Craig Campbell


Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Craig Campbell, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.

Although Craig is known for his infamous quote, “I was punched one time at a conference for going against Google guidelines.”

He has successfully operated multiple affiliate marketing businesses and knows a lot about off-white hat SEO tactics.

While many SEOs are closet black hatters and are afraid of white hat mob lynching, Craig is not afraid of being himself and that’s what makes him unique.

He also has a huge following in the SEO community and is wildly popular in some circles.

Please feel free to pick his brain.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until he asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s successes and strategies.

3) Please do not PM him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.

Please subscribe to our new Twitter account for the latest updates.


Table of Contents

Interested to hear your take on Google Authority (Entity) Stacks and PBNs as needle movers.

PBNs still work very well in my opinion. But there is a PBN and a PBN.

A real pbn has traffic, rankings and is pretty much a website repurposed, monetized and can also function as a PBN.

To many people repurpose some crap from wayback and then just let the pbn die over time.

Entity stacks also work well if done well, but id have more of a focus on PBNs good domains with power, authority and traffic this moves the needle a lot more in my opinion.

‘Done well’, depends on the content or the list of stacked services or a mix of both or is there something you would like to add to this mix?

Done well means that the pbns is monetized, ranking well, good content, gets traffic

Name three SEO’s that you look up to. Question 2, who is the best looking of the three?

You, Gareth Hoyle and myself and obviously im a clear winner on the looks side of things

Do you have any active parasite pages? If so, were they affected by the latest core update?

I have a few and yes some have tanked, which is a real pain in the ass, which puts me off using this method on a large scale.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the concept of making links to info pages (supporting content) with branded anchors and just use exact on innerlinks, whilst not doing any linking to the money page. I see this flying around a lot lately and would love to get your view on this linking concept.

I hear and see so many concepts that may or may not work,

I personally do not use the concept you described, I do link to money pages, I do also link to supporting content too,

I just mix and match everything including branded anchors, exact match and this works very well for me.

Personally, I’ve not tried the concept you mentioned, as the current method I use works fine, but this doesn’t mean there is no success with that method.

To be honest I feel there are so many concepts people play around with and no doubt a large percentage work.

I just try and not think to much about the ins and outs as its a waste of time, a links a link.

If you were starting in affiliate today would you go down a PBN route?

I wouldnt only focus on PBNs, get guest posts, niche edits, PBN’s and anything else you can think of, mix it all up.

There is no point in focussing on one tactic in my opinion as there is more risk.

What is your favorite method of online seo money making? Rank n rent, affiliate marketing, client seo?

Online SEO money making and affiliate are the best for me.

Followed by pay per lead, rank and rent ive had some poor experiences mainly with the people renting the sites not valuing the model.

And clients can be good, if you find the right ones who have the right budget, but those are few and far between.

1. What resources (books, blogs, vids etc) would you recommend for getting started with affiliates? 2. Any business books / courses / blogs you would recommend? 3. Any tips on speeding up / automating / delegating tasks? 4. Did you punch back?

In terms of books, videos and so on its difficult to say one book or one course, i picked up small bits from many sources rather than one individuial source.

But Matthew Woodward has a lot of stuff on his site and is a great source and place to learn about affiliate stuff.

Also guys like Matt Diggity have a lot of stuff out there on all of this type of thing, these are guys who have been there and done it.

Delegation, speeding up and automating really depends on your business model, Mads Singers Sorensen is good for delegation stuff, he has courses and does consultancy.

But automation, and scaling up really depends on what your scaling up, what type of business you have.

But outsourcing and having the right processes is the key in it all, then you can work at scale.

You just need to give good SOP’s for all the donkey work that takes up a lot of the time, automate what you can and then have middle managers watching and overseeing the process working.

And yes i punched back.

How would you rank a local business the fastest (long term top3 map pack and organic listings)?

Citations and consistent NAP ( Name address postcode ) are important for map listings, is a good place if you want to get someone to do that for you.

I done a talk on this in Chiang Mai last year, here are the slides man:…/craig-campbell-slides…

Which program are you using to automate link building for tier 2s and Tier 3s??

Automating that stuff is crazy these days.

I use niche edits as tier 2, if I was to automate ( i do this on a very small scale at times id use SEO Auto Pilot for this.

But just mixing up your links is normally enough to rank, maybe some tier 2 here and there.

But I don’t bother too much with tier 3 or anything like that.

Let’s say you send 5 good links from sites with traffic and the needle doesn’t move at all. What would you look at next? Tf-idf done as well as onpage.

Buy another 5, as that’s not a great amount of links, also one mans 5 good links.

Might be another mans idea of garbage, if your sure all the on-page is done.

Then more links should show a bit of movement at least, i normally get links min of 10 at a time.

1. What’s your take on tiered link building? Do you blast tier 2/3 or lower with automated links? or think this is a bad idea? what do you do then in this case? 2. Do you point pbn directly to money site? money article+info article both? or use a buffer site?

I do at times use tier 2 links where required, and yes ill use a PBN direct to a money site no problem at all.

I dont think blasting the shit out of tier 2s is always required.

Theres no need for buffer sites as i dont point thousands of pbns at something, just simply make good PBNs and make them footprint free.

What is better for adult websites: links from the same topic field or strong links from non-adult websites?

I think with this niche, your kind of forced into getting any old strong link you can.

As many link vendors dont link out to Adult sites, so your opportunities for links are a lot lower in this niche.

So id go for high power links and make the articles on these sites semi relevant if i could.

Being unapologetically black hat, how often are your clients sites penalized and how do you react?

I dont do a lot of client work, and if i was to do a client site I would explain the risk before doing any work.

Theres always a risk, but with clients id do as much basic SEO as i could and maybe implement a few tricks here and there to rank.

