Matt Diggity went from being a miserable office guy to being a free man, traveling around the world, thanks to SEO. Today, he is helping others achieve the same through his Diggity Marketing blog and consultations. He is also looking forward to his 3rd Chiang Mai SEO Conference this year with some of the greatest people in the industry.
In this interview, Matt talks about his amazing SEO journey, sharing his best insights on affiliate SEO, guest post outreach, how to hire the best SEO folks, and much more.
Discover how you can build a 7-figure business with Affiliate SEO too.
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All right. All right, everybody. Welcome officially to the show. It's my pleasure today to have Matt Diggity on the show. For those of you guys that don't know, Matt, I don't know where you guys have been hiding, but not as a full blown SEO optimization specialist. And he's currently, I believe, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, uh, working, uh, as an affiliate SEO full time. A lot of you guys probably know Matt because of his popular SEO blog called Diggity Marketing. Uh, he also has a course and a training program out there, I believe, called the Affiliate Lab and he's been able to build a 7 figure SEO business as an affiliate marketer and he also holds the Chiang Mai SEO Conference every year. So man, without further ado, Matt, you just want to come on and say hello.
How's it going guys? Thanks for having me, Joe. It's a pleasure to finally connect.
Yeah, man, it's awesome. Thanks for bearing with me. We had a couple little technical issues this morning, but we're, uh, excited to be hanging out with everybody. Not for those of my audience that don't know you. You just want to do kind of a quick little intro two to three minutes, kind of how you got into the space. And then we can kind of go from there.
Yeah. So the reason I got into online marketing or making money online, whatever you want to call it, was pretty much just desperation. I was an engineer back in California and working 60 hour weeks dreading every part of it. That like being a, I'll just be straight with you guys. Being an electrical engineer, working in a cubicle, working on stuff that's so freaking boring. It was just, I saw the dead end in my life. I saw, I saw the best case scenario, which would be, okay, let's just take a look at the highest people up in my company. They're all just freaking miserable. And I thought the worst case scenarios, which is I already starting to experience depression, setting in and just lack of purpose and all that kind of stuff. So it was honestly, the first thing I did when I wanted to bail out of that crappy situation was just do the opposite of that.
So I started learning, learning more yoga, and I actually became a yoga teacher, but I'm not too, shortly after that and I found out that doesn't make that much money. Um, not, not that at that point in time I was like really money hungry or anything like that, but I needed enough. I was living in San Diego, California. I need, need some money or else I was going to starve. So then I started looking into different ways to make passive income around the same time I read the Four Hour Work week. So I knew like, okay, there's people making money online, through e-commerce or maybe affiliate marketing, stuff like that. So that's how I, I jumped into it all. And, and ironically, the first website I decided to make was around yoga. And guess what? That didn't make money either, but eventually I just didn't give up and kept plugging at it. Yeah.
Awesome man. And how long were you kind of in the space, so to speak, Matt, before you kind of had your first big break, you would say?
Man, I mean I would, I would say there's a lot of breaks along the way. I mean, the first significant one is when that first dollar comes in, it doesn't matter whether it's $100 or a $1 or anything, but that's a huge breakthrough because up until that point, no I don't care who you are getting into the space. All of this make money on life stuff is, is hocus pocus, right? So when that first dollar comes in, then it's actually real. So that was a big milestone. But I would say the, the first time where it actually felt like, okay, this is a job replacer is when I started making probably about like three to $4,000 a month with some Amazon affiliate sites. And then I just decided, okay, like I'm not replacing my engineering income at this level, but getting close and it's enough for me to feel comfortable to pull the plug on that career and dive into this stuff and start living the life that I want to live.
100%. 100%. Yeah. It doesn't matter, like you said, right. First dollar, first $10, whatever it was that, that first commission check came through or that first sale. Right. Uh, I'll never forget that myself. Yeah. You know, it's real, you know, that it's a, you know, if anything, that was a huge kick in the ass for me. I can, I can definitely say that. So, um, Matt, it's great to see how much you've accomplished throughout your career. If you could kind of think back to when you were still kind of fighting your way to the top, so to speak, and fighting your way to make it, do you have a turning point that kind of made you realize how much of an impact you can make on the industry? Right. It's something that was like, Oh man, it's time. It's time to kind of step up my game or take this thing to the next level?
Hmm. You know, I never really thought about it like that. Yeah. I guess, uh, I mean most books you would read would say, you know, begin with the end in mind and craft a plan and, and make your vision board and set the highest goal at the top of it. I guess it, I mean I'm all about that kind of stuff. I'm all about reading. I'm, and I'm all about vision boards and all that stuff too, but I never did that. I kind of just kept scaling, um, in terms of like the immediate opportunities I saw and the, and necessities. So I guess, um, I mean like for, for example, I guess one of the biggest reasons people might know who I am is because of the Diggity marketing blog, but that was only put together because I had a link selling service and I wanted to get people to come to the site and read some things and then also see you can buy something there.
So like as much as, um, as much as I like want to help people. And I always had a passion behind wanting to give SEO and give these opportunities for, for leaving your day job and that kind of stuff. Um, there's also a necessity involved in it too. So it was never like, okay, these are the steps I'm going to take and then hopefully I'm going to be like this well known SEO. It was never like that and that's definitely not even like that now. Like I, I honestly feel like in terms of my life's purpose and stuff like that, um, having a big personality or a big internet personality isn't, isn't really what I want. It's kind of came to be so to speak. So trying to make good decisions on how to use that wisely. Um, I mean the, I would have to say probably the biggest obligation I feel right now, our biggest turning point in, in terms of wanting to go big and stuff like that is probably the Chiang Mai Seo Conference.
