Nathan Gotch has one of the best blogs in the SEO industry. He routinely puts out top notch content via GOTCH SEO, a white solutions and SEO training company that he runs out of The Greater St. Louis Area. After being laid off from work six years ago, he decided to go all-in on his SEO business and made multiple six figures in less than six months.
In this episode, Nathan bares his expertise and gives up the goods on proven SEO strategies, link building, content creation, campaign outreach, and a whole lot more.
So buckle up and enjoy the ride, learn from one of the best and take your SEO game to new heights!
You will be notified everytime I have something valuable for you
Joe: 00:00 Hi everybody. It's Joe Troyer from digital triggers and welcome to another episode of show me the nuggets. So today I'm actually not sitting in the office, but I'm sitting on the back patio today. Uh, so sorry if the, if the sunny weather and, and the palm trees are a distraction, but please refrain. Right? Today we have an awesome guest, Nathan Gotch from Gotch SEO. Uh, so when my team was looking into Nathan, I'm like, look, all that I know is that this guy puts out some really, really good content, some of the best in the entire SEO industry. Um, and, and they came back and they're like, yeah, man, the content is really good. But they found another interesting stat that I thought would be cool to share with everybody. Uh, and Nathan, that was that you grew Gotch SEO to multiple six figures in less than six months. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Nathan: 02:07 Yeah, I'm, that was quite, quite some time ago. Um, but yeah, that was from about 2013 to about the middle of 2014 and that's, uh, that was an interesting time because I basically lost my job in California. I was doing loss prevention, um, at some store in Beverly Hills and got laid off there. And then I was basically, I kind of like, uh, you know, a point where I was going to decide if I was going to go all in with my SEO company or just trying to keep, you know, uh, stringing it along with a side job or, uh, a full time job. And I decided that I was just gonna go full time and I literally packed everything I had, which wasn't very much, put it into my car and drove to St Louis to be with my girlfriend. Um, and then, uh, her, her mom was graceful enough to let me stay at her house for as long as I needed to find a job.
Nathan: 02:59 Um, but I gave myself a 30 day deadline to find enough clients to be able to support myself to be able to at least get an apartment. Um, and so, uh, there was a lot of fear involved, but that was kind of the, uh, the catalyst for everything. And, um, yeah, it just kind of snowballed after that. I had, I was able to get a lot of clients first, kind of my first, uh, batch of clients was through craigslist. And then while I was doing a ton of outbound stuff, I was also building up my inbound, um, assets, which were ranking for keywords like Saint Louis, um, SEO and Atlanta SEO and things like that. And that ended up being my primary source of leads, um, you know, a few months later. And then from there I basically just did full service SEO from 2013 all the way until probably 2016. Um, and that was all I did. I didn't, I didn't have a training program, I didn't do white label services. I didn't do any of that. Um, and so yeah, so I learned a lot there. Dogs dog might bark through this. So, might happen a few times. But uh
Joe: 04:03 No worries it's all good man
Nathan: 04:03 But yeah, that's, that's kind of how I got started and I was, I was able to grow to, you know, that, uh, 8,000, $333 per month mark, which is six figures, um, pretty, pretty quickly. Um, so, and that was, that was very exciting because it was obviously far more money than I'd ever made in my life. Um, so you know, when you see that you're like, oh man, well maybe I can get to 16, maybe I can get to 20. And then you just, you just want to keep going. Cause really, I mean, you're just always going to have that, that kind of feeling I guess. So
Joe: 04:31 a hundred percent, a hundred percent. So I'm curious, um, your back being against the wall, Nathan, do you think that that was like critical in the, in the process for you to make that change and for that kind of transformation, so to speak, to happen?
Nathan: 04:46 Uh, yeah, I do. And I, you know, I, I get that question a lot with the members of Gotch SEO Academy. They're like, when should I, when should I make that leap? You know, when, when should I, when should I do this? And I always tell them like, when I made that leap, I was, first of all young, I didn't have any like big things that I had, you know, big responsibilities. Um, I had a lot of debt, which was obviously a little scary. Um, but no job, no prospects, nothing. So it was really like, okay, well what's a better time than right now? Um, and so if my situation was different, I probably would have operated differently and I probably would have gotten to where I am today, but it would have been maybe two times, three times slower. Um, and so, you know, it's just the, you just got to deal with whatever situation you're given ultimately. So yeah,
Joe: 05:33 just talking with so many entrepreneurs, I've, I've heard similar stories, right. And really when they're back was against the wall as what, what made it finally click right and made like the crazy transformation happen. And I hate saying transformation because it's so overused. Right. Like when, when their back was against the wall is when things got real. Um, and ultimately very shortly after their, you know, their, their life was, they'd completely changed forever.
Nathan: 05:58 Yeah. Yeah. And I've, there've actually been thing for sure. Yeah. And I was going to say, there have been points in my business where I've actually tried to like tap into that fear element so that I could motivate myself even further. Cause I know how powerful that can actually be. Um, and so one was when I decided my wife and I decided to buy a house, I was like, I'm not, I'm not buying a house. I'm not going to spend money. Like, cause I'm like very frugal. So, but, uh, we went and bought this house and I was like, you know what, let's buy this house because that'll give me even more incentive to want to pay this mortgage every single month and want to be able to make that payment. So sometimes I do things like that to literally provoke the fear inside. Cause I, it really does, at least for me, and it may be a little a little strange, but for me that that seems to be kind of like a good driving force for me.
Nathan: 06:41 And I actually did the same thing at the end of 2018 when I got rid of all my clients. Um, and that was obviously most people look at it as like a really stupid decision. But I knew like I had to go, I had to literally just disconnect from it and go all in on what I was doing. Um, and uh, and actually made that same decision at the beginning of this year to end all my white label services as well. So, um, I'm always kind of doing these things to kind of get that, you know, I dunno, like kick in the ass to get going and start doing what's necessary for whatever I'm focusing on at the time. Um, so kind of, kind of an extreme method, but there's just kind of what works for me.
