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Learn How to Get Your Blog Ranking High in Search Engines – An Interview with Aaron Wall

Seo-Book-Aaron-WallOver the next couple of days you’re in for a treat because I’ve managed to secure an interview with Aaron Wall – a blogger and author that has literally added thousands (if not tens of thousands) to my own blogging earnings over the last few years as a result of me reading his great eBook – SEObook. Aaron’s book is 300 pages of pure Search Engine Optimization gold and he’s been generous enough to answer some of my questions.

His answers are so good that I’ve decided to split this into a two part interview so you don’t scan over them too fast and miss something.

Aaron – thanks for your time. Can you give us a short introduction to yourself and what you do?

I am a blogger who wrote a popular book about SEO. I also publish a wide array of websites and do a limited amount of high end SEO consulting with my partner Scott Smith at ClientsideSEM.com.

In addition to writing about SEO I offer free tools to help people automate doing research. I recently created a couple Google Gadgets that were well received, and my programmer created SEO for Firefox, which puts marketing data right in the search results.

It seems that a lot of people are getting into SEO at the moment – how and when did you get into it?

My first website, in early 2003, was a poorly done rant site. I wanted others to see my opinions and I figured the easiest and cheapest way to do so was to learn how to make it rank in search engines. I asked lots of questions at forums and then started moderating many of them. I had a site that listed my own notes about SEO stuff and a person hired me before I knew I was selling anything. A few months later they had already seen a 20x return on their spend and I felt pretty good about that.

By the end of 2003 I was ranking in the top 10 of Google’s results for search engine marketing, and my article about the Google florida update became popular and got me more client inquires than I could handle.

I’ve said on numerous occasions that I’ve learned almost everything that I know about SEO from your resource – SEO Book – but can you tell us why you wrote it and why ProBlogger readers might want to consider making the purchase?

Seo-Book-NewWhen I got on the web I bought SEO services from a scammy company that ripped me off. I also went down many dead end paths, trying to find where there was free traffic, doing arbitrage from unclean sources that stole my money, signing up for programs that teach you the world revolves around spreading their crap. etc. That led me to an inbox full of spam but no rankings.

I saw at the end of 2003 that the client services lifestyle was a bit feast or famine. I was getting about 2 calls a month. Then overnight it was up to like 30 in a day. Then it went back down a bit. And honestly I tended to undersell services because I didn’t fully appreciate the value of search off the start.

After I started learning more about SEO and business I thought it would be a good idea to share what I knew. My goal when I first wrote SEO Book was to write the book I wished I had read when I first got on the web. The first version was a modest 24 page HTML document that I gave away on Christmas of 2003.

Search has since got more complex and important, my experience has increased, and my knowledge of marketing has increased. As a result, the book is now over 300 pages, and rather than talking about do this do that in specific white and black my book also offers reasons why I think an idea will work or not.

When it comes to building links to a blog – do you recommend bloggers buy links, ‘use’ social media sites, trade links, linkbait, something else…. or some combination of the above?

I say try everything and see what works best for you. You might come across a trick that I haven’t used much that works well for you given your personality and your market.

  • I wouldn’t recommend renting too many links right out of the gate, because it adds cost and you may not be able to recoup the costs unless you are business savvy, plus sites get trusted more as they age. I would recommend listing in the Yahoo! Directory and some of the other higher quality general directories and blogging directories if you intend on creating a long term successful blog as a business.
  • Comment on related blogs and participate in related communities. These may not provide direct links, but links flow naturally after you have subscribers. You need to raise awareness if you are new and starting from scratch.
  • After you have awareness many people will frequently cite you just because they are subscribed to you.
  • Buy specific ads from specific sites.
  • Take concepts you see poorly done and do them exceptionally well, then use email to notify people who might care. Don’t forget to ping people you know well, especially if you have done them favors too.
  • Create social content as a form of marketing. Interview people, create tools, hold contests, give out awards, etc.

