How To Build a PBN in 2016 with Patrick from SERPchampion
For episode 18, I sat down with Patrick Babakhanian from SERPchampion, to have a good all round discussion on PBNs and ranking in 2016.
Patrick has been in this industry for years, was one of the first members to join the Lion Zeal Mastermind, and has a very popular SEO service business selling PBN domains, hosting, content writing, Web 2.0s, and more.
Some of the topics we get into include:
- How to setup PBN sites so they pass manual reviews
- The story behind SERPchampion, and how Patrick built it up
- How Patrick ranks sites today
- How to check the quality of a domain in 5 minutes or less
Any questions for Patrick, or enjoying the show? Leave a comment below.
If you want to learn more about building a PBN in 2016, check out my PBN guide.
Daryl: What’s up, guys? Welcome back to another episode of The Lion Zeal show. In this episode, I brought on Patrick from SERPchampion. If you don’t know already, SERPchampion’s a pretty popular blog and service provider, mainly of different SERN services. From selling domains to renting PBN links, to setting up your PBN for you to build on web 2.0s.
They do all sorts of SEO link-building services for you to make it even easier for you to go out there and building affiliate sites or dealing with clients. They help you handle, and basically take care of it all, for you. Patrick also has a blog, which is of the same site SERPchampion, he blogs about different things, like SEO tests, PBN tests, also some interesting things like that.
I brought him on the show this time because I wanted to ask him numerous questions about his PBN process, his link building process. So we get into pretty actionable, specific stuff. Like with PBNs, what do you check when you buy domains?
He buys a lot of domains, I don’t know the quantity, but a lot of domains. So we went into how exactly do you check it? Which tools do you use? What do you look for when you’re on that tour? All these different things are really actionable and useful for you guys to take away. We also got into the topic of systematization.
Patrick has different teams that help him organize and sell, basically, and deliver all these different services they sell. So it’s like how do you manage all these people? How do you hire them? It’s a really interesting discussion.
If you’re interested in scaling your business, you absolutely must start systemizing. This is really valuable stuff. Especially because, coming from someone that’s doing this themselves, but on a much bigger level than most people are doing it, if they’re just doing it for their own business. You’re doing it for numerous people’s businesses, so that’s why it’s so crazy. And that’s why it’s so great to learn from him.
With that said, this interview is just really cool, we cover all sorts of topics. So let’s cut straight into it. I hope you guys enjoy.
All right man, what’s up? Thanks for coming on the show. Been connected quite a while now.
Patrick: Yeah, man. Glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me on the show. Definitely excited.
Daryl: Yeah, it’s cool. I imagine quite a lot of people know you now. You’re service and your blog and everything is quite well-known. But for anyone that doesn’t, or just to reconfirm who you are, you want to share a little intro?
Patrick: Well, my name is PatrickBabakhanian. I’ve been doing SEO, and I’ve been in the online marketing scene for four years now. I started with nothing. Just studying the best, studying those old courses like Bring The Fresh. There are some old courses I followed and then I went into Facebook groups here and there.
I got a lot of knowledge from people that been doing this for a lot of years now.
It’s been three years since I started selling SEO services and domains and a lot of stuff. It’s been three years now and recently I’ve been doing a lot of blogging. I love to talk about SEO, so I’ve been doing that. SERPchampion is my main business. That’s where I offer a lot of SEO services and do my content and stuff. So, that’s pretty much it. I’m active in all of those groups, even though I don’t post that often. I do pay attention to the conversations, the topics. So I’m there, man. I’m everywhere. I got eyes everywhere.
Daryl: Nice one. How did you end up starting that service? What was the first service you did?
Patrick: It’s funny, actually. I started with … the SERPchampion website was nothing. It wasn’t even a site. It was one page and I started selling links on my domains that I’ve had. That was basically … It looked like shit. The sales page looked crappy as hell.
Daryl: They always do.
Patrick: Exactly, exactly. So, I started with that. The funny thing is, how I actually really started, was I had an affiliate site back in the day. It was a dating affiliate site. It didn’t make a lot of money, actually. It made, like, 500 bucks a month. That’s nothing, right? So what I did was I sold that website for 5,500 bucks and I’ve used that money to buy domains.
I used that money to buy domains and some of the domains were crappy because I just started. But, the other domains I used as my own network and then I started from there to rent it out. So, I literally started with that 5,500 bucks, and then I went on … Yeah, it’s pretty funny. I started with renting links.
Daryl: Nice. And they sold out, I guess?
Patrick: Yeah, I sold out. I sold a few. Then I got some money out of it, that was cool. But then, the funny thing is, I had some domains left and it was you know what, maybe I should sell these domains off. I wasn’t even planning to sell domains. I posted in the group. I was like “Hey, I got these domains, who wants to buy it?” And I had, like, tons of comments like “Yeah, send me the PM, send me the domains and everything.” And I was like what the hell? There’s a demand for this stuff. People want these domains.