Joe: 07:20 No, no, no, it works. It works really well. I think fear, fear is good to be able to leverage and to kind of use. Um, but I think as well for me is like also surrounding myself with people that are smarter or doing way bigger things than I am in business and they make me question status quo and then if I can combine that with fear, like it's, it's, you know, some next level type of gains in the next 90 120 days.
Nathan: 07:44 Yeah, I totally agree with that.
Joe: 07:46 Awesome man. So, um, when your back was against the wall, so to speak, like what made you pick SEO? Like did you have some background were you doing some research in it? Like what, what made you pick that as a channel or an opportunity?
Nathan: 08:00 Yeah. So that's a good question. So I obviously wasn't like new to SEO when I made this decision. So I actually started tinkering with SEO in 2011 when I was basically just trying to figure out how to make money online. And so, um, I stumbled upon this really in hindsight, terrible course, it's called web colleagues. Um, and it was only $47 and like at the time, and I was like, man, I don't know if I should pay $47 for this course. It was like the biggest decision of my life. And I was actually going into my senior year of college. And so I went through that course and I did all the others, all the things that they recommended, you know, doing paid surveys, um, writing people's essays for college, which wasn't very cool, you know, just doing like pretty much just doing whatever to see what would work.
Nathan: 08:41 And then, um, one recommendation they had was to start a blog because people were making money blogging, you know, at that time. Um, and so I was like, well, I guess I could try that. So I was a college baseball pitcher, so I was like, the only thing that I really have any skill in and the only thing that I really understand how to do is to throw a baseball. So I might as well just create a blog around that. And that ended up being like the catalyst for learning SEO. So, um, obviously was struggling to get traffic, struggling to grow it. So then I was doing more research and then stumbled upon SEO. And that was like when I got hooked. And then if, you know, people who've been following me for a while probably heard this story, but, um, I would literally create websites just to test my SEO skills.
Nathan: 09:22 I wouldn't even care about making money. I would literally just like, I made like a bowflex reviews website and uh, uh, TRX reviews and I was just doing all these different sites just to test it and get better at it. And at that time, obviously I was more like gray hat and kind of like, you know, um, more questionable SEO tactics, but it was necessary at that time. Um, and so that was kind of my background. And then, um, but yeah, I was doing a lot of niche sites and I was basically just building up my skills up until the point where kind of everything just kind of met, um, at the right time, so.
Joe: 09:57 Yup. Gotcha. Gotcha. So I'm curious, um, you mentioned that you closed down your, your, your client division and then you closed down your, your white label division, uh, all the focus on SEO Academy. Why was that?
Nathan: 10:12 Um, you know, for me, I have a really hard time juggling a lot of different projects. Um, and so I have to focus. It's just, it's really, really hard for me. Um, and that there are a lot of people that are really good operationally and stuff like that, but I'm, I'm good at, um, identifying problems and then trying to solve them. And then I feel like that's Kinda like my, my thing. Um, but for me, the clients, obviously that, that's a very tough type of business and I knew that I could only get through a certain revenue and then that'd be it for me really. I mean, I'd be pretty much at that point and I would have, you know, I'd be making good money, but I'd be working those 12, 16 hour days constantly. Even if I had the staff, even if I had the infrastructure to manage it, it really isn't going to change much.
Nathan: 11:03 Um, with that. And so I didn't, I never loved the client, the client model. Um, and so that's why I slowly, slowly transitioned into white label services, which was a little bit better. I systemize that much more. Um, it was a lot more focused. Um, and I had a really good infrastructure with that. I wasn't working on it a ton, but I started to notice that I was spending time dealing with customer support. I was dealing with a lot of stuff there that was taking away from what I needed to do in the academy. Um, and of course the academy is, is a very high profit type of business and it's also a low, uh, time investment is well. So, um, I'm definitely someone who's going to lean more towards business models that would support the lifestyle that I'm interested in. I'm not like someone who's like trying to build the biggest agency or the biggest company in the world, like I'm not really like motivated by that type of stuff. So I just really care about a business model that I feel, you know, I can continue to grow and continuing to spend time with my wife and my, my newborn and things like that. So, um, and I just felt that the
academy was a good, a good business model for my personal preferences. So I decided to go all in on it.
Joe: 12:13 100%. That mix. That makes total sense. I think that as entrepreneurs we get really good at solving problems and that can be good in that can be bad, you know, very quickly we can have four or five, six different hustles going on or businesses the same time. So, uh, so I definitely get that. So like being in the information like space and teaching people stuff and selling software and then also having my own agency, one of the things I've always struggled with is like, how can I really talk about doing SEO and having an agency? Um, and, and, and advising others how to do it if I'm not doing it myself. Right. What are your thoughts on that? Right. Because I'm sure that weighed into your decision and you really had to think through this.
Nathan: 12:53 Yeah, that's, that it was a very tough decision, but I had, I had so much experience with clients at that stage, then I, I could just transition that easily into the course. Um, but now at this point, you know, my experience is coming through the students and some of the side stuff that I'm doing as well. Um, but really, I mean, my system worked two years ago and it's gonna work now because I've built it to obviously be as evergreen as possible. Um, and so, you know, if my, if my students are going through that process, they're taking action, they're doing what i'm telling them, you know, I'm telling them to do, um, they're going to get those results. And more importantly, I'm going to see the, the experience that they're going through. Um, and so, and I actually, sometimes I do take on some consulting just to kind of get back into it or I do some audits and stuff just to kind of get back into the weeds because I need to make sure I'm staying, like, my mind is there.
