How To Scale Your SEO Business with Matt Diggity
For this weeks episode, I’ve brought on Matt Diggity to talk SEO and scaling.
Matt runs a popular SEO blog where he teaches a very systematic approach for ranking with PBNs, he owns the highest rated PBN link building service in the marketplace and hosted the recent SEO Mastermind in Chiang Mai.
In this episode, we cover:
34:17 – If Matt had to start over with just $1,000 – what would he do?
27:26 – How to scale from $5,000 to 5 figures
19:40 – How to build a team to scale your SEO business
14:42 – How Matt ranks sites today
05:13 – The most profitable way to pick a niche
07:21 – How to start building affiliate sites
Watch it here:
Links and Resources Mentioned:
- Diggity Marketing (Matt’s blog)
- Leadspring Launchpad (Matt’s affiliate partnership company)
- Matt’s Facebook
Daryl Rosser: Alright guys, welcome back to another episode of The Lion Zeal Show. This episode I brought on Matt Diggity to talk about why he should move to Chiang Mai among other things, but also about some SEO topics. Fully SEO, PBN, hiring people, scaling. What drives Matt, like what’s his motivation? And all sorts of stuff. It’s a really well-rounded interview and we cover a whole lot of topics. I’m sure a lot of people are going to enjoy and get a lot of value out of it.
So let’s just cut straight into it and you can see exactly what we have to say in this interview. Matt says a lot of awesome values. And thanks again Matt for coming on. Check it out and I hope you guys enjoy.
Matt, what’s up man? Thanks for coming on the show. It’s cool to finally have you here.
Matt Diggity: Yeah, it’s a pleasure to be here finally.
Daryl Rosser: So do you want to start off with the absolute basics. So if someone has no idea who you are, for some reason they haven’t seen you in practically every single SEO Facebook group these days, who are you and what are you working on these days?
Matt Diggity: Alright, well let’s start things off. My name is Matt Diggity and I’m an SEO through and through. My main ranking methodology would be Gray Hattis US, I’m a big fan of PBN and SEO is my number one source of income. This is what I do full-time. This is where all my income comes from. I’m dedicated to a hundred percent whether it be making SEO income by ranking my own affiliate websites, doing a little bit of client … telling SEO services, doing a little bit of Legent as well. I’m just, I love it. I’m an SEO through and through.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome man and what projects are you working on these days? You have quite a few things going on.
Matt Diggity: Yes, so the Diggity link PBM services have been going on for a while and that’s been like kind of my auto pilot project for a while. Got all of the systems ironed out. Everyone seems to be pretty happy. The service is going really well and delivering solid results so that’s been a project of mine for a while, but my main project right now is a company that I founded last year. Really started getting going on this year and it’s called Lead Spring.
And what Lead Spring basically is, Lead Spring itself is basically like an umbrella company for all of my affiliate projects. We’re doing like home grown affiliate sites and researching our own niches and just starting from scratch. But the interesting part about what we can bring to the community is it’s a JV partnership program so like let’s say you’re an affiliate SEO and you get your affiliate SEO site to a certain level, maybe a thousand dollars a month. We could then, if you come to us and you decide, “Okay I got stuck. I can’t figure out how to monetize this more. I ran out of PBNs, I ran out of time, I just don’t care about the niche anymore, or I’m sick of talking about whatever this is.” We can partner up and we have the resources and the expertise to get you ranked higher and make more money with CRO or AB testing wherever that may be.
And then, after that, whatever profit we add on the top, we just split 50/50. That’s been a really, really fun project of mine. I’ve been burning the midnight oil. Yesterday I worked thirteen hours straight. I mean I love it and I love everyone at the company and it’s just a really nice feeling to be able to be apart of like this company, this project.
Daryl Rosser: That’s awesome man. That makes a lot of sense, so like someone already starts you all off. They get it going and then when you say that’s your expertise is like going into something, rather than starting from scratch actually improving it. Would you say you’re better at that than starting over?
Matt Diggity: That’s a really good question. Like, there’s two parts to this question. Number one is like, the hardest part of affiliate SEO is selecting niches and then once you figure out how to rank, all that becomes water under the bridge. However, it’s all about the niche selection and I’ve been this for a long time and as good as I think I am at picking niches, at the end of the day, it takes a long time to get there and to find out whether it’s a money making niche or not. And no one really knows if it’s going to make money. Just because you think, “Okay, I’d spend money on this online salsa dancing class” that doesn’t mean that everyone else would, right?
So the lead spring allows me to kind of short cut this process and just see okay who’s already making money from this and then we can just take things a step forward. Now going back to what you said is my expertise building sites from scratch or is it adding to existing sites … I’d have to say it’s a little bit of both. I’ve been doing consultations for quite a while, like a couple years now and I think everyone, I’ve never had a refund so everyone’s come back and said like “Whatever you’ve told me to do, it’s helped my site, like everything’s cooking, everything’s churning now, thank you so much” so I believe my ability to diagnose sites and get them unstuck is fairly solid so I guess it’s a win-win for this kind of Lead spring combo.