So that sparked an idea. Then I started just buying domains, buying domains, checking … Every single day, I went to auctions and started bidding and checking. I’ve checked so many domains in my life, it’s like second nature right now. From there on out, I kept at it. I kept checking domains every single day and I sold them, and I sold them, and I sold them. I made a whole business out of it. That’s how I started.
Daryl: That’s awesome, man. Was this, what, a couple years ago, maybe? I remember the group was, like, ten members back then.
Patrick: Yeah, when did you start with the group, actually?
Daryl: It was January 2014, but it wasn’t … That was when it was a private, if you remember … I think you were in it then. It was like ten people I remember it was ten people in this, and it was, like, a private thing.
Patrick: Was the proper PBN group existing, too?
Daryl: I don’t think it was then, no.
Patrick: No? I don’t know, man. Time flies, bro. Time flies, I don’t know. Was it already 2014? Damn. Yeah, it goes hard man, time.
Daryl: It’s quick.
Patrick: Yeah, I was there, man. I was there at the beginning.
Daryl: So, when buying domains, I get questions about this all the time … Oh, I’ve gone laggy.
Patrick: Yeah, but I’m hearing you.
Daryl: Oh okay, cool. So, when buying domains, I get questions about this all the time and I’m sure you get a lot as well. What sort of checks do you do? Presuming you’ve found a domain, whatever methods people use to find them these days, what sort of checks do you do before purchasing it?
Patrick: This is what I always say. I start off with two checks. This takes me five, six seconds to determine if it’s worthwhile to go …
Daryl: Is that because it’s like walking for you now? It’s just a habit?
Patrick: Yeah, because I’ve done it so many times and I just don’t want to waste time checking a shitty domain. So what I do, two things. First, I look at the domain name itself. Is it a brandable domain, or is it keyword stuffed? Does it have numbers in it? Or spammy keywords like “Outlet” or “Nike” or stuff like that? That already saves me a lot of time. So I check it, okay the domain name itself looks good.
Then I paste it in Majestic because I want to see the anchor text profile. That’s the second check I do. I scroll down and I check if the anchor text profile’s natural. Does it have brand anchors? Does it have URL and generic anchors? If it passes that check, then I go on and check the back links. Which is actually the most important thing. If the anchors are spammy and the domain name is spammy, it’s not worth it to check the back links.
Once I’m at the back links stage, then I pretty much go way deeper. I investigate it and I check for quality links and a good amount of quality links.
Daryl: How long does this phase take?
Daryl: How long does it take to go through this phase of checking the back links?
Patrick: The back links for me, maybe one minute, two minutes. I just, I’m like the terminator right now, at this point. So I check at the links, I see it has seven, eight high Trust Flow links pointing at it. Then, I investigate it.
I click on all those sources, and I just check at the pages. Are these pages spammy or not? Are these pages filled with links or not? So that’s how I determine the value of that back link. That takes me, literally, one minute. You see this finger? I click very quickly, like da dadadadada. I’m into it, you know. I’ve done it so many times that it’s a walk in the park.
Once I’ve checked the links and I see this domain has good links, then I end up with Wayback Machine. I check for a clean history, I check if there are any PBNs back in the day. In the history, did a SEO pick it up before? Did it use it as a PBN or was it a Chinese takeover? You know what I’m talking about. Once I pass that check, the last check I do is if it’s indexed in Google or not. These are pretty much auction domains. Usually action domains are indexed. Not all the time, but usually they are. That’s basically the last check I do.
This whole process might take, for me, if a domain passes all of my checks, maybe four minutes. Four or five minutes.
Daryl: Okay, nice. Flying through them.
Patrick: Yeah, flying through them. And those two first checks, like what I said, domain name and anchor text profile, that takes me ten seconds max. That saves me so much time. I tell my students all the time, “Do those first two checks and don’t dig deeper if one of those two checks fail.”
Daryl: Gotcha. So those two checks eliminate basically 80% of the crap.
Patrick: Yeah, a lot. Especially scraped, dropped domains that you can register for ten bucks. Those, you can check those in a heartbeat. Like, boom boomboomboomboom. Okay, tons of the domain names are spam. You know what I’m talking about. Pretty much that, man. Those two checks save me a lot of time. Then, if I feel like it’s worth it, I investigate it.
Daryl: Nice. So, what are the back links? You said you look spammy if they have lots of links on them. What sort of links would you call spammy and bad links? I’ve seen people buy domains full of directories that aren’t really good links, but they look at the Trust Flow and stuff, but oh, it looks okay.
Patrick: Directory links, it’s not necessarily spammy, but it’s also not that strong or valuable, anyway. If the page has tons of outbound links, what’s the point of that link pointing at your site? Because it’s not that juicy. That’s what I mainly look for. Link juice.