Nathan: 13:49 I'm staying with that, um, analytical mind and seeing unique situations. So I do take on audits, I do some consulting. Um, but I just know that at this point I know how much goes into a client campaign. They're like, I don't even think I can physically do it. It would make me go like, go crazy. So because I'm like, so content centric now that I know how much work goes into that. And like for example, I just published a blog post today about, um, the top link to link services. I spent three weeks on that blog post. I mean, like when, how could you do that for a client unless you, you know, had really, really strong infrastructure and a huge team. And, um, that's just really, really hard. And I'm not, I'm not interested in, in building that out. So
Joe: 14:37 Yeah, 100%. Yeah, I saw that post go out. It was a mammoth. Huge post. I don't even know how you stay focused on one piece of content for that long.
Nathan: 14:49 Trust me It's not easy. So, um, but yeah, it's uh, you know, it's, it's actually not even the length that's so hard. It's just figuring out where I want to go with it. You know, like I have all this data, I have all this information. I'm like okay, where am I going with this? And sometimes I have to literally just start it and then I kind of figure out the path on where to go with it. But it is, it's very challenging in that way.
Joe: 15:13 So, so, um, and another reason blog posts, you talked about the four pillar SEO strategy and you talked about it being really the only SEO strategy that you need. Can you dig a little deeper on this?
Nathan: 15:25 Yeah. Quite the claim. Right? Um, so, uh, yeah, so that is your referencing my SEO strategy post. Um, yeah. So let me, let me think about that cause I've kind of changed that a little bit.
Nathan: 15:39 Um, cause now, now it's, for me it's, it's audit, um, optimize, create and then promote. And that's Kinda, that's Kinda the process I, I show in the academy. Um, the SEO strategy. Yeah. I'll walk you through. Oh, sure, sure. So, um, and I've actually kind of, when I first did the academy, I, I was just basically throwing all the information in my mind into a course. And that was helpful for a lot of people. It, it helped a lot of people learn. But then I started to realize that a lot of my people that are joining my course are people who had clients, people who were working on campaigns. So I was like, okay, I need to really hone down and make sure this is systemized, make sure that, um, you know, it can be used in a scalable way. Um, and so that's why I developed that kind of four step process.
Nathan: 16:25 So the first step audit by far the most important thing that you can do at the beginning of any SEO campaign. Um, basically that process is just literally auditing every facet of SEO. So you're going to audit their keywords, uh, existing that may actually involve going out and building a keyword database as well. It's kind of all in the same bucket there. Analyzing competitors, finding weaknesses in there. Um, and then doing a technical audit that's going to be stuff like optimizing site speed. Um, making sure the site is mobile friendly and making sure the site has a good user experience. All that good, good stuff there. Um, and then the one of the main places that I focus all my time on is a content audit. Um, and that's like, that's like my bread and butter type of situation because that's, I feel a lot of people kind of skip over that because it's really requires the most thought.
Nathan: 17:18 It requires the most planning. Um, and it can be very, very difficult to figure out, you know, what you should actually do with the information. Um, cause anyone can go out there, anyone can go out there and fix broken links. I mean that's not like, it doesn't require strategy in any way. Um, but the content audit really will reveal, you know, what you're working with, with a website. And usually what I'm trying to identify in a content audit is, are there pages that are thin, so low word count and um, aren't adding any value, outdated, anything like that. Um, and then I make sure that there's the, um, the KPI's to back whatever I'm, any decision I'm making. So I'm sure a page can have a little workout, but it could also have like, you know, a hundred backlinks. So then I got to kind of make a decision based on that.
Nathan: 18:04 Um, but in a lot of cases, if it's a thin piece of content and it's outdated, it probably doesn't have any positive signals going to it. So then usually I have to make the decision, you know, are we going to delete this page? Are we going to, uh, just let it 404, don't even redirect it. Um, or are we going to take it and consolidate it with another post or another page? Um, and so having to make those decisions is usually based, actually, it's always based on the data. Um, so for example, if I were to find a page that was thin and it had some quality links going to it, then I would identify a relevant page on the site and redirect it to that page. So just kind of a small example there. Um, but one of my favorite, one of my favorite things to do is identifying similar content assets or identifying similar pages that are usually in some type of form of keyword cannibalization, which is, you know, one keyword you're targeting one keyword across multiple pages, which can cause many, many problems.
Nathan: 19:03 Um, so usually what I do is identify that and then I see if I can do what I call the cake technique, which is just a fancy, uh, fancy term for consolidating similar assets into a single mother asset. Um, and that that has a variety of benefits, obviously makes the content much longer. Uh, if it, if those pages have links, you're going to be isolating that authority onto one page. There's just a variety of things that can go on there. Um, and so that's like, I'm always looking for that opportunity cause that's like really, really golden. Um, but yeah, so the, the content on it is, that's when I'm doing my audit. That's like a lot of time is invested in that because that's usually where a lot of the quick wins are.
Joe: 19:42 A hundred percent. You said, um, you said something before you move on. I just want to address what types of situations do not fix a 404?
Nathan: 19:50 Um, I don't fix a 404 if it doesn't have links. So if it doesn't have links and it doesn't have a relevant page to redirect to usually in, in that case. Um, and obviously usually if it's a 404, it probably doesn't have traffic either. So, um, yeah, so if it doesn't have links and it doesn't have a relevant alternative, I'm probably just gonna let it four oh four. So, and be taken out of the index. Yup. So, um, and then yeah, after the, after the content audit, uh, it's probably going to be the backlink audit, um, and offsite audit. So obviously making sure that the link profile is clean. If it's not, then we have to figure out, you know, what to do there. And then, um, if they're a local business, then we'll also do a local audit, which will involve auditing their, Google my business listing and auditing their citations, auditing their reviews.
Nathan: 20:41 Um, and so the whole purpose of this audit, it's kind of strange because you're not actually doing any during the audit. You're just basically figuring out like, okay, what is going on here? And then it's just kind of like you're, you're throwing everything out there. But then the real magic happens when you can take all of that and put into what I call an action list. And what I do is I take all that information, I put it into a prioritized action list based on what's going to have the highest impact on the SEO campaigns. So not every SEO action is created equally. So going out there and writing the unique meta-description sure that's a necessary thing, but it's not going to have a huge impact compared to me creating a 3000 word content asset. So, you know, it's not all created equally. And that seems to get kind of confused, um, with some beginners, you know, and it's natural human tendency to focus on what's easiest.