Like the experience of, of having a big place for not just, it's not, it's not just like a conference that you would send your VA too if you're an agency owner or you would go as like a Newbie Seo. This is like for advanced people, this is for super affiliates. This is where the agency owners, this is for the software developers. You know, this is a great conference and I think now it's at the point where, okay, now this is something that's purposeful. This is, it's a home for this second section of Seo. So in that case, like this is probably the first time when it's willful, when it's, uh, when it's planned and decided what kind of steps I'm going to take to take things to the next level. But up until this point, it was just happenstance and necessity and just seeing what opportunities were available at the time and just doing them.
How many people were at the last line? It looks like a lot, man. It looks like a quantum leap in terms of attendees, from the outside looking at it and maybe it wasn't such a quantum leap. Maybe it was more gradual, but from the outside it seems like you got just blew that thing up.
Yeah, it's just um, I mean I don't take much of the credit. I can curate a list of speakers, but Chiang Mai in Thailand sells it. But the first year it was a 525 people. The second year is 565, something like that. I mean they were both at capacity. We just cram more people in there the second time. Um, but this year we booked out the third ballroom, so it's going to be nearly a hundred people, so we have more, have more room and we're not endangering lives with capacity limits.
is that the first event that you threw?
I'm actually, so this is the third year. The year before the first year I actually had a mastermind in Chiang Mai and it was pretty, pretty small, like not a big deal. I think we had like 40 people, but it was just a bunch of my friends from the SEO friends from the UK, some coming from the States and just coordinated a trip over to Thailand. And so I was like, okay, let's do something for these guys. And we set up this mastermind event and that's what kicked off the whole conference. It was a great experience. Everyone got a whole bunch of value from it. So it was just like, okay, why don't we make that a public thing? Why is it just us benefiting from that? Let's let's open it up to everybody else.
Yeah, man, that's crazy. Going from 40 people to 500 people, that's a whole different talent in terms of being able to pull off an event like that. Ah, congratulations.
I don't recommend it. An SEO's personality is not set up for events like that. We're good at this and we're good at spreadsheets. We're not good at event planning and stuff like that. But somehow it worked out.
100% cool man. So moving on. Uh, one of the things I really wanted to chat with you about today, Matt, is affiliate SEO or. So many of my people run, maybe dabbled just a little bit in affiliate, maybe some don't even do any affiliate SEO and all, like, they're quite literally most of my people running 90% or more in terms of client SEO and doing it as a service. So I wanted to chat with you guys or I wanted to chat with you specifically about some affiliate SEO. And to be frank, like I don't think there is a right answer or wrong answer, but what, what do you think is better, right between the two? And what do you see as the kind of the difference?
Right. I mean, I don't think one is better. Well, I'd be a hypocrite if I did. I'm doing both of them right now. So we have clients for my agencies, The Search Initiative, have quite a few clients. I'm also doing affiliate marketing completely through my agency Lead Spring. So I'm doing both. And I would, I would say 50:50 level. There's pros and cons to each, right? So in terms of client Seo, the awesome things are, it's low risk. You basically get all that money up front and it's great for newbies too, not saying like only newbies do Client SEO, but it's great for newbies in the sense that you get that money up front that can be used to pay for tools, that can be used to pay for your education. You, you can learn with that money, you can experiment with that money and you get it up front.
With affiliate Seo, you're putting that money into a niche idea. You don't know if it's going to work later. Um, you're buying content and links up front and you're not even sure that it will get passed a sandbox, but if you're doing the right things, you will. Um, so in that sense, you know, like client SEO is, it's a lot safer and the risk is mitigated. Um, and the money's up front. That said, I would say client SEO's hard to scale in the sense that, um, you, you now need another skill that also isn't inherent to the typical SEO personality, which is very data driven. You needed the skill sales, so you need to be able to sell yourself and communicate with clients. And that can be 40 to, sometimes, up to 50 and 60% of the job is just communicating with clients and managing those projects.
So it's not just you you do in your work, but you're talking to people and you're making sure they're calm and stuff like that. Whereas with affiliate Seo, it's just you and the websites and Google and, um, you don't get held back by needing to talk to the clients. If you have a bad month, it's between you and yourself. You can have that conversation one second and you're done. Um, and I guess with, um, in terms of monetization, like, uh, I would say that it's, it's kind of different. I mean, you can definitely scale an agency to six figures a month. That's, that's definitely doable. Um, you're going to need a lot of staff to that though. Um, with an affiliate model, it's kind of like, depends on how successful your niches, like you can find niches that, that can easily make you 50 to a hundred thousand dollars a month.
But the model that I like to use is a flipping model where I'll get a site to max out, maybe that's at $5,000 a month, maybe $50,000 a month, and then I'll flip it. Once I flipped that site, I get all my time back, I get all my resources back and then I have a big chunk of money that I can use for investing into new sites and stuff like that. So yeah, there's trade offs. Like I'm all about diversification, so I'll do both. But um, I would say in terms of my own personality, I like affiliate better, but that's just, that's just my personality that doesn't want to get on the phone and sell myself and, and that kind of stuff. And I, I like, I like high competition. I like I was a big ex-gamer, so there's some part of me that just wants to be on the leaderboard in the hardest or possible. Um, but yeah,
yeah, that was good. So if somebody comes to you, Matt and says like, this is my background, this is my history. Right? And what kind of monetization method should I go after? Like how would you, how would you coach them or how would you consult them and say, if you're looking for this, go here. If you're looking for this, go here, how would, what would your answer be to them?
If it's regarding SEO and making a career in Seo, no matter who it is and whatever kind of personality type that they throw at me, I'm probably going to say like, the best thing to do is first get a job at an agency. Like get a job in an agency. You don't have to worry about the sales part. You can watch people selling and you can see their process and you can pick that up from them. And then they're going to pay for your education. Like you'll get a salary, but they're going to be teaching you and training you so you'll get your feet wet there. Um, and then after that, like now that you have the skills, you can decide whether or not you want to just jump straight into affiliate or start your own agency. Something like that I'd probably recommend, um, kind of just depends on one, like your personality type. If, if you want to talk to people, if you like selling, if you get a rush out of closing deals and stuff like that, go to the client route. Um, and then if you don't have a bank roll, if you don't have at least five or $10,000 in the bank to invest in an affiliate site or and give yourself some cushion just in case it doesn't work out as fast as you want, then you probably are going to want to go client route as well.
