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Episode 202: Onsite and Offsite SEO That Will Take Your Blog Further with Brett Lane

In episode 202 we talk with Brett S. Lane, an SEO expert with two decades of experience, about the differences in SEO to focus on and how they’re relevant.

We cover information about why its relevant to create engaging content and have enough words in each published piece, consider doing EXIF data optimization and ways to get more backlinks to your site!

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Brett S. Lane
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio Brett is an SEO expert with almost two decades of hands-on experience. He has managed over 1,000 SEO campaigns and has ranked tens of thousands of keywords within Google’s top ten search results.

Takeaways

  • When you look at things from an onsite perspective, that’s anything that you can do to your website, that’s going to help it communicate more effectively with Google and as well as users.
  • Strike the right balance of giving Google what they need to show that you are an authority, as well as giving consumers what they need to be able to stay on your website for longer periods of time and interact with it.
  • Offsite SEO is the thing that you have to do to get people to link strategically to your website.
  • Create engaging content and shoot for 1400 words in length.
  • Always be solving problems and answering questions for your audience.
  • EXIF data optimization – another way to optimize the things that sit behind images – there are approx 10-15 different ways to do this.
  • Relevancy is most important in your content but adding enough content to each post is also important. There are sites that can help you find questions/answers that people want to know about each topic you can use for inspiration.
  • Use FAQ schema in your blog so that Google recognizes you as an authority
  • Be sure to be link sculpting on your site

Resources Mentioned

10 Blog Strategies To Use In 2021

11 Tips To Optimize Your Blog Posts

How To Rank Higher On Google In 2021

Mass Optimizer – Multilingal Image & Video Optimization Software for Every Marketer

Keep Learning SEO!

Take a listen to Alina Ghost as she shares her expertise about SEO in episode 143.

Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Hey food bloggers. Are you guys looking for accountability and business growth on a whole new level? If so, you should totally join the new Eat Blog Talk Mastermind program that we are starting in May 2021. Spend time alongside like-minded peers who will hold you accountable so you actually achieve your weekly and quarterly and yearly goals. Masterminds hold massive power. Let’s grow together, learn from one another and stop allowing deadlines to slip through the cracks. Achieve big dreams this year. We are now accepting applications for the Mastermind program, and you can find the application at eatblogtalk.com.

Hey, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. This podcast is for you, food bloggers wanting value and clarity to help you find greater success in your business. Today, I have Brett Lane with me from SEOoutsourcing.com and we are going to talk about SEO and how onsite and offsite SEO will take your blog further. Brett is an SEO expert with almost two decades of hands-on experience. He has managed over 1000 SEO campaigns and has ranked tens of thousands of keywords within Google’s top 10 search results. I am excited to get a new perspective on SEO, Brett. Thank you so much for being here today, but first we want to hear your fun fact.

Brett Lane:

So one fun fact about myself is I am currently running three different companies from three different states within the United States.

Megan:

That is a lot of different states. Do you find that that’s challenging or do you do okay with that?

Brett:

It is extremely challenging, but what I found is when you have people working with you and not necessarily under you, it makes managing different projects and different companies a lot easier. I’ve taken a lot of time to find the right people to come in and help me look at things from a management perspective. If you have the right people under, not under, you almost said under you, yeah, working with you, basically you’re able to just accomplish a lot more. There’s a parallel between that and SEO. When you’re doing the right things, whether it be onsite and offsite, you’re going to give your chance, your site the chance, the best chance of ranking as quickly as possible.

Megan:

Oh, I liked your parallel there. That’s fun. I love your distinction. So people working with you, not under you, just one word, right. But there’s so much impact in just changing that sentence a little bit. So I love your perspective on that. So I am excited to have you here. We occasionally have SEO experts on and it’s always so good and interesting to get different perspectives because everyone has a different perspective on SEO. It’s funny because SEO is all about the stats, right? And the analytics, and diving into things that are kind of set that you should and can do, but there are also opinions and people can weave in different things relating to SEO. So that’s what I always find very interesting. So we’re excited to hear from you. SEO can be one of the biggest traffic drivers for bloggers and therefore revenue drivers. So we’re always interested to hear. So can you, first of all, just tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey. How did you get interested in SEO and all that?

Brett:

So as you mentioned earlier, I’ve been in the industry for almost 20 years. My journey began many years ago before SEO really started to gain any type of momentum. I started looking at just reading blogs and learning more information about how search engines are processing data. I started doing a lot of testing on my own. Through that experience, it led me to create an opportunity for trying to make money online by being able to sell services from a consulting standpoint. So I decided to read as much information as I could, and then start finding businesses who needed to rank on Google. Started just emailing and calling. I think I sent a hundred emails, out of those hundred emails, I got three responses. One company said that they weren’t interested, one company said that they were interested, but the timing wasn’t right. One company was a web development firm in Springfield, Missouri that said, Hey, your timing is perfect. Let’s start working together. That really opened up the door for our consulting because that enabled us to start working with hundreds of clients versus just bringing on one or two or three.

Megan:

Oh, that’s cool. So really, you have a story of really putting yourself out there over and over and just constantly sticking with it. Eventually someone said yes to you, which opened the door for you. So that’s a good message as well. So you’re talking about onsite and offsite SEO. Can you, first of all, tell us what the difference is?