Does this page have the proper link juice? It’s perfect if the page is a little bit short and it has maybe three, four links on that page. I check at The MozBar. I check the Moz metric for a high page authority or not. That’s basically how I look at it.
What I see as a spammy link, if … it depends on the page and the site. If the site looks like phishy and … You know what I’m talking about? Like, low quality site with foreign text and all kinds of stuff that doesn’t make sense to me. That’s justspammy to me. It needs to be relevant and it has to have a few links. Not too many, for me, to be a proper back link. So it’s not spammy or not valuable.
So, directory links, doesn’t make any sense for me to buy a domain with only directory links. It might look good metric wise, but it doesn’t have juice. So again, what’s the point? I look for link juice, that’s it. Because that’s why you use domains, right? For the link power, for the link juice to transfer to your money site. That’s pretty much it.
I don’t get it, why a lot of people over complicate this. At the end of the day, it’s about that. The links. That’s it. Not metrics, cause metrics do not rank your site. Links do. Good quality links do. That’s how I see it.
Daryl: That’s nice. I like that you touched on the metrics topic. That’s a touchy subject in our industry these days. Do you have any minimums that you look for before going through the qualifications of seeing if it’s a domain worth buying?
Patrick: Yeah, it’s funny because, I wanted to sound extreme with the SEO rant, with the domain rant about metrics. Metrics do matter, to some extent. On first glance, they don’t. But, I do use metrics to just filter out all of the bad shit. I trim out the fat with metrics. These are my minimum metrics.
I usually do Trust Flow at least ten. And domain authority at least twenty. And one of the most important metrics to me is the referring domains.
Daryl: That is really annoying.
Patrick: So referring domains, at least twenty. Not lower than that. That’s basically what I work with.
Daryl: I actually do pretty similar things. It’s just, you use that as a base to check it initially, and then you investigate whether it’s actually got that power behind it.
Patrick: Exactly. That’s funny, I have Trust Flow 14 domains that are stronger than Trust Flow 20 domains. But the Trust Flow 14 domain has more referring domains with more referring links to it. So, that’s what I meant with domain metrics are bullshit.
Because if the Trust Flow is high, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s stronger than a lower Trust Flow domain. That’s my whole point of that. Referring domains, that’s basically one of the most important things. I think that’s even more important than Trust Flow itself. That’s pretty much it.
Also, one more thing, make sure that most of the links are still live, pointed at that domain.
Daryl: Do you manually check that, or are you using Majestic or whatever to …
Patrick: Yeah, Majestic, for sure. And Ahrefs. Ahrefs and Majestic. I like Ahrefs more, but Majestic is, for some reason, easier. It’s a more organized dashboard to me. I can see the anchor text here, real quick. I can see the referring domains, right here. Ahrefs is very good to investigate it even deeper, and it crawls more links. So it’s a better service, period. I like both. I just use both of them.
Daryl: You start selling domains out of coincidence that you tried to sell a few, and that kind of happened. And that kind of took off, you continued scaling the domain selling business. What happened from there?
Patrick: From there, I remember I started this service called Heis Domains. I’m not sure if you remember …
Daryl: I remember this, yeah.
Patrick: It was inspired from Breaking Bad and Walter White. I had this concept of “We have our own formula and we start cooking these domains.” It was all funny stuff, but I started that with my partner. We just started hiring VAs and we trained them to do what we do. Check domains how we check them, and then bid on them for us. From there on out, we started just selling these domains. Of course, we used domains for ourselves, too.
We started building websites and by that time, I’ve started my client SEO business in Holland, since I’m located in The Netherlands, Holland. Me and my partner went our own ways. We still had Heis Domains, but he did his own thing with his service, I did my own thing with my local SEO business.
So I started using PBNs myself, too. I was already using them, but I was selling them, too. From there on out, I started ranking some of my clients. I had SERPchampion too, but that was purely the link service. I didn’t sell domains from SERPchampion. That was Heis Domains. From there on out, that was it. We started selling domains, and then we expanded to PBN setups.
So we started building websites on those domains as well. And then we started offering that service, too. Which was kind of the upsell. We had the domain, so we have the good quality domains, but if you wanted us to build it too, like build a site on it, we did that, too. So we expanded to that.
Daryl: Was that crazy? Managing it? Did you have VAs, like a crazy team of VAs?
Patrick: Yeah, I had a few writers, I had a few builders. But at the beginning, it wasn’t going that solid because … I’m sure you can relate. VAs, you need to train them well based on your instructions or else hell breaks loose. It takes a lot of work and time to train them. After testing out a few VAs, we had a pretty good one and we trained him. We were able to take on a good amount of orders.
Honestly, we were one of the first ones that offered PBN setups as a service. Of course, there were a few others, but we were one of the first ones who did that. That went well, and then it became more popular. PBNs, domains, and then all of these other services started to pop up, so we needed to step our game up. Luckily for us, we had a pretty good reputation, so people chose us and had us build them.