Daryl Rosser: That makes a lot of sense, cool. So what’s the difficult part of choosing a niche? Is it just that it’s a lot of guess work that you can’t really verify is going to work first?
The most profitable way to pick a niche
Matt Diggity: Yeah, I mean. It boils down to: is it going to make money and is rankable? And if it is rankable, what are the resources involved and how much time is it going to take. Like at Lead spring, we do build our own home grown sites a lot. We’re churning out about one new site a week.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Matt Diggity: But our evaluation process is quite strict. We basically have to people, me and my business partner Joel and what we do is we have a multipoint criteria system that each of us rates whether or not this niche is viable for us and it’s virtually like his criteria is about how much money it will make, and how long the niche will last, and what is the search volume, and how much can it grow. And mine are like, when can we get it running, what’s the presence of black hat and naughty SEOs and negative SEOs and stuff like that.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Matt Diggity: What are the ages of the sites, what are the sizes of their sites and it’s basically him trying to convince me let’s go for it and me saying “Uh, not too sure about this one” and we find that common ground, then we just go for it.
Daryl Rosser: That’s awesome. Actually, someone asked before the interview and what their question was: how do you find business partners? Since you seem to do pretty well in that sense.
Matt Diggity: Yeah, it’s not like I’m really actively going out and looking for business partners. Both of, well, actually, all of my business just happened to live in Thailand. I don’t know if that’s just mere coincidence but Thailand is quite the hotspot for peer SEOs and additional entrepreneurs as well but … yeah, in my case, they’ve just kind of came at the right time and thankfully all my business partners have been frickin awesome and I couldn’t be where I am without them, for sure.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome, man. So let’s go back a little bit and how did you actually get into like this affiliate stuff you’re doing these days? I think most of your projects are like PBN stuff and server this and that but a lot of it is like affiliates so how did you actually get into that in the first place?
How to start building affiliate sites
Matt Diggity: Okay. Like, my background, I used to be an electrical engineer and I went to UCSD back in California, got a Master’s degree and I worked as an engineer for like seven years. I have to say it was the worst years of my life. I’m thankful to have a job right out of college and I got paid really well but it was so frickin grueling like there were long hours for sure but they were painful hours. You’re making money for other people. You’re getting stress from all different directions. It was just really really tough. So around like 2009, one of friends had ended me The Four Hour Work Week and is like “Dude, you’ve worked so damn hard. Check this book out” I was like, there’s no way this shit works, there’s no way you can get by working four hours a week.
And I read the book and I just started opening my mind up and seeing okay there’s different way to make money. Like, you can do it on your own, you can do it with Geoarbitrage, you can do it with digital scaling systems and stuff like that so at that point I was just like, “Alright, I’m all in. I gotta figure out how this works” and like I’d go to work during the day and then at home I’d come home and just try to figure out my muse as they call them. Yeah, you can remember that. So … I started going to a Four Hour Work Week book review meetup on meetup.com and everyone there like, what they would do is they would talk about a different chapter per week and we’d discuss it.
But after that everyone would talk about their projects and their niches and get feedback on them. Now every, 90% of them, everyone was doing like some form of SEO and the hot project or the hot course at that time was called the 30 Day Challenge, have you heard of it?
Daryl Rosser: Ed Dale?
Matt Diggity: Yeah, Ed Dale, right? So yeah the whole concept behind the 30 Day Challenge was brilliant and I don’t think it would work these days but the concept was like okay you start building a website, you get it ranked in google, and then you make your first dollar in 30 days and that’s what I did and it worked and I got hooked and I made an affiliate website. It was about yoga, I sold like yoga mats and stuff like that and I’m where I am now.
Daryl Rosser: Nice, so awesome. So that was just like validation like holy crap this thing actually works I can actually make some money out of this doing this spin and then you just went into it from there.
Matt Diggity: Yeah yeah yeah. So … continued going. I was only, my first site was only making like 30 bucks a month but this was like a proven model as I was getting more and more burnt out with my engineering job-
Daryl Rosser: How long ago was this by the way?
Matt Diggity: Oh, this was way back, this was like, I don’t know around 2009, 2010.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Matt Diggity: Yeah. Oh, God, the ranking technique then. It was just purely using articles. Remember that? Article sites.
Daryl Rosser: Nice, yeah.
Matt Diggity: That’s all you needed to do. You just wrote article after article using articles and those were all considered unique backings in this work. They weren’t even spun. Whatever I wrote on my site, I would just post it there, link back, work out game busters. But yeah, kept scaling more as I got more burnt out at the engineering just started pushing harder and harder and then by the time I quit my engineering job, I was making a good three, four thousand dollars a month and I felt comfortable to just straight up quit.
Daryl Rosser: Nice, so how did you end up in Chiang Mai from there?
Matt Diggity: Okay. Like, yeah, so it was my style when I was working like I was so burnt out it wasn’t really my thing to really take intermittent vacation days and like or I don’t know take a three day weekend and go for a pleasure drive or whatever.