Brett:

Absolutely. The difference basically is when you look at things from an onsite perspective, that’s anything that you can do to your website, that’s going to help it communicate more effectively with Google and as well as users. So you’re trying to strike the right balance by being able to give Google what they need to show that you are an authority, as well as giving consumers what they need to be able to stay on your website for longer periods of time and interact with it. So that’s the onsite piece. Anything related to offsite is the thing that you have to do to get people to link strategically to your website. So we’ve all been to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, all these places where you can see people putting up links to content, to videos, to XYZ. That’s basically getting links from other sites. But there’s strategies that are associated with each type of outlet, whether it’s onsite or offsite and most people, when they talk about SEO, probably about 60% of people who don’t know a lot about it, think that SEO is primarily about onsite SEO.

And I ask them, well, what are you doing offsite. They say, what do you mean? How are you getting people to build links to your website? Oh, well, we’ve got SEO covering and I have to educate them on this is how you do it. You basically have to have a small army of people working with you to be able to get your site to where you’re building links strategically one day at a time, in relation to just doing mass blasts and trying to trick Google’s algorithm.

Megan:

Okay. We are familiar with all of the concepts that you just talked through, but onsite and offsite are not terms that food bloggers typically use. So I’m very thankful that you talked through that. Okay. So can you talk through some of the best practices for onsite SEO?

Brett:

Oh, absolutely. So if you’re doing blogging and you’re creating content, I’d say that the biggest thing that you can do is create content that is engaging. That’s at least 1400 words in length. The reason I say that is there were studies done last year where people created content, they tested it. They checked to see which sites were ranking within Google’s top 10 search results for thousands upon thousands of keyword phrases. What they found was 1400 words was a sweet spot. I always tell people, create content that out does your competitors. So if everybody in your industry is writing content that’s 2000 words, you want to do 3000 words. You want to up whatever they’re doing, but it’s not just about creating content. It’s about creating content that’s engaging. Because Google is looking for how people are increasing the user experience for anybody who visits a website. They’re all about user experience.

And if you do that in a way that you’re answering questions, you’re solving problems. In some cases, you’re pointing people to other resources. They may be competitive resources or just resources from government sites, EDU sites, things where you’re answering those questions, you’re going to get the attention of Google. They’re going to come by your site and they’re going to realize too, the more words you have, the more opportunities you have for ranking for a variety of keyword phrases. So I would say content is number one. Your listeners are probably doing things like optimizing title tags and metatags looking at having keywords in their URLs, where you’re using the dashes versus underscores. Some very basic type of tactics. We’re seeing different things with different types of header styles. You know, having a header as ones, twos, threes, and being able to really differentiate the content on the site when people are reading it.

So if you’re using headers in that fashion and you’re sprinkling in your keywords there, do it in a way that makes sense, but doesn’t spam. One thing that I know a lot of people are not doing these days is when you’re looking at images, they’re doing things like optimizing the names. The alternative text, the name itself for the image, but they’re not utilizing what’s called EXIF data optimization. So it’s E X I F data optimization. There are a ton of tools online. If you go to Google and type in EXIF data or EXIF editor or EXIF image editor, what you’re going to see is this is one other way to optimize the things that sit behind images. So if you’re a food blogger and you’re typing, you’re writing something about a specific type of food, maybe even in a specific area.

You can go in and use these EXIF editors, and you can optimize the title of the image, you can put in things about if it was specific to an area, you can do things with longitude latitude. You can go in and put who is the person who wrote the content. There’s probably about, I think there’s about 10 to 15 things that you can do behind images. I’ve seen by taking these images and optimizing them and putting them into Google. If you had a local business and you went to the Google maps listings, and you noticed a Google my business listing pop-up, I’ve seen instances specifically where we’ve optimized images related to and it doesn’t matter what you optimize it for. You could be a doctor, lawyer, dentist in Chicago. I’ve seen instances where businesses have taken 30 or 40 images. They’ve optimized the titles, the alternative text. They’ve looked at all the backend things with those exit editors, put them into their Google my business account. Then literally within a 30 day period, those images got 400-500% of an increase in views as compared to their competitors. All they did, all they did was change some basic data. So what you’re doing is you’re optimizing your images, just like you would optimize your website.

Megan:

Okay. That’s very interesting. I’ve never heard of EXIF data. So is it hard to do? Is it fairly easy?

Brett:

Yeah, it’s really easy. There’s a whole bunch of tools online that are even free. If you just type in an EXIF image, like optimization or tools, you’ll be able to go in. What these tools do is they allow you to upload the image and then it shows you the elements behind the image that you can tweak. You go in, you make your changes. Boom, boom, boom. You’re done. There is one tool called Mass Optimizer Pro, it’s a company that is in the UK. Mass Optimizer Pro. What they will allow you to do is you spend three or $400 for the software and you can go in and download images en mass and change these elements very, very quickly. Now, if you’re working with a ton of images, you may go in and say, here’s a hundred images I’m going to work with for the next 12 months. You literally could have every one of those images optimized. If you use one of these tools within maybe one hour. Or you could just go to the free free sites online and tweak them. It’s really an upload of an image. It looks at the elements online within your web browser, you tweak them, you hit save, you download the image, and now you have an image that is fully optimized.