One other thing I would probably add is that for most people it is probably not going to be worth it to spend tons and tons of time building up a social media account on a large generalist website. If you only have a few hours a day to spend online then you should spend most of that reading and participating on sites specifically about your topic, or writing your site.

Tomorrow I’ll share the second part to this interview with Aaron and will ask him about the best ever link building strategy that he’s used, where he gives 5 key SEO tips that bloggers should implement, where he talks about Page Rank and gives some hints on how to launch a successful ebook (plus more).

In the mean time – take a little time out to check out SEO Book – which comes with a money back guarantee, free lifetime updates (and he does update) plus a few worthwhile bonuses.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Hi Aaron, Darren,

    Great interview, good questions, and good answers. SEO is one of the most misunderstood aspects of being online, and I applaud you two for trying to rectify that.

    I’d been mulling over a Yahoo! Directory listing for the past several days, and I think I’m going to go for it. Are there any other high quality directories (other than the DMOZ) that are worth getting into?

    – Mason

  2. Cyrus says:

    I’ve been looking into buying the seo book. Have heard good things but currently don’t have the capitol to do so. I’ll look forward to the tips tomorrow and hopefully in the no time I’ll have a copy of the SEO Book.

  3. Dan Cole says:

    Darren, do you look directly look at making your SEO better? It seams as if some large websites never worried about SEO before they got big. How much time should be put on SEO? Aren’t there better things you could do to improve your sites traffic? To me SEO seams to fit into 80/20, taking 80% of your time to product 20% of the results.

  4. I can’t wait for the rest. Aaron Wall has some fantastic tips that have helped me out enormously in the past and still do!

  5. Bontb says:

    Yes I read that book it’s cool book, but as SEO savy I am I knew most of the things. I learned a lot from that book as well , especially the strategies.

    Arron is a good guy, I like him, he is very good in what he does congrats to him.

    Darren make an Interview with me now!

    I mean I would like to interview you.

  6. Great interview!

    My environmental lifestyle blog gets about 3% of it’s daily traffic from SEO, but I believe it’s relatively high quality traffic since I know the readers are coming directly because they have an interest in what the saw in the SERP.

    Following those results closely helps me to amplify that traffic by seeing the actual search terms people arrive on.

    Thanks for another great post!

  7. Bill Hartzer says:

    Great post and great interview. The most important question that I want to know, though, is why the heck Aaron decided to grow a beard? Perhaps he has visions of running a contest so someone can win it? LOL

  8. This was wonderful advice. I absolutely love the SEO book. Great interview.. and great post! (as usual) *=)

  9. icedragon says:

    I have a little sense of urgency to buy Aaron’s book . . .
    Great guy indeed

  10. Rhys says:

    I have the same t-shirt as him. Irrelevant I know, but dammit I wanted to share it ;)

  11. doug m says:

    I’m already intrigued by this interview, can’t wait for the rest Darren!

  12. Alex says:

    Great Interview. I would buy the book, but I’m flat out broke

  13. I thought the bit about participating within relevant blogging communities was especially important. Finding the correct blogs to comment on can be tricky.

  14. I really look forward to reading the rest of the interviews.

    This is such a hot topic right now and it’s rarely done right.

  15. aaron wall says:

    >Are there any other high quality directories (other than the DMOZ) that are worth getting into?

    I like Yahoo!, BOTW, JoeAnt, UncoverTheNet, Gimpsy, GoGuides, Linkopedia (much smaller than the others but they still reject junky sites and are affordable), and Business.com if you have a business oriented website. You can also get free exposure on Business.com by submitting a how to guide to Work.com.

    In some cases I may submit to even more directories if my domain matches my keywords or I need a few descriptive inbound links.

    >I have the same t-shirt as him.

    So does my wife. It was the undershirt I had on when we got married. It is so symbolic I will try to keep it forever. (Our big wedding is coming up soon, but when we went to the courthouse to get arrangement papers we got married on the spot too).

