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Wow, it’s pretty insane that a year has already flown by since I started this blog.. I did a “warm-up” post on my personal blog, for all those who read my personal blog, I wanted to give a little sneak peak at what this post was going to be all about – It’s taken me a LONG time to put this post together, and I’m looking forward to having it all laid out and what kind of a response I’ll be getting from releasing it.
Matthew Woodward (who I’ll thank a bit further down in this post) did a BIG post on How he started his blog… I thought I’d go out and do the same for mine. He did exactly 13,900Â words! Though of course, I had to go out and beat that. Previously to this post, my E-Commerce guest post on Matt’s blog, sitting at a hefty 12,000 words was my biggest post and now this postÂ has gone above and beyond both of those, hitting over 15,500 words in total! Though that hasn’t come without the effort – Especially during hay fever season in the UK, which massively affects my ability to write work, and generally function at life.
Matt also talked about this and how people may sometime’s think we lead the “dotcom lifestyle”, though I have no doubt Matt spends more time on his blog/writing than I do, I still spend a good wedge of me week working – This week I’ve spent over 50 hours on this post alone! And that’s not even counting the promotion I’ll have to do for this post once it’s released. Running a blog that makes a good enough income to live off each week can be really difficult! It’s not for anyone that get’s frustrated quickly or doesn’t have the drive and passion to write/talk for big chunks of time each week. The changes to my agency (which I’ll talk about later on) have helped me in terms of time though, and I do love what I do… So no complaints about my current lifestyle.
Thanks for Sharing –
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Before I dive into all the goings on, details of my blog, my past and blah blah.. I’d just like to take a quick moment of your time to give a big thank you to all of my Readers, Fans, Haters and anyone else that has managed to encourage me to keep on pushing this blog to what it’s at now.
There’s a few people I’d like to knock of the list with personal a personal thank you before we get into it as well:
The guy who got me into SEO, he trained me and gave me access to tools that back as a teenager I wouldn’t of been able to afford! We’re still good friends now and even run projects together to this day, almost 4 years after we first met! Which seems like such a massive amount of time, in the space of that I’ve managed to learn so much from you and you’re one of the very main reasons I am where I am today.
This list isn’t in matter of importance, but Todd definitely deserves the top spot… Without him, there’d be no God of SEO blog right now.
Matthew Barby –
My old Manager and good friend, you got me more encouraged into blogging and the more white hat side of things (I think I had a bit of a black influence on you as well 😉 ) and I probably wouldn’t of been able to grow out my content as nearly as quickly as I did without you being behind me for a good few months! I’ve learnt a lot from you and my writing and content has improved massively since I met you.
Matthew Woodward –
The guy who gave me a chance! I was the first person to EVER guest post on your blog, and it took me long enough to allow me to, I’ve spent a LOT of time emailing back and forth and I’m looking forward to meeting up with you face to face, I owe you a lot of beers from the traffic, skills and leads you’ve given me.
Agent BlackHat –
We’ve had our ups and downs, but you got me into the BHU Community and I learnt a lot from your blog, and the forum.. Especially in regards to 301s!
Mike Campolattano –
Mike approahced me last year about starting a proper, dedicated SEO blog called SerpChirp. This is what got me a bit “known” within the industry, and it’s also where I found my real passion for writing and blogging about SEO, another person that you can thank for this blog coming to fruition.
This is where my knowledge on black hat link building grew massively in a very short amount of time! I was hired at a pretty cheap rate, in return I’d get both the financial rewards andÂ get taught a load of cool stuff in relation to black hat back in the Summer of last year (2013) and I’d like to thank Ken who was the guy that hired me for teaching me a lot of cool stuff, and giving me access to a lot of tools I wouldn’t of been able to afford back then.
Even though we tend to have a good lot of banter, Carter’s posts on WickedFire and personal helping hand on the BHU Skype group with me have lent a lot of knowledge to me.. We also have a very mutual respect for each other:
Even if it isÂ a rather funny one.
Rohit Palit –
I’ve been friends, and a bit of a mentor to Rohit for a few months now. He’s been a BIG help in growing Godlike Marketing and has always been up for developing case studies and tests with me. I hope I’ve repaid his help with advice and help from my side.
My Mum –
Yep, a pretty damn cheesy one! But she’s been VERY supportive, even when I do go into her bedroom at 6am saying I want to quit my job and become a fulltime SEO Blogger. She’s been a backbone in pushing me, helping me with my accounts and financially supporting me through rough periods of transition. I love my Mum and will be forever grateful to her.
My girlfriend who seems to be the one that actually WANTS me to do work..Â Most of the time I prefer playing League of Legends, but she’ll tell me to actually do work. She reads every one of my blog posts and even though she doesn’t have a f*cking clue about SEO, still gives me feedback on them and is a big chunkÂ of inspiration to do well in my career.
My MatesÂ –
Even though they may be the worst influence on my work ethic ever, they’re always there for me and always up for going out and relaxing for a bit, even if it generally is funded by me! 😛
You Guys an’ Gals! –
Thanks to all the people who read my blog, comment, share it and support it through buying my PBN or Course. It means a lot when I see comments on my blog saying how I helped you, or Tweets from people. I was going to put a showcase of some of my favourite, but the Twitter and Email search is rather broken.. So that didn’t work. I have towards the end of the post however put in some comments from other Marketing Bloggers and Readers of the blogs! I’ll also be featuring some of my favourite comments in the comments section below when this post goes live.
Now that all the thanks are out of the way and I’ve got over the mainly cheesy bit, let’s get into the main case study itself and start diving into all the cool stuff that’s been going on, and my methodology behind the blog! I’m going to try and put as much information into this post as possible, so prepare yourself for a rather long journey – If you didn’t think the first 1,000 words introducing this post and thanking people hadn’t already got your eyes tired!
An Introduction To God of SEO –
I don’t class myself (Charles) as “The God of SEO” even though people love to call me that in Interviews and features, I can’t really blame them though as I did name it this. The blog itself is called God of SEO, yes, but I’m Charles – A person.. Far from a God.
The blog was started as a kind of mickey take from a conversation I had with Rand Fishkin, and also as a follow-up to a Tutorial Matthew Woodward had put out in the same week. Believe it or not, but I actually made God of SEO at 2am in the morning, on a weekday and I had work in a mere 6 hours. Never the less, I was up until 4am following Matt’s tutorial, building out a very simple WordPress blog and working on my very first post to ever come to light on this blog!
The first ever post, except for the “Official Launch” post, was actually a really cool one and I spent a good few hours putting it all together! It was a round-up when Penguin 2.0 had just arrived with people like Rand Fishkin and Dan Petrovic submitting their opinion to it, all about how the newest update was actually hurting small businesses and small sites, with it’s “brand” mentality. This post attracted a couple comments, some social shares and even managed to attract a couple natural backlinks, as well as a few not so natural ones that I had built to try and start flowing through some links to the site, but we don’t need to talk about them.
I really didn’t have a set “goal” of what I wanted to do with the blog until 2 months down the line, when I started seeing money coming in through affiliate commissions and clients, this is when I put out my first ever Income Report in JulyÂ of 2013. I’d managed to get just over 2,700 unique visitors and pull in close to $2,000 in revenue.. Which was pretty awesome for a blog that was just 2 months old! It also paid better than my current fulltime job that month, so I quickly saw the potential. After I’d seen how much I could make from my blog, I decided it was time to try and step-up from the previous agency job I had, that was paying me under Â£1,000 a month – Which is still pretty good going for a 16 year old to be on, I suppose!
At this point, I’d met up with Matthew Barby 2 or 3 times for lunch and dinner, we’d spent hours and hours in the local pub talking about SEO, there really wasn’t anyone else of similar age (couple years in age gap) in Birmingham that had the same kind of love and passion for SEO as I found Matt to have, so the hours we spent chatting seemed like mere minutes! He offered me a place at Wow Internet, and I leaped on the opportunity to work with someone who had the same passion as me, and the salary rise wasn’t too bad either.
So, after I’d seen that I could make quite a bit of money from the blog and that I really enjoyed SEO, testing, writing and talking about it… I had a goal.
My Goal: Grow God of SEO so much, that I can be self-sufficient from it.