Daryl Rosser: Well, yeah.
Matt Diggity: I just liked to kind of compound on my vacation days and then blow them all like in the winter season so I’d be going to like Thailand, I’d go to India, I’d go to China, I’d go to … it sounds like mostly Asia. I’d go to Costa Rica, South America as well and like that whole time I knew the first time I went to Thailand was like … this place in home and just kind of thought Chiang Mai was like the right place in Thailand for me.
Daryl Rosser: Nice, how long have you been there now? Quite a long time, right?
Matt Diggity: I think, today’s December first, next month it will be, it will be four years.
Daryl Rosser: Wow. What is that you like so much about it?
Matt Diggity: That’s a really good question. I think there’s multiple facets to Chiang Mai that make just not me but a lot of people like it. First off, everything is super easy, right? Anything want … like let’s say you want to be on the other side of town. You get on your motorbike, you’re there in five minutes. Let’s say you want to go to a coffee shop and work today. Well, you’re going to walk two minutes and you’re going to get to a place with fiber optics and it’s just blazing. Let’s say you’re feeling stressful. You go to a massage shop and get a massage for five bucks and you’re on your way, the rest of your day is perfect after that. Like, everything is super easy here.
On top of that, I’d have to say it’s like a cultural thing. Thai people are super super nice and especially in Chiang Mai and it kind of rubs off everybody you’re around. It rubs off on the ex-pats here, it rubs off on the tourists, everyone’s just walking around with a smile on their face and that’s easy to get used to, it’s easy to start, right. And then on top of it all, this is just the icing on the cake, the digital entrepreneur community here is insane, right. Like, we just had our mastermind a couple weeks ago.
Daryl Rosser: That was awesome.
Matt Diggity: Yeah, it was frinkin great, right? Like 50 of the world’s top SEOs just came by, sharing, collaborating, but I mean aside from the mastermind, it’s kind of like this all the time. My business partner was looking for a house up here and he was walking on the street and he told me he heard people talking about anchor text on the street so it’s like what the heck that’s awesome. I love being around entrepreneurs, I love it all the time. I mean nothing in the states, I love the states, that’s my home, but when I go back and visit the conversations I hear back home are a little bit different than I hear here.
he conversations I hear back home are all about like “I didn’t get my promotion because my boss is a dick or I don’t, I’m poor because the governments holding me down” it’s all like outside forces are keeping me in place but here in Chiang Mai where everyone’s an entrepreneur, those conversations don’t happen, everyone’s self made, if there’s anyone to blame, it’s themself, and everyone know. It’s forward or nothing. You really just don’t have to listen to all the complaining bodies all the time.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, that’s awesome. Similar reason I’m living in Southeast Asia, not the same place but I was in Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai’s awesome.
Matt Diggity: Yeah, yeah. And I love Sei Gong too man. When I came up to visit you, that place is amazing.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, for sure. Okay, so you’ve been an SEO for quite a while now and you were saying before when you first started out it was like copying and pasting articles off your site on to easier articles. Have you seen a massive change in approaches and have you had to yourself like adjust a lot in terms of the approaches you’re taking to rank in sites?
How Matt ranks sites today
Matt Diggity: Absolutely. Like, it’s, you can’t spam anymore. You can get away with spam but it’s not as easy as it used to be and I think these days it’s more just about your quality, in everything you’re doing. Quality on your money’s side, quality about the links you’re getting, and I know this conversation’s going to turn into “What’s going to happen with PBNs? What’s the deal with PBNs?” like I look at it like this right: there’s so much crap working in SEOs still. You still have GSA working, you still have Safe working, you still have just rubbish PBNs with spam content working, you have PBNs that are just set up with WordPress things, you have PBNs with no traffic, right?
So here we are. We’ve got the PBNs that look like normal money sites that get traffic, they have socials following, etc, right? They have to get rid of all this shit before this stuff falls down. I think we go years and years before that. That’s just my personal opinion and then on top of that the results will start to show us that it’s not working and there’s nothing that I’ve seen that says PBNs are even close to being done.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, I’m completely with you. What I’m kind of curious is how do you stay on top of all these changes if you’ve had all these changes from what you used to do? Really spammy stuff and it worked and today it’s all about quality and stuff. How did you know it was time to switch your approach and focus more on quality and things like that?
Matt Diggity: Yeah, like. When I quit my job as an engineer and I moved out to Chiang Mai and I decided this is going to be my business, I’m going to be an SEO, I just made a decision then and there: I’m getting older, I’m not interested in doing churn and burn stuff, I want to build businesses that last. And if they do last, and they do become sellable assets, that’s the route I want to go.
Daryl Rosser: Sure.
Matt Diggity: So I was always into like building something that’s going to last, since the beginning. Not since the beginning-beginning, since phase 2 when I started to become a full time SEO.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. Actually I think one interesting thing about you and some of the other regarders, they go as the top guys in our space, they’re all thinking very long term. They’re not trying to make like so quick cash in the next few months. It’s like what can I do that’s going to do that’s going to last the next five, ten years or more.