From there on out, we kept doing that and then Heis Domains … We kind of split up, on good terms, though. He’s still a good friend of mine. Then, I started to expand SERPchampion, which is what exists now for a few years. I started with the link renting, then I started selling domains and PBN setups on SERPchampion. Then, I expanded to a few more services like Web 2.0s and content and stuff like that. Now it’s more a complete SEO services provider, SERPchampion.
That’s how I went from selling domains only and renting links, to a full SEO service, two agencies and affiliate marketers. That’s pretty much it, man.
Daryl: Awesome. Yeah, that is really cool. That’s a cool story. I’m kind of interested in, before you get into it, how you deliver some of the services and the processes you go through and stuff. Well, if someone wants to pay you to do it for them, or whether they want to go out there and do it themselves. I’m just kind of interested to be able to see how you manage all these different services. Especially when you’re doing it on a pretty large scale.
Patrick: Yeah, exactly. I have a team of VAs for each service. I have two builders and two writers for the PBNs. I have another VA that only focuses on …
Daryl: That’s just for the PBNs?
Patrick: Yeah, that’s just for the PBNs cause I don’t want them to focus on too many stuffs. So, they focus purely on PBNs, writing content, building them, managing the PBNs. Then I have another VA that handles all the link building orders, link renting and stuff. And he also does my daily operations, luckily, or else I’ll be, like … I wouldn’t be able to survive because it’s a lot of work. I have, also, a separate team for the Web 2.0s. I keep them busy, as well.
I have each department focusing on one service. I’m the one that focuses more on the marketing and customer support, at bit. You know, answering questions. And the blog, like, content. A lot of content marketing lately. Just contacting and doing marketing and doing sales and stuff. That’s what I focus on. The fulfillment, luckily, I have a full team for that for each section. That makes it easier for me, but it wasn’t that easy to get that team. Because I’ve worked with a lot of VAs before, like writers for example. I sent them work and then they’d deliver too late, and then the client gets pissed off at me. Stuff like that happened before, so it’s not perfect.
I went to a lot of trial and error to come up with a good team. I’m pretty happy about that right now. We have good people who are doing a good job, delivering on time. Especially that, you know? Because fulfillment, delivery, and being a service can be a headache sometimes because you have clients … We have clients asking … Some are cool, some are like “You know what, take your time, I’ll see it, I know I can trust you.” But then you have other people that are starting to do business with you and after a few days they already ask you “What’s the ETA? What’s the turnaround time?” They pressure me, “Where’s my order? Where’s my order?”
Daryl: Yeah, and I guess they have clients themselves, pushing them guys.
Patrick: Exactly. It’s like a chain reaction to me. I tell my Vas like, “Yo, when are you done? This client is kind of asking for it.” I try not to pressure my own team because my clients, not all of them, but some of my clients do pressure me sometimes.
It’s the internet. You deal with all sorts of people, all sorts of personalities. So you have to handle them, you know? You just have to stick with yourself and be calm and not stress out. That’s what I’ve learned a lot these few years. I’ve had all types of people come at me, man.
Even the crazy ones, like wow, like crazy like you need to answer questions every single day. They email you every single day. It’s a interesting business, being a services supplier, or provider. But, I love what I do. It keeps me busy.
Daryl: Fair enough. Where’d you hire your team from?
Patrick: Different places. I had, back in the day when oDesk … oDesk doesn’t exist anymore, right? It’s now UpWork.
Daryl: UpWork, yeah.
Patrick: oDesk, even UpWork, Facebook … This is already a few years ago when I build PBNs already when I started offering that, one guy that’s been a builder for me for years, his name is Dan, he’s from the United Kingdom. He asked me to build PBNs for me because he needed work. He needed the money. This was two years ago, already. So I gave him the shot, I gave him the chance. He knew me from my blogs from SERPchampion. He wanted to work with me, so I gave him a chance and ever since then, he’s been in my team.
I have people from Facebook and oDesk and UpWork. It’s a lot of … There’s so many people that want to do work for you. That want to write content for you and do all this stuff. But 90% doesn’t deliver properly, or they’re not … they just vanish. That’s really much it. “Hey, where’s the order?”
I ask them and then I never get a reply ever again. Stuff like that happens. 90% goes away, but there’s a small percentage that sticks with you and you have to treat them well. That’s your team, you need to be good with your people. With your team.
So, all kinds of places, man. UpWork, oDesk, and Facebook.
Daryl: Okay. How do you make sure they don’t disappear on you? Do you do any checks to make sure you’re not hiring someone who’s gonna disappear or that, they’re not horrible at the job?
Patrick: Basically, what we do is, when they start … When I tell them “Okay, let’s try it out.” We do test orders. We do test order for PBNs, we do test order for content, and then we just check. Is this good quality work? Does he or she deliver on time?