Nathan: 21:35 Um, and so I have made sure to, um, score each action based on the impact that it's gonna have. So if it's a level one action, it's gonna have a high impact of the level three action, it's going to have a very low impact. So, um, yeah,
Joe: 21:51 Yeah, that's super valuable, especially for a newer SEO that doesn't understand the impact of any of the things. Right. They just blindly, a lot of us just blindly are doing the audits to begin with. Here's an audit template, right? Oh yeah, let's add some of this other stuff, but aren't quite sure exactly the impact that fixes connects. So yeah, that's super valuable.
Nathan: 22:08 Yeah. So, um, so that's kind of the first stage there is the audit. And then, um, actually one thing I skipped there, so also do audit and then research, which I kind of put into a separate phase, which is going out there and building a keyword database.
Nathan: 22:22 And now sometimes clients will already have a keyword database but also go through that process and do that. And then the other part is the link prospecting. So building, building, huge list of link prospects. Um, and that's gonna be a variety of different link types. It's going to be link types that are non content dependent. So it's going to be like guest posts, interviews, like we're doing, um, a Haro, that type of stuff. That's all it does. It doesn't require content. Um, and then there are the content dependent types of links that are going to be resource pages. And then from there you can do broken link building and there's, um, so identifying those opportunities is, um, important in the beginning because that way when you actually get to that phase, you already have a nice, a nice list. Um, and then also kind of a subset of that is actually qualifying those link opportunities as well, which I probably would do in the research phase as well.
Nathan: 23:16 Um, and then also with the keyword database, you'll show on qualify, uh, the keywords as well. So, um, yeah, so there's kind of a lot in there. Um, but yeah, that's kind of like the, the preliminary stage is basically just getting, laying that foundation for what you're going to be doing over the next three to six, 12 months. Really at this point, an SEO campaign, you should be thinking two years, three years in advance, um, because it's just getting harder or harder to rank. So, um, and we can get into why that is later on. But, um, but yeah, that's Kinda the first phase. And I don't know if you want to maybe ask some clarifying questions there or
Joe: 23:52 I don't know, I think we got it so far. That's, that's really good. Um, so then what happens next in the process?
Nathan: 23:59 So the next part of the process is of course usually going to be based on whatever I prioritized.
Nathan: 24:05 Um, but in most cases it's going to be optimizing existing pages. Um, and so that's what the second phase I call optimize. So we're basically, um, you know, doing what I said, which is consolidating pages, we're actually doing the actions that, um, you know, going through that process, maybe, um, improving existing pages, adding more content to them and making them make it, improving the user experience, um, going through and
actually fixing all the technical issues. Basically everything that we identified in the audit, um, it's going to be what we're, what we're attacking and that, that second phase. And then the third phase, basically you need to get the first two phases, right? Cause that's the foundation of everything. And once, you know, you can pretty much drive traffic just by doing the first two phases. But then phase three is when what I call create.
Nathan: 24:53 So that means actually creating new new assets, excuse me, new assets that are going to, um, help with the SEO performance. So, um, there are basically two types of assets that you can create. Number one is just a straight SEO asset, which is just a, um, asset built around a key word. Um, and then there's also a linkable asset. And usually I try to combine both of those together. Um, but in some cases of linkable asset may not be keyword targeted. Um, and so an example would be like Mazda's link explorer. That's not a keyword targeted asset, but it is definitely a link asset because they get a ton of links going to it. Um, and so, so it's really, really critical in phase three to build out these linkable assets, um, because it's going to make face for a hundred times easier. Um, and so I, in the post I talked about earlier, um, I sent it probably like 10 times in that blog post that you need to create linkable assets because even if you're not buying links, um, and you're doing the links yourself, having linkable assets, having things that are actually worth linking to is so incredibly valuable and makes your life so much easier.
Nathan: 26:04 Um, and so that's that phase. Phase three is dedicated to making sure that we have that base there so that when we do go out and start to acquire links, we're doing it in a natural way. We're doing it in the easiest way possible and the most scalable way possible. Because content is clearly the most scalable link building strategy that you can have, because once you're actually ranking, then you get that snowball effect of people just linking to you just because you're ranking it. So, um, so yeah, so let's kind of 30,000 foot view of, of what it is, and there's obviously a lot that has to be unpacked, um, and a lot of, a lot of nuance there, but, um, yeah, that's, that's kind of the process.
Joe: 26:42 Okay. So with, with a linkable asset, let's say that we got an agency, um, and I'll, I'll, I'll use an example. A friend of mine. So, um, a friend of mine has an agency, his name's Josh, and they focus exclusively on HVAC and plumbing companies, right?
Nathan: 26:59 Yup.
Joe: 27:00 So they, they do a lot of on-page, they do a lot of local like citation stuff, but they kind of stay away from back links. Um, and they kind of let the age of the sites and the history and the on-page kind of, you know, get the wins for them. So let's say that they're in a competitive market and they need to start creating linkable assets, you know, for them, everything that they do as an agency is very rinse and repeat, right from one location to another, from one HVAC and plumbing company in St Louis to the same in, you know, south Florida, right? Like, here are the pages, here's how they're optimized here, the keywords we're going after. How would they think about creating linkable assets that they could somehow reuse in that same sort of capacity? Any thoughts there?
Nathan: 27:43 Sure, yeah. Um, yes, see that's, that's a challenge because there, there is a formula formula equative create linkable assets. And usually my go to is data-driven posts. So pretty much every, every industry has some sort of data that can be leveraged, um, in a linkable asset. So, um, that's usually my go to. Um, but in a lot of cases, usually when you identify key words, so for example, if it's a local, a local business, um, actually, will you hold on one second.