Matt Diggity: Yeah, I mean, I think we all should … one of the dates of business. Like we’re trying to make money right now but a lot of us are trying to support families or provide for our futures or help others and you can only do that with something sustainable.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah. So what drives you, that’s a question for you on the spot, but what drives you to grow your business bigger and do what you do today?
Matt Diggity: Well, okay, I’m not really sure Daryl Rosser.
Daryl Rosser: That’s fair enough.
Matt Diggity: Okay so it’s like this, right? When I first came out to Chiang Mai, I came out with the intention to retire, right.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Matt Diggity: So the company that I worked for, the engineering company that I worked for, they got bought out and I was the fourteenth employee so I had a lot of virtual stocks that all of a sudden became real so I had like a nice like lump sum to sit on and in my life time I felt like okay, I’ve worked enough for three human beings already, let’s just take a year off, right? And that’s what I did. Except I took like a month off and I started to go batshit crazy. On the outside, it looked like I was living the dream. I was going out every night, there’s parties, just going to waterfalls all the time, it was great.
But I started to feel kind of empty like I didn’t have a project on my hands, I wasn’t going towards a goal, I had nothing fulfilling me at all and at that point I realized like it’s not really about sitting under a palm tree and drinking coconuts all the time. It’s really about, manhood is about finding a project or finding a goal and going towards it all the time and right now my goal is to build a business, build a company that takes care of its employees and a big part of it too, and this is like a huge motivation for my blog is I’m super super grateful for the lifestyle I have now in comparison to what was going on as an engineer. I would like to take as many people with me as I can. I would like to empower as many people as I can to have this knowledge and do this themselves and get out of the rat race and make money on their own terms, so to speak.
Daryl Rosser: Absolutely, I think that’s a great thing. Awesome so what was the shift from, was it instantly a shift from doing it yourself to building a team or was it like a decision that changed your foot in it?
How to build a team to scale your SEO business
Matt Diggity: Well, the first partner I had, you met Jason. So like Jason when we decided to build the Diggity link service, I realized that it’s probably not going to be a scalable endeavor to be building the PBNs myself and selling them at the same time and doing the marketing and everything, probably best to partition. Actually, Jason’s the one who approached me on that and it’s been a great partnership ever since. So I don’t think it was kind of my decision to scale and build a team at that point. It was just kind of put on my plate and it worked perfectly so it was kind of just like okay let’s keep doing it. And this is funny this is like a big topic in our mastermind, right?
Like the big theme that you and I and the people in our mastermind pod got out of it was like in order to truly scale like all of us for sure, we have our VAs. We’re like, if we’re an army, we’re the general here and then we’ve got a bunch of VAs and they are all our privates here but an army doesn’t function that way. You need middle level managers, you need sergeants and lieutenants in order to scale because at a certain point, you might be the general and you have 25 VAs. You’re talking to 25 people and making sure they’re all on task. If you get a couple middle level managers, you’re talking to two people who are very qualified, very smart, and can answer most of the questions themselves. So it’s just kind of like a no brainer.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, makes sense.
Matt Diggity: It’s just what any business does even I look at the LCT follows, let’s us Navy terms for them. Lord Admiral brought on Captain Stack to help with the marketing and that part of LCT. It just straight works.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, it was just an inevitable thing you had to get into to grow the business and it makes sense, it’s kind of silly not to do it.
Matt Diggity: Yeah, for sure.
Daryl Rosser: With the Lead spring stuff, with the affiliate stuff, was that like a difficult decision to decide like we’re going to build out this full team or was it the same kind of thing like just inevitably happened as part of the process to scale it?
Matt Diggity: It was inevitable. Right, so on my own, when I was doing all my affiliate sites on my own, depending on what niches were still working at the time, I capped out at about 35-50k a month in what I could generate myself. Like, I simply had no more hours in the day to do anything else but maintain the sites so if we knew if we wanted to scale we had to bring on somebody that could do the things that I could do.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Matt Diggity: And then we went along with the Lead spring apprentice program so basically what we do with the apprentice program is we find talented individuals, people who have a huge hunger to learn SEO, people that want to be the best of the best and we bring them on and we train them up to do high level SEO skills and I’m not talking, you’re not setting up PBNs, you’re not widening content or anything. You’re doing the high level stuff. You’re designing the silos, you’re choosing anchor text, you’re doing the CRO improvements, you’re doing AV testing, you’re doing exactly what a full fledged SEO would do.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah.
Matt Diggity: We train these guys, we give them all the resources, we’ve got the team to provide the PBNs, we’ve got the content writers. It’s just up to them to learn the techniques of SEO and it’s working great like we’ve got some really skilled SEOs right now, like our team, we’ve got three on staff, and we’ve got one more starting in January, I’m really excited.
Daryl Rosser: Nice.
Matt Diggity: Yeah, it’s just working great. And the great thing about it is like … like I said earlier, I want to take everyone with me, I want everyone to experience success, so we got the apprentices on a profit share program too so if they manage a certain threshold or a certain value of their portfolio, they get a cut of that.
