Everyone raves about “quality” content these days. The days of brief, uninformative content ranking in Google with shady SEO tactics is largely a thing of the past (although some people still get by with it). The big question is: if everyone is focused on quality content, what ultimately stands out? How do you truly differentiate yourself and create something that people want to share and link back to?
Roundup posts are one of the more popular tactics these days, and they’re something that Richard Marriott (the guest of today’s interview) specializes in. There are a lot of ways you can do roundup posts, but the basic reason that they work is because you are drawing upon the knowledge and commentary of several different people. And by featuring them in your post, you increase the likelihood that they will share the post with their audiences. Pretty simple, and pretty common today.
Richard Marriot believes he’s found the secret for getting these types of posts to go viral. He shares that “secret” in this interview, along with his story about how he created his site Clambr, and talks about his journey in getting to where he’s at today.
Check it out!
Richard, I’m a big fan of your blog, Clambr. You write a ton of great SEO and link building content, your roundup posts are fun to read, and you seem to have an overall interesting approach to the world of SEO. Tell us a little bit more about yourself and your journey. How did you get into SEO and how did Clambr come to be? What types of projects are you most focused on today?
Hey Eric, first I want to say a big thank you for interviewing me and also for your kind comments about Clambr!
I want to give a shout out to all the people who know me out there to say this is going to be the most honest interview you’ll have ever heard from me.
I’m going to share a lot of my failures in this. I’m not going to gloss things over and pretend I’m already living the dream, because I’m not. The reality is far from that. But what I am doing is chasing the dream and not giving up. Not yet at least!
Ok, so I got into SEO after creating a brand new website for my Chinese employer back when I was working in China. The sales team at that company was spending every day chasing leads and no one ever discovered us on their own. To me that sucked, and I wanted to turn that around, so instead all the clients would find us, and our sales team could spend less time sending cold emails and more time making sales.
In order to get the website found, I knew we had to hire an SEO. I interviewed a bunch of guys until one guy really stood out. He managed to rank the site for some pretty competitive “steel” related keywords in a matter of weeks and I gradually became more and more inquisitive about his methods. The site got hit by Penguin HARD a few months later though. And when I say hard, I mean like an iceberg to the face kinda hard.
The site dropped off the face of the earth for a while whilst my SEO guy scurried around trying to fix it. Eventually, he did, and I found the whole process incredibly fascinating. Bit by bit as he explained everything he was doing to recover from Penguin; I became so intrigued that I bought a fake copy of The Art of SEO off Taobao (sorry Eric, Stephan, Rand and Jessie), downloaded a load of guides and started learning!
Not long after I started learning the ropes, one of my old websites “Cheap-Mascot-Costumes.com” (now offline but see logo below to admire my amazing logo creating skills in Microsoft Paint) received an unbelievable sales inquiry from none other than Ogilvy!
Sure, Ogilvy probably emailed A LOT of sites but it was thanks to SEO that they also found our little site Cheap-Mascot-Costumes.com.
So what do you do when you receive an inquiry for 120 panda costumes to be manufactured and shipped to London in a month from Ogilvy?
You make that sh*t happen! And that’s exactly what I did. I called Ogilvy and delivered the best sales pitch of my life on why they should buy from us instead of Chinese suppliers who were offering prices over $170 (USD) cheaper than us.
To cut a long story short, Ogilvy ordered and they even repeat ordered after we pulled the whole thing off. Here’s a video of the pandas visiting London:
I love Ogivly and if my dream to become a big shot online doesn’t materialize within the next 6 months, they’ll probably be the first company I go applying for a job at!
Ok, so Clambr came to be shortly after the craziness from the panda selling wore off.
I was inspired to unleash my creative side and I wanted to blog about my journey of learning SEO and becoming some kind of guru. Clambr was going to be about my journey “clambering” to fortune online. After a few confused posts and not knowing what the heck I was doing I finally stumbled upon Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique and then expert roundups.
It’s thanks to this roundup about SEO tools for link building that you’re interviewing me today Eric! So I’m very grateful to all the people who took part in that and for Brian Dean in showing me how to execute not just the post but also all the link building that followed shortly after. (Note from The Daily Interview: We interviewed Brian Dean here!)
Now Clambr is more about how to clamber up Google. I’m going to be focussing purely on video tutorials in the coming months. I’ve only just started tinkering with YouTube and have a lot to learn but I enjoy the whole process and can’t wait to let you know when my first official video tutorial comes out 🙂
What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far with your online business?
Ok so clambr.com is not my greatest success online. I love the blog to bits and what I’ve achieved from it after starting as a total blogging/SEO newbie in July 2013, but my greatest success online was back when I was 22 (I’m now 28).
I opened an eBay shop when I was struggling for cash to fund a half year trip abroad in China. First I started selling individual polo shirts and was making a tidy profit (about $350 (USD) profit a week). After a few months selling those I had enough to fund the trip to China for half a year.
When I got to China, within 2 months, I’d blown my entire 10 grand of savings partying every night and needed to make money fast! I literally had only $400 left in my bank and 4 months left before my flight home. So I went to the big wholesale clothes market, bought a bunch of Ralph Lauren and Abercrombies, took them home, photographed them and put them up for sale on eBay.
