. Cause I don’t like people that are like, you know, you play that game where you’re like talking about something, but you’re not really talking about it. Yeah.
[00:02:55] Ian Howells: [00:02:55] Really say anything. No. Cause like he may steal my idea.
[00:02:58] Brendan Hufford: [00:02:58] Yeah. You know, he can tell me about where he’s worked and he’s from Chicago. And he was telling me about like, where he worked here and I know all the same people. So yeah, it was interesting. Um, speaking of like where, right, we were transitioned, but speaking of like where people have worked and stuff, like I get this question a lot and we were just kind of talking about this before we were recording of either people trying to get into digital.
[00:03:22] Or people who are working in digital, working in SEO, working in content or design or whatever, and they want to go, they want to do something on their own. The thing that I advise to both people is like, build your own stuff. And that’s what I did as I was a teacher for 10 years and I built my own stuff.
[00:03:38] So I went in, when I went into my interviews, I was just like, here’s my I-PASS here’s webinars. I’ve done here’s funnels. I’ve built here sites, I’ve ranked. And they were like, Oh, you were just doing all this while you were teaching. And I was like, yeah, cool. We don’t have to train you at all.
[00:03:52] Ian Howells: [00:03:52] Beautiful.
[00:03:54] Brendan Hufford: [00:03:54] Yeah. Well that’s, I, I seriously sat down and I took a bunch of stuff from Ryan Stewart was running it for my own personal clients and it came into the agency. I work at Netflix studios. So it was just like, this is what I do. Do you want me to do this here? And they literally just got like a plug-in system of like client SEO that they didn’t have before.
[00:04:11] And they were like, yes, go. Here’s our clients plug them into what you do. Um, and I’m being silly, but you like building stuff on the side, like that’s you held pretty, you know, I would call prestigious SEO positions and very like, I’m sure high pressure and you own a number and it’s very like very serious work, um, in some complicated industries and you still built things on the side.
[00:04:37] Like, I would love to hear more, more about like your path in that.
[00:04:41] Ian Howells: [00:04:41] Yeah, I think part of it, part of it is just, or like, even when I had a full-time job, like full-time jobs, aren’t always that secure, right? Like I worked at an agency, um, when pepper jam was an agency, now it’s just an affiliate network. Uh, they may have re added agency services back.
[00:05:00] I actually don’t know. They’ve kind of gone in and out of it for awhile. Um, but I was at pepper jam. In the start of 2009 when like the economic collapse finally caught up because everything kind of went to hell and like August or so of 2008. Uh, but not all that much happened in like August, September, because budgets were still kind of locked in and nobody really started pulling the plug too hard.
[00:05:24] Um, but then one day in January of 2009, the company went from like 102 people to like 50 in one meeting. So like full-time jobs never felt super secure anyway. So I think part of it was just making sure I have other stuff out there making me money outside of my full-time job. And the other piece was just.
[00:05:45] Being able to try stuff that you can’t do on a client site. Right? Like I started in the agency world and you couldn’t do some of the more aggressive stuff to a client, so you wouldn’t want to, wouldn’t want to do that. So I needed to build my own stuff to test stuff out and try and figure out, okay, how does this stuff work?
[00:06:01] Where’s the line? How far can you go? How much anchor text is too much banker text. Right. Um, and then from there, it just kind of. Weirdly turned into my hobby. And it’s nice when your hobbies can make you money because normally hobbies just suck money out of you. Uh, but having one that like. Was fun. Like I would do it for free, but it makes me money.
[00:06:22] Like that’s hard to, hard to beat. Um, so I think the, the combination of paranoia liking doing it and then just using it to stay sharp and try new stuff that I wouldn’t be able to do it on a client site or on like a lending tree.com. Right. You’re not going to fire up aggressive point building to.
[00:06:40] Publicly traded companies
[00:06:42] Brendan Hufford: [00:06:42] website. Right.
[00:06:44] Ian Howells: [00:06:44] If you really are looking to get fired, you could do that. But, uh, I would not advise it.
[00:06:48] Brendan Hufford: [00:06:48] Yes. Again, like the paranoia of all of it, right? Like. I, uh, people, I was a teacher for 10 years and there was like, wow, that’s really secure. And I was like, I worked at charter schools, man.
[00:06:57] Like your job was on the line every day. And even, even schools with, you know, unions and stuff, the unions aren’t that strong anymore. And teachers get laid off. They’re like, look, you guys can walk out if you want, we don’t have the budget to pay you. So I don’t know what to tell you. Like we’re laying people off, you all can be mad, but you’re only hurting the kids.