Daryl Rosser: Nice, that’s awesome.
Matt Diggity: It’s really a win-win.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, yeah. That makes a lot of sense. So totally forgot what I was about to ask but I’m kind of curious about how … I heard you talking before about how big your team was. How big is your team for all your different projects?
Matt Diggity: Diggity’s got about ten staff and Lead spring has about eight and then underneath that there’s just VAs for days.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, so when you hire someone, let’s say the apprentices and you want them to create a silo structure or something, do you just say “Hey, here’s what a silo structure is, go and do it” or do you have very strict, like how do you ensure that they can do a good job if it.
Matt Diggity: Right, so, yeah. We’re kind of working that out. Like what we’re teaching is really high level stuff like it’s not rocket science but however it’s not something you can watch a video for and call it a wrap. Like, for example, chemistry, you don’t learn that online, you go to the class and learn from a teacher and you’re taking tests and doing upperly. So we’re going through multiple approaches. We have the SOP, so you have a written textbook to learn everything, we have training videos and at the same time you’re getting trained face to face with either me or the SEO project leader Jay. So it’s coming from all angles. So there’s your reviews, we take care of you, it’s in our best interest to help you.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. So what are some big lessons or mistakes you’ve taken away from hiring people to be on the team and like scaling things out?
Matt Diggity: Let me think about that. I would say that there are more factors. When you’re looking for people, look for people who are truly hungry, truly dedicated and seriously want to learn. On top of that, maybe I don’t want to give this away but-
Daryl Rosser: Fuck it.
Matt Diggity: Some of the best people in my experience that turn into amazing SEOS are ex-gamers. I don’t know what it is but people who got good at a video game whether it be a competitive video online are first of all, they’re clever, they’re good with a computer for sure, and they’re resourceful. Like gamers, let’s say they’re playing World of Warcraft and they want to design the best character to do this or that, they can figure out where to look online. They’re down to test things out, try on different swords and stuff like that, like they’re going to figure it out. I don’t know what it is that I’ve seen but out of all demographics the gamers are the ones who are really turn out to be great SEOS. I try to really tap into that demographic.
Daryl Rosser: Like, add that to my interview, like, were you a big gamer at some point?
Matt Diggity: Show me your character log in, yeah.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, so I think a very interesting topic is like scaling so it’s kind of like we’re discussing with the team stuff. So if someone is, you’re an affiliate SEO guy, presuming you identify mostly with that.
Matt Diggity: Mm-hm.
Daryl Rosser: If someone’s earning, saying they’re like at 5k a month level, what would you do to scale that up? It’s a very fake question but what kind of direction would you take it in?
How to scale from $5,000 to 5 figures
Matt Diggity: Okay, you’re at 5k and you’re stuck. Let’s elaborate on that question. Are you at 5k with one site and you don’t have any more time?
Daryl Rosser: I say like you have like a couple sites that are collaborating together to do that … making this up as I go along.
Matt Diggity: Alright. Well I think the thing with affiliate is it’s kind of like you’re planting little trees. You’re planting trees all over the place every time you build a brand new site. Now some of these trees grow up to be like big flourishing redwood trees …
Daryl Rosser: You’re making this difficult for yourself.
Matt Diggity: OK so some of these trees grow up and produce a lot but some trees never grow at all. But if you’re only planting like two trees like in this guy’s case, you’ll only have this kind of data to work with. You’ll only get to roll the dice twice. I would say do all you can to make as many sites as possible and just see which ones stick. Toss, 80/20 the ones that don’t work. I mean, at the end of the day, affiliate SEOs is such a high margin like, venture. Like it cost maybe $1000, $2000, $3000 to build a site and get it ranked, including the PBNs and content and all that, depending on the size of the site, right?
Daryl Rosser: Yeah.
Matt Diggity: Well, it’s making money. You’ll make that back in one month. You’ll probably triple it when it’s really cooking so it doesn’t really matter how much we lose in the beginning because it’s going to make itself up and one killer site can support nine sites that you flopped on, so my advice would just be plant more seeds, build more trees.
Daryl Rosser: That makes sense. I’ve seen people talking about like invest into start-ups and stuff and they’re saying, I can’t remember who it was, but someone was saying that every given company they invest into has to be able to grow enough to cover the entire fund for every single company investing because they’re so much inherent risk investing in sites and stuff and I guess it’s the same sort of idea with affiliate where any single site out of all the ones you build could very easily the cover the whole investment for every single one of them.
Matt Diggity: Yeah, yeah. That’s pretty much exactly what I tried to say. I talked about trees instead.
Daryl Rosser: That was more interesting. Someone asked a question but I don’t think it was a good question so I’m going to try to change it. Someone’s asking about starting out, if you didn’t have any money for buying links or anything like that what would you do? And I’d rather change the question to, if you’re starting out and you didn’t have enough money to invest into building the PBN or renting links from Diggity links or wherever else, would you try to get by without the links, or would you go out there and try to make some money first and then use that to invest into building up your site?