Megan:

Very interesting. I wanted to ask you about your content. You mentioned engaging content, creating posts that contain at least 1400 words in length. What if we are talking about something that we can’t find 1400 words to talk about. Then we start getting to the point where we’re kind of talking about nonsense. This happens to me quite often, where I’m like, okay, that’s not even relevant. So is it better to have the 1400 words or better to just stay relevant and under 1400 words?

Brett:

I think relevancy is the biggest factor that you have to focus on, but there’s strategies that you can utilize to get to more than 1400 words. One very, very basic strategy that we utilize for people who are, let’s say you’re in the HVAC industry, or you’re a plumber. Believe me, coming up with 1400 words if you’re a plumber in Boston is extremely hard. It’s really hard to be relevant. So what we do is we come up with, we look at tools like answerthepublic.com. You can go to that site. You can type a variety of keyword phrases. What it’s going to do is it’s going to show you the questions that consumers search for on the internet. Now, if you’re writing about food blogging and you want to know about different kinds of recipes or whatever, you go to answerthepublic.com. You put in your keyword phrases, it’s going to come up with hundreds of variations of what people are searching for.

So what you can do is you can say, Hey, what are the top questions that people ask that we can answer? That leads into my next point, which is to create a series of content. So if you go to Answer The Public and you notice that people are asking a lot of questions and you take these questions and you put them into buckets of five to 10 questions each. You literally could create content that answers those questions in the form of an FAQ. Then you’re able to put that on those pages where people can look at it, they can see the questions, they can get the questions answered. The reason it’s important is you’re creating more content. People are definitely searching for it, which makes it more user-friendly. Then also Google, if you put in what’s called a schema, you could put a FAQ schema into your code and that schema will be able to show to Google that people are asking these questions, that you can get those questions to showcase within Google search results.

Megan:

And you can also interlink, right? So if you create five pieces of content that are related to each other in some way, then you can link them within your site.

Brett:

Yes and the interesting thing that leads to another point. When you look at your internal linking or what’s called link sculpting, it used to be called page rank sculpting. Now it’s called link sculpting. All that is, it’s a site owner that utilizes their internal links strategically. That’s all that that means, like you said. If you have five stories that are all talking about a specific type of food, and you have a main category page on your site that talks about those kinds of food. Then on that particular page, you have five links to five stories. What you’ve told Google is, Hey, follow these links on my site and you can see that the authority goes from your homepage to a category page to then these sub category pages. So what you’re doing is you’re gently guiding Google down this path of content, where it becomes more relevant as Google follows more links from a higher level page to very deep level pages. You’re building upon the relevancy and what I mentioned earlier, user experience, Megan.

Megan:

So relevancy, but also you’re establishing your authority, which is huge with Google, right?

Brett:

Correct. Correct.

Megan:

Yeah. What other best practices do you have for onsite SEO?

Brett:

A few other quick ones and easy ones is making sure that your site is secure by utilizing HTTPS. You know, you go out and you get a security certificate for your site. Very simple. It basically shows Google that your site can be trusted. Users can trust your site. It’s a very easy one. Another big one is to look at whatever type of website you’re using. If you’re using a WordPress template or some other variation, you want to make sure that your site is mobile friendly and can be viewed within a mobile phone very, very easily. You want to be able to make sure that the site is responsive in design. By that, I mean, if you’re looking at your website from a phone, a tablet or a desktop, that website has the ability to show users your content in a very user friendly way.

Megan:

And how does web accessibility play into that? I know that’s kind of a different topic, but does that play a role in what you’re saying?

Brett:

It does. It goes along with that user experience. If you can make information more readily accessible to users and in a way that is easier, you’re doing a lot more for your users. There’s something called core web vitals, which is basically something that Google looks at from a user experience factor perspective. So it’s looking at content, it’s looking at things that are behind the site that are the bits within the code. Google is always looking at increasing its user experience for people who visit it search engines because they make 95% and I would even say higher of their revenue from people who are clicking on their ads. They want to know that if a person clicks an ad, they go to your site, they stay there longer. They know that they’re going to make more money by showing that person’s ads at a greater rate. So although it helps out users tremendously, it also helps Google make a lot more money.

Megan:

Ah, I like that explanation. Did you have anything else for onsite SEO?

Brett:

Yeah. There’s a couple of really quick things. If you’re looking at increasing your Google page speed, which is a part of those core web vitals, you’re going to want to look at, I’ll mention a couple of quick WordPress plugins. One of them is called Hummingbird. It is a really, really good way to increase your user experience through core web vitals. Great. There’s another one called Smushit. It’s an image optimization plugin. Another good one is there’s another one called WP Rocket. It’s another really good WordPress plugin that’ll go in and make your site much faster. Then the other piece center creating a lot of content is if you’re creating site maps, you want to limit those sitemap total URLs to 10,000 URLs per sitemap. Anything more, there’s been testing, anything more, it makes it a little bit hard for Google to go in and crawl the site.

So at the end of the day, the overarching message for onsite SEO is make your site very user-friendly, make sure that technically it communicates with Google and make sure that you have content that is going to be engaging where you’re creating series for users to read because you want them to get in and have the Netflix effect. You want them to binge on your content. You want them to go to page, to page, to page, to page and stay longer on those pages because it makes those pages very, very sticky. The stickier they are, the greater the chance that you’re going to have for getting your pages to rank higher and higher for a longer period of time.