We don’t, typically send them tons of orders in the beginning. We just send them test orders and then we check that person out for a week or two to see if he or she can deliver properly. Then, starting from there, they take on bigger orders. That’s basically it.
Daryl: Okay, that makes sense. You work them up to it.
Patrick: It’s a trial period.
Daryl: And you have crazy systems in place, I guess? Like, how to train you how to do everything and you have to do it exact ways and all that?
Patrick: Yeah, what I typically do is I record my screen. Then I just walk them through the process so they can always check it out. That’s the best training. If I just make these videos, step by step, and they can check it on their own time. Then, we work with a few tools like Trello. Oh my God, I love that tool. Trello. It keeps me organized.
Daryl: I’m a fan.
Patrick: Yeah, I’m a fan, too. I’ve stumbled across one, too. It’s called Time Doctor. Have you ever heard of Time Doctor? It’s pretty cool.
Daryl: Is it for tracking their time and it screenshots their stuff?
Patrick: Yeah, exactly. It tracks their activity, and it tracks exactly how many hours they worked on your task. For themselves it’s good, too. They can track themselves, how many hours have they worked on which task and stuff like that.
So, Time Doctor, Trello and training videos. Those are brilliant to me. They work very well for me. Plus, I’ve documented it also on paper. This is what you do first, this is step two, this is step three. If a new VA starts to work with us, he knows, or she knows, what to do. We don’t leave them out.
Daryl: So you’ve got ridiculous step by step video training, you’ve got step by step details of the new, and everyone’s got a very specific role so they never switch between things, so they know exactly what they need to focus on.
Patrick: Exactly. Back in the day, I would just walk them through Skype, like a live call, and I trained them. But it’s way better to just record videos so you already have it. They can check it any time they want and it’s just so easy. So, that’s what I do, exactly.
Daryl: Awesome, man. So, with the PBN stuff, you sell the domains. You still sell the setup service, don’t you?
Patrick: Yeah, I do.
Daryl: Have you had some big lessons and stuff in that? Like, coming from, like, removing footprints and making sure it’s all set up properly? Or big learning lessons from doing that?
Patrick: Yeah, back in the day, I learned these lessons years ago. When I made my own mistakes on my own PBNs. Footprints, back in the day … Remember when the SEO hosting thing came? All these SEO hosting services popped up? I’ve joined that trend. Back in the day, I joined it and then …
Daryl: Yeah, me too.
Patrick: I don’t know, then I had a bad feeling about it. It was affordable and that was compelling because hosting is really expensive. When it comes to PBNs, you have a network of 50 domains, costs can add up.
When I joined these SEO hosts, remember that Skyfall thing came where all of these domains got the index? Luckily, not my whole network was on SEO hosts, but I had some clients that hosted their domains on SEO hosts, all kinds of SEO hosts.
Then, I learned from their mistakes, from my own mistakes, from a few of my de-indexed PBNs. I’m never gonna use SEO hosts again. I don’t care if it’s A class, B class, C class. I’m just gonna use a unique host all together. Ever since I’ve done that, the indexation barely happens to me. I learned from that. 80 to 90% of de-indexations come from bad neighbourhoods.
Daryl: Definitely. I’ve found the same thing.
Patrick: It’s obvious, because it’s so easy for Google to … It’s a live target for Google and they’re happy about it. Because they can scare off a lot of SEOs because SEOs, you know how they are. They’re a paranoid breed.
Daryl: It’s what we do. We just sit there in the paranoia all day.
Patrick: Exactly. We always look over our backs and look over our shoulders and stuff. SEO hosts, that’s the biggest lesson for me. People still use it, I can’t believe it. People still use SEO hosts and then they wonder why they get penalized or whatever.
That’s the biggest lesson. Also, keep your PBNs updated in terms of themes, plugins, and content. Keep drip feeding them, keep them alive, so to speak.
Daryl: How does the content work? If you have links on the homepage, how do you continue posting content?
Patrick: It depends. There are two types of PBNs I build. You have the typical blog style, and you have the static page. For static pages, I personally don’t link too much from the home page, if I use it for my own clients. I might use max three to five links, maximum, for a static page. That’s where all the creativity goes. You need to, for some reason, make content that makes sense for that site itself, and it makes sense to link out to another page. For instance, here’s an example, I make partners …
Say I have my site. It’s a business site from a local business. It’s a PBN, but it’s a local business. I have affiliations, I have partners that work with my business. I make a column with partners and I link out to those money sites that are actually partners of me.
Daryl: So if someone looked at it said “It looks like a real local business site.”