[00:07:13] And I saw a lot of my teacher friends get laid off and fired and they’re going to new schools every year. And I was like, this isn’t this isn’t the thing. And I totally agree too. It’s awesome. To have, to be able to speak to something, especially when you’re doing client work. Like I am, or even in your, you know, working in-house to be able to say like, they’ll say like, why do we need to do this?
[00:07:32] And you’re like, well, I’ve been experimenting with this on my own stuff. I’ll give you an example. I had a website, I left, I put 2018 and all the title tags, because I wanted to see what happened. It was 2018 and then I left them. For 2019 and the traffic just tanked and then add in, I updated all the date, the publish dates to August, 2019 or whatever it was June, 2019 put 2019 and all the titles didn’t touch anything else on the website, all the rankings came back.
[00:07:59] All the traffic.
[00:08:00] Ian Howells: [00:08:00] No, you’re, uh, now you’re relevant.
[00:08:03] Brendan Hufford: [00:08:03] So instead of absurd stuff, it’s like now, you know why everybody puts like the month and year and their title texts like that matters. And it was inter now I can tell clients like, Hey, this stuff’s out of date. They’re like, well, how could it be out of date?
[00:08:15] It’s evergreen, will you published it in 2015? Like, let’s spruce it up. Let’s change. And I can speak to that. Versus I read it on a blog somewhere that we should do this. Yeah,
[00:08:25] Ian Howells: [00:08:25] another, another good example. I was actually just doing a site audit today for a client and they have, their blog is hosted on WordPress and it’s separate from the, the commerce store and the site speeds just really bad.
[00:08:37] Uh, and it looks like they’re hosting a Bluehost. So, I mean, there, there you go. Um, but uh, I was able to just say, Hey look like I host all my stuff at Ken’s to here’s the screenshot of the page speed test of a WordPress site that I have on kin sta with this plugin. Like I would highly recommend you just spend the 30 bucks a month and do that.
[00:08:59] Like you will move from a 37. I think they’re mobile page speed. Insight score is for their homepage now on their blog to like 80 something easy. Like there, there’s not that much that needs to change. And like here’s a concrete example of a site that I own. Here’s. What I think is like entirely possible mood, really just do these two things and like, it’ll be good.
[00:09:23] Brendan Hufford: [00:09:23] Totally. I totally agree. I’ve used flywheel. I’ve never used Ken stuff. Um, I just have a relationship with flywheel. They were like one of the early sponsors, so I’ve used them, but I found the same thing. Like I was using HostGator. Like when you have, when you’re trying to convince your spouse, like, can we.
[00:09:41] Get 15 bucks a month for this thing I’m trying to do, like I’m trying to get a theme and the themes 80 bucks. And you’re like, that’s a lot of it is a lot of money when you’re studying. I remember having those conversations with my wife. I got to make a little money here so I can then reinvest it.
[00:09:56] Ian Howells: [00:09:56] Yep. I had to, uh, I had to get my mom to let me use her credit card to buy my first domain because I didn’t have, I didn’t have a credit card or a debit card.
[00:10:05] So like trying to explain to her, I think dotcoms were like 29 99 at that point too. So trying to explain to her, like, I need $30 and I need to put your credit card into this GoDaddy website. She was like, what was like, what
[00:10:20] Brendan Hufford: [00:10:20] sounds that sounds
[00:10:20] Ian Howells: [00:10:20] weird. Yeah. But I was 17. So like, I didn’t have no one was going to give me no one should have given me a credit card when I was 17.
[00:10:27] That’s not a bad thing. But, um, yeah, it’s funny when you like the costs that eventually seemed really minimal at one point with like a big deal, like, Oh, am I really gonna, I really don’t pay to do this. Like, is that, is that what I’m going to do here?
[00:10:41] Brendan Hufford: [00:10:41] Yeah. Tell me, tell me a little bit, let’s talk about like beginner stuff and then we’ll talk more advanced stuff.
[00:10:45] Like what are some mistakes you see beginners making when they’re starting. Like their first let’s let’s call them affiliate websites, like, um, cause that’s what you do a lot on the side. That’s a lot of like how I’ve monetized stuff. On the side. I tried to launch a product to one of my affiliate websites recently.
[00:11:02] Didn’t go great. It’s a 2,500 person list and I sold 10 things. It’s just, it was a list of people looking for the lead magnets and the freebies and everything. And you get told, build a list and it was just the wrong kind of list. So it wasn’t aligned. So, uh, but the affiliate revenue from it is great. Um, so tell me, like, what are some of the other than on my obvious mistake?
[00:11:24] What are some beginner mistakes you see with people building like affiliate websites?