Megan:

I love that you just said the net Netflix effect. That is so awesome because yeah, you get on Netflix and you just want to bounce around. You see one awesome thing and then you go to another show that looks really appealing. So that’s how we want our sites to be. We want someone to come on, see something great that they resonate with. Oh, that’s a delicious chili. Okay. Now I need to find out how to create tomato sauce in my Instant Pot or whatever. You can kind of bounce from one thing to another. They’re all related, but they’re not the same.

Brett:

Absolutely. You don’t even know after a while. You’re like, why am I still here? I don’t even know why I go here? I’ve spent a couple hours reading recipes about chili.

Megan:

So that is the goal. We want people to say, why am I still here? I love it. Okay. So does that kind of wrap up all of the onsite? That was a lot. That was such great information. I wrote all of it down and I was writing crazy notes. But did you have anything else before we move on to the topic of offsite?

Brett:

No, I think that covers a lot of it. I think the only thing to keep in mind too, you mentioned earlier that everyone has a different perspective on SEO and you’re absolutely right. You’ve got people who do it one way, do it the other, some people believe it’s all about onsite. Some people believe it’s all about offsite. I believe it’s a blending of each. I think that some people say, if you’re doing things to change Google’s rankings, you are doing things that are black hat and you got to write good content and they will come. Field of dreams, in my opinion, does not exist. If you have a hot dog stand in New York and you’re on Times Square and you’re selling a crap load of dogs because you have exposure. If you’re in the desert selling the same exact dogs and you see a camel come by with a person on it, every one or two days, you’re not going to get the sales. You’re not. So you have to create a picture for Google onsite and get people to link to your site slowly over time that doesn’t raise any red flags because everybody who’s building content and creating links, Google says you don’t need to do any of those things, which I think is nonsense. If you do it correctly and you do it effectively, and you’re strategic, you can do it in a way that Google will take notice of your site and they are going to outrank. They’re going to rank you much higher.

Megan:

Okay. So let’s talk about that. So offsite is basically getting backlinks to your site. So what are some good ways to go about doing that?

Brett:

You’re talking about bloggers and content. There are hundreds of sites on the internet that exist for just showcasing information. So I created a couple of things for your listeners. One of them, there’s some question about whether or not directory sites still work. Are they garbage? Are the links, the quality too high, too low. I tell people – to Google, you want to look at your link equity, your link portfolio, if you will. By that I mean, you want to have links coming from a variety of places, just like a financial portfolio. You don’t put everything in stocks, bonds, mutual funds. You know that company that startup that your cousin told you to join. You want to have a lot of different eggs in different baskets. With directories, they may represent something that’s like on a scale of one to 10, they may be a two or three. Perfectly fine.

These are basically just sites online that exist merely for the reason of showcasing information about other sites. So if your users were to go to Bitly bit dot L Y forward slash directory links, all one word, directory links, I’ve created a link there that’s going to showcase about, I think it’s about a hundred different sites where your users can go and submit five pieces of data about their blog to over a hundred sites to gain a hundred different backlinks. Very, very basic. Now here’s the other part. If they said, Hey, I don’t have time for all this. This is too much. All they got to do is go to Bitly B I T dot L Y forward slash directory subs, S U B S all one word. If they go to that link, it’s going to take them to another company that can do all the work. This has no relevancy or association to my company whatsoever. It is a VA service where you go in and you purchase buckets of time. They are already familiar with doing blog directory submissions. You go there, you purchase a bucket of time. You give them your data. You give them the list of sites you want to submit to, and then they do it for you over a 90 day period.

Megan:

Oh, wow. Okay. I had never heard of that before. Is this considered ethical? I mean, obviously it is. Otherwise you wouldn’t be saying it, but is there a debate about that? Whether it is or not.

Brett:

So where you would come and have questions would be from some people saying, you shouldn’t waste your time on lower-level blogs. That’s what you’re going to get. It’s not an issue of if it’s ethical or not. Black hat versus white hat. People would say, is it worth your time? Now, if you have a hundred different sites that you could submit to and you could get these directory submissions, they’re very, very, it’s like when you look at your financial portfolio. These are the sites. Bonds don’t have the greatest return, but they’re stable over time. Just so like with a stock, you may take a bigger risk. You may get a bigger loss. With a bond, you put your money in it. You let it sit for 10 years, you get like a four or five, 6% interest rate of return.

You’re good. That’s what these types of directories are. If you’re letting somebody else do the submissions, and let’s say you spend three, four or 500 bucks. There are lower cost types of virtual assistants that you could utilize, but let’s say you were to spend $300 and you get a hundred hours of someone’s time and they go here and they go to these sites, they create the usernames. They submit the information on your behalf. That’s just going to represent the baseline of what you need to do from a link building perspective. I was doing this well over 10 years ago for brands like Marriott, Four Seasons, Progressive Insurance, Nationwide Insurance. So that’s typically where you run into the questions of would one person say to do it or another person. So yeah, old school type of link building.

