Hey !! Today at our Expert chat section we had Adam Connell with us. I know you are excited to read another stunning interview from our interview series.
This weekend I am interviewing one of Best Blogger Adam Connell. He is doing really well in Online Marketing and making his living online.
Can you tell us something about your blogging journey. How and when did you enter into blogging? And who are your blogging role models ?
My blogging journey first started at university, I was studying music technology (yep, quite different from what I do now), I watched a guest lecture from a guy that taught music business – this lecture was all about digital marketing and inspired me to learn more.
I started reading books and blogs like ProBlogger and Copyblogger.
When I was coming to the end of my course, I chose to do my dissertation on Music Marketing – I found the research process so interesting that it then gave me a new direction in life – Marketing.
I started learning how to build websites with WordPress, read up on blogging, learnt more about marketing while working in retail. Within a few years’ time I landed an amazing opportunity managing a marketing agency.
Raw experience being ‘in the trenches’ so to speak allowed me to beat qualified marketers with years of experience to the job.
There were even a few people at the group interview who were members of the ‘Chartered Institute of Marketers’ here in the UK.
There are a lot of people that I think of as role models, for example Darren Rowse who has created some very popular blogs and also a really strong community.
Also, Adrienne Smith – I do consider her the Queen of Engagement. Looking at the number of blog comments Adrienne gets I really don’t know how she manages to respond.
Jon Morrow – Jon wrote the most popular post ever to be published on Pro Blogger that generated over a million views. Jon is an incredibly inspiring guy.
There are others that I look up to, but I could probably write a post on that alone.
What are your top favorite 3 tools for managing social media campaigns and why?
Hootsuite – As it happens, Hootsuite came out on top of a recent group interview I published where 46 experts shared their top social media tools. Hootsuite is super easy to use but has some incredible features including a mobile app and a new feature called the ‘Hootlet’.
Social Oomph – I think this tool deserves more credit, it’s incredible and used by the SmallBizTrends.com team and JeffBullas. You can schedule updates, find people to follow, monitor analytics and a lot more.
Inkybee – I use this tool to find and track relationships with online influencers. I wrote a guide on how to do this here.
Do you Pinterest for your business, what kind of pinterest tools you use.
Pinterest is one of those social sites that I just don’t have the time to devote to right now. Time is precious and you have to focus on what gets you results.
I have no doubt that with some time I could quickly start getting results but right now I stick to using the Bookmarklet and the desktop site. I do hear Viraltag is quite an impressive tool though.
If you are familiar with Internet marketing what kind of tactics you use for your blog reader engagement.
I focus on a few different things, the main one being detailed and actionable content.
I make every post as detailed as possible, you may have seen this referred to as ‘long-form’ content and it works. Chances are you won’t see me publish a blog post with less than 1,000 words, most end up being over 2,000 and I’ve published posts with over 4,000+ words.
When you create a powerful resource for people, they appreciate it and are more compelled to say thank you or engage in the discussion.
Another tactic that works extremely well is building relationships (I’m sure Adrienne Smith who I mentioned earlier would agree with me here) – Relationships are powerful, you need to forge relationships with other bloggers and continue to nurture them.
The final tip I’ll leave you with for this question is – marketing your content to influencers.
If you have a small audience and think “wow, how can I expand my audience like all those popular bloggers” – don’t worry, it will happen.
Mention industry influencers in your content, tell them about it and ask them to help you share the content.
It works really well.
What Is Your SEO Super Power?
I’m not sure if this would class as an SEO super power, but within just a few months I was able to build and launch a blog that organically earns links from industry influencers and ranks well without much effort at all. All while generating an impressive amount of social shares and contributing to a number of expert SEO interviews.
Traffic, social shares, engagement and authority – that’s what it’s all about.
How Do You Conduct An SEO Experiment?
I think of experiments as very controlled, while I do test link building and SEO tactics, I wouldn’t consider them an experiment.
The experiments are better saved for people with access to serious amounts of data like Moz, SearchMetrics and other analytics/data companies.
What kind of SEO Tools Do You Use And Why?
Here are the main SEO tools that I use right now:
BuzzStream – to help manage relationships and link building campaigns
Moz – I am really liking the new Moz Analytics, and they have a bunch of other tools that give me some great insights. The Moz Toolbar is incredibly useful to to give me data on the fly.