[00:11:31] Ian Howells: [00:11:31] Yeah. I think the, the biggies are probably getting trapped in this cycle of inaction where like, they’re just trying to plan everything. Like everything needs to be planned down to the last kind of minute detail and they’re not.
[00:11:46] Getting anything done, right? They’re not actually taking action. It’s just month after month of like trying to make sure that you don’t do anything wrong, but that then just results in not actually doing anything, which is It’s real hard to rank and make money when you’re not like. Putting stuff online and building links.
[00:12:05] Um, so that, that I think is probably the, the biggest, like people just getting stuck in spinning their wheels, trying to make sure that like they pick the right niche they have the right theme and their plugin stack is right. And like the the keywords they’re going after the right ones and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
[00:12:22] And like That stuff’s important, but you can’t spend months just trying to like tweak and get everything perfect. And then be like, okay, now I’m going to start, like, you just got to start doing it and find what works and just lean into it. Yeah.
[00:12:36] Brendan Hufford: [00:12:36] Um, I’ve had people ask me recently too. Uh, they’re like, well, I’m getting into SEO.
[00:12:40] What should I like, what should I just pick a hobby, make a site around that? Um, and my answer is kind of like depends on what your hobby is. Like if it’s suit, if your hobby is something extremely competitive that helps people make a bunch of money. Like that might be hard for SEO, but, um, you’ll still learn at the very least, like how to build a website, how to set things up and things like that.
[00:13:00] Um, you know, I still get questions around like, Do I need to do it on WordPress? Can I do it over here? Can I do it there? And I’m like, look, man, bill build a free spend a week or so build a free wordpress.com website. You’ll learn the backend. You’ll learn how everything should look in there. You’ll learn.
[00:13:17] You really want to be able to use plugins cause kind of a lot easier, um, things like that. Uh, anything else? So obviously the waiting for a long time, anything else that you see? Like beginners making mistakes on whether it’s like. Site architecture stuff, or just, you know, maybe they do pick the wrong thing to focus on or maybe content or link.
[00:13:38] Ian Howells: [00:13:38] So I would say the other most common thing is people believing. Really overhyped sales pages and like buying a bunch of like garbage links to the thing that they just spent the last, like two months building, uh, and then just ending up kind of shooting themselves in the foot. Right. Cause those will work really well until they don’t.
[00:14:00] Right. And then one day they’re going to wake up and like all the rankings and all their traffic are gone and, you know, that’s. Sometimes that’s a lesson. You got to learn the hard way, right? Like, cause you go online and there’s a bunch of people telling you don’t use PB and they’re going to get your site penalized and there’s other people telling you don’t listen to them.
[00:14:20] They’re stupid. Bye. PBS package five links is 89 99. Right. And so, you know, I think to a degree, a lot of those missteps where like you just bought a bunch of really crappy links to your site, and eventually it caught up with you that stuff that I think probably everybody just has to have happened to them once.
[00:14:39] And then you’ll start to really pay attention.
[00:14:44] Brendan Hufford: [00:14:44] Yeah, for sure. It’s
[00:14:46] Ian Howells: [00:14:46] like, okay, what am I bomb?
[00:14:56] Brendan Hufford: [00:14:56] You did so good for the first 20 minutes you had it come back. No,
[00:15:09] Ian Howells: [00:15:09] um,
[00:15:18] Brendan Hufford: [00:15:18] Are we back?
[00:15:21] Ian Howells: [00:15:21] There we go.
[00:15:22] Brendan Hufford: [00:15:22] Okay. Think it was going so smooth. And in my head, I was like, just, this is great. We’re doing good.
[00:15:31] Ian Howells: [00:15:31] I don’t know where I, uh, where I cut off there.
[00:15:34] Brendan Hufford: [00:15:34] You were just talking about, um, you know, people saying like don’t buy PBNs or do buy them and push it with the links and stuff. Like, I’ll tell you, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve experienced this.
[00:15:44] There’s there’s cheap links are almost never what you actually want. Like do it. And especially at the beginning, people are like, well, I can’t afford $300 a link or $200 a link. And it’s like, well then you probably have more time than money. Build them yourself. Um,
[00:16:02] Ian Howells: [00:16:02] but that’s work. I don’t want to do
[00:16:06] Brendan Hufford: [00:16:06] the value of like spending $2,000 on links.
[00:16:10] And I know that that’s like an insane number for some people, for other people. They’re like only two grand that’s that’s silly. Um, but like when you, when you’re spending this and whether you’re doing it, like from outreach and actually dealing with site owners directly, or you’re using any kind of service, um, I think when you do the work yourself, you value.