Yup. I completely agree with that. Um, in fact that was how I got started. I didn't start working for an agency directly, right. By, um, I was working with them. Right. So I took over SEO for their current customers. They went and sold it, uh, and effectively it paid me to be able to learn. Um, and it, and it was great because I got to learn, I've got to test, I got a budget for marketing tools, I got a budget for links, uh, and it allowed me to kind of do my own thing while all the while I was running all kinds of other business models myself trying to kind of figure things out from affiliate Seo to client Seo to paper call or paper lead, right? It allowed me to kind of have my bases covered and have a budget to start testing. So definitely agree with your approach,
right, man. And just think about how different it would have been like, okay, so you, you were working with the agency and they were giving their budget. They probably said like, okay, you can spend a couple grand a month on backlinks. I mean, that's going to allow you to take some risks. So you'll try these kind of links to try those kinds of links. You'll play with some other stuff. But if it were just you and you had five grand in the bank, like you're going to be making those decisions so slow and so carefully and you wouldn't experiment at all. So I guess I would say it definitely accelerated your learning process. Do you feel that way?
Yeah, 100% it gave me the budget to accelerate. Very well said. That would have been much slower to action if it was my own money. 100%
So, um, what do you think the biggest challenge is before a new affiliate SEO? So you think it's that, you know, kind of being too cautious with their money or having to move really cautiously because they kind of have a limited budget or what, what do you think kind of the biggest challenges for newer affiliate SEOs? Right. So kind of my people, if you've thought about them while we're doing client SEO and wanted to get into affiliate Seo, what do you think kind of the problems would be, what are the things that you'd tell them to watch out for?
Well, typically for any, for any affiliate, even if you're experienced, the number one challenging problem is niche selection. So there, I mean, if you choose the right niche, I've been in some that I can throw up a seven to 10 page website with crappy content from my writer and have that make 10 to $20,000 a month. Like that's, that's the kind of niche you want to be in. But you can find other niches like in, typically this happens on with Amazon niches lot, um, that take a lot of effort and don't pay nearly as much. Maybe you might break $1,000 a month, but you have to make a 30 page website and throw tons of backlinks inside it. So it's kinda just like niche selection determines everything. And there's two, there's two issues with the number one, the wrong niche might be too difficult to rank.
So you, you might find that you want to rank in some, I don't know, Supplement Niche and you find page one is just populated with healthline, web MD and stuff like that. Like no matter what, if you don't choose that niche properly, you're just not going to rank. Um, number two is, uh, you know, like the wrong niche might just be too competitive or deep bids are competitive but also not, um, not pay that much and you don't really know that until you've done it. So the, the basic, um, the basic advice that I like to give people, it's just a reverse engineer as much as you can run these like spreadsheets and prediction calculators and all that kind of stuff, the best way to do it, it's just reverse engineer what's already working. So jump on marketplaces like Flippa, there's other web place places online where people are buying and selling websites and just look and see what is selling and then look at their financials and you'll see right then and there like this is something that also that can rank that also makes this much money. Do I feel like this is something I want to go into? And once I started doing that, like that really, really saved a lot of time in the, in the trial and error process with niche selection.
100%. Yeah. Every time I've done that, it's been a big time suck. But it's paid off, have, you know, very, very well. Uh, you got to sort through a lot of shit to find the gems. Um, but yeah, that's, that's worked well for me. That got me into years ago, the coupon game and the EMDs exact matches and coupons, uh, which, which did really, really well for me for a very long time. So That's interesting. Where would you look besides Flippa?
Uh, well, okay, so there's some, you know, marketplace aggregates like Centurica that will kind of just bring up the listings of everywhere. Um, some marketplaces like Empire Flippers required deposit, so you wouldn't really be able to look on there, um, without, without putting down deposits. That said, um, I'm buying websites a lot of the time to just, just to skip past the sandbox period and just get straight into a site to trade and make money. So if you're, if you weren't really shortcut the process and not just for niche selection and you can just jump right into a niche by buying a website.
Yep. For sure. Cool. So that's definitely a resource there that we'll want to put in the show notes. I've never heard of that one actually. So nice new find. What was it? Yeah. Okay, cool. Awesome. So you talked a little bit earlier about kind of flipping and that model. Is that Kinda what you're doing mostly these days when it comes to Affiliate SEO?
Yeah man. So check this out. Like, this will make complete sense right now when I explain it, but I was doing the opposite of it for so long and it's just so stupid. So when I first started Lead Spring basically my company, that's my affiliate marketing agency. All we do is we build affiliate websites. That's, that's it. Straight up. Um, so basically when we first started we, we decided, okay, let's start building some websites. We build some websites, we got it to making to like 20 k a month. And then we decided to do, we decided to create more websites. So we were taking all that profit building more websites, more backlinks, etc. So we get up to 30k a month. But the profits still like 5000, 6000 dollars because we're reinvesting all of that back in the new site.
So I mean the whole idea was, okay, let's eventually maybe we get to $100,000 a month and then we start to just chill or just maintain and we'll enjoy most of that profit. But it doesn't work that way. Like you're not going to get to 100,000 and think that that's enough. You're going to want to take 90% of that and just put it right back in the business. So you can tread this way for long, long, long time, and then just realize that you're not making any profit. So I don't consider myself that stupid, but it was kind of stupid to do all that. So in the same time, when you're scaling to that point, um, you're going to have to, like, you're going to have big portfolios, so you're going to have to grow more team members so your, your size gets bigger, your costs get bigger, you're going to need more licenses to do all this stuff.