That’s one way of building links. It’s going to fit more if like, let’s say you’re doing things and you have a local site. There are certain things called citations or otherwise known as nap listings. Name, address, and phone number listings. Some people say, Hey, I don’t think that I should have to do local business listings because I have a site that is nationwide. I would tell them you want to do those submissions because you’re wanting to build your expertise, your authority, and your trust. You’re wanting to build those three things for Google. If you have a physical address that’s associated with your business, you need to be doing those Nap listings because it gives you more staying power with Google. Google is going to know that your business is not going anywhere because there’s an actual address attached to it.

Megan:

Oh, interesting. Okay. So you recommend that even for food blogs that are just kind of entities in the online space. We all, I shouldn’t say all of us, but a lot of us work from our homes, but it’s still worthwhile for food bloggers to establish nap listings.

Brett:

It is. Now here’s the caveat. If you have a business listing and I would say, if you have a home listing, I wouldn’t do it. Because you don’t want to have your home information plaster out on hundreds of websites. So that’s the caveat. If you have a location that you’re okay with it being freely available on the internet, or let’s say you were to create a, let’s say you had a virtual address. You can utilize those as well. But the key thing there is only use those submissions if you are comfortable with having that information on the internet, if not, don’t do it.

Megan:

Okay. Yeah. I don’t think many of us would, and I know a lot of food bloggers use PO boxes and that probably would not suffice for a Nap listing. So maybe that doesn’t fit, but I don’t know. Maybe some people do have addresses that they could put in that aren’t necessarily their home addresses. So that’s worth noting. Is there anything else? I feel like backlinks are so hard to get these days. I hear a lot of food bloggers. I’m not complaining, but just, that’s a common theme that they wish they had more. They are wondering how to get more. So you gave that one resource, which is great. Are there other strategies for going out and getting backlinks from sites that are established and reputable?

Brett:

There are. But before I get to that, I want to make one quick point. So if you’re a blogger and you’re doing videos, or you’re, let’s say you’re conducting interviews, I tell people, utilize your content and repurpose it however you can. So if you do a video and you do an interview or you go and you do a zoom call, you can literally take that zoom call, take the video, optimize the video through EXIF data, because you can do the same thing with videos and images. That’s one thing. You can take that video and you can go online and look for video directory sites. There’s a list of about 20 or 30 that are like YouTube videos, Vimeo, Rever, things of that nature. You can have virtual assistants go to these sites, create profiles. You can have them submit one video to let’s say 20 different sites.

Let’s say you have 10 videos. Now that’s 200 different links you just created to your site. It’s all very traditional. These are not things that should be too questionable. So now you can do directories. You can do video type submissions to YouTube style sites. Youtube is not the only video site that exists. There’s probably about 10 to 20 different sites that would be worth submitting to. So now you have video submissions. You can go and take that same exact content. You can transcribe it. You can pay different companies to transcribe the video content and make it contextual to content. Now you can create blog posts based on those videos with the text being used and have that text sit on those websites. So now you have new blog posts. You can take the audio from those particular videos and create just an audio MP4 or MP3 file.

You can go online and look for things like podcast directories. There’s a list of hundreds of those kinds of sites. Now you can take that data, along with a few different pieces and you can submit those podcasts to audio based podcast directories. So the key really is looking at ways of taking content and using it in multiple forums. You took a video. Now you have video submissions. You changed that you transcribed it to text. Now you have blog posts. You’ve taken the video and turned into audio. Now you have audio posts. You can look at things like RSS, real simple syndication. There’s sites online that are RSS directories. You can submit the site maps to your blogs, to these RSS sites. Then anytime content is updated on your blog, it then gets sucked into that RSS feed.

It gets published on these RSS sites. Literally there’s between 50 and a hundred RSS directories that exist on the internet. Those are the caveats. Those are the more manual types of submissions that you can conduct. They are a little bit old school, but you can still do them. You can do a couple hundred submissions where it’s the same exact information. In my opinion, you’re not going to get penalized for duplicate content on those sites. You’re not. Now what you asked earlier was, are there other ways of getting links on higher quality authoritative sites? Yes there are. A couple of things you have to either have content that is very compelling, or you have to utilize a search like Outreach Mama. There’s a whole bunch of communication platforms like Outreach Mama, where you go in and you can pitch bloggers based on the theme.

So you can go to Outreach Mama, and you can put in food blogs, and it comes back with a whole list of food blogs. Then you can start communicating with these bloggers, Hey, I got good content. Would you be willing to post this content on your site? Then you start that conversation and then you give them the content, they approve it, and then you can get it on their site. That’s one really easy way of managing your communications. The old school way is going to Google and typing in things like, write for us and then plus, and in quotation marks food blog or any other variation of phrases you want to do. That’s the old school way of finding things that are already in Google search results that where people are saying, Hey, we want writers to write for us.

Megan:

So like a contributor. So looking for food blogs or other blogs who are welcoming contributor writers.

Brett:

Absolutely.

Megan:

Okay. Then I love what you were talking about earlier about just taking one piece of content and repurposing it times a hundred. I was just watching a, I think it was an Instagram. Wait, where was this? I can’t remember. Something about Gary Vaynerchuk, how he takes literally one video from a presentation that he gives and he pieces it out and delivers it in so many different places. Reading through it, I was like, this is insane. So smart, but he’s not only building backlink equity, but he’s also covering all his bases. He’s covering all of his messages within that one presentation that he’s delivering to different audiences, depending on what he’s saying. I mean, there’s so much gold, I think, in doing that sort of repurposing. So I love that you were talking through that. Is there anything else that should be on our radar as far as offsite SEO?