[00:16:28] The time, it saves to pay other people for certain things,
[00:16:31] Ian Howells: [00:16:31] right? Yep. A hundred percent. I think it’s it’s too. Well, I think something that everybody should do, because like I said, it’s really important to know what you’re buying. Right. So when you see somebody offering a guest post for like $29, It’s like, okay, wait, like I know how much work goes into that.
[00:16:50] There’s no way you’re going to charge 30 bucks for that. And like, this is a thing that makes sense for you to sell. Like you have to own these sites already or something like that. Like there’s something else going on here because I’ve done the work to do the thing that you’re claiming to sell me. And there’s no way that price makes any sense at all.
[00:17:09] Brendan Hufford: [00:17:09] hundred percent. Tell me, let’s talk about like maybe a little more advanced stuff. Like. Are there any for people building their own sites, whether it’s, you know, from like the whole sphere, we can talk technical side of things or just like big picture stuff. Like people who have maybe gotten their first like website up and running or whatever else they’re trying to figure out that like next step, what are some like more advanced mistakes you see people make?
[00:17:35] Ian Howells: [00:17:35] I think not that it’s an advanced mistake, but one of the things I see a lot of advanced people do is. And, and I’ve fallen victim to it as well. So I’m in no way immune to this, but just starting way too many projects, right? Like starting more stuff than you can actually work on. Uh, Which is hard because you’ll be doing keyword research and you’ll be analyzing links and come across somebody and then throw them in a tress and be like, Oh damn, they’re getting 45,000 visits a month.
[00:18:06] And they’ve only got 40 LEDs. Like, let me, let me dig in here. And then all of a sudden you’re down the rabbit hole. And 20 minutes later, you’re buying domains. And like, this is a, this is a site you’re going to build. And then like six months later, you never, actually never did it. Uh, maybe that’s just me.
[00:18:21] Brendan Hufford: [00:18:21] Um, no, it’s me too. We all, it’s the same thing. It’s like a joke that I like to ask people that work in SEO, like, well, in marketing, I was like, Hey, when did you read the four hour work week? Awesome. Because at this point, like it’s just that part of the narrative. And then number two is always like, how many websites do you own?
[00:18:38] Like how many, tell me, come on. How many, what’s your name? Cheap.
[00:18:44] Ian Howells: [00:18:44] Yeah. How many undeveloped domains do you have sitting around?
[00:18:47] Brendan Hufford: [00:18:47] I know some people that have like in a certain amount and I’m like, how are you affording that? And they’re like, only one of them has to win. Like I just, I need them all and I’m going to eat all of those.
[00:18:58] Ian Howells: [00:18:58] Um, I think that’s probably the most common that even people who like really have their shit together and know what they’re doing will still fall victim to the. Uh, aspirations being bigger than the amount of time or budget that you’ve actually got. Um, so that one will happen to everybody. I think, um, some of the other stuff, I think not, not paying attention to basics is the thing that starts to creep in the more advanced you get.
[00:19:28] Like there’s, there’s plenty of people who, you know, build their own affiliate sites and they’re doing well. And then you talk to them and ask them, like, when was the last time you pulled your site up on your phone? And it’s like, Oh shit. Yeah. Like I don’t, I don’t even look at my site on the actual device that 60% of the people are like, I’ll do the mobile preview in Chrome, but like, I’m not actually pulling my, my thing up on.
[00:19:54] So. Some of it is just going back to basics that you just kind of end up discounting because it’s like, yeah, I don’t need to, like, I know what I’m doing. I don’t need to do that. Um, but then you can miss like really fundamental important stuff just because you’re, you’re skipping over a lot of steps that like a new person may really dig into.
[00:20:14] Brendan Hufford: [00:20:14] Tell me, uh, if you don’t mind sharing, I’m sure like me, you’ve had some like colossal fails. With building your own stuff. Um, any, anything you’ve done that was just a spectacular failure?
[00:20:29] Ian Howells: [00:20:29] Um, I think most of them were all in the kind of tests site bucket since. Probably 2012 or 13. I don’t think I’ve torched a site that was like in the, this is a site.
[00:20:49] I never want a torch
[00:20:50] Brendan Hufford: [00:20:50] rocket.
[00:20:51] Ian Howells: [00:20:51] Um, all of the other stuff though, like the more aggressive stuff, um, anchor texts is probably the biggest one. So like doing multiple levels of what, like I used to do, um, A fair amount, I guess it depends on who you compare it to, but a fair amount of, um, GSA link building. So, uh, I don’t know if you follow on Twitter grindstone guy named Paul.