So then we just decided, okay, what happens if we just flip all this stuff? Well, when you flip a website, let's say a website is making $10,000 a month, right now if you sell a website, you're typically going to get a multiplier of about 35 to 40 x monthly profits. So you can sell that for 350 to $400,000. What that means is this doesn't become a bad idea until 35 or 40 months later, right? So if you can't replace a $10,000 site when you just got, uh, uh, nearly half a million dollars, like then that's, that's a problem. Yeah. Three years to do that. I think you can see the whole logic behind it. You get all that money up front and get the cash injection, you get all your, your employee's time back. You get your resources. Like it's just a no brainer and who doesn't like getting a six figure paycheck?
100% I love that model. Absolutely. Um, I found too that it takes a completely different skill set to manage a team of 30, 40 people plus. Then underneath that, right. Like I know that I have no business managing a team of over 30 people. I can run up to 30, no problem. But after that, you know, everything kind of goes to hell in a hand basket. So for me, I, I love this model too because it's, it's a, it's staying in a size limit of people that I know that I can manage and it gets me a big payout and it gets the team kind of a refresher. Now they get to work on something new again versus going back and you know, running the same old things and doing the same old things over and over.
Yeah. That said there are some like mental fucker, sorry if you don't have cursing on the show, uh, there, there are some things that like kind of gets you, I mean when you jump, like we just sold some sites, uh, last month and when you decrease and then your profit levels are back to like $3,000 a month, like that's something you had to realize, like this is part of the process. Don't freak out and stuff like that. Um, so I mean, there's some parts of it that are, that are simply just mindset things and, and maybe egotistical things that you can just easily look past. But there's, there are, I see people freak out sometimes with when they try this model, but if you look at the big picture, it makes complete sense.
100%. Yeah. So it's a, it can be a mind fuck. Um, to be frank. Um, I've bought, sold multiple businesses and every time I've sold it's been, it's been a mind fuck. It's, you know, it takes a little while, it takes a couple of weeks to kind of really think through it and to get past it. At least for me, even at this level, you know, multiple seven figure businesses, every single time I sell one, it's, it's weird. Um, it's kind of a come to Jesus, like, what, what am I going to do now? Like, what do I want to do when I grow up? Like it, it's, uh, it's different.
So, um, if you had to kind of break down the process map for you guys at lead spring in building out a site right, that you are going to sell, what would that look like? Is that a 10 month process? Is that a 12 month process? Is that a two year, three year? Like kind of what's the ideal outcome there and kind of, if we had to kind of break that down a little bit for everybody, what would that look like?
You wanted to at least be a 12 month process first of all, because when you're selling a website, most of the time the brokers are going to give you a valuation based on the last 12 months. So if you don't own it for 12 months, then like some of that gets cut off or you could like, they could give you a valuation based on six months, but you get a smaller multiplier. So like you're going to punish either way. Um, so you wanted to take some time. Um, I guess it starts with either your, your, you're building a site from scratch or you're buying a website and building up from there. I mean, the first thing to do, if you're buying a site, let's say you're buying a site, like the first thing I do is just hit it with all the conversion rate optimization tricks that I, I possibly know.
So I mean, 90% of the time there's, there's money left on the table, whether they're not doing like comparison tables where the coloring is wrong or their call to action button names are wrong or something, something of the rather there there'll be doing wrong. Or maybe they're referring people to Amazon products where you could just work directly with the manufacturer and get a better deal. There's just a bunch of different stuff that it could be. So that's the first thing. First. A lot of times I can take a, a site that I buy and double its revenue in one month just by doing all these kinds of things. So, and that's also a big factor on why you would buy a website, by the way. Um, but that's a different topic. Um, and after that, I guess the next thing to do would be a technical audit.
Like just do hardcore technical audit just to make sure you're fixing for four errors, fixing it up, double redirects, improving site speed and maybe for some crazy reason https is installed, do that kind of stuff. And just getting the site to be a tight ship. Like you want it to be a nice tight ship. If you want. Quick and easy way to do it. Get Ahrefs site audit tool, run it through there and just give yourself 95% health or more and then move on. Um, after that, content. It's all about content and just figuring first doing keyword research and figuring out, okay, what are the pages that I haven't written about yet that could possibly be good monetizing keywords, getting those written and then going back into existing content. Seeing like, okay, here's a page of mine that's on page two. What am I doing wrong? What kind of content am I missing on there? What kind of, uh, like, I dunno, maybe optimization factors do I not have? What's my word length compared to everyone else on page one sprucing those guys up. After that, it's time to pour on the backlinks. Just hitting the pages that want to rank with quality backlinkrelevant back links, links from site with traffic, trust links, that kind of stuff. And following the process. Do it over and over again and eventually the site starts to move up.
So when you buy a site, how long are you typically holding it? Does it all kind of depend? Do you have kind of a revenue target in mind for each one once you kind of bring it on or how do you decide like what, what the future of the site's going to look like? What's the game plan?
Uh, well okay, so how long do I hold it? That's kind of tricky. You want to balance, you want to first balance, like when you think it's starting to get close to the niche peeking out. Like when you start saying that I'm number one for everything. Like that's a little bit too late because then you've taken all the opportunity off the table for the buyer. So you want to find that, that that point in time where you're starting to get close and you think you're almost there but you want to leave something for the buyer. Also, it's good to leave some other monetization channels on there. Like maybe there's this shoulder niche or side niche that you, you haven't had the chance to get into, leave that for them or maybe decided to run retargeting ads and maybe that's something to leave for them too. But um, you know, you, yeah, it's, I guess it's just like trying to find that sweet balance, like maybe the 90 to 95% level where you feel like you've maxed it out and then begin the selling process. It's also good to being in the selling process a little bit early because a lot of more expensive businesses. So like anything go on over $300,000 is typically, I'm going to take a long sales cycle to get to get off your hands. So bear in mind with that as well.