Joe: 28:14 No worries. You're fine.
Nathan: 28:41 Sorry about that, two dogs, two dogs and a baby in here. So we've got some pauses that have to happen
Joe: 28:50 That's so funny dude. Um, a long time ago I bought an expired domain called three dogs and a baby.com.
Nathan: 28:56 We're almost there
Joe: 28:56 You're almost there. No worries.
Nathan: 29:02 Yeah. So, uh, okay, back to linkable assets.
Joe: 29:05 Yeah. Yeah. So I feel like I personally feel like linkable assets make a whole lot of sense as an SEO strategy. But I feel like when it comes to like doing local SEO, so to speak, uh, for local businesses and when you're scaling that linkable assets are almost like a catch 22 for me, right? Like, how do, how can I get a win and an ROI as an SEO Agency with a linkable asset, right. One, one focusing on local businesses.
Nathan: 29:33 Yeah. So when it's a local business, you have to kind of change your mindset of what the purpose of the linkable asset is. So, you know, when, when you tell a lawyer or an HVAC company that they have to create a linkable asset, they're gonna be like, why? Why did he create that? That's not the page you want to rank, that's not, that's not what the page you want to drive traffic to. And it's kind of a hard thing to wrap, wrap your mind around. But the purpose of linkable assets on the local level is purely to build the overall website authority. And the fastest way to build the website authority is to drive links to a linkable asset. And that will grow. And I love the quote that a rising tide lifts all ships. And that's the way I think about it. So when you're driving leads to those assets, it just makes everything easier. And your, your local, your local rankings will increase as the website authority grows and you're doing it in a natural way because driving links to a lead capture page for a St Louis Plumber, it doesn't make sense.
Nathan: 30:29 You know, it just doesn't make sense. It doesn't, it doesn't add up. And if it doesn't make sense to me, it definitely doesn't make sense to Google because they have far more resources than I do to be able to come to that conclusion. Um, and so first figuring out what is the point of even doing it is the first step. Um, but then actually execution wise, usually the way that I did, and I'm glad you brought an HVAC company cause I didn't work with a few HVAC companies where I actually implemented this exact strategy. Um, actually one in St Louis. Um, but what we did is we identified key words that were on the national level. So general key words about HVAC, um, that we could go after to establish this company as the authority in HVAC. Um, and I, I'd have to go back and look what exactly what they were, but they were pretty specific about specific problems dealing with air conditioning units and, um, furnaces and things like that.
Nathan: 31:27 And so what we did is we just created a really in depth asset around those more general national keywords. And then we just drove a ton of links to those and the rankings client. So, um, and that's kind of, that's just kinda how we go about it. So it's either, it's either going to be identifying a more national driven key word and then using that as the vehicle for acquiring links or doing something a little more advanced if it makes sense. But usually most cases it's going to be, you know, identifying a key word. Um, and like I mentioned earlier, data is always like the best thing that you can leverage the most industries cause there's pretty much always data, um, or research that you can find. And if there isn't, then you can create your own. Um, Kinda like what I did in my last post that was basically me just creating data, um, out of thin air. So, um, so,
Joe: 32:13 Okay. Any good examples of any kind of broad kind of linkable assets that people could create that they could kind of swipe and deploy? So I know, like for us, like we've done the whole, like we've done some drone shoots of different towns, right? And then we've done outreach in those towns, right. And said, you know, hey Mr Realtor, like you're using all these crappy images. Right? Here's some, here's some of the best spots, just linked to us. Right. Uh, and just got an attribution for the images and that's, that's been good. Um, but no crazy volume, but good quality natural links, so to speak. Um, any other kind of thoughts on linkable assets? Maybe a for local specifically?
Nathan: 32:55 Um, I think, I think that's a great idea. And I also think having realistic expectations is important too. Um, because you know, in our industry, you see like someone like me or someone like Brian Dean created, create some sort of asset and it gets like, you know, 2000 referring domains that is not going to happen, um, in most industries. And so, you know, you have to keep in mind how linkable certain industries are. Obviously the SEO, Internet marketing people are very link happy. Um, but finding that same behavior in HVAC, you are not going to find it. Um, so yeah, so establishing, you know, you're not going to get thousands of links from these assets. Um, but yeah, for me, I, I 99% of the time I'm gonna just gonna find a keyword and create the best asset I can around that keyword. And then I'm going to go out there and promote it.
Nathan: 33:43 Usually going to be through guest post opportunities, maybe a little direct promotion of the actual asset to some individuals if it makes sense. But usually it's going to be more like leveraging non content dependent link building tactics to promote the likable asset, which seems bizarre, but that's just kind of the way it ends up being. And that's the most reliable way for me to acquire links to it. Um, you know, especially when a client's like, okay, what did you do this month? Well, it's like, well, hey, I promoted this asset to a bunch of people. No one linked to it. So yeah, so you can't really do that. So you have to really focus on the things that are most reliable. And then over time, that asset will likely start to acquire those natural links given enough enough patience and enough time.
Joe: 34:30 And especially as it starts to rank. Right. And once it starts to rank for some of those bigger keywords, it's going to kind of naturally, you know, if you're going after national keywords and it's ranking for it definitely is gonna you know, have the ability to get linked links automatically and have that snowball effect.
Nathan: 34:44 Exactly. And it's, it's kind of funny too because out of the gate, clients are very resistant to the idea of like targeting more general national driven keywords. But when you rank for them, they start seeing that traffic, they're like, oh man, this is, this is awesome because it is, it is building their brand. It may not be written, it may not result in direct sales like it went for a local query, but it is building their brand. It is establishing them as an authority and that all battle, it benefits them. So, um, and obviously I'm doing it for the SEO purposes, but it does have some other um, side effects as well. Positive side effects
Joe: 35:18 100%. Um, when you're doing an outreach, uh, for, for uh, for local campaigns specifically. Um, any tips, tricks, thoughts, best practices
Nathan: 35:30 depending on what I'm doing. So are you talking about pruning an asset or promote a, or getting a guest post or
Joe: 35:37 Let's say either, right? Like what are your favorite goto tactics?