[00:21:16] He, uh, he had a service for awhile. I don’t know that, that it’s still running now. Um, basically URL, target list to pipe right into GSA. Right. So, uh, GSA search engine ranker is just a spam tool. Like it’ll do blog comments, forum posts went to crap, blah, blah, blah, like just completely, fully automated. Um, so I was doing a lot of that for a bout a year, uh, and managed tutorial.
[00:21:46] Versus a whole pile of domains that are not just sites for being, there’s still hanging around in ranking a bank for some stuff, but a whole swath of, uh, projects. I ended up, uh, being able to just light on fire by getting way too aggressive with, uh, with anchor texts. But that was the idea to see how far you can push it.
[00:22:01] And, uh, it turns out you push that too hard. You’re a, you’re getting a one way ticket to like page 40.
[00:22:07] Brendan Hufford: [00:22:07] Yeah, for sure. I, uh, Yeah. I’ve had similar things like that usually is the thing. I don’t want anybody listening to this or watching this to be like, all right. So you’ve said the, one of the, one of the mistakes is not taking action enough.
[00:22:20] And the, the other end of it is taking too much action and being aggressive. I just want people to understand that window in between them is very large. Like it’s a huge window. Don’t, don’t be afraid. There’s very, it’s very rare that unless you’re, again, like we’ve already talked about the pitfalls of like, Find a bunch of bad links or paying for a bunch of content that could be written by a robot.
[00:22:41] Uh it’s there’s really no reason. The, at the very worst, it’s kind of like a dead lift, right? Like you do a dead lift. The worst thing that happens is the weight doesn’t move. Right? It’s not like a squat or like the worst thing that happens is a bunch of weight cult cracks your spine in half, and you’re pinned to the ground.
[00:22:57] Like worst case scenario. You probably just drop the weight and you’re fine. Um, and that’s the same thing here. The worst thing that’ll happen when you’re doing the, doing that affiliate site or building your first thing is just, you don’t get a lot of results, which is fine. Nothing terrible has happened.
[00:23:11] Um, it’s, it’s hard to be too aggressive upfront. That’s usually, like you said something we end up experimenting with, how fast can I push this? Can I have a new website with. 2000 articles on it within a month or two, like what happens? They’re like, you know, 2000 new links or whatever I’m making up numbers, but yeah, definitely.
[00:23:31] And at one point you share a lot of that stuff. Like you talked about, uh, doing too many things and going down the rabbit hole. One of my favorite things about a traffic think tank, I don’t know if it’s okay to talk about this publicly is you share a lot of the research that you do looking at like domain options.
[00:23:47] Um, you just happen there and you’re like, Hey, here’s, here’s the ones I didn’t decide to buy. Um, but if you guys want to look at them, like they’re in a spreadsheet anyways. And I found that to be immensely helpful. Not because I’m buying a bunch of them, but just because it’s like, Oh, here’s what’s for sale.
[00:24:01] Here’s what matters. If people aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, it’s just simply buying old websites that have lapsed for whatever reason, and then turning them into websites. Again, they already have links pointing to them. Some of them have traffic, et cetera. Um, So I appreciate you sharing that in traffic think tank.
[00:24:17] I think that’s one of the coolest things that I don’t know, not a lot of people know, uh, building out the affiliate. We only recently added the affiliate channel in traffic think tank. Right? I say we, you
[00:24:29] Ian Howells: [00:24:29] that’s, uh, that one’s been around for, for a little bit. I think the. The domain stuff is really interesting.
[00:24:35] It’s gotten more interesting now that, uh, within the past couple of weeks, some company that I can’t remember, the name of did a guest post on somebody’s site and was like, Hey, here’s all the stuff that came on and GoDaddy auctions for more than a thousand bucks in the last 12 months. And we reviewed them.
[00:24:51] And here’s what ones we think are, you know, part of a PBN now or restored to try and, you know, rank off of the links to the old site. So it’s a. It’s a fun space. It’s I think it’s the thing that most people end up getting into after they have a site or two that does well. And then they looked back on it.
[00:25:10] It’s like, Whoa, that was a ton of work. Like if I could take a shortcut and like skip some of that, like history and authority building by that, that initial kind of foundation of links. Like if I can find a site that already has that, that would save me a ton of work, uh, is usually how people end up going down that road.
[00:25:28] I think the other, the other path, people probably follow into the kind of auction domain purchasing. Would just be people that are dead set, that they’re going to build their own PBN. They’re going to build their own site network to link to their sites that they want to rank and make money from. And the easiest way to do that is to buy a bunch of domains that already have links pointing to them and then toss them up on the host exchange and talk content.