The really awesome, weird and amazing thing that’s happened from that, is that I’ve actually achieved it – In under a year, I’ve managed to not only be able to live off my blog.. I’ve been able to live really well! My weekdays are filled with going out with friends, travelling around and doing stuff that people on their 9-5 wouldn’t be able to do! It’s a way more relaxed life, and it’s something that I cherish a lot.. I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to achieve this, but don’t get me wrong it took a LOT of hard work which I’ll probably have arthritis by the end of this post and it’s taken a lot of effort.. When I was working at Wow Internet, Matt will tell you I came in to work tired a lot, mainly because I’d been up all night working on a really big post or a new case study or testing new things! I didn’t really have much of a social life from around August to November, and though it can be very tiresome and depressing, all that hard work has paid off – I’ll also, late in this post go over some of the things I’ve gone through and worked on overcoming when dedicating big amounts of your life to doing this kind of a project. Something that I actually spoke about in a big forum post on BHU, a few weeks ago.
I also wanted to make something for myself that would last – This meant no more childish squabbling or mistakes, and why I wrote this post on my personal blog a few months back… I wanted to get the slate cleaned and push forward with my new founded career in SEO and IM.
I hope you now have an understanding of what the blog is all about and where I’ve “come from” since starting it… Now let’s get into some of the awesome juicy stuff!
The Stats –
As of this post going live, I thought I’d note down some of the awesome statistics this blog, and myself has been able to pull together!
- Over 140 blog posts
- Over 1,500 comments
- Over 20 Guest Posts
- 7 Different Awards
- Nearly 10 Interviews
- Over 2,400 Twitter Followers
- Over 800 Facebook Fans
- Over 1,900 Email Newsletter Subscribers
- Over 128,000 Words of Content
That’s some pretty impressive statistics for a blog that is a mere one year old, but it hasn’t come without a lot of effort and sleepless nights.
I was hoping to be able to give you guys a load of fixed statistics on my overall traffic from the past year, but due to a f*ck up in my Analytics plugin in April, I can’t give an EXACT figure… But missing over a weeks of traffic, in one year I’ve managed to pull in close to 250,000 pageviews! –
Which is incredible to think that I’ve served content to over 235,000 people in under a year!
Something to note, is that after the penalty my bounce rate went from an average of around 60% all the way down to about 45% – Showing the quality of traffic I am now getting from outside of Google is obviously a lot better than organic traffic, though New visits have been hindered a little.
My “Style” –
I have a VERY unique writing and presentation style, some people absolutely hate it *cough* Ria Parish *cough* whereas a lot of people really enjoy it.
I’d describe my style as action packed, with fun and humour mixed in.. Both in terms of every article I write and also the way I go about presenting myself on social media, in real life and on my blog itself – I love doing massive, in-detph case studies.. But I also have a lot of fun by putting together fun posts like my SEOMusic posts.
This kind of style is how I’d describe the SEO Industry as well… Most of the time you’ll love talking about SEO and testing, doing case studies etc.. but it’s also the kind of community where people have fun on Twitter and love casual-trolling *cough* Joel Klettke *cough*
I will admit, I can be a bit of a dick sometimes.. but at the end of the day, I just like showing cool next stuffs in SEO and teaching other people about it! – The money is another sweet bonus.
I also write in a style that is very anti-Google when it comes to SEO. I don’t know if you willÂ have seen aÂ video by Matt Cutts about “The Worst SEO Mistake” but in it, he gives literally 0 information that most SEOs, Marketers or even just Webmasters can go off –
This is why I prefer putting out actionable and informative content that people can go off. I may be a dick about Google, Cutts or the fan boys of both sometimes, but that’s because they really don’t give you anything to work with. Google’s entire business plan is to make money from paid search results, if you can spend Â£1,000/month on SEO to rank, why would you need to spend a Â£1000/month with Google’s paid ads service?
If that video isn’t enough reason to stop latching onto Matt Cutt’s breast, then I don’t know what is…
The Design –
I started the blog back in June, using the theme that Matt recommended in his start a blog tutorial that I talked about earlier. The theme itself was calledÂ MontezumaÂ –
I quickly started to find issues with the theme and really didn’t like it, so I spent a good hour or so looking around and finally ended up choosing the theme that Matthew Woodward was using on his blog, called Convergence, which is unfortunately no longer available on ThemeForest… I’m sure a few of you clever lot can find it elsewhere though. The design after using this theme and customizing a few things turned out pretty well though –
Which after using for close to 8 months, I decided it was time and that I wanted the blog to look a bit different from Matt, as our blogs were very similar, both design and content wise!
This design was made by FoxCody, the same guy who did my Best of IM Awards pageÂ and as he did a pretty good job on that, I fired over some $s to his PayPal and a week later he came back with an awesome design, I asked for a few changes and he set it all up for me (including re-coding & re-configuring a lot of the plugins to work with the new theme) on my blog. The final design may be a bit familiar –
I am really happy with the final design I got and it wasn’t TOO expensive either, though I have been making slight tweaks/improvements to try and improve the overall site speed – I am looking to get the entire site re-designed to a cleaner look soon, and have the designer optimize the sh*t out of the files so I can get an epic loading time!
The main thing I’d like to change with the blog as it is at the moment, is the article width size – Currently sitting at about 625 pixels. I’d like to be able to fit more into my blog, I like the design for my Awards page, but it really isn’t the best for a dedicated blog. I’m going to spend a while researching and developing a cool looking design, don’t expect any changes any time soon though! Still got a LOT of work to do on the rest of the site before I dive into the design, it looks pretty good as it is any way.
If you’re looking for a good, cheap designer then I HIGHLY recommend FoxCody, he’s done a lot of work for me and it’s always been of awesome quality.
The Quiz –
I needed a different way from other bloggers to attract more newsletter signups, so I added the White, Grey or Black Hat quiz to my blog quite close to the start of the launch – It’s been instrumental in gaining me a ton more newsletter subscriptions and I wanted to make it a pretty smooth and easy to use quiz with the option to signup to my newsletter at the end:
The quiz itself is a simple, 4 question quiz that TryInteract put together for my blog – Totally free! As they enjoyed reading my content.
It’s converted hundreds of people to my newsletter and has been featured in various case studies from other bloggers, I’d suggest to anyone looking for alternative ways to get Newsletter signups putting in a Quiz.
It looks pretty badass now, and suits the blog’s Blue/Grey/White strategic theme a lot more than the previous plugin.
I also have a custom designed widget that FoxCody made for the site, it plugs into Ninja Popups and matches the design of the rest of the sidebar –
It converts a LOT better (Prior, 0.11%, now 0.56%) than the old one I’d made in Ninja Popups.
I also use a plugin called Q2W3 Sticky Widget, so the newsletter and Facebook like box follows the user down the post they’re reading, meaning conversions should improve even more. My Facebook page has increased from about 250 likes to close to 800 since putting a like box within the widget area, as well as running Ads – Which I’ll get onto a bit later in the post.
Sticky widget does require a bit of pixel settings if you have a stick nav bar/header though, otherwise you’ll start overlapping… I did this on my personal blog.
Social Sharing –
I used two different plugins to maximize my social shares.
The first being WP Social SEO Pro, which Matthew Woodward recommended I start using and that you guys use to share my posts at the top and bottom of the page –
It also gives a ton of Social and Schema data options –
This plugin is absolutely bad ass with a TON of options to help boost your social and search presence – For under $50, it’s the one premium plugin I HIGHLY suggest you get for your blog or WordPress site.
The second plugin I use (and that you will of seen towards the top of the post as well) is called OnePress Social LockerÂ and essentially allows you to lock content in return for social shares – Kind of like a social pay wall for content. Matthew Barby recommended me this plugin, and it’s
I personally use it to lock PDF Downloads of posts in return for people sharing my post on their social networks and the statistics speak for themselves –
I should really use it a lot more, but it takes quite a while to convert/edit a post into a PDF as well as setting it up on site as well. I’m hoping to dedicate some more time to using it in the future though as it’s such a good way to attract more social shares in return for something the reader can actually use.
Prior to December, I was using the default WordPress commenting system with 2 plugins. The first being Comment ReDirect, I no longer use this which means I don’t get the Newsletter signups from people landing on a Thank you page, but I’ll sacrifice it for the design and simplicity of Disqus. The second plugin I used was called Approved Comment Notifier, it does was Disqus did by notifying (via email) anyone who’s comment got approved.
The default comment system really wasn’t very good and required a LOT of manual moderation every day or so, it wasn’t good for the growth and spike in comments I was starting to see.