Patrick: Yeah, exactly. One tip is, this is what I’ve seen a lot, if you want to make your PBN that genuine, make it looks like it’s an actual business with a physical location. If you make it like that, even a manual reviewer will be like, “Is this a PBN, or not? I don’t think so, they have a physical location.” If you can make it like that, if you can build a PBN like that, you’ll be safe most of the time, if it looks like an actual business.
Linking out, don’t link out randomly. Don’t just paste the link in there. Make sure the content looks quality enough and it makes sense. It needs to make sense, period. That’s what I focus on.
On blogs, I don’t link out from each article every single time. I have articles with no links, just to make them content rich. I aim for a content rich blog, not necessarily with links in each article. That’s what I do. I might have three, four articles with no links in it, and then I have one or two articles with a few natural looking links in that article.
Daryl: How’s a link natural in an article, then?
Patrick: In a what?
Daryl: In an article, what makes the link look natural. What sort of things do you do?
Patrick: It depends how you word it all. Say you have a lawyer, a money site lawyer. And you have a legal niche PBN. And then I write that article and then I put “Resource” or “Credit goes to” blah blahblah, this company. “According to money site X” this this this this. They make a statement. I make it like it’s an actual resource, an actual authority in that niche. That I’m quoting in that article. Stuff like that, that’s how I link. Not every time, but that’s what I use a lot. Resource, or according to, or … It’s a reference. Exactly.
Daryl: So, you said you’re doing client SEO, and there’s something that, I know you for, like, your service and your blog and everything. And I didn’t know you did client SEO. How long have you doing this now?
Patrick: Local client SEO, I’ve been doing that for the past two years. I only have two or three pretty big clients in Holland. I don’t want to focus too much on client SEO in Holland because most of my business comes from international. It comes from the US, UK, everywhere. I’d rather focus on that than The
Netherlands because I, honestly, don’t like the culture in Holland. They’re afraid to invest in something like SEO. They’re skeptical at first. They’re even more skeptical than people in English-speaking countries. They’re kind of afraid to invest a lot of money here. That’s what I’ve noticed, so I focus on international more.
The clients I do have in Holland, one of my clients is a restaurant. It’s a buddy of mine. They have their own restaurant. I’ve done a lot of work for them and they’re seeing a lot of good results from it. I keep the client SEO, for actual businesses in Holland to a minimum, but I do have a few that I work on. It’s cool, but it’s not my focus.
Daryl: Fair enough. How are you ranking these days? I presume PBNs are the biggest part of it.
Patrick: All kinds of links. PBNs, press release, I use social and Web 2.0 links, for sure. In Holland, for instance, we have a directory site. That’s a pretty popular directory. A lot of legit sites use it. I typically use those for the brand anchor and URL anchor links. PBNs, for sure. And guest posts.
Lately, I’ve been into infographics, as well. That’s a very interesting link-building tactic, which is pretty white hat, too.
Daryl: Is it like pure white hat? Like, submitting it to sites, like, going to popular blogs and trying to get them to share it? Or is it just submitted to the …
Daryl: Oh, okay.
Patrick: At the end of the day, I don’t even know what the hell white hat means anymore. Cause we’re all link builders. Even white hat people are consciously trying to build links, anyways.
Daryl: It’s arguably white hat.
Patrick: Let’s just say we’re all SEOs. You’re either a black hat, spammy, short term SEO or an SEO that’s trying to bend the rules. That’s pretty much it. That’s what I focus on, pretty much, bending the rules. Not breaking the rules, but bending it. I do focus on diversity, in terms of links. I don’t focus only on PBNs. Let’s be realistic, it’s important to have a diverse link profile. Although, I don’t really like blog comments like I used to, back in the day. I don’t use blog comments that much. Actually, I barely use blog comments.
Daryl: I’m with you there.
Patrick: Just the typical stuff, man. PBNs, guest posts, press release, infographics, a few directory links and social. That’s pretty much it.
Daryl: Nice. How are you approaching the infographics, then?
Patrick: You know what, I have a designer. Luckily, he designs my websites and graphics. He’s also pretty … he can design infographics, too. The first thing is, we need to have … You can’t just make an infographic.
You need to plan it out, make sure what to tell in that infographic and then I let him design it and I submit it to a few sites here and there, that are relevant to that money site niche. I make sure people share it, especially on social, I use it a lot. Cause people like to share it. I go for the social signals. That’s very much it. Although, infographics, I’ve been using infographics recently, but not long. I’m seeing good results with it. Just purely for diversifying anchor text. I always look for opportunities to diversify my anchor text to leave room for my PBNs to send some related keywords.
Daryl: So, with the infographics, once you’ve got it created, then you actually putting effort into creating legit ones, by the sound of it. Are you finding popular blogs in your industry, or niche, and reaching out to them and saying, “Hey, will you share this?”
Patrick: Yeah. I try. Lately, I’ve been doing that. Of course, a small percentage will agree to share it because they like it, but it’s a numbers game. I try to contact them as much as possible. Different blogs and stuff. Some agree to it, some don’t, but it’s just a numbers game. Just keep going at it and try to earn a few links here and there.