What do you think that sales cycle looks like for stuff over 300 grand, like you said? If a site's making over 10k a month basically net, right? Then you've got to be worried about a longer sales cycle.
Yeah, yeah. I'm, I haven't had that much good luck selling my big ones. Um, but you know, you're typically looking at at least three months to sell it. That said, if you're in the right niche and you can find a strategic buyer, like for example, let's say I was selling a, I dunno, a website reviewing, uh, I don't know, home electronic products, you know, like maybe, maybe a wire cutter might buy it or maybe you know, the electronic manufacturer might buy it or some hosting company might buy it, that's always a possibility. But in general, especially, especially with niches that, I don't know if some people feel like are a little bit vulnerable right now, like people in the Seo space and think that health niches are scary. So that might take longer to sell too.
Okay. And why are they thinking health is scary? Is that because all of the medic update and everything else?
Yeah, I guess so. Um, I mean, yeah, if we look at those pie charts and we see like what kind of sites were affected last August. I mean health is a big chunk. It wasn't all of it by the way, but it was a big chunk. So I think people are just kind of feeling iffy about it. That's just how the sentiment goes.
Okay. So um, you made a comment earlier that I wanted to drill in on. Um, you said that your big sites, you're having kind of trouble selling or you haven't had as much success with selling. So strategically at lead spring, right, where you guys do this stuff every day. Are you focused on kind of that, you know, 10k a month kind of revenue and under and like as a sweet spot, but you know, you can sell pretty quickly? Or did you guys specialize in any kind of income range there, I guess is the question?
Not really. We haven't really looked at it that sense. I mean if you got a side to make 10k and you knew 30k was in its horizon, you're not going to throw it all back. It's just the like, uh, some kind of fighting instinct and every human being would never let that happen. Um, but yeah, I mean I think another big part of why some of our big sites have been stubborn to sell is like we, before we weren't choosing our niches that carefully and sense that there are sellable like I like to go for super fad niches that are really hot at a certain point in time. It's a really nice steep ride at the beginning. Um, so maybe that was thing in us, but right now we seem to be choosing them a little bit more carefully and they should be sellable.
Okay. In terms of niches then, are you looking at things that like have a domain that's kind of broad, right? So that you have more kind of shoulder niche opportunities? Right. And you can kind of jump into some other things. Is that kind of part of the selection criteria or the buying criteria? If you will.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean it's a, it's just a great concept to build a site that's an authority that can branch off into different things. Like, you don't want to, you don't want to like have a best golf range finder site. You want to have a golf site, so then you can get into all that different stuff. Or maybe you just want to have a sports site so you can get into golf, tennis and hunting or whatever, you know, the, the, the bigger it is, the better it is. That said, big sites are hard to manage and especially a slower to rank. So there's, there's a trade off as, as with anything. Right.
So what are you seeing in terms of like, um, buyer types? You said like the niche buyer, right? Like the, the big juggernauts could be the people that buy out your site. Who, who else do you see at lead spring kind of buying, buying sites from you in terms of like who these people are?
Yeah, I mean you've got the, you've got the juggernauts, but also I would say the most common buyer right now, it's very interesting is your ex-dentists that's looking to retire or someone who's like invest in stocks that just seized the stock market right now. They see it peaked out, they look at real estate prices. You see those peeked out and they're just like, okay, the, the returns aren't great on the traditional stuff. Why don't I take a risk with these online businesses that are getting hyped up right now for good, for do reason. So a lot of times we're getting investors like that and it's really exciting. And you know, I, I to myself, I invest in things and I, when I can, I'd rather buy a website any day over like, you know, stocks or a house. Even though I've heavily invested in real estate. I mean just the opportunities right now are better in my opinion with online businesses.
100% that makes it a whole lot of sense. That's interesting. So you would say the two primaries are like the juggernauts and then kind of the professionals, so to speak, that are looking for alternative investment kind of routes.
Yeah. And then, yeah, then there's also like consolidations. There's, there's portfolios too. So there's a lot of companies out there, some that come to mind would be wired investors in income store. And so like these guys, what they do is they'll take investor money to, to, uh, fund, you know, creating together a portfolio and then pay dividends out to, you know, the people that invest and they'll take an operation management fee and then probably a portion of the profits as well. So there's, you know, it's becoming a legit asset class that people are investing in as an alternative. Uh, and then we have these, these companies like, you know, what like wired and, and like, uh, I already forgot what I said, but like them that are taking advantage of that.
Okay, cool. And so at lead spring, that's kind of an interesting model. Um, you also do joint ventures too, right?
Yes. Yeah. So we were doing them a lot more at the beginning. So we had this program, a JV program where, let's say you had a website that got $2,000 a month and you just got stuck, you couldn't, you couldn't get it ranked higher and maybe you ran out of interest in the niche. So we would partner with you. And if we got to say $6,000 a month, we would see the differences, $5,000 then we'd split that down the middle. So two and 2,500 or the difference would be 5,000 yeah, $5,000. Then split down the middle of 2,500 to each party. So you would get your original 1000 plus two thousand five hundred and three thousand five hundred. We'd take 2,500 and call it a day. We just don't have that open right now. Um, we're too busy with our own projects, so to speak. But yeah, it's a good model and we've had a lot of great partners too.
That's awesome. And then you have a full blown kind of agency right now too, right?
Yeah. That's the Search Initiative.
Ok, Search Intitiative. We'll want that in the show notes. And so what kind of criteria you were looking at the, at the Search Initiative to do business with somebody - specific budgets or specific niches or kind of all over the place or who are you working with there?
Yeah, so we're a boutique agency. We're not trying to be the biggest in the world, but of course we are trying to be the best. We're hiring all like college graduates out of the UK. I think we have offices in Poland and now we're, we're hiring the best of the best and we're looking to train the best of the best. So unfortunately we're not super cheap. We're not going to take on clients for 500 or $1,000 a month.