So, in December I started toÂ use Disqus which suits the blogs design more and makes it a lot easier to comment than having to fill out the same form over and over again, it also automatically sends out email notifications if people reply to your comment and to me if someone leave’s a comment. This makes getting replies and a discussion a lot easier on my blog.
Here’s an example of the Disqus comment system –
It also allows me to “Feature” specific comments, Ban people’s IP Addresses from commenting again and has a whole load more functionality in the moderation panel that really makes it a way better system than the default WordPress one.
Content StrategyÂ –
I have a really big drive to create content for the blog because not only is it my livelihood but I really do enjoy writing posts and testing stuff! There has been a lot of times though where I have been in a slump of depression or had a dry period of writers block, this affected how much content I’d put out a lot… Most of the time though, there were 2 ways I’d get inspiration:
1) Other People’s Content
I love reading other people’s blog posts and pieces of content. So I’ll mesh creating content for my own blog and just scrolling around Inbound, InsideIM, Reddit and some of my favourite other sites to create content, such as when Jacob King and Matthew Woodward did a back & forth on tiered link building, I put out a big response to it, which got pretty popular! I was also looking around Inbound.org and saw a post about Gaming Google by a guy called “SEOCharles” (I know, very similiar to me) and did my own version, as a response to his post.
2) Make MASSIVE Pieces of Content
This is something I had in mind for a while, but due to having a 9-5 I didn’t really have the time to put out many BIG pieces of content. As soon as I quit and went onto do my own thing however, I started ramping up my content creation game. I dedicated about 2 weeks to putting together a 12,000 word guest post, with custom downloads, videos and outreach’d to a bunch of Internet Marketers to give me their feedback on it, and so far it’s been my most popular piece of content ever made. It’s still sitting as the most upvoted E-Commerce article on Inbound of all time.
Just 2 months later, I put out the God of SEO AwardsÂ for 2013, which quickly became the quickest link/traffic bait of all time! Between myself, my designer (FoxCody) and coder (Jason McCuen) we spent over 100 hours putting it all together, gave out 37 awards and in total saw over 3 and a half thousand visits –
As well as getting over 1,000 social shares and it managed to pull in over 150 new email newsletter signups!
Both of these things combined can be a massive driving force for traffic. If you can develop on an “influencers” (within your industry) thoughts/blog post, not only are they more likely to link out to you and share your post but it also imprints your name/brand on their brain – Which is a really good first step to building a relationship with influencer in your industry, which is always a good thing!
Video Content –
This is something that I was really interested in, I have a history with YouTube and videos and love making them. A video also speaks a million words and it’s another great asset to have to bring traffic through to your site – YouTube actually does send traffic through to me! –
Even if it isn’t a whole LOAD of traffic, it all adds up!
I started off making a LOT of video tutorials and reviews for my blog, but they’re kind of boring to me! – Maybe that’s why my affiliate earnings aren’t nearly as good as Matts.
Recently, I’ve been way more interested in creating presentations (like the one you’ll see below in a sec) and people seem to really like them – Webinar type presentations have always been big in affiliate marketing and I decided to do the semi-opposite, instead of trying to sell a product to someone I’d just give them clean, free information that they can take away from but also get to see my branding as well and can look me up (even if I have been deindexed for branded terms, hehe) later.
Here’s my YouTube statistics for all of those interested –
The view and minute count is pretty impressive, comments have also been flooding in pretty nicely, though the likes/dislikes ratio isn’t that great – Comes with the territory of doing automated marketing though, natural views etc… Always get better engagement.
I am hoping to do some more optimization on my YouTube channel and videos pretty soon though, so should be able to increase the view count even higher.
Guest Posts –
You can check out all the guest posts I’ve done over the past year here, I update it every month or so!
I knew I had to do something to generate really good quality links back to the blog, but also didn’t want to loose ANY level of quality when posting outside of my blog. I also had to find really good, targeted blogs to both get links from as well as flow traffic through to my blog on.
My first, proper guest post was on Find My Blog WayÂ (as I mentioned above) – This was when I started to pump out more “quality” into my posts, I tried to pack as much stuff into the article as possible, and even gave the free download pack away for an added retention bonus – Who wouldn’t want your files in a folder with branding all over it on someone’s desktop?!
The rule of thumb for me when guest posting is: High quality posts specifically targeted for the audience reading them.
It’s worked so far and it’s got me a lot of recognition/growth on the blog. Matt Woodward still passes me through a few hundred visits each month, even though I haven’t guest post on his blog for months!
Originally, forums were a big part of my strategy as Matt was getting a load of traffic from them through to his blog, but I quickly developed a distaste and annoyance for communities. So generating good traffic from them was really hard when I simply didn’t enjoy posting on them – That was until a few months ago!
Agent BlackHat (who I thanked at the start of this article) invited me last year to be one of the founding “big” members of the Black Hat Underground community. To start with, the forum was pretty small.. It’s quickly grown into an awesome forum, community and a pretty good traffic source for the blog as well! I’ve also learnt a LOAD from being in the Skype chat, even if we do argue about random stuff a lot! – I’m looking at you, Richard & Tom.
I’ll go into more detail about gaining traffic through the forums in the next part of this study.
RadiantDarkness (Colby, who’s helped me on a number of things and has posted in a few of my articles) and CCarter both did quite a few BIG posts, Carter doing his Weekly’s and Colby mainly focusing on link building, and more specifically spam. This gave me a bit of inspiration to work on my posts – They’d both got their own “style”, Carter with weeklys and Colby with link building tutorials.. So I came up with my own style –
I like quotes, who doesn’t? They really powerful words. So, for my first post I formulated one of my favourite quotes and a scenario that I’d seen myself in during the day to create a post about starting out in SEO and general Internet Marketing calledÂ “An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest”, it didn’t see too many replies or likes etc.. but it started the ball rolling and I found it rather fun to have a less edited/formatted environment than a blog to put out content on. It also helps the community grow, and as a big fan of the community I’m glad it does!
Prior to the blog receiving a penalty, I wanted to try and get as many pages on the site as possible – This means I’ll naturally get more traffic having more pages on an authoritative site.
This page also links down to each question have it’s own internal page, so I get a load more content out there as well as not having people hit my inbox with the same question over and over. If they do ask a question that I’ve already put in my FAQ, I can simply reply with a link to that page, as well as thanking them for emailing me and being a reader of my blog!
Ask Me A Question –
Again, I wanted more pages on my blog and also wanted a way for people to not spam my email inbox with questions and be able to ask me anything pretty easily. So I bought a plugin called SabaiDiscussÂ which created a page on my blog where people could ask me questions –
This meant each question had it’s own unique page (Which was optimized by category) and people could ask me questions they had – Win/Win, I got even more content on the blog and people got their questions answered.
Most other internet marketing bloggers used their own forum on site, but I wanted to be a bit different and offer a much simpler process of being able to ask me questions, which seems to of paid off! I am going to be adding a new widget so people can ask me questions a lot easier soon though, a lot of my readers still don’t know this feature even exists on my blog.
Keeping both my FAQ and Q&A pages maintained is quite a bit of hassle though, especially when the Q&A plugin doesn’t alert you with an email or notification when someone has asked a new question.
Traffic and Promotion Strategy –
Back in May (2014 this time) I was hit with a BIG manual removal from most of my SEO related sites as well as having my Adwords account suspended and Blogger account deleted. This caused me to go back to my original thinking – Don’t rely on one source of traffic.
So, I quickly (as I wanted to start with when I started my blog) looked at traffic sources from outside of Google. This led to me creating a presentation that’s been pretty popular so far! –
This video served it’s purpose, it was a short and sweet presentation that got people thinking! Even CCarter liked it –
My face when CCarter links out to me in his forum posts, 3 times in one week –
I thought I’d add a bit more detail on the presentationÂ though, so I’ll be going through each individual part of my traffic generation strategy below.
I’ll start of with forums as I talked about them earlier, and thought it would make sense to dive straight back into my strategy for promoting on forums.
I’ve split my promotion work into 2 different blocks, the first being FD aka Forum Domination –
Forum Domination is a service on WickedFire by a Netherlands SEO company. They’ll go out and post on forums for you every month for a fixed fee. I mentioned it in my Adsense Empire course on Day 4, and I still pay a mere $147 per month just to get a bit of extra traffic flowing through to my blog. For that money it generates just over 350 uniques per month, not bad as nearly all of those are brand new visitors that tend to convert into signing up for my Newsletter and going on to read more of my posts – New traffic is REALLY important when it comes to a blog and growing it.