Brett:

Couple of big ones. I mentioned earlier about, you know, there’s traditional ways and there’s types of link-building that in the past have been looked at as negative. So you look at something like blog comments, or you look at something like the profile posts. Back in the days, people used to spam the crap out of those sites and Google started shying away from it. But, if you know of like the top five food blogging style forums, it would make sense to go to those forums, create usernames and start engaging with people on those forums. Because Google recognizes that you can generate a lot of links in a forum very quickly by just starting a very small wildfire. So you can go in and notice, people are starting to talk about certain kinds of recipes, you get in and you’re like, I have a chili recipe that I found from one of my friends here, you link to it. If a ton of people find that recipe to be interesting, they’ll link and link and link to it. So there still is merit, in my opinion, of finding forums and blogs style sites, where you’re either making good blog comments where you’re adding value and resources, or you’re going to forums and you’re communicating with people within these forums, or even within question and answer sites. You know, looking at Reddit or Quora. Going in and finding where people are talking, what they’re saying. Then if you add value, people are going to find what you put in there and they’re going to link to it because you’re expanding their experience on that site. So if you do anything with forums or guest blog posts, you’re doing it in mass, you’re using crazy software programs.

That’s going to get you hurt. But if you’re doing it strategically and you’re seeding the right message at the right place at the right time, those little seeds will pay out great dividends because people are going to see and go, that’s a really good recipe about chili. It’s this woman who said that she had a recipe from her grandmother. That’s like a hundred years old or 85 years old. It sounds very different. You’re going to get a lot more people to link to it. They’re not cutting edge. They’re more old school ways of doing it, but it’s utilizing it. You know, you’ve heard that adage about not throwing the baby out with the bath water. That’s definitely, those are two things in terms of link building that I would say use sparingly and add value.

The only other other things that we haven’t talked about really are, looking at opportunities for getting posts on EDU sites, colleges, and universities. This is one where it’s very, very hard to be able to get those types of links. In a quick fashion, I’ve spent the last seven years building communication. My communication efforts with people, with college students, where I know I can get links from colleges like Duke or USC, where there’s general blogs on those sites. If you’re a student, you can go into the site at USC, their blogs, and you can create your own blog that talks about food or whatever you want, but you have to be a student. It’s a very rigorous process, but I’ve got connections where I can go in and say, Hey, here’s some really good content.

I need to get it linked to, put up on the site. Typically it takes anywhere between one to three weeks to get that posted online. Most cases, if you’re working with somebody who’s not good, you’ll pay someone to do the submission on your behalf. So you’re not renting links in that sense, you’re paying a person to do a submission for you, just like you would with a virtual assistant. They go, and they put that content on the blog and people find it, they read it. When Google sees those EDU links, those are some of the highest quality types of links you can get. They take notice of that. What I would say is when you build the links, don’t build links where you’re going after. Let’s say your biggest keyword is food blog, unless your name is the daily food blog.

You’re not gonna want to use a food blog as the keywords and the links you want to use your name, thedailyfoodblog.com. You have a link that goes to that. The reason I suggest that is, it tells Google that you’re not trying to gamify their system because people used to build hundreds and hundreds of backlinks, back in the days on specific keyword phrases. They would drop link bombs, as we used to call it. You’d do a press release. In that press release, you have your keyword food blogger that shows up on 500 places. You just got 500 links for food bloggers. Doesn’t look natural.

Megan:

Not at all. Yeah. I remember those tactics. I mean, I never did them, but I remember people talking about them and I thought, Oh my gosh, they’ve got to start cracking down on that. Thankfully, now that’s not really a thing anymore. Do people still do that?

Brett:

That’s a great question. I had another podcast interview literally last week where we talked about online PR. What I told that group was you can still utilize press releases in a way that is effective. What I mentioned earlier about listing out your name or site.com, whatever your site is, site.com. When you do a press release, if you have something that is newsworthy, you can get it picked up by two to 500 different places. When you do that, basically what you’re going to do is you’re going to get those links underneath whatever your site URL is. If you pick up three to 500 links and it is for site.com or your site.com, what you’re showing Google is you’re linking to the very highest level of your website, or it’s actually the second highest, but it’s a very high level of your website.

What you’re doing is, you’re able to dilute the total number of links to your site. Let’s say you had an SEO person go do SEO for you. They built out three years ago, a ton of links for food bloggers. Then when you look at your link profile, you say, this doesn’t look natural. I’ve got a thousand links. 300 of them are pointing to my site for food bloggers. This doesn’t look good. If you go into a press release and now you increase your links by 500, and they’re all for your site.com. Now, when Google looks at the total number of links to your site, it used to be a thousand. Now it’s 1300 or 1500, and those 500 links say yoursite.com. Now it makes your profile overall look more natural and it looks diluted. It doesn’t look like it’s so heavy with food bloggers as the text being used in those links. So some people will say, press releases are dead. I say, they’re not. If you have information that is very useful, and that is timely, it might be a certain kind of recipe that, or it could be something that the food blogger is doing. Maybe you’re giving information or you’re providing a portion of your proceeds to a certain charity, your favorite charity. In my opinion, those things are newsworthy. Why not get links to your site for those kinds of topics and do it in a way that’s still going to benefit you.