We're looking for more established businesses that we can take to the next level. Ironically, and this probably has more to do with what kind of SEO I am is we get a lot of clients that are just a passing us their affiliate websites. That's, that's kind of different. You know, we, I would say a decent chunk of our portfolio is over above average for affiliate sites as opposed to like ecommerce businesses and stuff like that. So that's interesting. It's um, it's fun in the wheelhouse.
Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah, for sure. So you've got Diggity Marketing, you got Lead Spring and the Search Initiative. Any other kind of key things that you're doing these days? You got to Chiang Mai Seo Conference. I mean those are four big commitments, man.
Right? Let's not forget Authority Builders. So we built, it isn't my backlink service basically it's just, it's get guest post outreach. So, um, the, the differentiating factor and what we did that made us stand out is we basically killed off all the partners that we work with that aren't getting a decent chunk of traffic in Google. I mean it's a, it's a no brainer to think about it. Like an easy way to figure out whether Google likes a website is whether they rank it, right? Now they have rank website, then obviously they're okay with the sites. It links the, it's backlinks, right? Of course. It is. So once we switched over to this, it was kind of like night and day with the client's results. Like I do a lot of tracking of clients results and they started to look like real nice hockey sticks. Like I know this is a white hat SEO, but it wasn't looking like it. It was looking powerful.
Yup. Okay, awesome. So you got authority builders, the search initiative, lead spring and diggity marketing and then the Chiang Mai Seo conference. So dude, with that being said, like that is a whole lot of things going on. Like how do you keep it all under control as an entrepreneur? Right. We all have ADD tendencies. We all want to do everything right, which you are doing. It looks like everything right. How do you stay balanced? How do you handle it all?
Uh, like shout out to my business partners and my managers. I think, I mean, one great thing that we started implementing since like early 2018 is really focusing on management structures and taking a look at business scaling principles. Uh, I do a lot of reading and stuff like that, but I'd say the most impactful thing I did was got a consultation from Mads Singers. Um, Mads is a great guy, is Danish dude. Um, he has a, um, an outsourcing agency in the Philippines and I believe he has something like 50 VA's under him, something like that. So we had him, we flew him out to work with my businesses and teach us some management principles, take a look at it and all this stuff that we're doing. And yeah, it's been a game changer for us. Like we're putting things in place and it's, I can truly say like, I only really need to focus on about five or six people and they're doing the same thing below themselves, which has allowed my brain to stay a lot more sane. Yeah.
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Cool. So yeah, I found when you have more than kind of those, those four or five direct reports that things can get really crazy and really hectic. So I think you're definitely at a good balancing point, so to speak. Right. So, um, you gave us kind of a, a map really, really quickly of how you would build out kind of an affiliate site and maximize the revenue after like buying one or if you just built one, it would work I'm sure from scratch as well. Um, so with that being said, if somebody was to go take those steps and implement them, what do you, what do you think a small affiliate SEO team looks like? Who are the, who are the key people? Who are the key contractors? Who are the key VAs? Like how would you build out that team if you are in that position? Right? You just bought a site that's making 10 grand a month. You're trying to make it, take it to 30 or 40 grand a month, right? You're going to follow the steps that you laid out. What would your team look like?
Right. Okay, cool. This is a good question. And, and we, we came in at this level like I'm someone who has the cashflow to buy a site making $10,000 a month. So I just invested $350,000 something like that, right? So I can build a big team. Cool. So first things first is like, dude, does it want to be me doing the SEO? Let's, let's assume that I'm the SEO project manager. Now, the first thing I want is probably a content editor. So someone that's going to be in charge of, of going out and researching the keyword, keyword research, defining content briefs. So someone who is going to say like, okay, we want to rank for best protein powder for vegans, or something like that. Let's go get this piece created. I'm going to do the keyword research. I'm going to make the content brief, tell them they need to hit these subtopics. Here's the keyword density analysis, here's the words they need to hit in the page. Here's the tone that they want to hit, blah, blah, blah, blah. So we want someone to manage all that stuff and be completely responsible for the content
So the content editor is completely responsible for content, like you just said. So they're doing like the gap analysis. They'd go into the content brief, they're doing it all kind of in terms of content.
Right? Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
I've tried to separate those roles in the past. Right. Having too many people, I think in that, in kind of that role that were in charge of content, uh, and it's always kind of beat me up, so to speak. So I think one person that kind of owns the content, so to speak, high level is kind of a different thought process for me.
Right. Yeah. Yeah. I mean underneath that person they'll have their different content writers for sure. Um, but you want one content manager per project, so that, that would be that. Then I would also want a designer, so maybe someone that's more visually oriented that can take the content and just upload it. So they're going to be formatting the content, they'll be putting in nice tables and they're, they're gonna like, uh, make call outs and highlight different things, making look some custom illustrations, like all that kind of stuff. So that's their job - the content uploader. I'm not sure what we call that position in our company, but very, very crucial. I find that the content uploader position is like one of the last ones that an SEO is willing to get rid of. I'm not sure why, but I don't know many people that have done it, but once they do, it's like night and days, just such a nice thing not to have to upload and decorate content, which we're not probably good at anyways.
Yeah. So yeah, that there's more design heavy, Matt or you think that they're more like html - no plugins, no wordpress, so to speak. Right. So that they can put in the tables and the call outs
I'd make them design heavy. I mean they'll probably be working with like a content builder anyways, like Thrive or Elementor or whatever. So even if they're not tech savvy, they can still, they still can leverage like the visual aspects and they're going to be better than like a techie person at the, at the visual stuff, making things look good. And it's also really handy for someone to be able to create their own like featured images at the top of posts. Custom illustrations are nice too. And when you're making your own custom illustrations in it, as in your posts and stuff like that, like let's say I make a graph that's showing people like the different benefits or some kind of different benefits of fish oil or something like that.