The second part is my own work, this is what I was talking about earlier. I don’t really give a damn about any of the other big forums like BlackHatWorld & DigitalPoint or whatever, they don’t really “do it” for me, in terms of the user base and growing my own knowledge.. So for now, I’m just sticking to Black Hat Underground, my reasons were also put above.
My tactic on BHU for getting traffic is purely a signature link, that looks like this –
As well as to build up my reputation within the community by helping other members in their threads and posting informative guides, like the one I mentioned above – Which I get a lot of fun out of as well. People simply flow through from people posting about my articles (like Carter did) and from the signature links.
The signature is split into 2 parts, the first link is a link directly to my homepage, the second is a link to a post I think that specific community (if I were to do this on multiple forums) would enjoy – In this case it’s a black hat article on a churn and burn SEO case study I did.
Social Networks –
Social now accounts for my biggest individual source of traffic. I spend about Â£150 a month on Facebook Ads, and invest a LOT of time into trying to grow my Twitter following with both tools, getting involved in conversations and working on promoting my @Charles_SEO (follow me if you don’t already!) account as much as possible – It’s really worked well, I now get over 1,200 uniques per month from Twitter alone and have grown my follower account from 900 in January to over 2,400 as of Mid-June.
For Twitter I used a tool called TargetPattern, essentially you enter a number of keywords (either competitors, or brands etc…) and it’ll pull a list of people Tweeting about them, that are likely to follow you – You simply favorite that person’s tweet and a lot of people will follow you back.. Or at the least look into your profile a bit more – Which can convert visitors over to my blog! I go into a bit more detail about TargetPattern in this post.
I also wanted to forge a persona on Twitter, as it’s always been my favourite social network and it’s paid off pretty well so far being my now #1 source of traffic to the blog, each month. So I started getting involved with other people’s conversations, sharing other people’s content and creating a name for myself within the community – Even if it was at some points not the best of names.
I use my personality and writing style to get the most out of my Twitter. I used a tool called My Top Tweet, which is totally free to find my most popular Tweets ever, to give you a bit of insight into my tweeting style and what people like when I put out Tweets. So, here are my top 5Â Tweets of all time –
Awesome free link analysing tool – http://t.co/nQusN53wX9
â€” Charles Floate (@Charles_SEO) May 10, 2014
3rd Day Update – http://t.co/QEOAk0zwnp 2 more Sites hit and AdWords Responds to my Account being Suspended.
â€” Charles Floate (@Charles_SEO) May 7, 2014
Learn White Hat to build sites for users and optimal conversions. Learn Black Hat to actually get Traffic.
â€” Charles Floate (@Charles_SEO) May 31, 2014
As you can see from my tweets, I try and customize the language when sharing my content to be as descriptive as possible, this is why when I share my posts they always seem to get good engagement. When I share this one, we could have a new top tweet, aye! If you’re going to be running a blog, Twitter is one of the easiest and quickest tools to get traffic from. I’d suggest working on both your profile and the way you tweet, people’s careers have been made and destroyed on Twitter, it’s as easy to mess up and ruin your brand name as it is to get a really popular tweet flowing.
Guest Posting – As I mentioned earlier in my content strategy, I don’t like to guest post unless the content is of really good quality. I only want people to be able to get the most information out of it, and then follow through to my blog because they enjoyed my post so much.. Probably why my referral traffic from my guest post on Matt Woodward’s blog has been so high –
This means I don’t really have all that much time to invest into creating really big, quality posts to get them featured on other target blogs – Something that I wish I did have the time for and it’d help my blog grow nicely too! I’d like to be able to do guest posts once a month, but it’s not feasible.. If I had the time to come up with an idea, do research/testing, write it all out and then market that post then I’d be able to massively increase traffic month on month, whilst also creating new sources of traffic that can gain me more readers, more fans and more money month on month – This is something I’d suggest for blogs going into there 3rd months, it creates good links and a lot of traffic flowing back to your blog, not to mention you get a citation on a good blog within the industry/niche you’re targeting that can be accredited in future references/projects/proposals.
Sharing Communities – The likes of Inbound.org, Reddit, InsideIM, GrowthHackers and more! They’re all awesome sources of traffic, though at times… Very temperamental and can be quite forth-judging without actually delving into the content itself.
I based my entire strategy on working with these type of sites from this guide by Jesse Aaron on Social media Examiner. It’s still one of my favourite, if not favourite IM Posts of 2014, so far. Essentially, if you want to gain good traffic from these kind’ve sites, then you should do what I talked about in the forum section, above. Use different types of content (such as my changing the signature depending on the community) to target different communities. /r/bigseo for example on Reddit, aren’t that technical savvy as a community, they seem to like upvoting “pretty” pieces of content and anything that gives them direct steps to take, over the likes of technical case studies and testing posts/videos.
It’s all about researching the specific community before going and posting your own content to it. It’s pretty easy, just see what the most upvoted stuff looks like and have a read through the comments section of posts to see how the community responds to other people’s content first, and the type/length/detail etc… that the community seemingly likes – A LOT of time spent building up a blog should be spent on researching what your target audience/s will want when you post to it.
Micro-Properties – Something that has lent a big hand in growing my blog, has been the micro-properties that I’ve created off the main blog. CuttsLOL which features a load of Matt Cutts Memes, Gifs and generally funny pictures got featured all over the place. My favourite being this one –
Adsense Empire is still read and re-read by a lot of people to this day – Even if it was caught up in the whole pure spam fiasco. These little micro-properties have really helped secure my blog more fans, readers and a whole bunch of traffic! If you’re wanting to grow your blog, site or business more.. I highly recommending building up these kind of micro-sites… They’re a great lead gen tool and are yet another resource to be able to both link to, and gain links from. Now that you have an idea of the size and scope of my blog, let’s go into a month by month Summary of what I’ve done and been doing – Take this as a bit of an expansion on my usual Income Reports, that’ll also be linked for each month above the summary.
June & July 2013 –
I didn’t actually post the traffic statistics for June, so here they are before I dive into what I’ve been upto in both of these months –
I was pretty impressed with the traffic I was managed to get after my blog only just launched towards the start of June. I was very involved in forums at that time, and it was at the height of the Distilled fiasco going on over on SERPChirp.
The first ever post on my blog was in Mid-June, but by that point, I already have a plan in mind of what I wanted to accomplish on the blog. For the first 30 days or so, I wanted to put out as many blog posts as possible – This meant that I’d get a TON of new pages indexed in Google, some posts that I could link in-between both on my blog and on any guest posts I’d be able to do and meant a lot more traffic than before. The overall quality/quantity of the posts didn’t really matter all THAT much, though I knew I wanted to make each post at the bear minimum useful for anyone clicking through and reading it – I also knew that I could go through and improveÂ the ones receiving good amounts of traffic/naturally ranking at a later date. This tactic actually then formed my first ever case study, which was posted on Matthew Barby’s Find My Blog Way site. The case study showed of the first 21 days of launching my blog, and the 35 posts that went on it. It was by no means big, or even THAT good.. But it took me a good hour or 2 to put together, and even offered a downloadable incentive for people to grab at the end! It also got the attention of Matthew Woodward –
Which gave me a good boost in self confidence when it came to me emailing him a few weeks later about getting a guest post on his blog.
In June, I also met up with Matthew Barby, by July and after him reading my blog and us discussing a lot of techniques etc… I went over to join Wow Internet (which at the time, Matt was the SEO Manager for) which boosted my blogging career into the stratosphere! I got a lot of help from Matt in regards to blogging and content marketing, where as he got a lot of help from me with grey and black hat SEO.
I also got round to putting out my GSA Niche Relevant Backlinks Tutorial, which is still very popular on YouTube today, attracting over 5,400 views so far! At the end of July, and early august I went on Holiday… Which, as my blog was starting to get a ton more traffic, meant I spent most of my holiday on the hotel’s free WiFi sitting next to the pool trying to shade the screen.
On my first day of holidaying, and on the last day of July, after a 5 hour plane journey which consisted of me mostly writing posts. I put out 2, really popular black hat posts. The first being on an affiliate site, and how I made over $3,400 using black hat SEO on it and the second being about negative SEO, and how to quite literally ruin someone’s websiteÂ using some pretty simple tactics. The second post attracted a LOT of organic visits over the following months as well.