Megan:

That was well said. So looking at the overall picture onsite and offsite SEO, how much time do we spend on each? Because we only have limited time each week to do all of our work, plus we’re managing our content and creating new content, coming through old content and all of that. So we don’t have like 10 spare hours a week to work on SEO. How do we divide it up?

Brett:

You do not want to eat an elephant in one bite. That’s a great question. You want to break it into chunks. So I talked about a lot of different things for on-site SEO, where you want to do is create a list of those things to get done. You want to prioritize those lists in terms of what things are going to make the most impact. So if it has anything to do with your site being technically sound, I would say, take care of those things first. We talked about headers, titles, descriptions, your URLs, your images, things of that nature. That schema we talked about. You know, you want to do those things. You want to do those things first, and you want to start chewing on those things and seeing that you’re getting those things done every single week. The next piece is look at that content.

You’re already writing content. Okay, what content can be written, that’s brand new. One thing I didn’t mention that is very, very important. You can take content that you wrote two, three, four years ago. You take that content, you update it, you add new bits and pieces. Maybe it was a thousand words. You take that article and you turn it into a 2000 word or 3000 word article. You republish the same exact piece of content on the same exact URL. You can get a lot more bang for just utilizing the content you wrote in the past, by tweaking it and updating it.

Megan:

Oh, I’m in that game right now. I have a ten-year-old blog. So I have all of this content that’s just been sitting there. It’s garbage. There’s so much garbage. So I have spent almost the last year doing exactly what you’re saying and re publishing everything, not everything. Oh my gosh. I wish it was everything. Republishing content that needs that desperate updating. I’m going in and adding those questions that you’ve talked about and adding value, honestly, whether that’s new photos or new copy or both. Updating the recipe card and just giving it a new publish date and keeping the same URL. So I am very familiar with that.

Brett:

Yeah. The other piece to that is if you don’t have the time to do it, there’s one site that I’ve worked with in the past called rideraccess.com. They’ve got about six or 7,000 writers there. What you could do is you could download every piece of content that you want tweaked. You could give it to that team and say, Hey, I just want you to tweak it, add to it, add some brevity, track your changes, and then you pay them to do that every single month. That may cost you, let’s say three to $500 a month. What you need to look at is your time. It’s extremely valuable. In my opinion, it’s worth paying $500 a month to have a team of a hundred people or whatever that number is working on your content, tweaking it and building upon it based on your guidance. Now you can focus on the more important things.

Megan:

Oh my gosh, you were speaking to us there because time, you’re right, Brett, it is so valuable. When we get into those projects that don’t necessarily light us up or that don’t, I mean, they’re obviously doing good. They’re adding value to our sites on the backend, but it can get tedious as you probably know. Not everyone is like, Oh yes, SEO, good. Let me dive in. So getting help for those things that free up your time to do the things that actually do light you up is really, really valuable. I have never heard of writeraccess.com, but I will check that out. Is there anything that we’ve missed that you feel like food bloggers should know about either onsite or offsite SEO or anything at all regarding SEO?

Brett:

Yeah. In terms of the link building, this goes along with your last point, finding the time to do different things and not having enough time in the day. So I mentioned a lot of different kinds of link building tactics and things that you can do that are old school, where you’re taking content and you’re repurposing it. I’m going to give your listeners a resource and I’m going to have a couple of caveats. There is a site called Konker.io. It’s K O N K E r.io. It is a site, it’s kind of like Fiverr, where you have people who come in and there’s resources where people can post up projects and things of that nature. What I say, with a caveat there is, you literally could go to conquer and do searches for things like blog directory submissions, podcasts submissions, image based submissions. That’s another thing we didn’t talk about. Looking at infographics or taking content and condensing it into a picture and finding infographics submission sites, video submission sites. What I would say is you would go to Konker.io. You would look for people who are doing those kinds of submissions.

The caveat being you don’t want to utilize somebody who’s doing thousands, even hundreds of submissions. You want to find somebody who does submissions by hand, where they can take your top your video and submit it to 20 video sites. What you could do, quick strategy is, you could literally find a person and you can give a person within Konker.io and say, hey, I noticed that you do 20 directory submissions for videos. Here is a URL where you can get my videos and any time a new video gets posted up to the site, I need you to submit it to my 10 or 20 video sites that you helped me create. Boom, you can do the same thing with images on your site. You can do the same thing with looking at blogs to submit to blog directories. One of the reasons why people don’t go to sites like this is because it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

If they don’t know what they’re doing. So when you keep your submission numbers very low, you’re talking about 10 or 20 video distribution sites and not going to get penalized by Google by taking one video and submitting it to 20 sites. I guarantee that. Take one podcast and you submit it to 20 or 50 podcast sites by hand. What you want to do is you want to go in and look at people within Konker.io where they’ve already done those kinds of submissions, where they have a ton of thumbs up. So like, if I go to Konker.io right now and I do something like, let’s say podcast submission within their search functionality, I’m going to go and look at, okay, where can I get people who would submit podcasts or images or things of that nature to those sites. You know, you can look at sites where they’ll do it by hand.