Daryl: So, testing. You’re a big tester from what I know. And you just started off this new video series where you’re doing these public tests. You want to talk a little bit more about what that is?
Patrick: Yeah. I’ve developed a new segment for my blog called PWTA. It’s called “Playing With The Algorithm.” The reason why I started this segment is because we live in an industry where there are a lot of theories thrown around. People make theories and they say, “No this works,” or “This doesn’t work,” but they never back it up with data.
That’s what frustrates me, and I’m sure it frustrates a lot of people. So that leads to a lot of misinformation, investing in tactics that don’t work anymore. So, that sparked me into starting this segment.
Now what I’m doing is, I’m doing a lot of testing. I’ve done a few tests already, but I’ve published two of them. They’re on my blog right now. I just like to test. I want to know if it works or not. I want to know it for myself, but I would love to share it with a lot of SEOs, too, that are serious about doing SEO.
That’s a lot of value, right there. I personally like case studies. I like to read case studies and check the data, cause that’s practical information right there.
There are tons of people that have theories like, “This works or this doesn’t work.” How do you know that? Where did you find that information? That’s the whole reason why I started the series. Now every week, I publish a post on whatever works or it doesn’t work. I’ve done two already. The first one was “Do YouTube embeds increase rankings, or not?” The second one was “How many days it took me to get a ranking increase from one link.” Which was a PBN link. Pretty funny stuff.
Daryl: What’s the results, then?
Patrick: You gotta check it, man. If you want to know the results, check out the videos on my blog. I’m not gonna reveal the answers.
Daryl: Nice plug. I’ll include a link for you.
Patrick: Thanks, man. I’m testing a lot and I’m really excited about it. I’ve been getting a lot of really positive responses. A lot of people are loving the content. Maybe a few haters here and there, but I love that. I love haters. They motivate me even more. We had a lot of good responses and it just keeps me going. Like, people are loving this content, so I’m just gonna keep doing SEO tests and making these fun videos. These entertaining videos to listen to.
That’s another thing. There are a few testers here and there, they sound so boring. You know what I mean? So, I want to make it really entertaining, too, and just have fun with it. If you want to see more tests and you want to be updated with my tests, check out my blog. I guess you’ll post a link below this video.
Daryl: Yeah, I’ll put a link in.
Patrick: Your blog inspired me to do that, too, because you have a lot of good content, too.
Daryl: Thanks, man.
Patrick: Yeah, man. I like that. Because I want to know it myself, I have so much interest in knowing myself, I just … that’s the reason I started with the testing. PWTA, man, follow it.
Daryl: Awesome, man. So, your main focus these days, by the sounds of it, sounds like it’s the content stuff for SERPchampion. Like, creating the blog posts and the videos everything like you’re doing. And just really building up that service. You do a little bit of affiliate, I think you said, and a little bit of clients. But the main focus right now is the service.
Patrick: Yeah, exactly. So the main focus is the service. It’s also, it’s not only SERPchampion alone. I’m also working on some products itself. Courses on PBNs and niches, how to do niche research and … I’m focusing on a lot of funnel building. I’m building a lot of funnels, doing some copywriting aside from SERPchampion.
Daryl: So I’m gonna see your ads everywhere soon?
Patrick: Yeah. People already seen these ads. I’m getting broke by all this advertising, it’s not fun. Nah, I’m just kidding. I been doing that a lot, too. It’s all connected with each other. I’m making the dots and now I’m connecting them all together. SERPchampion, digital courses, that’s what I focus on right now.
Daryl: Awesome. I want to ask you your numbers because you’re literally talking to … The people that will be listening to this are literally people that are going to buy from you. How many people have you sold to now? If you want to share that sort of number.
Patrick: Wow. That’s pretty hard to say, man. It’s safe to say, in the past few years, it might not sound like a lot, but I’ve definitely had … In terms of clients, I’m not sure how many clients, but in terms of orders …
Daryl: Yeah okay, orders.
Patrick: Definitely at least 1,000 orders, at least. And these are orders that are pretty … They vary. Some are low, like 70 or 80 bucks per order, up to a few K, and that’s the whole network that you purchase, like a lot of network. It’s a lot, man. For me, at least 1,000 orders. I check WooCommerce, I use WooCommerce for my selling, and I see the orders and stuff. It’s a lot to me, honestly, because I always aim for more, but I need to be able to fulfil it and make sure it’s good work and I can deliver it on time. At least 1,000 orders in the last few years. I’m so proud of one thing. From those orders, maybe max, I had like ten refunds.
Patrick: Max, ten refunds, and that’s amazing to me.
Daryl: Yeah, that’s very impressive.