Total Earnings for July, 2013 – $1,842
Launching my blog immediately saw some pretty good traffic flowing through, but July was when I saw the money really rolling into my blog – Hence why I did my first income report in July.
August 2013 –
Even with my going away on holiday taking up quite a bit of time I was hoping to dedicate to my blog, I managed to put out my first really detailed guide. I delved into the world of traffic generation, putting out the ultimate guide on how to do it, as well as numerous tutorials…Â I also got an Intro made up in July, and started editing my videos quite nicely.
August was where I saw my blog start to really take off – I’d gotten involved a LOT in the Inbound.org discussions, and even had Martin MacDonald write a post as a follow-up to one of my discussions I’d created on there –
A little time after this BIG Black Hat discussion, I was actually banned from Inbound… Yay! I even got the support from a few other big members like Matthew Barby and Mark Traphagen, regardless to say, I don’t really use the site any more, and as a number of people have been saying, it seems to be a bit of a “dying” site.
After my negative SEO tutorial in July got pretty popular, I decided to look more into OnPage Negative SEO tactics and specifically targeting competitorsÂ blogs with “bad” link placement, going off what Cutts said about linking out to bad link neighbourhoods. This tactic was actually really effective, and I saw some nice traffic flow through, as well as some discussion around the post.
As Negative SEO seemed to be a pretty trendy theme, I finished off with a case study I’d been running on an Anonymous (the prolfiic political “hacktivist” group) DDoS attack against a government site, the case study also sparked a lot of interest, and people seemed to be very interested in sharing their thoughts on the different types of Negative SEO + it also attracted the Anonymous crowd over to look into this kind of tactic more. I also really got into TrafficPlanet that month, which saw a pretty cool spike in traffic fold over to the site from that community.
My organic traffic was starting to pick-up really well in August as well, sending close to 2,500 visitors on just the 3rd month of launching my blog! The June/July post a day tactic seemed to of worked very well! As I saw certain posts receiving more traffic, I went back and edited those ones to be even better than they were previously, adding more details for readers to enjoy.
I also moved house in August and nearly lost all of my shoes, clothes and coats thanks to the movers… Yay. I also got to meetup with the guys behind the Terry Kyle SEO Agency, who now have been transferred over to Godlike Marketing and now work with me on a LOAD of projects.
I managed to also get a pretty big round-up out right at the end of August from a number of well known faces within the industry, about what it was like being a full-time SEO – This helped grow more social shares to the blog.
Total Earnings this Month â€“ $4,552Â Â
August saw my earnings do pretty well, and it’s when I started to believe that my blog could accomplish the goal I’d set for it.
September 2013 –
My first, and the first guest post on Matthew Woodward’s blog went live, after emailing him for close to 2 months, I finally managed to let him accept it. It covered my “Ranking For Rand” case study, in which I went into a load of detail on exactly how I ranked for some of the biggest keywords in the SEO Industry, even after having to add/change a lot of those keywords. This saw a nice boost in refferal traffic over to my blog –
As well as being able to steal a few of Matt’s readers over to my blog, which really helped kick off my blog’s social followers and newsletter signups. I started September off with a post on YouTube optimization. Showing people how YouTube optimization was very similar to doing SEO for a normal webpage.
September also saw my 2 most popular posts on the blog so far come out, with How to be an SEO for $57 – Which covered exactly how to do SEO with free tools and a ScrapeBox license. As well as an even more popular post on How to Beat the Payday Algorithim, which took a look at a case study site that’d been ranking for months within the first few pages of Google. My blog’s readers seemed to be really interested in the darker sides of SEO rather than anything to do with content marketing, and I liked writing about it more – Probably why people class me as a black hat over grey more now, due to me writing about black hat SEO a lot more than white.
My Interview with Leith, one of Black Hat World’s most infamous and popular members also went down a treat – Even Inbound.org seemed to enjoy it. Though for the 6th time that month, I’d put out another black hat article, I now see why people refer to me as a Black Hat over Grey… I still like to think of myself as a grey hat, though. I also got talking to Jacob King that month, who asked me to contribute a piece to his gigantic ScrapeBox guide. I wrote Chapter 9, if you’re interested in seeing where I’m featured.. Though I’d highly suggest you have a read of the entire post, it’s still one of my favourite posts of all time and won a God of SEO Award later on in the year.
Total Earnings for August, 2013 -Â $13,239Â Â
After my guest posts and really popular posts in August, I managed to knock August out the water, over tripling my earnings and seeing an over 40% increase in unique visitors! August is where I started to think that I didn’t really want to be working in an agency environment any more and the earnings spoke for themselves… Though I still felt I had a bit more to learn about the white hat side of things. Â My Income Report for August also saw over 40 comments, mostly from Matt’s round-up, giving me the 2nd spot, jumping up hugely with an over $8,000 increase in earnings. Â
October 2013 –
In October, I didn’t really get all that much done until towards the end, I decided after working my ass off for the past few months whilst also holding down a full-time job that I deserved to take a break from it all and relax a bit, pretty much had a bit of an over-stress attack from lack of sleep. So my earnings and content output for October wasn’t all that great, I did however still have some pretty cool stuff happen in October!
Right at the start of October, I put out one of the blog’s most popular posts ever, How to Beat Penguin 2.1 – This was one of the very first articles about the newest Google Algo Update to hit the market, and it was my take on what Google would try to tackle after the SERPs gotÂ spammed to death when 2 updated.
A few days after 2.1 updated, I quit my job at Wow Internet and announced what’d be happening over the next few weeks… A lot of family and personal issues hit close to home, so I decided to sit down with myself (All night, literally from 11pm – 6am, which is when I walked into my Mum’s Bedroom and told her I’d be quitting and my plans – Which she wasn’t too happy about) and think out exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. In-between the 9th of October, and when I returned (23rd of Oct) I just setup some pre-written posts to go out on a Schedule… This is something that is really powerful when it come’s to blogging, scheduled posts, emails and social shares are something I constantly try to run to save time when I am doing something else.
My little brother also had his 2nd birthday party in October, and it was a pretty awesome Gruffalo and Fireman Sam Theme’d party! –
During my 2 week break, I decided to work on the Godlike Marketing site/sales copy/ads etc… Eventually, on the 25th of October I announced the launch of Godlike Marketing – Something I am still very proud of and to this day is making more money than ever! I am to grow an IM agency to over 1 Million pounds in revenue a year before I hit 21.
I also finished off the month with a big post on Automated YouTube Marketing, in which I featured Tube Assist, a program I am still using and still gets me good affiliate commissions every month!Â Which was also followed by a post on how to optimize your YouTube videos & channels for the best possible results.
Total Earnings for October, 2013 – $5,032
I wasn’t very surprised that my earnings dropped so much (by about 60%) in October, I took a pretty long break from making content and promoting the blog, the initial effectsÂ of all my guest posting was over and I’d spent quite a bit on building Godlike Marketing.
November 2013 –
November kicked off pretty slowly, I spent most of my time working on the gigantic E-Commerce guest post and working on Godlike Marketing’s new clients/leads, but we’ll get to the both of thoseÂ later. I originally was going to use my eBay Optimization GuideÂ as a guest post for someone else’s site, but as I hadn’t posted anything for close to 2 weeks… I thought I’d put a new post straight onto my blog. It went down pretty well, especially as I’d used the techniques in the post to bolster my own eBay sales and in turn, make even more profit!
A good friend of mine, and former-blogger (hehe, he still blogs.. but VERY rarely!) SEOStyx did an InterviewÂ after the Leith interview got very popular I thought I’d showcase another skilled black hat.
The real big point of November was my biggest post so far (Though, this post does knock that post’s length out the water!) – My 12,000 word monster guide to E-Commerce site creation, optimization and marketing. I’d spent over 2 weeks developing this post and it’s 3 custom videos. When I finally got around to sending it to Matthew Woodward, he was rather taken aback by the 13 hours of editing he had to spend working on it. It’s still the most Upvoted E-Commerce article on Inbound.org and has sent through a TON of traffic through to both my blog and Godlike Marketing. I also appreciated some of the comments left by some pretty famous faces in the Industry –
This article also sent through a ton of leads to Godlike Marketing from E-Commerce site owners, which I found rather hard to handle on my own! About a week after my guest post, I also launched my Blog Network, which to date has made over 250 sales! And has grown from the original 190 sites, to well over 300 now. I also managed to put a post on my writing, and how I manage to research, write and promote my content so much in such a short amount of time. As well as doing another tutorial, this time on Manual Spinning, which had been requested a LOT by readers of the blog –
I also did a pretty big post with advanced tips on running and managing a blog network. Which a lot of people enjoyed, and requested I did another round-up of some more advanced tips, which I’ll be doing pretty soon!