You basically conduct those search queries. And you’re going to look for the people on there that have tons and tons of jobs that have been completed with a thumbs up. Now, the reason I say this is let’s say you find a guy, or gal that does directory submissions, very basic images, podcasts, and so forth. You found a person who’s done 2000 submissions in the last five years, and they have 1,998 thumbs up and two thumbs down. What that shows me is they’ve done a lot of submissions and they have a lot of people’s trust because they did the work as it was reported on their listing on Konker.io. So this is one type of site where your users can go and they can find people who can do those older school types of submission work that they don’t have time for.

They can still keep their costs low. Now, you find somebody who can do a directory set of directory submissions to 50 sites. They may charge you $50 or $75. As long as they’ve done a lot of work, they’ve got a lot of thumbs up and they’re not submitting to a ton of places and they say, Hey, these are manual submissions. The only thing you’re doing is you’re doing submissions that you would have done by hand with the same exact information to the same exact sites. The only difference is you don’t have to do them yourself.

Megan:

Oh, amen. I think manual submissions are key here, right? Because you don’t want it to go into some automated things because can that be a red flag?

Brett:

It could. It could. Now the reason I say, when you do these kinds of submissions, these are the few types of submissions that you can do, where you have the same exact type of information submitted, where it doesn’t throw up a red flag for Google. So if you have a podcast and you submit to podcast directories, your name ever changes your description, you could write three to five different descriptions for your podcast to give to this team, to split it up and make it a little bit more unique. But at the end of the day, you’re submitting information about your site, that talks about the blog, who you are, what you do, a link to your blog. Those things don’t change, but changing out your description and saying, Hey, I’d like you to go and do, let’s say 50 different kinds of submissions for me.

I’m going to write 10 small, different descriptions for your podcast. That’ll add a little bit more flare. Now you’re only going to be getting, let’s say you’re going to have 10 different sites that have the same exact description versus having one of the same description show up on 50 different sites. So there’s ways of adding variation. This is another one of those things, Megan, that we talked about earlier with when you look at who’s doing what and what people suggest, some people may tell you don’t even waste your time on these sites. I always say, if you could do something that you do one time, it costs you $40 or $50, and you’re not spamming anything. You’re not going to Konker.io and buying 3000 submissions. No, no, no. You’re doing like 50 or a hundred. There are higher level directory submissions for different things like podcasts, blogs, things of that nature.

In my opinion, those are worth it because even though they’re lower hanging fruit, they represent a very normalized link equity for a website. I have clients all the time and say, well, I shouldn’t be wasting my time on this, this and this. You just created a content on a site that doesn’t look like it’s super authoritative. I come back to the client, say, okay, here’s your biggest competitor. Guess what? They have twice as many links than you. 10 or 15% of their links represent those links that I just got you, that you say you don’t think you need. I say it very nicely.

Megan:

So backlinks are important. They can make a difference, right?

Brett:

Absolutely.

Megan:

This has been wonderful. Do you have anything else to impart before we say goodbye?

Brett:

I think I need to reiterate that point of if you create resources for your site that are user-friendly, that are engaging, that make people want to link to you and stay on your site and have that Netflix effect where they get lost in your content, you’re going to give yourself the greatest chance of ranking because you’re doing things that your competitors are not. It doesn’t take long for a user to find a resource and hit the back button because they found a site that looks like crap. The content is horrible. They know it’s written specifically for search engines and for conversions, it’s not written for them. So always keep that in mind with every single piece of content you create, and then use that content and repurpose it, and then do submissions on each one of those types of content, because it’s going to make your site look as natural as possible. You’re gunning at those links, which is going to increase your rankings. It’s going to increase your traffic and it’s going to increase your conversions.

Megan:

Oh, great stuff. Thank you so much, Brett. Thanks for being here. I appreciate you taking the time out for food bloggers. We all appreciate you and your information. I kind of feel like that was your ending words of inspiration, but do you have an additional quote or words of inspiration to share?

Brett:

I would just say when you look at taking these types of tasks, when you eat the elephant, do it one bite at a time. I mentioned that earlier. Do not get overwhelmed with all the things that you have to do, because that’s what happens with SEO. People get lost in the weeds. Create that list of everything that needs to be done so you can effectively manage your time and start chewing on that list every single week, rather than trying to get confused with doing too many things at one time. Because if you don’t eat the elephant one bite at a time, you’re going to choke. You will not have enough time to do what you need to do. You’re going to feel like you’re overwhelmed and you’re not going to get anything done.

Megan:

Oh, that I use that analogy all the time in my house. The elephant analogy comes out often. So thank you for ending on that. We will put together a show notes page for you, Brett, and we’ll put all of those amazing resources that you’ve mentioned inside of your show notes. So if anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/brettlane. And Brett is spelled with two T’s. Brett, tell everyone where they can find you online.

Brett:

Easiest place to find myself online is just Brett S as in Steven lane.com. brettslane.com.

Megan:

Awesome. Are you on Instagram as well?

Brett:

I’m not doing much on Instagram right now. I tend to have a little bit of a separation between my private business and my personal life, but there are resources on there for things like Twitter, Facebook and so forth.

Megan:

Awesome. Well, thank you again for being here, Brett, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Outro:

We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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