Matt Diggity: PBNs aren’t the only thing that works. Outreach works, just a lot of more time intensive. I guess I would just like me and myself, I know that PBNs are just the most efficient and fastest way to rank so I would just do what you said: go get a loan or ask my family for some money or sell my PlayStation, I would just get some money and get into PBNs but if you didn’t want to do it on your own like a bootstrap, outreach does work, it’s just very time intensive and it’s going to delay your time to ranking in my opinion but it will get you there.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, you want to talk a little bit about ranking then? PBNs are like your thing. What are some of the other stuff you’re doing these days?
Matt Diggity: To get sites ranked?
Daryl Rosser: Yeah.
Matt Diggity: Honestly it’s just straight up PBN. Well, that’s the outside technique but we’re doing killer onsite SEO, we’re doing some social stuff, really trying to play with traffic. Not manipulating traffic so much but trying to get traffic from various sources like PBNs themselves, you know, long tail traffic, doings some PBC in order to flood traffic in from social-
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Matt Diggity: But it’s pretty straightforward. Just PBN, social signals, and traffic for the offsite and then just killer onsite, really killer onsite’s the key.
Daryl Rosser: Do you think there’s anything that’s massively changed over the past couple of years? Like are there any changes you’ve had in your approach?
Matt Diggity: Couple year? Yeah, this traffic thing, I started to see it really kick in and be a thing in 2016. I think it’s going to be the biggest factor in 2017 but we had to think logically, like take a step back. At the end of the day, google’s job is to serve people what they want to see, right? What’s the easiest way to figure out what people want to see? What people are already looking at right? Sites that have traffic and you see evidence of this all the time. You research your competition, you’ve checked out the number one guy in the search, he has like 50 links, they’re all shit, the anchor texts are batshit crazy, the only reason he’s there is because he’s got the traffic there and google has to continue to serve people what they want to see.
And I think that’s the name of the game coming forward and getting traffic to the link you’re sending to your site, getting nominal traffic from just anywhere seems to work because in a sense traffic is used to justify everything. No one shares a site that they don’t visit. No one links to a site that they don’t visit. Once you have the traffic, it’s used to validate anything you might be doing.
Daryl Rosser: That makes sense. So do you believe google can see the traffic visiting your site or do you believe they use other signals for checking that?
Matt Diggity: They can see it if you’ve got analytics or you’re using chrome and I think enough people are doing that they can make an estimation out of other people who are using that.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. That makes a lot of sense. Let me see some interesting questions that came through. I asked like in the group beforehand and a lot of people asked stuff. Okay, here’s like the typical podcast question: if you somehow miraculously lost everything and had to start over from scratch and you still had the same skill and knowledge and you had just a thousand dollars in the bank, aside from being depressed what would you do to build it back up again with the next project.
If Matt had to start over with just $1,000 – what would he do?
Matt Diggity: A thousand bucks, huh? I think I’d just … you can’t quite … no you know what I think I’d do. I’d just hand write my own site by itself. I’d write my own website, do a really good job, it’s going to take forever and I’m going to hate it but then I’d just blow the rest of it on PBN links. A thousand bucks of PBN, you can rank anything.
Daryl Rosser: Makes sense. Is there anything you would do to make sure like because it’s your last thousand dollars. If it doesn’t work out you might not be eating so is there anything that you would do to make sure the site is a success? That it works out?
Matt Diggity: I’d probably be really really nitpicky about the niche that I got into.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Matt Diggity: What I would do is that I’d just research the surf and try to find something that’s making money like I’d go to flippa.com and try to find something that’s selling for like 5k or 10k so at least know that’s making like a few hundred to a thousand dollars a month if it’s selling 20k, something like that and then I’d just look at the site itself. I’d look at it’s back ranks and just see is this something I can intimidate for a thousand dollars because if it’s a go, let’s do it.
Daryl Rosser: That makes sense. Do you still have failures today with affiliate sites not working out or not making enough money or anything like that?
Matt Diggity: Well, they all rank because of the process we have for choosing the niches that’s so stringent, it seems to be working really good. Everything seems to rank but some things just don’t make that much money or freaking Amazon accounts get banned, oh, God, such a horror story about that one but yeah yeah it’s usually just about they didn’t make as much money as we thought.
Daryl Rosser: Okay here’s a question … you have a lot of PBNs, your main approach is PBNs, is there any little tricks you’ve learned in helping you to manage like what I presume is thousands of PBN sites?
Matt Diggity: Well we talked about before like middle level management, right? So I have an entire department for PBNs and I have a department head that is just dedicated to the building, managing, and purchasing of PBNs. We’ve got another guy who’s just his entire job is for PBN RNDs so completely researching how to make them more powerful and how to make them more secure and underneath both these guys, they have different staff that help with different level of tasks, like writing content, there’s a middle level manager and like building PBNs is another middle level manager and under them they have their own staff so I think it’s just building that hierarchy and promoting the people that do good, promoting them and promoting them to managers.