Total Earnings for November, 2013 – $11,313
After a break in October, November’s earnings are back up in the double figures! With a good number of new clients and readers passing over to me from the guest post and features this month, I managed to increase my earnings by 50%, though due to not posting as many articles thisÂ month (Thanks to the GIANT guest post and new client work) I didn’t have many new places to get traffic to.
December 2013 –
The final month of the year, a LOT got done in December, despite the whole holiday thing! Which gave me the inspiration to put a bit of animated snow on the blog 😉 I managed to grab the number spot for commenting within the Moz community –
Which a lot of people didn’t seem to like all that much! Darn, musta beaten them, nipping 2nd position by just over 50 comments! I used to actually be really active on the Moz blog, but since it’s deterioration of interesting, unique and variety.. I haven’t really been very interested at all.. I still follow Matthew Barby’s posts on there though, they’re always really good and he invests a LOT of time into making them, I’ve personally seen a power cut wipe one of his posts and him have to leave the room. The God of SEO Awards, my most shared post to date (Hitting over 1,000 social shares) was launched and saw a really nice spike in traffic through to that piece, when I put it live the Real Time counter was hitting into the hundreds! With the likes of Mark Traphagen, Matthew Woodward and Neil Patel all sharing the post. I highly suggest you check this post out if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s got some of THE best posts you’ll ever see, and you’ll thank me 50 hours down the line when you’re still learning! I’ll be doing another Awards Ceremony next year, so get those posts coming out, you might even win one of these shiny badges –
After Jacob King and Matthew Woodward started a debate on tiered link building, I thought I’d chime inÂ with my own take on the entire fiasco, this saw a lot of people agree’ing with my opinion and got me a ton of close to Christmas shares!Â I also ended 2014 with a re-post on my blogging to get business guide and my own take on the movie “Runner Runner” which showcased a LOT of affiliate marketing, and a scam behind it. I also treated myself to an early Christmas present of a brand new Alienware M14 Gaming Laptop –
Something that has saved my life, and I am still using to this day – I’d say I actually use my laptop more than my desktop now, then again… This laptop is pretty darn powerful!
Total Earnings for December, 2013 – $15,127
Even more this month, with the leads from last month funnelling over and me being able to actually get most of them to convert in December, meant a nice spike in profits. One thing I found very odd, on Christmas day I still was getting visitors –
People must just love SEO a bit too much…
January 2014 –
Right, finally getting into this year now… Already close to 8,000 words in, I’m hoping you’re still with me here! I will admit, my hands are starting to hurt and the hayfever is seriously affecting my work ethic. January saw my most popular post of all time –
Covering my honey pot attack against the infamous Google Webspam team, after Agent BlackHat tried something similar, and suffered the consequences. Interesting to see how much of a discussion this post caused outside of the post itself, with multiple forums covering it, in about 10 different languages!
January saw the start of my most popular series, Sneaky Link Building TacticsÂ which show cases some seriously sneaky tactics for gaining links from some of the best SEOs in the business, I’ve now developed this series into 3 posts and am working on the fourth post at the moment!
I also did an interview with The Daily Interview in January, which I talked all about my blog and all about my past, as well as looking into the future and my “plans” for it. January also saw my first talk at an SEO conference at the Search Think Tank by Linkdex & 90Digital in London, you can check out the video of my talk here –
I also got to hang out with Backlinko, Kirsty Hulse, Gisele Navarro, Danny Ashton and a few other names in SEO! –
It was a pretty awesome conference, and I’m looking forward to talking at more this year! January also saw the change of my blog design, which I talked about earlier. I was also pretty honoured to receive another link from ViperChill, which is still one of my favourite blogs and Glen is still one of my favourite SEO Villains.
Total Earnings for January, 2013 – $22,228
January was an awesome month, and thanks to my conference talk, ranking black hat sites and a few other factors I managed to bolster my income into the $20,000 mark!Â
February 2014 –
February is where everything kicked off, I made a TON of changes to my agency in which I pretty much all together stopped doing client work (Except for 3 clients I had prior arrangements with) and now have a team (as I talked about earlier) who manage all the clients, and that I’ve hand trained to make sure they do the best job possible for every client. This caused my income to shrink a bit over the next few months, but it’s back on the road to recovery now that everything has stabled out and the agency is thriving!
I also got around (after nearly 2 months work!) to finally launching my God of SEO Course – Even went with the classic flannel shirt for the launch! The course has been a great success with over 100 people signing up and joining the course so far! I do need to add some fresher content and fix a few bugs on the site soon, but I’m looking to re-launch it with The Course 2.0 pretty soon. A whole load more work to do for that though!
February started pretty well with my first post gaining quite a bit of traction talking about the SAPE Network, and how it really wasn’t penalized and I even gave $40 to experiment and managed to rank pretty quickly for some good monthly search terms. It just kept getting better and better with the next post getting even more traction than my SAPE one, I “ousted” a few of the biggest brands in the UK for using less than above-board SEO tactics. I even had the SEO Manager for Tesco emailing me a few days later –
Felt a lickle embarrassed, but he agree’d they should fix up their strategies and asked if I could provide even more insight into there campaigns. I then moved onto my Facebook Ads Hack post, which is one of the blog’s most popular posts! I highly suggest you have a watch of the video tutorial, if you haven’t already –
It’s a tactic that still works, and that I still use to this day. As a pre-caution, it is against the Facebook Advertising guidelines and you could potentially be banned for it. I also did my most popular interview so far with Zac Johnson on BloggingTips, which I talked a lot about my blog and it’s growth – I’m sure he’ll appreciate this case study.
Something that really stood out from that interview was a comment by Brian, who is the owner of BlogEngage –
I never really thought about that until I saw the comment, I tried to reply to the comment but not sure if Zac got my reply! This comment actually led me to do an even bigger write up on my personal blog here, about how my generation is a dying one. Well, it’s dying at least within the UK.
Total Earnings For February, 2014 -Â $12,989
Had a bit of a drop in revenue, though I did implement the Agency changes, so it was as expected! Though it was a pretty awesome month with epic posts being put out nearly every week.
March & April 2014 –
I combined both March and April into one Income Report due to me being pretty behind with getting them out in time! I wanted to put out proper content ahead of the monthly income reports, so it got me pretty behind in releasing them.
March, 2014 –
March was a pretty big month for me, I saw a lot of features and put out some pretty popular posts starting with my online marketing guide that caters to musicians. It saw quite a lot of love around the Music scene on Reddit and has been featured in a few music creation forums as well!
I also put out aÂ big growth hacking guide on one of my more abadoned projects, Tecy. This saw quite a bit of love and I am planning on expanding on it soon, though this case study could count as a growth hacking case study, sort of?
This was one of the first times I’d been featured in a big publication, and it felt pretty good! Even though the comment system (they use LiveFyre) doesn’t seem to like me trying to reply to some of the comments.
I did ask they change the title from Domain to Website, but it didn’t really “work”, apparently. After Moz declined to put out my post, I decided to throw it up onto the blog, it talked about Building an Online Marketing strategy from scratch. I also put together a small presentation on how I earned over 6 figures before I hit 18 –
As well as publishing my third guest post on Matthew Woodward’s blog, all about stealing your competitor’s customers online via the likes of social marketing and search. March also saw the launch of 2 of my little projects. InsideIM, which is a Grey Hat Internet Marketing version of Reddit, and though I haven’t been able to invest much time into it.. Still gets pretty good visitor and submission numbers! I’m hoping to work on it more soon as well as promote it to more new members.
I also launched Marketing Reviews, which takes a non-affiliate and unbiased review ofÂ internet marketing services that I’ve bought from BSTs, Fiverr and providers. I’ll be adding some more reviews to this soon, as I continually seem to be buying BSTs and people seem to really appreciate the detailsÂ and feedback I give on services.
Total Earnings For March, 2014 -Â $10,982
A little drop again in revenue this month, though that was because I didn’t really put out as much content as last month and the changes to my agency were still affecting my overall personal earnings – Just to confirm, I only take about 20% of the revenue home when it come’s to agency work, and in my income reports I ONLY account for my personal earnings, not my agencies.