[00:25:50] And, um, so that’s, that’s a fun space to watch and just seeing, you know, watching the auctions and saying, okay, like I know the stats for this domain. I looked at it. I’ve been thankfully fairly, uh, good following my own rule of like deciding what my max bid is, setting my max bid and then forgetting about it.
[00:26:11] Like don’t sit there and hit refresh because then you’re just gonna start bidding back and forth with somebody else in the last couple of minutes. Uh, so then the stuff I got, I got and the stuff I don’t win on a win. Uh, but it’s always interesting to go back and see like, okay, my max bid for this domain was $1,400.
[00:26:27] What did it actually go for? Right. Did somebody come in at like 14, 10 and like, okay. Yeah, I definitely would’ve ended up bidding back and forth with, with this person. Or did it go for like, 3000 or $4,000. And is there something else here that I’m not seeing or is the other bidder? Just a crazy person and they’re way over pain, right.
[00:26:49] But yeah, that’s a, that’s a really fun space to watch just tracking, like what’s, what’s selling, what’s not selling and kind of work pricing
[00:26:55] Brendan Hufford: [00:26:55] stuff. Tell me more, uh, kind of we’ll have to do a part two, uh, where we talk more about like the career side of things. Cause I think your career in SEO has been really interesting.
[00:27:05] Um, there’s also in traffic think tank the career growth channel now, which I really have one’s
[00:27:09] Ian Howells: [00:27:09] brand new almost. Yeah.
[00:27:12] Brendan Hufford: [00:27:12] It’s amazing. Cause it’s, it’s, it’s that whole of like, I don’t know, you know, people have seen, I had, um, somebody asked me recently, like, what’s next step for you work at click studios. And I was like, what do you mean what’s next?
[00:27:22] Like I’ve only been here two years. They’re like, yeah, people usually stay in an agency like two or three years, then they go in-house or they do whatever. And I was like, Oh really? I had no idea. I genuinely, I know I’ve been a teacher for 10 years. I’m just lucky. I’m happy to be playing the game most States, you know, um, I’m glad that I have like an aligned life.
[00:27:40] I don’t have to pretend I care about lesson plans and curriculum maps anymore. Um, and I say that’s silly, but whatever I miss the kids, um, not the bureaucracy of teaching, but my point is that like, Just hearing other people’s journey and career and like the whole idea. I’ve gotten to know a lot of the people at G2 here in Chicago recently, I was at their conference yesterday and like, Oh, there’s this interesting path with like CMOs and VPs.
[00:28:03] And I don’t even know what that means right now. Like, what’s the difference between those things? And I don’t know. So the career growth channel, if people are doing affiliate stuff or you’re looking to build a career in SEO, like I think traffic think-tanks are great. I’d love to hear from you. Just like, why, why start it?
[00:28:19] Like, why start? You know, it would have been very easy to go to the world does not need a Slack group for SEO. Like that’s not a thing the world is asking, you know what I mean? Starting it.
[00:28:30] Ian Howells: [00:28:30] So Nick had started it and ran it for a year before, uh, October of 17. Um, That was kind of the end of, of the first year in iteration one.
[00:28:43] And he had done it with 12 people, I think was the limit and the price point was a lot higher and it was just a closed Facebook group at that time. Um, and then Matt actually did a great, he did like a 5,000 word or something stupid right up on, on kind of how, um, TTT got started. But the, the short version was Nick had kind of run it for a year.
[00:29:05] And then approached Matt and I with the idea that like, Hey, I think this can be broader. Like I think we can bring the price point down and we can scale kind of the, the member, uh, the member count up and I back and forth on it a little bit. I had done a webinar for him in the first year of TTT. Like I was one of the 12 guests, uh, over the course of the year.
[00:29:28] So I kind of got what the value was on the buyer side and understood what. You know what he was trying to do. Um, Matt and I both, and, and he put this in this thing, in his, uh, right up on it. And it was not an exaggeration, like the two of us kind of thought he was crazy. Like we were like, yeah, maybe like 80 people will pay for it.
[00:29:48] Like who’s going to pay for a Slack group, Eubanks, like come on. Uh, but he, I mean, he saw, I guess, stuff that. That we didn’t see where, you know, he was fairly insistent that like now, like there’s a lot of people that are in-house and they’re the one marketing person and nobody else in their company has any idea what the hell they’re doing all day.
[00:30:09] So like, they’re just on this little Island and don’t have anybody to bounce ideas off or, you know, just get feedback on stuff. There’s a lot of affiliates who are just hanging out in their spare bedroom. Room all day doing work. And they’re again, like kind of on an Island. So having that kind of network of people that you can share ideas with and get feedback from, uh, I think there was a bigger hunger for that than matter.