Patrick: I was surprised by that because we live in an industry where people like to … They buy something and then they refund you, but we make sure to deliver a good service and product. We didn’t have a lot of refunds, luckily. Off the services, though. Not the digital products. Because digital products, that’s a whole-nother game again. Because they steal off your content and then refund like after ten minutes, twenty minutes.
Daryl: Yeah, and the credit card fraud is …
Patrick: Yeah, exactly. Credit cards, credit charges, they charge back. That happens a lot, too. So yeah, low refund rate, really proud of that. At least 1,000 orders and it’s just going. It’s gonna be more and more, but I’m focusing on content. A lot of content and value building and building a good community.
Daryl: Awesome, man. So, where are you looking to be in 12 months’ time?
Patrick: 12 months’ time? I want my blog to reach a way bigger audience.
Daryl: What does way bigger mean? Specifics, man.
Patrick: Like, way big. Right now, when I post a blog, I might get max maybe 700 or 800 visits per video. But I want to go 10,000 or something like that. I want to go to a level like Moz or Search Engine Land. Of course, those are white hat, typically white hat, trying to be like Google’s sheep, I get that. I just want to reach a big ass audience. I want to do the testing a lot, I want to provide a lot of value and content to a really big audience. That’s what I want.
Daryl: Nice, man. I like the ambitions. I’m a similar sort of person.
Patrick: Come on man, your blog, I’m sure you have a very big audience as well, so even that, I want to reach that, too. It’s not that bad. I get a lot of traffic nowadays because of these videos I’m posting, but it can be always better.
It can be better and better and bigger … it’s all inspiring. Your blog, you have Matt Diggity’s blog. I like those blogs, I check them all the time. Matt, You, stuff like that. That’s a nice level, right there. I want to reach that level. I want to have a big voice in the SEO community, too. I’m gonna do that by providing a lot of funny, entertaining videos with some value it in, of course. That’s the goal.
Daryl: Yeah, man. You’re getting there, by the seems of it. I’ve seen your stuff around a lot.
Patrick: Thanks, man. I’m just doing my best, putting in work. That’s the only way to get there, putting in work.
Daryl: So, final question, and we’ll wrap this up. Someone’s just starting out and a total beginner, what would you advise someone that’s just starting out getting into?
Patrick: Start up with what, like with a service? Or just SEO?
Daryl: Just SEO. You don’t want to create too much competition for yourself.
Patrick: Yeah, exactly. Even though there is some competition lately. They’re popping everywhere. What would I say to someone that starts off? There are multiple things I would say. One, don’t focus on too many models. Focus on one thing, please don’t get overwhelmed by all these shiny objects because those took my focus away, too, a few years ago. That’s one.
Two, make sure to follow someone that’s doing successfully already. Not some guru, at all, but someone that has actionable data and has created a lot of valuable content. Follow that person that has the good information because there’s tons of people that have shitty information.
So, one, focus on one thing. Focus on either affiliate marketing or client SEO. Just one thing. And make sure, this is so important, make sure to follow the right person that provides reliable information. Usually, those are the people with actionable data. They create a lot of value without charging you upfront. So, those two things. Focus on one thing, make sure you have a mentor with the good information, and study that information. And then just test it. That’s pretty much it. Test it for yourself. Test it, test it, test it.
Don’t consume too much information and don’t be too paranoid with over analyzing everything. Just start out with your first site. Nothing has to be perfect. Nothing can be perfect. Just start building your site. Start building your few PBNs. Start testing a lot. Send links to it, do your niche and keyword research off the information that you learned. That’s pretty much it. Be consistent, too. You have to persevere and be consistent.
Rankings, typically, rankings will take one to three months depending on your optimization and your keyword, so you have to stay at it. That’s what I advise. Focus, the right mentor, and being consistent with what you’re doing. Don’t give up, just be focused, you know?
Daryl: Mic drop.
Patrick: Yeah, I’m out.
Daryl: Awesome, man. It was very cool having you here. That was a great interview, I think.
Patrick: Thanks, man. I’m really glad to be here. It’s an honour. You’ve been in this game for a few years too, man. It’s awesome to be on this blog.
Daryl: For sure, man.
Patrick: Your podcast, video … I get a lot of value out of your videos, too. The few last ones, I loved it.
Daryl: Awesome, that’s good to hear.
Patrick: Keep going at it, keep going at it.
Daryl: Where can people, I think we already mentioned your blog, but why not one more time? Where can people get you?
Patrick: Yeah, it’s SERPchampion.com and the link is below this video, I guess. So SERPchampion.com and if you want to check out the tests and all the content, it’s SERPchampion.com/blog. That’s pretty much it. You can check out the videos, you can check out my posts and you can subscribe, if you want to be notified when the latest blog posts and SEO tests and all of that stuff.
Daryl: All right, man. Awesome, that was really cool. Thanks guys for tuning in, that’s pretty much it for this episode and I’ll see you guys next week.