Daryl Rosser: That makes sense. In terms of all the testing you do is that down to having those people there and having someone who’s constantly testing things out for you and running different kinds of tests and things like that?
Matt Diggity: The test brain child is me so having all the staff in place and having the apprentices that are working on ranking the sites, this enables me to do what I really love, which is SEO testing so like every week I send out internally a testing summary, we’re knocking out multiple tests per week whether it be what is the effect of tripling the content on a site in two weeks, or what happens if we double the link velocity for a certain site or niche or how to use option domains properly and how fast we can build them. Stuff like that, like all the time I’m working on tests and I think so far in 2016, we’ve knocked out 57 of them.
Daryl Rosser: Nice. So if someone wanted to do their own tests, how exactly would they do that?
Matt Diggity: Let’s save this one for a blog post in 2017.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. That makes sense. I’ve got to find some more questions that people have asked … kind of went through that one. Some people are asking how to sell an SEO, don’t think this your thing. You’re not a client SEO guy, not really.
Matt Diggity: I have one client.
Daryl Rosser: One client.
Matt Diggity: And he’s not an affiliate SEO so he doesn’t really count.
Daryl Rosser: Okay what about unpaid SEO? You do some pretty interesting stuff. I think you popularized the idea of supporting pages and stuff. What are some things you’re doing with unpaid SEO?
Matt Diggity: New stuff?
Daryl Rosser: New stuff, most important things you’re seeing people struggle with. Like interesting ideas.
Matt Diggity: Yes. So … right now I think a big trend that I’ve been seeing is like people building large sites and kind of brute forcing their way into the search by just making a huge authority site and it’s not even the case like okay I making a huge authority site that’s going to cover every fitness product on the planet. They use that same mentality of creating a huge site but even on their small niches like right you have a very small niches like what is the best tennis racket and you just make a billion page site about it and you can brute force your way to the top with supposedly less amount of links. This is what I’m playing with right now, what is the relationship between site size and required link juice in order to get a site ranked.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. That makes a lot of sense. Okay and don’t see that many interesting questions coming up. What sort of hosting are you using for PBN sites?
Matt Diggity: Well, premium, GoDaddy, BlueHost, ASmallOrange, all the ones every hates, but I think they’re fine.
Daryl Rosser: Follow on question to that, that everyone always asks, I get that as well, is how do you manage costs when it’s up to 5, 10 dollars a month for host or PBN?
Matt Diggity: Okay. Well. Let’s just imagine it’s 10 dollars a month. So if you have a PBN, you decided I’m never going to send the same IP to the mother site. So here’s the PBN, I put it here and then I’m done with that IP but if you have multiple money sites then you’ll never use the same PBN to link to two money sites then you’ve got two on there, then you’ve got three, then if you have 50 money sites then essentially you can have the same IP but put 50 on there.
Yeah, yeah, it’s 50 cents and you can even make it more granular than that, but we can even take it down to a niche like you can say I’ll have a PBN, it’s multiple sites but I’m in multiple niches like I’m in the health niche and I’m also in the law niche well a health site will never link to a law site and vice versa, so these can all go on the same IP as well. It’s just about stacking them and making sure you don’t send to the same site.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, that makes a lot of sense. A lot of people seem to freak out about the cost and everything like that and what’s your thoughts on people trying to do stuff like this cheaper. What’s the cheaper solution for hosting? People ask; I want to get Majestic or SEMRush or something like that but I cannot afford it, are there any free tools or anything like that? Do you think it’s a good idea to cheap out on this stuff and try to find free solutions or would you suggest adding some more money, doing anything you can to get some money so you can get some more money.
Matt Diggity: Well, cheap hosting is going to get you deindexed, that’s the number one deindexing factor and you can read my blog post about it but stuff like group buys for SEO tools like majestic and home hot, that’s fine. The only danger is using group buys for stuff like that is I guess SEMRush keeps a history of what you search for like if you’re looking for your niche and looking for competition niche, anyone on that group buy can see it as well so it’s fine to do at the beginning just know that you’re not 100% secure.
Daryl Rosser: Last few questions. I don’t think there’s any more like that interesting in that list. Do you read a lot?
Matt Diggity: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Daryl Rosser: What’s top three books you’ve enjoy lately? Doesn’t have to be business related.
Matt Diggity: Okay, God, I still get this question, like if you ask me my favorite movie I know but I can’t tell you because I can’t remember. Let’s see, impactful books related to anything. Sapiens, which I just read, was really cool. Sapiens was about anthropology and why we are the way we are that we’re different but the same. Spiritually, the Power of Now is a pretty cool book. It just makes me a better human being, that’s what it’s about. And business wise … the E-Myth. The E-Myth is just so rock solid.
Daryl Rosser: Okay that’s another great book. How do you balance different areas of your life?
Matt Diggity: WIP. Right it’s just work work work but I don’t have an answer for that.
Daryl Rosser: How much are you working these days? You said 14 hours yesterday.