Nathan: 35:41 Yeah, you know, it's, that's, I love when people ask me that. And actually in the academy too, I say this, but I don't really do a lot of like tactics when it comes outreach. It's usually very, very straightforward. Like my only tactic is thinking about what would I want in a, in a pitch. And so I get a lot of pitches and I have more 99% of them because usually people try to go from not knowing me to wanting to go on a date and that's just doesn't, it doesn't work there. So, but at the same time, you don't want to waste people's time, right? So no one wants to go through this super long outreach process where you're like building up this like fake relationship where they know at the end you're just going to ask them for something.
Nathan: 36:24 Like, so for me, I just immediately tell them what I want out of the gate. Usually first email right away. Like, Hey, I'm interested in guest posting on your site. Here are three ideas that, um, I would, I think would be a good fit. I haven't found it anywhere else on your site. And that's usually something of that nature. Very straight forward. Obviously coming from a, a real person, a real, um, sender, uh, making sure you're making sure you're not using a free email address, stuff like that. Um, and then some more tactical stuff. Like I don't usually send more than like 50 outreach emails per day. That's probably like the Max I would do. Um, and I don't want to fry my email address.
Joe: 37:06 You'd definitely don't need more than that if you've got a good pitch.
Nathan: 37:09 Yeah, exactly. So, um, but yeah, it's usually, it's usually just being very, very forward with what I'm interested in. Then most importantly, establishing what value they're going to get out of the situation. And sometimes, you know, obviously the biggest and the highest value that you can give someone as money. Um, and it, it really does talk when it comes to outreach. And so usually, um, I will make some, I'll say something at the end that says, you know, we're willing to compensate you for, for this placement if that's, if that's what you're looking for. And so you just, I mean, people just don't want to, don't want to waste their time really. So that's, that's usually my strategies just to get right to it, show them a real person. Um, and that's really about it.
Joe: 37:52 So, yeah, for, for most of the local campaigns, definitely that we're running, we're definitely running more, I guess you would say sponsor posts than guest posts, right. Because we are, you know, it's, it's transactional because for us to spend all time, all kinds of crazy amount of time to build out, you know, three weeks to build out a content post. Like it just doesn't, you know, a crazy piece of content. It just doesn't translate for the customer. So, um, you know, we're still finding really good quality sites, but at the end of the day, um, I believe that most of them are kind of under monetized. Right. And the easiest way to their heart is just giving them, like you said, what they want. Um, so for us, the, the, the truth for internally at digital triggers and, and for helping people with their SEO at scale, for local, the, the big win has just been mommy blogs with guest posts. Uh, and, and really mommy goes mommy blogs with sponsored posts, right. Cause most of them are truly under monetized. Um, and to find somebody locally that's a mom that's blogging, like they would love the opportunity to get paid whatever. You got to pay them, right? Like, and they'd be stoked about it and you would make an actual change in their life. Like, yeah, it's a big deal. It's a big win.
Nathan: 39:07 Yup. I totally agree with that. Yeah. Especially when you can identify those local opportunities to, a lot of those bloggers are making a ton of money. Um, and so, you know, anything is, anything is a big deal for them. So, um, and I will say the one nuance when it comes to outreach is like when you're doing it at scale and you're targeting kind of like lower authority opportunities, it makes sense to be just like very forward, right to the point like, Hey, this is what we got. But if you're dealing with people like that, have like serious influence in a particular niche, you're going to want to hear it a lot to build it up a little bit. Don't just like, you know, try to go crazy right away. Um, so that's, that is kind of a slight nuance there. Um, you want to, you know, build those relationships in a much slower, slower way, um, over time.
Joe: 39:56 A hundred percent, but I think you're right, like at the end of the day, you just got to put yourself in that person's shoes and what would you want, right? Like is ultimately what you have to ask yourself. Um, and so as long as you're doing your research, right, as long as you're making your pitch right, like I, I don't think there's any problem with getting straight to the point.
Nathan: 40:13 Yeah. And there's, as long as there's a clear exchange of value, that's the thing I try to always emphasize. There just has to be, there has to be equal value on both sides. In fact, there should probably be more value for the person that's doing you the favor. So you know, you just pitching a guest post like sure that that is valuable for them because you are adding content to their website. But you know, anything that you can add to make that pitch of slightly more valuable, it's going to be beneficial in some way. So that's usually why I do guest posts plus a financial incentive as well because I'm stacking on that value for them because really I'm the one asking for a favor at the end of the day. So
Joe: 40:51 yeah, 100%. So I'm curious, um, when inside the academy, when you teach people to do outreach and guest posts or sponsored posts, let's say it's sponsored posts, um, or, or making a financial incentive, um, how do you teach them to write the content? Do teach them to outsource that content? How do you deal with kind of the quality control, right. So to speak on that content creative. And I know some people will use it and like I writer, you know, I'm pumping out guest posts and you know, they, they get away with it so to speak because they're paying for it. Right. And I know that at times we've had some questionable content. I mean, it wasn't, you know, it wasn't crap but it wasn't very good, you know? Good either.
Nathan: 41:32 Yeah. Um, I teach both ways. So obviously, you know, DIY, it is one way, but obviously going out there and trying to systemize it and trying to acquire as many as possible is, is something I teach as well. And usually this is just in my experience and everyone obviously has different experience, but hiring a writer or several writers to take on that content is usually better. In my experience. There are some services, like I've, I've tested fat Joe's content services many, many times. Really good content. Um, the only challenges they usually write in UK based English. You have to kind of change that up a little bit, a little bit of editing but for the price, you know, pretty, pretty solid. Yep. Um, so, but for the most part, you know, I've always had better experience with individual writers but they are more expensive. So you've gotta kind of weigh, um, the pros and the cons of that?