And I make like a graph and some nice pie chart. Like people use that on the Internet. You can reach out to them, make them give you link credit for that. So that's, it also can come back for you in that way. Okay. So we got the content editor, he has, he/she has the content people and the content writers underneath them. We've got the content uploader. Um, and then we probably want a backlink team. So you want someone to take care of the outreach. So probably have someone, you know, doing outreach themselves. Maybe they have a couple people under them. Typically, one thing that most outreach was like to do is having a link prospector. So someone that's going to go out and determine all the links that they can get. Maybe someone who's going out and collecting email addresses. So that's all also like really busy work, but you need someone to do it.
But, the outreach manager would probably have someone underneath them that'll do that. Then the outreach manager, you give him the KPIs and like, okay, there's so many links we want per month. These are our specifications, these are the pages we want him to go to. Here's the anchor text we want. And uh, and yeah, so what does that leave for you at the top? Here's the orchestrator of everything you're defining the KPIs, how many pieces of content everyone's going to get per month. But I also think it's probably within your best interest to keep some SEO technicalities under your hood. Like being responsible for the interlinking between pages and link juice management, um, being responsible for, you know, the overall, you know, technical sanity of the site and making sure everything is technically sound. Um, but other than that, and yeah, definitely monetization. So it should be you making the calls on what kind of products to be putting in the top positions. And you know when you're going to decide to make a email followup series like conversion, I think you leave at the top. Um, but other than that, like those are the essentials and you get that kind of team to get together, get a players in those positions and you're on the way to make an a very fine affiliate agency.
So you, you said something key there at the end. Uh, you said eight players and those positions, right? So if you were building this team out, you would not be training people, I assume, right? You would be bringing people in that had some experience and then telling them your SOPs or sharing with them your SOPs, right?
Yeah. This is this one super challenging though because, okay, here's the thing. If you're hiring a, like an SEO manager, like someone who's supposed to be skilled in SEO, like the fact that they want to work for someone else is also a red flag. Like what, why wouldn't he/she be able to figure this out when you were doing it on your own, you know, so we do like to get entry level people and train them up. I mean we have good training processes but we also hire fast and fire fast. So we'll go through a lot of people and we'll find those diamonds in the rough pretty quickly. Put them through the training process and keep the winners.
Yup. 100%. So like an outreach manager, I kind of play that hat in our business and it sucks. Um, and I definitely need an outreach manager. So in my experience trying to hire an outreach manager sucks. Um, I'd love to hear your thoughts because most of them are doing things that I would never want to do. They're saying hands and emails that I would never want to say. They have a lot of practices that I would never want to deploy. When I hired them and kind of bring them on, even doing tasks projects, just to see how they do, like 99.9% of the time I'm like, you know, you're fired as fast as they got the test project. So thoughts on that specific position or role?
Tough one man.
Um, how do you have a manager that has no experience? Right?
Yeah, man, I don't have any advice for you for what you've gone through. We've gone through like five and the one we have right now is amazing and I think it's sheer luck, but that's been, that said, I would go for just finding someone with the right attitude and maybe they have or they're an expert at one type of outreach. Like maybe they're awesome at guests posts or maybe they're awesome at skyscraper. Um, you know, like maybe they just haven't developed themselves completely, but they're really good at one thing. That's a good sign if they mastered one of them. So then you would have in your screening process, like here's the other types of outreach that we can do. And then you get them trained on the rest of it. I think that's kind of how it happened with our current outreach manager. And I think it's a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Of course, we were rewarding him very well, monetarily, but also at the same time, like he's learning a lot from us and I've seen him grow and do some, get some amazing results. Like he's, he showed me a link that he built today that on a DA 88 that was free. So I was like, okay, you're getting bad ass.
Yeah. That's fantastic. So is your team like all international, are they located all over the world? Kind of where does your team sit and where are you hiring from?
A lot of us in Thailand. Um, yeah, a lot of us in Thailand, not Thai, but, a lot of people are living in Thailand, just you know, travelers or expats and stuff like that. Um, we've got some business partner in UK.
Yes. Was that done on purpose?
Maybe. I mean, maybe it's just cause like I met them that was like, you're cool, um, what do you do? Kind of thing. And it's like a good, good way to assess somebody. But, um, yeah, I mean, there's a huge digital nomad community in Chiang Mai and in Thailand in general. So we're meeting people like this all the time. Like, I can guarantee like I'm from San Diego back home, but guaranteed like there's more digital markers here, even though San Diego's like quintuple the size, you know, so, um, that's, it's just, it just worked out that way because we're here, we're in the cut. All we do here is talk about SEO and digital marketing. Like that's, that's just the way it is in the city. Um, that said, I do have some business partners like in the UK and Los Angeles and stuff like that, but I just see the biggest concentrations here in Thailand.
Okay, cool. All right. So, uh, I know a cheeky question, but Matt, if you had to start all over again, what would you do differently? Right? Do not give me the play by play, right? Just what would you have done differently or what would you do differently?
Okay, so are we're talking about the beginning of my SEO journey or at the beginning of like my career journey?
The beginning of your Seo Journey.
Okay. So probably like I would have just been more aggressive. Right? Like I think everyone or a lot of people doing this, you know, kind of feel like, okay, there's these techniques available out right now, but they're kind of shady. So I'll futureproof myself by working on this other stuff that's more safe. But like, who do you think when, when GSA spam was available, when people are just running software to span the internet and create thousands of links at a time, who do you think made the most money? Who do you think ranked most websites? Who do you think was the most successful -people spamming or the people future proofing? Right. And then what happened to the spammers? Like you sure they got penalized and then what they do after that they learned the stuff that the other people that were too scared to do - to do the black hat stuff or whatever. They learn that stuff and they got good at that and then they hopscotched along. So, I mean, right now that's, it's kind of a different story. Like I would say I'm pretty damn white hat. Like I pretty much do everything white hat. Um, but in the beginning like there's a lot of techniques available that are just kinda like stayed away from, because I was thinking about longevity, but I would have just gone for it. Like I want to just you know, just gone all in on those kinds of things.