Matt Diggity: All my energy is headed towards Lead spring. I’m just loving it. We’ve got a big team and I want to take care of them and make sure everyone succeeds. I’m working a lot there, 7-10 hours depending on the week.
Daryl Rosser: 5 days a week?
Matt Diggity: 5 days a week it’s like that then on the weekends a couple hours here and there. I don’t see it changing until Lead spring is cooking.
Daryl Rosser: That makes sense. Does it add more motivation and drive, having like a time that you’re working with?
Matt Diggity: Big time, man. Like, especially since we restructured to profit share arrangement for compensation for the apprentices, like all the KPI’s in the company are based on how much the apprentices make. So that’s about like, if the apprentice are making money, the company is making money as well. But I obviously find more satisfaction about seeing these people grow and make a decent chunk of money and fulfil their dreams, find freedom in their life. That’s what keeps me cooking.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome, man. What are some big failures, lessons, same thing, really, now that you’ve had, since you started with like SEO, like quitting your job and going full-time with other stuff.
Matt Diggity: Yeah I just wish I’d done it earlier, right? It’s been such a blessing. On top of that, like SEO mistakes, this happened to me a couple of times, like I told you about the ranking technique for the ezine articles and like, you know, of course a Google update comes out and then all the money sites are just dead. They’re all rocking opt-ins and then later on you know, like when PBNs came out, when new techniques came out, I followed another source, like a single source. I never, I didn’t have the resources or the correct kind of connections to get different opinions from different places so I just kind of latched onto one training technique or latch onto one, you know, teacher, so to speak, and I just followed them to the T for all my sites and then when penguin one came out to nuked again, just completely new. So now I just take a different approach, you know like, do my own testing, and diversify a lot, you know, try different making techniques on different money sites and you know like penguins or penalties are just a thing of the past now.
Daryl Rosser: Okay that makes sense. So someone starting out and I’ll sign out maybe they were doing like 2-3k a month, do you think they should be testing themselves though, do you think they can test themselves, with like, it’s quite a smallish income?
Matt Diggity: I don’t think so, actually. Like, I’ll get to this in my blog post in 2017 about testing, but you really have to have large, large test case sizes in order to account for all the variabilities and the algorithm and RF and things like that, but, yeah yeah I don’t think it’ll be all worth it, I’m just like focus on making money and then you have like, some buffer to work with and start testing, go ahead and do it then.
Daryl Rosser: So what would you suggest to someone that is in a sort of amount and doesn’t want to get hit by the next penguin or whatever it is.
Matt Diggity: There’s so much good quality free content all over the web. I’m like, people are teaching how to do it right. Just find out who people are listening to. I’m not saying listen to me, like, or since aim to listen to you or anyone, like, yeah but it’s out there, like there’s so many people have seen that I think this dude has got it right. You know, you can just listen to them for free and I would just say like, if you look at history, if you look at the past like Penguin updates, penguin 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, the people that got hit the most are the people that were cheap with their pillowing, they wanted to save money on their non-target anchors and they’re going out doing GSA blasts, your link-building, boosted citation stuff like that, this stuff is the stuff is what gets people hit time and time again just don’t go cheap, go quality, and you’ll be fine.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome, man. Okay, final question and kind of put you on spot, but do you have any, like, diggity words of wisdom, so I wrap up the episode?
Matt Diggity: Hmm, yeah in the Midino interview I talked about you know, start your testing. I would say something else. I would say, be open to the idea of partnership or at least bringing more people like middle managers because at some point no matter what you’re gonna get stuck. There’s only a few so many hours in the day, you’re gonna get burnt out, you’re gonna find out what you want to do, what is your favourite part of SEO, and just start aiming towards that and start either outsource, or partner with other people to take care of the rest of it, it’s gonna help you scale faster, it’s gonna make it more enjoyable for you, and having a team is just straight up father anyways.
Daryl Rosser: I guess just stop treating it like one-man freelance company, and like start building something up or at least hire someone up to help you do, so—
Matt Diggity: Yeah, yeah. That’s just my humble opinion.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome, I agree, that’s what I’m trying to do personally as all these days. Okay, man, cool where can people find you if they don’t already know your sites.
Matt Diggity: Yeah, you can ne, well, at least you can find my blog at diggitymarketing.com, and you can learn more about leadspring, and partnering up with lead spring, at leadspring.org, I got a Facebook page, do not know the URL off the top of my head, uh, it shouldn’t be hard to find.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, do you still take on apprentices for the leadspring thing?
Matt Diggity: Absolutely, like check out the lead spring page at the top, there’s apprentice program, like, just check it out, see if it’s a good fit, sign up, apply, I’d love to meet you, we’d love to see if you can come work for us.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome, man. It was cool of you doing this interview. Finally set up.
Matt Diggity: It’s been a pleasure. Thank you, Daryl.
Daryl Rosser: I hope you guys enjoyed this episode, it’s been super cool. That’s an awesome guy, and I hope you guys got a lot of value out of this. I’ll see you in next week’s episode.
Matt Diggity: Peace.