I offered two options, either 10 shirts per box or 20 shirts per box. When I woke up the next day, I’d already sold 3 lots. This was thanks to the fact my eBay feedback score was 100%, my price was dirt cheap, and I’d built up a good reputation as a quality seller when I was back in the UK.
Soon the orders spiraled out of control. I was making, no joke, well over $1600 a week in pure profit. Life was good. So good that I even partnered up with a local to help me deal with all the bulk buying and postage when I was back in the UK.
Unfortunately, however, everything came to a terrible end when my business partner screwed me over and customs came knocking at my door. I had to pull the plug on the entire business and work out another way to make money.
The demise of my eBay business was the first punch in the stomach in a long string of punches in the stomach related to who I can trust doing business with.
I have actually been screwed over repeatedly by business partners or people with false promises, which is one of the reasons why for the time being I’m trying to go it solo rather than put my faith in someone else to help me succeed.
Roundup posts seem to be one of your strengths, and in my opinion, they’re a type of post that almost any blog or website can benefit from. What are some of the “key ingredients” to creating and promoting a successful roundup post?
YES, hands down, for sure expert roundups are probably the best types of posts to kickstart a blog because they get shared like crazy, and if you’re smart about keyword selection and onsite SEO, they’ll rank with just a handful of decent links.
My secret tactic for creating roundups that go viral is simple: the three bullets question.
With the 3 bullets question you basically ask experts to provide three solutions to a problem. Not one. Three.
The three bullets question encourages insanely high response rates, allows you to count votes from people’s answers and create a top 5 or top 10 list (which makes the content even more share-worthy), AND if you do it about products then you can even make some cash in the whole process because there’s nothing like expert testimonials to sell a product, right?
If you want to learn how to create expert roundups that go viral and rank, check out my expert roundups page. I’ve written a 5K word Secret Blueprint to creating the perfect expert roundup which you’ll get for free when you sign up to clambr.com.
The SEO landscape seems to have changed significantly from what it was a few years ago. From your experience, what are a couple of strategies that seem to be really effective today for helping a site rank well on Google?
I’ve got to say I’ve had most of my success from broken link building. Broken link building ROCKS.
Infographics are also my new favourite way to get links. I’ve used infographics to rank for some pretty competitive keywords on my new niche site.
I know you’re a big fan of creating infographics, and these seem to be a nice source of “link bait” today. I’ve always found myself lost when trying to create an infographic (although I’m admittedly not the most creative person), so I’m wondering: Is there an “efficient” way to create a worthwhile infographic, or does it just make more sense to outsource this process?
I’m glad you asked this Eric because actually I do have a pretty efficient method for creating infographics.
Although it might require a little creativity, I’m sure you’ll do just fine, because once you get the data, the creativity flows!
What we do is we get our own data from a survey on Survey Monkey. That costs about $220. Then we turn the data into some pretty graphs and donut charts on good old Excel.
Once you’ve got a lot of nice visual data to play with, use a site/tool like Lucid Chart to map out the flow of the infographic. It’s free for two weeks I believe. Then once you’ve mapped out the flow, written the copy, and dragged and dropped in a few basic Clip Art images to show a designer the kind of look you want, you then can get a really nice looking infographic for dirt cheap on People per Hour.
You see, if you’ve already found out the data yourself, mapped out the flow of the infographic, written the copy, etc, you are like a breath of fresh air to the infographic designer. Because 95% of the time they deal with absolute numbskulls who have no idea what they want the infographic to look like, how the data should be presented, what color it’s in, etc., and have to go through all the stress of doing that themselves.
So, in a nutshell, make the infographic designer’s job easy and you’ll get a stunning infographic that flows well because you nailed the data!
Seriously, you should always try to visualise the flow yourself and what data your audience will be interested in, because even if someone you outsource does heaps of research, they’ll never know what your audience wants like you do.
Looking generally at building a business online: If you had to take your best advice or inspirational thought and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
There are two quotes that keep me inspired and prevent me from giving up, because I know you’ll never reach success online unless you learn how to fail.
The first quote is from Batman Begins:
Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.
And the clambr.com version:
Why do we fall? So we can learn to clambr back up.
The other quote I live by is similar to the Batman one. It’s from the movie Layer Cake and speaks a lot of truth about life. This doesn’t quite fit into a Tweet, but it keeps me believing that after I take all the shit of trying to make it online, one day I’ll climb a little higher, and perhaps even reach that rarefied atmosphere:
You’re born, you take shit. Get out in the world, you take more shit. Climb a little higher, you take less shit. Until one day, you’re up in the rarefied atmosphere, and you’ve forgotten what shit even looks like.
What are your favorite online resources?
My favourite tools are BuzzStream and Ahrefs.
I use Ahrefs for competitive backlink analysis and BuzzStream for managing my link building campaigns. These are the only paid tools I need for SEO.
Finally, where can people find you online?
You can find me on Clambr.com. Make sure you sign up to updates on my blog because soon I’m going to be releasing a video series on how to clambr up Google FAST!
I’m going to cover all sorts of link building strategies and walking you through the exact processes I use on a daily basis to build links. I’m going to make the videos fun too like nothing you’ve ever seen before!
Also, if you want to say hi on Twitter give me a shout @clambr.
Thanks so much for sharing your story and SEO tips with us today, Richard.
What did you think about this interview with Richard? Have you had success with roundup posts? Leave a comment below!
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