Awesome. Yeah, that's interesting. I feel like I was like the black hat guy and right now, I'm like the white hat guy because of the longevity. So it's interesting, very different. Um, answers are very different thoughts. Um, obviously not either right or wrong, just different experiences throughout life.
Right. And it's all subjective, right? Like even right now we both say we're white hat, but like, at what degree of white hat. Yeah, what is a white hat? I'll still go out and buy a backlink right now and to the pure white hats that exist today, that sounds bad shit crazy. So those are the people probably, you know, that are better or are wanting to be like overly conservative so to speak, where whereas like I'll dip into that stuff, I'm comfortable with that kind of risk and um, you know, like I guess that's the black hat right now, like paying for links or something like that. Who knows?
Yup. I agree. Uh, that that is somewhat black hat without the over aggressive like crazy hacking and stuff that happens, you know, I would say that's the, the real black hat. But yeah.
Yeah. There is that by the way, that it definitely is that PBNs are still very effective right now. So I mean there's, there's all different scales, but um, yeah, it's just whatever you're comfortable with your business.
So with, with, uh, with lead spring, I guess that, that makes me think of another question. With lead spring and you guys trying to build sites to sell, do you go after PBNs then? Uh, does that affect your multiple, kind of, what's your thought on that or what's the reality of that situation?
It's like, yeah. So any site that we're looking to eventually sell it'll be white hat from conception. So it'll always be completely white hat. Um, in terms of sites that like if we're in niches that are like a little bit more aggressive and we know people don't, don't buy in niches like this, we'll go pretty hardcore. Like I'll use PBNs and stuff. So, um, it just kinda depends on what the model is. That's, that's the line right there with client SEO. Absolutely. 100 billion percent white hat, yeah.
Yeah. Okay. Cool. Yeah. Uh, I see a lot of people these days doing client SEO and you use some PBNs, I can't say that I didn't do it in the past, um, but it always came back and bit me in the ass. Uh, so one tip that I would give, definitely if you're doing client SEO, don't be using PBNs. It's just my personal opinion, unless you educate them right on, on the kind of the dangers. What's your thought there?
Yeah, I mean that's, it's the risk that the client themselves should, should get the honor of making or the honor of deciding on, you know, um, I think that's only fair.
Yup. Um, when would you say that an affiliate SEO business is really ready to scale?
Uh, I would say like it all comes down to the team. Like getting first, the team in place that's going to carry around the things that you want them to do. So creating a dream team that I told you about sooner or earlier. Um, and then after that, just making the processes, I guess you would probably need them about the same time, but getting those processes and SOPs down, um, well not only like enable you to deliver quality all the time, but also train people quickly, right? If you're hiring fast and firing fast, you don't want it to be you individually training people one by one. You want the process to do that. So once you get those things down, like as long as you're choosing the right niches, you're making the right moves, the SEO moves that you're doing, the techniques that you're doing work and you're doing the right things, you're optimizing content correctly, you're building the right back links, like it's going to work.
Awesome. Cool man. So we're going to wrap this thing up. Um, and uh, I got one more question for you. So instead of asking you to recommend three books, like on every other podcast out there, right? I want to do something a little bit different. I want to ask you, uh, what's the one book, right, that made a huge impact on the way that you do business and then break down for us kind of what that book was and then the why. Like what was that thing that you grabbed on to that had a huge impact on the way that you do business?
Okay. I want to say it's Principles by Ray Dalio, but I haven't implemented any of that stuff. It's just cool. But that was all really cool. Um, so, and all, I'm going to go with The E Myth by Gerber. Um, what's great about that is it's, it's really should be given to every entrepreneur very early on their career. It's going to help people from making a lot of mistakes, but it's all just about creating standard operating procedures and every time we do something and you decide that this is the way it's going to be done, that needs to be documented to the next person can do it for you. It's all gets those scaling principles in your head and standards principles in your head and it's really user friendly, um, highly recommended if you haven't written it, read it. Um, I think it should be required reading for all entrepreneurs.
100 percent. Um, I've loved that book. I think that that's a, that's a great piece of advice. A book that I actually tried to read once a year. Um, I think that one of the things that a lot of people don't get in that book is kind of the technician versus the entrepreneur role and kind of how you move from technician to entrepreneur. And I think a lot of people not mess up just the SEO businesses, but they mess up lots of other businesses as an entrepreneur not understanding how that role changes. Right. And how you go from the technician to the entrepreneur. So just my thoughts on that book. I think it's a big AHA moment that most people don't really grasp.
Yeah. And just to add on to that point, right? Like whenever you've done, do any task in your SEO business, like just decide what, what kind of tasks is that belong to? Like what, what kind of role does that belong to? I just edited content. Like is that something a CEO does. No. So that gets marked as something that needs to be outsourced next time and you need an operating procedure for that.
A hundred percent a hundred. Couldn't agree more. All right guys. So I'm going to put links in the show notes just to make sure that we don't mess this up. We're going to link out to the Chiang Mai event. We're going to link out to Diggity Marketing, Lead Spring, The Search Initiative, and Authority Builders and then Matt, if somebody wants to connect with you directly, is there a place that you do that best? Is it Facebook or Instagram or any specific direction for that? A contact form somewhere. Does it depend?
Yeah. So yeah, contact form's the best way. I like tried to not message too much on social media, so diggitymarketing.com/contact. That's the best way.
Alright guys. Thank you so much Matt. I really appreciate you making the time to come on today. I know our users are absolutely going to love this one. Thanks brother.
Pleasure's mine. Take care.