Ahrefs – A great site explorer with some other impressive tools; I think Ahrefs visualizes data an a very easily digestible way.
Google Webmaster Tools – say what you like about Google, but WMT provides a lot of great insights.
There are a few more tools, but I could talk for hours on this topic.
What blogs do you read? Tell me about an article you recently read that stuck out to you.
I read all the usual – Moz, SEJ, SE Land, Marketing Land, Clickz, KISSmetrics, Quicksprout, Kaiserthesage and Boost Blog Traffic.
As for a blog post that stuck out to me, this post on GrooveHQ’s blog is awesome – find out how they failed their way to the top of Hacker news and grabbed themselves 33,000+ visitors to a single blog post.
A client asks you to build a strategic plan for their website. What steps would you go through?
It all starts with understanding their business and their customer. Most importantly, the problem that their customer has and how their products/services solve the problem.
The next steps include competitor research, keyword research, ensuring the content has the right content and landing pages.
The website needs to be able to convert so that’s always a high priority. You could blast as many visitors as you like a website but if it doesn’t convert then you’re just wasting your time.
Next, we’d put together a content plan for the clients blog and research all of the market influencers and devise a plan for tapping into their already established audience.
This is a very skinned back look at the type of things that we do at UK Linkology. There are a lot of other tactics we employ, but these are what we find gets the best results.
What are the Secrets of Affiliate Marketing and are you associated with any kind of affiliates.
There aren’t really any major secrets, it’s actually really simple – make sure everything you write adds value.
Thin content that provides no value will just cause you to fail.
Quality first, then quantity.
Do you use Blackhat SEO tactics in a white hat way. Like scrapebox …
I use Scrapebox, but I don’t use any Blackhat SEO tactics – if you’re going to do things the white hat way, then do it the white hat way.
There’s no ‘half in half out’ type thing here, you’ve got to be fully invested in using white hat tactics – if you don’t then you’ll get a nasty surprise from Google.
Sure, there may be black hat (well more like grey hat) tactics that may work for you but it’s not going to work for long.
Google will bring it’s net in at some point, so I’ll put it to you…
Do you want your website to still be here in the next 3-5 years?
In that case focus on doing things the right way.
What are your biggest client hurdles?
I don’t tend to have many hurdles with clients, but the biggest issue is usually budget and a lot of clients find it difficult to understand that digital marketing and SEO is more expensive now.
Once I had a client email me a link to a company selling SEO services on Ebay boasting page one rankings for 10 target keywords – guaranteed. The sales page mentioned things like wiki links, article marketing and what was most worrying “blog posts on our blog network of 2,500 websites”.
Along with the link to this, my client basically asked me why we don’t buy this to get them ranked cheaper.
The answer was simple – because we want your website to actually rank well in Google for the foreseeable future rather than a quick shoot to the top followed by a swift kicking out of the top 100 search results.
These cheap SEO services run on a high churn rate. If someone says they will guarantee rankings, run for it. You can’t guarantee rankings in a third party search engine.
On Optimising a Site – Briefly Tell us what a Search-friendly Site Looks Like?
A search friendly site could incorporate a lot of things – crawlers need to be able to access the site, you need a sitemap, a site designed for user experience, unique content that targets your keywords, a site that loads fast and engages users. Mobile ready and designed to allow users to share your content easily. Meta data and Schema are also a must,
Also, be careful of the use of canonical tags.
There is a lot more to it, but I guess you could say this is the foundation of building a visible site.On Google – Tell me about the Latest Changes at Google
Some of the recent updates include the likes of Humming bird which is highlighting a move to understand user intent.
Penguin 2.1 was also unleashed a while back and continued the war on webspam.
We also saw how Google were moving to 100% (not provided) – which will make it more difficult to find which keywords are referring traffic. Although the majority of my traffic has been (not provided) for a good while now.
Despite all of these changes, nothing has really changed – it’s obvious that Google are trying to improve organic search results so they display more relevant and authoritative content for users.
What direction should we take moving into 2014?
The same direction as before, nothing has really changed. So it’s time to carry on creating great sites geared towards users with content that our readers love.
I hope this interview helped you all the bloggers out there. These questions are brilliantly answered by Adam. I appreciate his time and pleased to see that he answered questions genuinely.