April, 2014 –
April didn’t start off very well, I dislocated my collar bone at the startÂ of the month which meant I couldn’t attend Snow Bombing which I was massively looking forward too! And towards the end of April my Analytics plugin that I was using stopped working –
Taught me to insert the code straight into my header file rather than using a plugin, at least. I did manage to drop an April Fools which had a mixed response from my readers, some thought it was real and either wished me luck or said I was a traitor whilst others caught onto the joke and laughed pretty hard. I also followed up my Sneaky Link Building series with the 2nd postÂ in the series. Other than that, I was pretty relaxed about posting on my blog in April, I did however put out a load more posts on my personal blog. The first talking about Geek DatingÂ and the second post being a preparation post for those who read it for this post. As well as putting out an SEOMusic post, which seemed to be pretty popular and got a lot of people in the industry sharing their favourite songs. Right before my birthday, I met up with Backlinko again at BrightonSEO –
As well as meeting a load of other people such as Krystian Szastok and Tony Dimmock! The day after being in Brighton was my 18th birthday, so I was officially no longer “The 17 Year Old SEO” that most referred to me as! I treated myself to some new Jimmy Choo hightops for my Birthday –
And my Mum got me an awesome new laptop/messenger bag that has come in serious handy with all the recent travelling I’ve been doing –
As well as my birthday night out turning into a 4 night stint of loosing a lot of stuff and spending an absurd amount of money.
Total Earnings for April, 2014Â – $12,356
A slight rise again this month, my agency started settling down and has been doing brilliantly since last month. My Birthday didn’t really help the bank though, and I probably spent a bit too much on my night out. Overall it was a pretty good month though and I even got to go to Montreal on the 29th of April, which was incredible!
May 2014 –
May was a pretty interesting month, I spent 2 weeks in Montreal (Where I’ll be living for about 6 months in total this year!) and got to see the Premier night of the new Circ Du Soleil Show “KURIOUS” – Which for those who don’t know, Montreal is the home of Circ Du Soleil and where it was founded! I even got to have a peak around the offices before my shopping trip, they even have 2 guys doing SEO for them! I also got to visit the famous Montreal China Town and try some Chinese Meat Fondue, which gave me and my girlfriend some SERIOUS meat sweats –
During my holiday, and probably the worst time it could happen… Google decided to go after me!
The God of SEO Blog was hit with a pure spam penalty, along with 6 other SEO related sites I own, my blogger account being deleted and my Adwords account suspended. You can read the full post on that here. After I tried to do a reconsideration request, and speaking with Marie Haynes (One of THE best penalty removal experts in the world) via email for a good hour or so, I decided to pack it in and have an SEO blog with no SEO traffic, which has been a cool experience for my more white hat/content marketing side! I also spent 15 minutes cleaning up my negative SEO, just in case it affected any of my rankings within the other search engines, which still send through trickles of traffic.
I actually followed Ann Smarty’s suit on My Blog Guest getting penalized and completely disallowed GoogleBot from crawling my site –
This doesn’t stop them from index’ing my site, but it does stop them indexing a lot of the content such as the meta data + it’s a bit of a stab at Google and I liked Ann’s response to having a project she invested a LOT of time into get ruined for the sake of Google not being able to take any genuine action against the guest blogging phenomenon.
Though Google did completely deindex my site all together –
Overall, my traffic hasn’t actually been hit all that much! Though Google did only previously send through about 25% – 30% of my blog’s total traffic each month. I’ve managed to claw that back using promoting techniques elsewhere, that I talk about in my Pwned by Google post, you’ll get to see in June’s summary.
I also made friends with Sebastian Johnsson, who was apparently a long time reader of my blog and one of myÂ blog posts was the inspiration behind his BIG studyÂ on trolling Google. He did a follow-up post to that study, aboutÂ how he’d moved forward from being penalized, which also featured a bit about me and my blog being penalized as well. I really recommend you taking a look at his blog, he’s got some serious technical knowledge and know’s hit stuff when it come’s to technical black hat SEO.
I wasn’t sure whether to be amused, a bit insulted or honoured to be called the “Miley Cyrus of SEO” by Ria Parish on the Silk Stream blog in her celebrity SEO roundup, though it’s all in good humour I guess. I was also rather taken aback to be called a Celebrity within the industry… As Philip TomlinsonÂ said when I met up with him in June, I more infamous than famous in this industry – Which is fine with me.
May also saw the rise of Panda 4.0, so I did my own take on the Pandamonium that was sweeping across the SEO Community & IndustryÂ after the release of the newest content based update. After the update, a lot of black hats were complaining that their Parasites, or as I dubbed them Parashites had been hit and were no longer ranking in the SERPs… It turned out that they were all just doing it wrongÂ –
I also put out a post on one of the very best affiliate sites I’d ever seen, showcasing how it was built and how you could theoretically re-create a site that ended up selling for $29,000 just a few days after my post went live. I am actually working on a follow-up post of my own case study from this as well, that should be out pretty soon!
Total Earnings For May, 2014Â –Â $12,497.5
It was a pretty good month for me, even after the penalty hitting my blog and killing all of my organic traffic from Google – Though that did attract a lot of people to look more into my blog, which probably bolster’d my page view count by quite a bit. I won’t complain though.
June 2013 –
The June Income report hasn’t been released as of yet, but as it’s the official Anniversary month I thought I’d write a bit about what I’ve been upto all month – Other than writing this massive post!
June has been a pretty good month for content on the blog, I started off with the first post in my Affiliate Marketing Handbook Series, which showcases some of the best affiliate marketing examples I’ve ever seen, a long with a load of bonus affiliate tips.
I know I’ve linked to this two or three times now, but I put out one of my most popular presentations ever, on How To Get Pwned By Google –
This is still gaining views day by day and people are even running their very own case studies off the back of this presentation. Little do they know that I’ll be releasing this case study that knows the presentation out the water by a good few thousand words! SudoRank also found my presentation really interesting, and did his own take on itÂ as well as Quinton from Lost Cyclist doing an entire post around white hat link building, in which he seemed to love my presentation.
Next up was one of my most popular case studies ever, in which I showed exactly how I Dominated The UK SEO SERPs, using black hat churn and burn tactics and managed to pull in over 800 leads for Godlike Marketing, in the 6 months I was ranking. The rankings on one of my sites spoke for themselves –
It’s also been really popular on some of the black hat forums, show casing a lot of questions on churn and burn by the black hat community.
I also got to speak at UCL (University College London) to a bunch of young entrepreneurs starting up their own online businesses as part of a pretty cool course UCL offer. I did a talk on traffic generation, showcasing some of the best and most creative traffic generation and growth hacking case studies I’ve ever seen –
They seemed to really like the presentation and I got a lot of good feedback, especially as I try to make all my presentations funny as well as being as informative as possible – A lot like my blog post style.
I also did an Interview with Rohit Palit on the Ahrefs blog, which talked mostly about how I’d managed to grow my blog within such a small amount of time and at such a young age. Stuart Walker from Niche Hacks also did a world cup inspired round-up and put me on the lineup for the Rising Stars IM Blogger team, along with a few other familiar faces on either side, I even managed to score a header in the last few minutes!
I also got around to spending close to an entire week on this post, which I’m hoping will shoot up my analytics for the next few days it’s out. In total, I spent about 56 hours working on this post, and the 7 hour plane journey I took back from Montreal consisted of a lot of “thinking” about what I wanted to include/add to the post.
So, That’s One Year Over!
Well, a couple thousand words later and I’ve managed to put in a month by month summary of this entire year, as well as a massive introduction to how I developed this blog’s content, promotion and readership over the last 12 months. What a cracker of a year it’s been as well…
I’ve managed to make quite a bit of money this year as well, prior to when I wasn’t earning even 10% of this! So, let’s break down exactly what I’ve made and what from in the past 12 months.
Affiliate Earnings –
Link Emperor: $10,980
I removed Backlink Beast as it wasn’t converting very well and the software wasn’t maintained. So I don’t want to promote it any more than I already have.
Tube Assist: $465
Terry Kyle’s SEO Traffic Hacks: $1,251
My affiliate earnings aren’t nearly as high as my SEO work, due to me working so hard on growing the agency and I don’t put out the level of affiliate based tutorials/reviews as Matt Woodward does. I am hoping to free up some more time to work on some BIG affiliate tutorial series soon, though.
Consultation/SEO Work –
I do invest the most time into my SEO clients and consultations, so it’s bound to be the highest figure.