[00:30:34] I thought that there was going to be, um, but you banks is really the one that was like now, like this is a thing that that’ll work that, that people want. And I think we can do it well. Um, and then for me, I had kinda gone on and off with blogging. I did a podcast for like 10 or 12 episodes several years ago and I just couldn’t keep doing it.
[00:30:57] Cause every time I sat down, I was like, okay, I got full-time job. Like I got a wife. I want to spend time with. Am I really going to spend the next hour or two hours doing a podcast that then isn’t going to make me any money when I could do all this other stuff instead that is going to make money. Right.
[00:31:13] So that weird, like blogging for free or doing a podcast for free. Like, I could just never square with myself, like putting the time against it when it was like, well, why wouldn’t I just sign on another client and sell 20 more hours a month instead of doing 20 hours worth of free stuff. Right. If it’s still in that.
[00:31:33] Not hanging out with my friends or spending time with my wife bucket. Like it should make me money or I’m going to lose interest in it and not do it. So it was like, okay, I could, you’re saying we can make content and kind of get paid to like indirectly get paid for it. It’s not like an hourly or whatever, like a client relationship would be.
[00:31:52] But I think that honestly helped for me anyway. Keep it. Interesting and like, keep me on task because of it was a, you know, me just doing a free SEO podcast that nobody’s sponsored or whatever, like it would have died after a couple months. Cause it would just never win in the priority list of like, here’s what I can spend the next two hours on.
[00:32:14] So I think the, the incentives was the inside of it was really there. And then. The gating of the content. So not having stuff be out there for everybody to have it limited to a selected group of people. Uh, and then just the, the need, um, that you banked saw that I just didn’t didn’t see at first, those kind of multiple things where the, the stuff that was going through my head, when we, when we first started
[00:32:40] Brendan Hufford: [00:32:40] out.
[00:32:41] Yeah, for sure. It’s been a lot. It’s been really valuable to me and even our organization now and our clients and my own work and everything just because it very much is the insurance policy. I remember we had something recently where I was having some issues with something and I just dropped a screenshot in there and people were like, Oh yeah, go in search console.
[00:32:58] So this and this and this, and I was like, I could have spent two hours Googling, like how to find that. And, you know, search console is a mess. Anyways, most days. I, I was just like, I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong. We had done everything we were supposed to do right on the site launch. And it still wasn’t, you know, things weren’t kicking back up where they should.
[00:33:16] And that was really helpful. It’s so valuable to the point that, uh, one of our directors at click was like, So I noticed you’re paying for this and using like your stipend to cover half. Can we just pay for all of this to make sure it doesn’t go away? Like looked at, they thought, do you know what I mean?
[00:33:31] Like, they’re like, we get so much out of this too. Cause I then would like learn something. You know, we were at the G2 event yesterday and the VP of marketing. Um, Megan at HubSpot shared, uh, all the stuff that Matt shared in traffic think tank. Six months ago, I’m making up numbers for like six months or a year ago.
[00:33:49] And I don’t think people understood what, cause I had already been implementing it for a year, like the stuff around like cluster content and stealing the featured snippets. And I’d never seen anything talk about that publicly. I was trying not to tell a lot of people, cause I thought it was like hush hush.
[00:34:01] Like when we, we knew he cared it at a conference, so it’s all open now, but I was just like, you guys don’t understand what goals this is that she’s just putting on slides. So. It’s been really valuable if people are thinking of one, invest in your career as an affiliate, as like a professional in-house or on the agency side, I think it’s really valuable.
[00:34:19] So I appreciate you all putting that together. It’s been great. And the conference was great too. The first conference was a little, uh, sounded like a little hairy on your end, but for the, for us there.
[00:34:30] Ian Howells: [00:34:30] Yeah, it was. Um, first of all, thank you. I appreciate that. That feedback on TTT. That’s always, always awesome here.
[00:34:37] The, the conference was stressful. Uh, we’re going to do it again anyway. Uh, but it was a, it was stressful the first time more. So I think for. Uh, Nick and his wife Kelly, because they had the unfortunate, uh, end of being in Philadelphia where the conference was. So a lot of the, like go to the venue and talk to people, just kind of naturally fell on them.
[00:34:59] Cause they were, they were physically there. Uh, but yeah, a lot of that was down to the wire. We were, you know, trying to get slides to work 20 minutes before registration started. So a little nerve wracking. Uh, also we had no idea what we were doing. So you know, that. Helped, uh, make it more, more stressful, but, uh, we’ll do it again next year, uh, next spring and, uh, hired an event planner.
[00:35:21] So, you know, somebody that knows what they’re doing will, uh, will help us put this thing on this time around.