    >The most important question that I want to know, though, is why the heck Aaron decided to grow a beard?

    Two factors. My boundless laziness combined with my wife thinking I looked cute with it.

  16. There are some things missing here that helped me get to number one on google for so many posts.

    I wonder if he’ll talk about them tomorrow?!

    RT

  17. Leon says:

    Excellent tips. I’ll be reading on.

  18. Kieran says:

    It is amazing how competitive SEO is now compared to 2003. I’ve always thought that the opportunity from SEO that was available 4 years ago was one of the greatest bargains in business history. There are plenty of sites from totally amateur webmasters who knew nothing about coding or design that spend $100 on hosting and ended up making 6 or 7 figures. SEO is by no means dead now but the demand and supply dynamics of the content market are different now.

  19. Kieran says:

    I understand that paid directories give you a high-PR authoritative link but are these sites really worth it? I’ve always thought that if your content isn’t good enough to get organic links then your site isn’t unique or good enough to get good rankings in general. $200 spent to get 4 links on paid directories could end up getting you 4,000 visitors from a PPC campaign if you do $0.05 bids on MSN with long-tail keywords in your industry.

  20. A. Taylor says:

    Great Interview Aaron and Darren,

    Have you guys thought about podcasting an interview in the future?

  21. Jok3r says:

    *waiting earnestly for the 2nd part of the interview =P

  22. Brad V. says:

    Without knowing anything about SEO, my blog now gets a majority of it’s traffic from search engines. This is both good and bad. It’s good because, well, I’m getting more and more traffic each month. It’s bad because the traffic isn’t the “sticky” kind – people visit and leave and only a handful come back. So I’m now concentrating on making my blog more “sticky” rather than SEO.

    But I still really enjoyed reading the interview and can’t wait for the second part! Thanks Darren!

  23. aaron wall says:

    >I’ve always thought that if your content isn’t good enough to get organic links then your site isn’t unique or good enough to get good rankings in general.

    I have pages that rank #4 or #5 for keywords that cost about $2.50 a click and $100 a day if I want to buy them on Google. If I spend that same $100 a day on links for about a month straight I bet my ranking goes from #4 or #5 to #1. Then at the end of the month I can stop paying Google, or keep paying and have an even stronger position in the market.

    Links don’t have to be viewed as an either or thing. You can mix and match. Even today I continue to buy links for a site that has over 1,000,000 backlinks.

  24. Chirag Jain says:

    its great no other words to say great! great!……………………

  25. Thiru says:

    Commenting on other niche blogs, in my opinion, is a great tip that has paid dividends for me.

  26. CatherineL says:

    Great interview. I love SEO book too by the way, it’s helped me heaps. And I’ve only done some of the things I learned from the book so far.

  27. Sean says:

    Anything recommended by Darren is good enough for me! I am getting it right now.

    I hope it will be good..

  28. That’s definitely a great interview and I am definitely considering getting that book.

  29. Darren –

    I would first like to say that I really love your blog. I have been looking for something like this that would help me learn how to be a successful blogger.

    The interview is great so far. I think that using just a few of the tips that Aaron had will help me to focus my efforts more efficiently. Since I am new to blogging, how do you think the best way to get started is? Thank you for the awesome post.

  30. Film Asia says:

    Pretty generous in answering the questions. Expect more goodies from this guy in the next interview

  31. Bobby Revell says:

    Hi Darren, Nice interview! Two months ago I didn’t even know what seo stood for and it seems to be on everyone’s minds now. One thing I have learned is that knowledge is power in blogging and the challenge of evolving with this constantly changing environment is something that I love most. Learning and experimenting to sharpen what we do everyday is what will make a blogger successful. I am but an infant in blogging but I do love it. Thanks for the great interview!