The Course –
I only launched the God of SEO Course a few month’s ago, it’s done pretty damn well in that short amount of time.
Wow, working out all of the earnings from this month took over an hour!
The Grand total of my blog’s earnings in 2013/2014 is –
Total Earnings for 2013/2014: $115, 693 aka Â£67,948
I didn’t include either of my private blog network link earnings in this post, as I didn’t include it until about 2 months in – I’d estimate I’ve made an extra ~$10,000 or so from both my public and super network posting services though. So I’d be more likely looking at an income of around Â£75,000 in the pastÂ year or Â£6,250 per month.
I thought I’d also showcase some of my most popular content I’ve put out in the past 12 months as well. So, here’s a quick overview of the blog’s most popular posts and pages at a glance –
My Top 5 Most ViewedÂ Posts:
- Webspam Team Actively Monitoring GmailÂ – 5,200 Visits / 280 Social Shares
- The Ultimate Guide to Penguin 2.1 – 3,900 Visits / 90 Social Shares
- How to Build A Private Blog Network – 3,900 Visits / 19 Social Shares
- GSA Tutorial – 3,800 Visits / 5 Social Shares
- Top Internet Marketing Posts of 2013 – 3,500 Visits / 1,001 Social Shares
Interesting to see all of the social shares not being THAT much of a factor in some of the posts visitor count. I do rely a lot on referral traffic though, and that’s why I’ve tried over the past year to get featured in as many places as physically possible!
My Top 3 Most Viewed Pages:
- The God of SEO Course – 4,900 Visits
- The God of SEO Blog Network – 3,600 Visits
- My Favourite Sites – 2,700 Visits
I was rather surprised to see my Best of IM post not in the top 3, and My Favourite Sites post was an odd one as it’s actually a drop down from the About Me section in my navigation bar.
I’ve also been interviewed a load and had more people than I can count asking for my advice via Q&A, Email and Skype. A lot of people prefer email as it’s more private so they can ask about stuff in a private environment that Google perhaps can’t see their shadier tactics/inquiries!
Reader and Blogger Comments –
I asked a few of my dedicated readers and other SEO/IM bloggers to drop me a quick couple of sentencesÂ on the blog. In no particular order here they are.
God of SEO is a nuisance to the SEO world. He’s been able to successfully irk every top level SEO and marketer I’ve known and is constantly being talked about because of it. If there was a guy to hate, just for the hate, God of SEO is that guy – that’s why he’s so successful at marketing himself. He plays the villain so well, it’s impossible to get away from his brand.
Either you hate me – err him or you love him… But you can’t keep your eyes off him… That’s what matters… Even when you try… No fractions, What are you going to do, land on one-quarter of Venus?
When you hate something you need it to be solid, in order to focus your energy. Same with love. “This is dialectics. Itâ€™s very simple dialectics. One through nine, no maybes, no supposes, no fractions – you can’t travel in space, you canâ€™t go out into space, you know, without, like, you know, with fractions – what are you going to land on, one quarter, three-eighths – what are you going to do when you go from here to Venus or something – thatâ€™s dialectic physics, OK? Dialectic logic is thereâ€™s only love and hate, you either love somebody or you hate them.” – (True Stories – A foundation to your future – http://www.wickedfire.com/links-seo/174199-true-stories-foundation-your-future.html)
Who Am I? Does it even matter?
From a brand perspective, God of SEO has it down. Love or hate, the worst thing is neutrality. I’ve had dozens of fights with this dude, and probably have hundreds more coming… fractions man…
All you can do is sit there pretending the world actually gives a fuck about you – or you can go out and do it; in a years time, God of SEO has been trolling the SEO world so hard, everyone seems to know him… Even when Matt Cutts de-index his site, he was able to traffic leak and gain more visitors than ever… the Google lies man…
Can you actually be mad at proper branding?
Â Well Charles, what can I say? Bravo. Well done. Not only have you changed my life for the better you have changed my family memberâ€™s life and also several clients who are now straight killing their niche. Being in SEO for only 8 months I have been able to quit my job and work less hours at a digital marketing agency. Iâ€™m dealing with blue chip clients on a daily basis and scaling link building campaigns and outreach like crazy. It all started with a comment on your blog back in November 2013, basically asking you if you wanted to go for a coffee with me. Little did I know just 6 months later, I would have made over 5 figures applying the techniques and tips you gave me on that day. We talked and talked for several hours about life goals and keeping motivated; you pointed me in the right direction to go ahead and forge my path in this industry. I can’t thank you enough.
Charles at God Of SEO has helped me immensely since I started reading his blog at the beginning of this year. I was stuck in the mindset of ‘SEO has changed’ and was too scared to do anything that wasn’t strictly white hat. Charles and his attitude of testing for yourself has made me a better SEO 100x over and today I know I can rank anything (pretty much) because I’ve adopted his mentality. I can honestly say that he’s gave me my passion back for SEO and now there’s nothing I’d rather do day in day out! Thanks mate!
Although controversial at times (most of the time!), Charlie has a knack for finding awesome new tools and shortcuts. One of the best posts that I read on the God of SEO blog was the one focused around Social Lead Fox – this blewÂ my mind and set me off on a mission to package up an offering to my clients that utilised some of the techniques that Charlie outlined. This is one of many situations.
The one thing I really like about the God of SEO blog and why it sets it apart from other SEO blogs is Charles’ anti Google approach to online marketing and telling it like it really is. Some great case studies and traffic hacks are always worth a read.
Gareth Bull at Bulldog Social:
I’m not joking when I say this, I refresh Charles Twitter daily. His views are always fascinating.
He’s also introduced me to Parasite SEO, which I’ve been using for a few clients now to help them dominate their brand first page.
He is one of the few Internet Marketers I follow, and always will!
Since hearing about Charles and the blog I started to learn more about how Charles has managed to rank highly competitive terms within Google UK. Charles has a different ethic to SEO one in which mainly people don’t even take note of. But his advice and information is so vast he has helped me learn new ways to help my clients promote and gain number one rankings within Google.
I would highly recommend giving his blog a follow and see what simple but highly effective strategies you’re missing out on.
God of SEO has assured me that I’m really learning about SEO from the GOD of it. Charlie’s blog posts differ a lot from the usual ones by so called “SEO bloggers”. His posts are filled with REAL, WORKING strategies tried and tested by him. I’ve seen huge results in some of my niche sites using grey hat tactics found on this blog. Additionally, his unique approach to SEO and link building, as well as his various presentations and articles on analytical SEO have helped me develop a creative thinking when it comes to ranking sites.
I have had the opportunity to work with Charles and see him grow himself through outÂ the last year. It has been an honour to watch him grow to what he is now and be his friend through all of it. When he developed his blog and created a 12k word post over on Woodward’s blog, I knew I was following something special. Since that post, my knowledge of SEO has gone from a stage of infancy into a thriving brain child that has allowed me to achieve my dreams for my SEO company, where I live in Florida. Not only do these posts continue to offer a new variety of knowledge about this game, but they are also written in a manner that is easily understood. I am writing this comment to thank you Charles for all you have done for me. You are my young sensei. I am just a grasshopper. But now I can eat all the grass my appetite ever wanted because of you and I can write this knowing that I am not the only one who feels this way. Godspeed, God. God the $h!t out of this SEO Game! Again, Thank you Charles, praise be to the God.
Thanks For Reading –
Wow, I hope you managed to get through my entire post. Sorry to all those that got a headache after staring at the screen for so long… It took me close to a week (of pretty much solid work – Around 50 hours!) to research and write this entire post.
It’s been a pretty incredible year and I’d just like to re-iterate my thanks to all of you guys and gals that have made the blog grow and given me the confidence (and ta lot of the time, the inspiration) to keep on working on the God of SEO Blog.
I’m looking forward to the time I have ahead of me with this blog, and aiming to grow it even further in the coming months and years ahead.
Don’t Forget To Signup For My Email Newsletter If You Haven’t Already –
You can also download this case study as a PDF, makes for great reading whilst on long, unconnected journeys. Especially as it’s so big, I doubt most people will be able to read it all in one go.
Thanks for Sharing –
Click Here To Download The PDF Version[/sociallocker]
Don’t forget to also leave a comment below, I appreciate all the feedback I get, and no comment will go missed! I’m hoping you enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it. Thanks once again for being a reader of the God of SEO Blog, none of this would be possible without all of you guys and gals!