[00:35:27] Brendan Hufford: [00:35:27] Yeah, that’s smart. That’s super split again. Like let’s bring it full circle in the conversation. You know what you’re paying for now? Right. Like, you know, if we do it ourselves, it’ll, we’ll pull it off, but it’ll be awful and it be great next time for you to just be like, you know, and next up on the stage and you just walk up on the stage cause everything’s happening, you know?
[00:35:47] Ian Howells: [00:35:47] that is, uh, that is one expense. That is, that is well worth it. I think we went into that having like just massive pile of unknown unknowns, right? Like we had no idea the landmines that we were just kind of like running over and didn’t even realize that they were there. Didn’t think to ask about certain stuff.
[00:36:05] Uh, and you know, turns out hiring professionals is it’s usually well, well worth whatever the fee is.
[00:36:12] Brendan Hufford: [00:36:12] Awesome. And I appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on a a hundred days of SEO.
[00:36:19] We did it. We did it. We only had the one hiccup. I hope it says it’s still recording. I hope it just goes all the way through
[00:36:28] Ian Howells: [00:36:28] weird piece in there. Where me talking to myself, it’s going up. We froze.
[00:36:33] Brendan Hufford: [00:36:33] Yeah. I don’t know which one it got. It’s one or the other. Um, so that’s no problem. One time I did an interview with somebody and my wife came home. Our oldest son had. Thrown up all over himself at a restaurant. And she’s like, I need in the background, I need your help.
[00:36:46] And he’s like, go to where man go. And I’m like, all right, cool. Here’s what we’re going to do. You interview yourself for five minutes. I’ll be back, but I won’t know what you said until I
[00:36:55] Ian Howells: [00:36:55] edit.
[00:36:57] Brendan Hufford: [00:36:57] And when I was editing it, I like spit my coffee out. It was so funny and just interviewing itself for five minutes.
[00:37:02] Uh, this is a good time. So anyways, I would love to also do,
[00:37:06] Ian Howells: [00:37:06] did he ask the question and then answer the question?
[00:37:09] Brendan Hufford: [00:37:09] A hundred percent. It was great me in my own. He was trying to do like a Brendan voice. Um, super funny. I would love to also do a bumper for the beginning. Okay. Um, if you just say, like, just say who you are, um, if you want to talk about traffic think tank or whatever else, um, and then just say you’re watching a hundred days of SEO.
[00:37:30] Is that cool? Yeah, will you do me a favor so that zoom knows to come over to you? Will you clap a few like once or twice before you start talking? Just so make sure to switch the camera to you.
[00:37:42] Ian Howells: [00:37:42] It’s a trick to get me just unfilled and clapping and looking
[00:37:46] Brendan Hufford: [00:37:46] because Ryan and I just took five minutes with Ryan Stuart because he kept, he would say it, but then he and I were talking and then it was like, Hey, this is Ryan sport, but he sees my face.
[00:38:00] Ian Howells: [00:38:00] that’s amazing.
[00:38:02] Brendan Hufford: [00:38:02] It’s really, I’m going to get a highlight reel of all these people. And at beyond context,
[00:38:07] Ian Howells: [00:38:07] just clapping. So self congratulating pack of assholes that we are just clapping for. So
[00:38:13] Brendan Hufford: [00:38:13] good. I appreciate your, your paranoia on it. The fact that you’re like, I think just like, wait,
[00:38:20] Ian Howells: [00:38:20] wait a minute.
[00:38:21] Brendan Hufford: [00:38:21] No problem.
[00:38:23] First person that’s objective. Everybody was like,
[00:38:29] Ian Howells: [00:38:29] Oh, that’s amazing.
[00:38:30] Brendan Hufford: [00:38:30] All right. You don’t have to hold on. Just say something and then
[00:38:36] Ian Howells: [00:38:36] we’ve actually run into in the monthly webinars on traffic think tank we’ve run into the same thing where like we’ll be bullshitting in the beginning and then Matt and his, you know, prim. British voice will, uh, go to do the actual introduction, but for the first, second or two, it’s just like me sitting here or you banks like sipping coffee and it’s like, okay.
[00:38:55] Yeah, there’s no way to really cut around that because that’s where the audio starts. So she we’re just going to look foolish
[00:39:03] Brendan Hufford: [00:39:03] on that. All right, man. Whenever you’re ready.
[00:39:06] Ian Howells: [00:39:06] Okay, cool. Hey, it’s traffic think tank and you were watching 100 days of SEO.
[00:39:17] Brendan Hufford: [00:39:17] We did it
[00:39:20] Ian Howells: [00:39:20] to get it back.