  32. Mikey says:

    I have learnt alot about SEO and my own website articles are higly ranked see for yourself my website has only been live less than a month http://www.WhichWebsite.com

  33. How timely is this post I was trying to figure out how to get the word out about how to scrapbook. Im in the middle of scrapbooking my kids first few years and started blogging about it. Very cool !

  34. Kieran says:

    >

    But doesn’t this amount to basically “buying” SEO? If so then what is the long-term viability of this strategy? Is it something that will eventually disspear because of Google’s dissaproval or is link-buying something that will never be able to be quantified in a formula and therefore perpetually slip under the alogorythm screening process?

  35. aaron wall says:

    I have some good sites that do not get much traffic. I also have fairly average sites that dominate their makets. The difference between the two is SEO.

    SEO is a subset of marketing, which has existed for thousands of years. Without marketing markets would not exist.

    Google tries to control and shape human behavior on some levels, but they will never be able to stop all marketing, not for the least of reasons because they want to slap their ads on just about everything. You can’t be pro advertising and anti marketing without looking a bit weird. :)

  36. Dave says:

    Great interview. I spent a great deal of time a couple of years ago ensuring that my site was ‘SE friendly’ as best I could.

    Amazing how a couple of years later, I can look back and be thankful that the time spent was worth it, as it helped my site grow to what it is today. I have, however, been neglecting the SEO side of things and possibly need to start re-investing time to ensure that my site remains in its current position.

    The biggest factor for me is the trade off between adding content and working on link building and/or general martketing. I’ve found that I get few natural links coming into my site, so this is possibly where I should concentrate my time, but is the time spent in this area worth it when the site has survivied mostly off the back of new content being added? Plus, I’d much rather spend time adding content to the site than trying to market the site.

    Not being a believer in the ‘build it and they shall come’ philosphy, I understand that initial marketing and work in regard to SEO is very very very important, but as a long term proposition, should it be treated as separate factor to your general day-to-day content, and thus consume time in its own right, or should your website be designed in such a way that the content is the driving force behind its place in the SERPS?

  37. Great post and great interview

    http://www.technobuzz.net/

  38. Scarlett T. says:

    Great write up! If you are looking for full SEO,specialization in text linking, you should check http://www.linkworth.com out.

  39. Good interview, nice tips.
    SEO boosted my blogs traffic immensely, it is highly recommended!!

  40. Ted says:

    I have read alot of articles and books on seo and ranking high on Google. I am convinced that it can be done but it takes time and patience. Links are the most important tool since if you have authority sites linking to your site then Google give you a higher page rank which in turn leads to higher traffic.
    I have zero links on my site, so someone please give me a link and let’s help each other rank #1 in Google.

    Ted
    Debt Specialist
    http://creditcard-debtsolutions.blogspot.com

  41. Liz says:

    For those of us just beginning, it’s nice to come here and find a leg to stand on.

  42. Great it is, i m going to get this book. what say? ;)

    ————
    http://marketingtraffic.blogspot.com

  43. Simon says:

    Aaron Wall sounds like he knows his stuff. The guarentee looks pretty good as well.

    http://www.homejobsite.com

  44. Really Great Interview….. Aaron Wall Is One Of The Most Popular SEO…. I Really Liked It…

    http://smashingzone.blogspot.com

  45. mac flash says:

    yer great stuff, learning a lot now about SEO:-)

  46. unnikuttan says:

    I need to read that book. thanks problogger.

  47. Gade says:

    Good article for new bloggers.

    visit my blog at : http://insurancewiz.blogspot.com

  48. Now that was a great book aroon ilove it about Website rankings of How to promote my website ithink that was a great information for the book also how to get website visitors can be use ilove it…

  49. Siaar says:

    Got a great site where I can find all “how to” answers in very well content rich and correct material. Thanks problogger.

  50. Jon says:

    Great post. There is actually a product called Google Conquest being released Nov. 25 that automates a lot of what Aaron talks about. Pretty powerful stuff.

    http://www.googleconquestbonuses.com