Joe: 42:25 Yeah, yeah. For me, for me, I know like we're, we're doing it, I mean at scale for us, but I'm sure you know, compared to what you are doing, probably not at scale, but for us like it's just a detail that I don't want to worry about. So we work with a content shop, right? That that handles everything from a to z. We pitched a topic, we get it approved, right? We pitch it, we get it approved and then like their editors are really good. Like every time I get it, it's already, it looks flawless. Like if I was the person accepting the content or looking at the content, I'd be like, yes, please. Like send us more. And that's really, for me what it's about is like securing those relationships and, and making the bloggers happy so that they want to work with us in the future.
Nathan: 43:06 Yeah. And then that's the nice thing about working with or using services is you're basically just picking, piggybacking off the infrastructure that they've already built. So that's, that's really, um, something that I do recommend a lot of the students. And I will say one, um, nuance about the guest posting is, and this is something that's really been working well for me cause I've been doing a ton of outreach for a couple of niche sites that I'm working on. Um, but what I've been doing is I've been sending the guest posts pitch, so just a traditional guest posts pitch with three ideas, you know, the class of one you've seen. Um, and then a lot of the time they'll respond with, you know, okay, this is my price per post. And I'm like, okay, this is your price proposed. So then what I do is I go back to their blog and I research pages that are relevant to whatever my linkable pages. And I say, Hey, well I just noticed this page, would you be interested in just me paying you? And then you can place that link in this, this article because then I only have to create any content and it's actually easier for them too. And so that's, that's one little work run I've been doing. It's actually been very, very, um, effective and obviously from a time investment and resource perspective, much, much more effective. It doesn't always work, but it's definitely something that you to try. Um, you know, if you get that opportunity
Joe: 44:17 It's almost like a niche edit, so to speak, right. Would be the right term for it. So it's like they say yes to a guest post or sponsored posts and they give you a price and instead of just going and writing the piece, right, you just turn around and you're like, Hey, actually I found this piece of content, would you just link to me in this piece and I'll pay you that fee?
Nathan: 44:36 Yep. Exactly. Yeah. It's been working very, very well. And I mean, it kind of makes sense for both sides too, cause they don't, they don't want to go through the time investment of uploading a post and formatting a post and doing all that either. So, um, it is, it is a good little tactic for sure.
Joe: 44:53 I like that. Yeah. I like that a lot. I mean that's something that I can see us using like immediately. Right. And I mean that cuts out our content piece, content costs. So there goes, you know, 25, 30 bucks in terms of content. Right? Yeah. Cut that right at the top. So that's, yeah, that's beautiful.
Nathan: 45:10 Yeah. And you're also getting a link. You're also getting a link and an aged piece of content as well, which is also nice. So, you know, when you get a guest post, it's a brand new asset. It has no age, it has probably very little trust. Um, and so even even if you get a link on a page on a website that has no links going to that specific page, it's still been there. It's still aged. Um, and so it's probably has a little bit more trust than a brand new new asset. So, yeah.
Joe: 45:36 Yup. What are your thoughts on reciprocal linking? Right when you're pitching somebody and they're like, yeah, but right. I'd like, I'd like a link as well. Like, I feel like this used to be obviously such a huge topic, reciprocal linking. Right. But I feel like, you know, nobody's talking about it these days. So if they request a link as well, right. Or a swap, like what's your, what's your thought process?
Nathan: 46:00 Yeah, that's, that's a good question. Um, I, I pretty much only ever consider it if the other person has a very strong website. Um, and that's usually the only exception. Um, and so I've, I've had a few people pitch me on various things and I'm like, yeah, I'll do it, but I want to make sure I'm getting a link to my site, you know, so, um, but you know, the kind of those lower grade opportunities, you know, from like DA 10 to DA 40 or whatever DA DA or whatever, um, third party metric you want to use. I probably wouldn't be doing a lot of that type of stuff. And if that's what they're asking for that I would just, I would just kind of, uh, change the angle and say, okay, I, I don't really want to do that, but maybe we'll pay you a little bit more to get the, get the placement. Um, so just a little negotiation if anything.
Joe: 46:51 Yeah, I've actually been, I'm seeing it like a, at digital triggers for example. So we're getting a lot of people hitting us up, pitching us links all the time, let us write a piece of content or let's do a sponsored post or, you know, how can we get a link? And so we've just been playing with the responses to see like, again, you know, you, you said it best, but like, what's in it for me? Like, I don't care about a hundred bucks for a sponsored post or whatever you're going to pay me. Like it doesn't matter. Like, but we've been getting some influential names. Like if I had dropped the names, like everybody would know the names here and there the same email pitches that we give people and we say work and they're like, and they're the same exact ones from huge names.
Joe: 47:28 And I'm like, like, this is the best that you can do. Like this is what I do and I'm an amateur at this thing. Um, and so we've just been playing with the responses and I've just been asking like, quite frankly, like, what's in it for us? You're going to swap links with us. And I mean, you know, sites with way more authority than us and they're like, yeah, sure, no problem. We're, you know, what makes sense. Right? And like they're not just going to put a link in a piece of content if it doesn't make sense. Right. Which is good. I don't, I don't want that. Um, but I'm seeing a lot of kind of reciprocal linking at the moment actually working really well.
Nathan: 48:02 Yeah. And I'll, I'll give you an example, which I don't know if I should probably be sharing this, but hey, you know, it might help. Um, so, uh, have you heard of mailshake? Yeah. Company. Yeah. So they reached out to me and they were like, Hey, uh, we, we found this blog post and I think, I think it was my backlinks article. No. Okay. We have, we have this outreach thing and I'm like, okay, that's, that's pretty, pretty relevant to what my asset is. It's about link building. It's about outreach and they're like a, so if you place our link in this, we can get you a link on hubspot. And I was like, okay, that's, that's a legit, that's a legit exchange of value right there because yeah, getting a link on the hubspot is very hard to get. And I already had, like, I already have a couple of links, but I just know the value of getting a link on a website like that. And so that, that was a totally fair exchange, um, in that, that situation. And I did go through with that. Um, but it's not like, you know, they just injected some link into hubspot. Like it was a legit, legit thing. I had to give my take on a specific, um, thing about SEO and, um, there was, there was a little bit of work involved, but it was definitely worth it, um, to invest just a little bit of time to get up to get featured on, on Hubspot, which is a very powerful domain. So, yeah.
Joe: 49:15 Yeah. It's funny that you say that, like mailshake wasn't the one that reached out to me, but in the cold email game, we've had a lot of people hitting us up, but like, how do you find somebody's email and tools like that to tools that you could say are competitors to mailshake are, are very similar. Um, and they're, they've all been willing to kind of play ball, so to speak. Um, and so, yeah, some, some Nice, easy win wins that I've been negotiating off of inbound pitches. So that's been interesting for me.
Nathan: 49:42 Yeah. Yup. And I, I don't, I don't see the problem with it, you know, because it's, it's just, it's just business. So it's just an exchange of value. So I don't see the issue with it and no one's paying for links. I didn't pay for anything. So, and that's a good, that's what's against Google's guidelines. So, um, you know, not a big deal. So
Joe: 50:02 pick, I think that makes perfect sense. Cool, man. So we've talked a lot about a lot, uh, so far and I want to just thank you first and foremost. Lots of value pursued at man. Um, anything that you're thinking that we're missing, we've got a couple of minutes left. Anything that you think that we're missing? I got the infamous, you know, last podcast question, you know, relating to a book everybody asks, but slightly differently.
Nathan: 50:25 Okay. Um, yeah, I, I would say that's pretty much it. I would say that the big thing that I would say to invest a lot of resources and time in is creating content assets. Because really at the end of the day, that's going to be, that's going to be the foundation that holds an SEO campaign together. Um, and that, that even applies on the local level too. Cause I know some local businesses think they can get away with not creating content, but just think about it this way. Most local businesses are not creating content. So if you are the local business that steps up and becomes the authority in your space, at least on the local level, maybe even nationally, you're just going to dominate everyone and you're in your local area. So
Joe: 51:06 Nobody's going to be able to keep up for sure.
Nathan: 51:08 No. And, and how can, how can like, you know, one plumber beach beat someone who's, you know, it's just not possible. These guys, these companies are too small. I'm in a lot of cases and they just don't want to do it. I mean, they literally just don't want to do it. They're fine with the revenue numbers. And, um, and that's, that's all cool. So, um, but yeah, if you, if you become the company that decides to step up and create those longterm assets, you will definitely benefit from it. So.
Joe: 51:34 A hundred percent. Good tip man. Um, all right. So last question to wrap this thing up. So when you look at your business, what's the one book that's made the biggest impact on your business like that you can directly correlate? I learned this in this book and then it actually went into my business, not like that was a feel good book and I got to win. Like I've got some takeaways and then I haven't done anything yet. Like things that you know, that you implemented from a book, I guess.
Nathan: 52:00 Yeah. Um, you know, if I'm gonna, if I had to pick just one, I'd probably have to say Cashvertising. And the reason is because I've, I've referred to that book so many times, like every time I reopen the academy, I pulled that book out and I, I do a review of what's in that book because I want to get my mind in the right place. Um, you know, obviously persuading in the right way. Um, and then if you stack Influenced the old school book with that, those are very, very similar books. Um, so usually those are the two that like I'm trying to get my mindset right with, uh, but they're just, there are so many, but those, those two really are, I mean if you just had those two books, you could really do a lot in business. That's, that's my opinion. So yeah.
Joe: 52:45 Awesome. Actually haven't wrote writ or read cashvertising so that'll be a good one. I have to get after that right away
Nathan: 52:51 and it's a type of book where like you need to go through it and like put it down and then go back to it like a week later and go through it again. Because every time I've gone through, I've probably gone through it now. Honestly, probably like at least five times and every time I go through I see something new then I, and it's usually, it's not because like I didn't read it, it's just because I'm at a different stage now, so now that I understand it now based on my situation. unlike before I was just, you know, a newb, so I didn't really know what's going on. There's too much, too many things, uh, for me to figure out, so I couldn't like truly execute on the information. So I'm definitely one to be red and re-read for sure.
Joe: 53:31 Awesome man. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, where, where would you say you're most active on social? If somebody wants to reach out, they want to follow you. where you, where you at? Obviously we'll, we'll link up in the show notes, the gotch SEO, but any other honorable mentions so to speak or places we should link up?
Nathan: 53:46 Honestly, I'm probably most active on Facebook. Um, you know, I really only publish on social when I have really something like valuable to share. Um, so I'm definitely not going to be like Gary Vaynerchuk and you across, across. Um, but yeah, I mean probably Facebook, Twitter, you know, those, those are probably the two channels.
Joe: 54:06 Awesome man. Well thank you again for coming on so much value. I'm sure that our crew going to take away so much from this. I really appreciate you coming on and being here man.
Nathan: 54:15 Yeah, of course. Thank you so much for having me.
Joe: 54:17 All right. See you guys. Have an awesome, awesome day and we'll catch you on the next episode of show me the nuggets. Awesome brother. Thank you. But yeah, of course you're not. That was a lot of fun. I'm sure my people dig it. We've got lots of SEOs, and thank you for spending the last hour with me. Hopefully you get some good exposure from it too. Um, man, that's some good SEOs here lately and we got some more good stuff that's getting ready to drop, so hopefully it'll make a dent in business for you.
Nathan: 54:43 Cool. Yeah, that sounds good. Thank you so much for having me on. I appreciate it.
Joe: 54:46 Yeah, man, of course. And if you ever need anything, anything I can help you out with, man, don't, don't hesitate to ask
Nathan: 54:51 for sure. You too. Seriously.
Joe: Alright, man. Bye.