If you ruin a client site you are in serious trouble so i would avoid doing that at all costs.

RELATED:  Pick His Brain! with Matt Staton

I take risks on my own stuff only, best way

What’s your take on thin content? Some SEOs do not bother with content length at all. For example would you rewrite articles/pages that are ranking on page 2 (let’s say rank 12) or would you try alternative options?

If i was in pos 12, with thin content, i would of course go and add to and adapt that content to make it the best it can be.

There are tools out there like POP, Cora, Surfer that can show you the correlation in top ranks and the average content length in your niche.

I would be analysing everything to make sure i had the edge on the competition, as one guy might get away with thin content in his weak niche.

But you might not get away with it, so there are variables there means that were not all going to be on a level playing field, so research what the guys above you have and replicate.

Got any links to creating and keeping a PBN off the radar, do you still use a more blackhat style for getting rankings?

Here is some things here to help:…/

I try and not just focus on black hat, I do what works and implement as much less risky stuff, before i then do any of the darker stuff.

What affiliate site do you see killing it lately? is one that i keep an eye on , them guys are killing it and if you look they have pretty much everything down to a fine art, and are simply scaling at a massive rate.

Real impressive stuff going on there.

How to find competitors’ hidden pbns? Can you recommend a great pbn course? is a good place to find hidden pbns as many guys don’t block the bot for this.

To be fair im not sure on a PBN course as such, i posted a link to an article on my site, in one of the comments above.

Which has some useful tips, but ive yet to see a real good PBN course that has the depth required to call it a good paid course.

Which tool do you use for on-page?

SEMrush site audit, POP, sitebulb in most cases, to give me an idea of what i need to be doing compared to the competition.

How you monitor your backlink? Please suggest a paid or free tool to monitor backlinks.

Personally I use but there are a number of them out there, not tried any free ones.

I prefer to use paid tools, in my opinion the data and functions are much more reliable.

Which is better: Buying Expired Domains with backlinks and redirecting them to your project or buying single strong backlinks directly for your project?

Both can work well, i prefer to repurpose domains 80% of the domain than 301 ing them into the project.

But 301’s still work very well too, but i prefer to make money sites from them in most cases.

How do you rank?

Evergreen content and natural links.

Expired domains. Redirect. Resuurect and link. Resurrect and link to site via chain? Other? What’s best?

Mix it up, personally i do 80% resurrect and link, as i like to make my PBN’s pay for themselves and monetize them.

But at times a nice redirect work can move the needle nicely, so i do that too.

Nice redirect? Can you define the criteria? Relevancy?

Elevancy and nice strong backlinks of course

What are your thoughts on EAT? A ranking factor or total bollocks?

Big sweaty bollokcks.

You bought a domain at an auction.1) Will you restore the content (design) from the web archive? 2) Will you make a new website on WP? a) Make a redirect of old pages to new pages b) Restore old links with new content 3) Do you immediately link from PBN to moneysite? 4) How do you test PBN? 5) Do you make a link from PBN to 1 money site or make several links to your projects?

I normally re design and make more modern, keeping the same URL structure and using the content from wayback machine.

There is no time delay on linking out once the PBN is getting traffic etc then i link out as i require.

I might link out to a number of projects or it might be one depending on the PBN.

The only way to test a pbn is to see if the rankings and traffic come back, if so then it works just fine.

Which affiliate programs are the best to participate in in your opinion? is 40% recurring monthly.

And many other Saas tool providers have similar commisions, this is the easiest and most lucrative for me personally.

What the maximum number of PBNs you’d advise one to go for at the beginning stages. Furthermore with regards to managing a lot of PBNs, is there any tool you’d recommend as login in and out of multiple sites on a daily basis can be overwhelming. Any tool(s) to help?

There is no upper limit you scale as big as you want, obviously more sites is more hassle.

You can use tools like Ghost Browser to login and out of accounts or personas.

Or get some custom one built to serve your purpose.

What’s your take on tools like managewp? Do you advice against using them or not and why?

Problem i have with that tool is in theory its a great idea.

But when you update plugins etc, sites go down and your not notified or anything.

So you would need an uptime monitor etc alongside that to work.

For me personally i tried it and didnt enjoy it for that one reason.

What is your top source for getting expired domains?

I use to check for stuff and then grab em from the auctions.

Spamzilla gives you the metrics etc and helps you identify good opportunities.

If its domains then a dropcatcher like Kalin Karakehayov is your man to speak too he has one of the biggest lists I’ve seen.

How do you envision the future of SEO? 5 years and 10 years from now?

Wish i had the answer, hard one to predict as 5 years ago if you asked the same question.

I wouldnt have ever thought pbns and all that stuff still worked.

I suspect it will be the same old dog fight but things will have evolved slightly.

Even now some businesses cant even get onpage right.

Never mind rank for their own brand let alone utilise the many other marketing technologies that are available.

I think because the masses dont get it, that things will just continue as we are for a while yet.

If you wanted to rank locally for a term, and a competitor has that term in their URL, is ranking #1 BUT no GMB is showing up for the term. What would you do first other than creating and optimizing a GMB listing.

Rank a page on your site for that term too.

Because they have the term in their URL doesnt mean you cant outrank them so id be going for that too.

Have you been into Cold outreach emails ? What is the right way for prospecting?

No cold outreach sucks for me. Id rather just pay someone else to do that kinda work for me.

Many outreach specialists who have big lists of sites and processes in place. Its more cost effective to use them.

I am in middle of such work and really struggling with the prospecting.. any tips

The tip would be go buy em from someone who can prospect.

Doing cold outreach aint personally my thing as I said I pay someone to do it.

If your referring to link begging and wanting the link for free that shit dont work.

People want money so make sure you offer enough and maybe they will respond

When building PBNs that look like real sites and not crappy PBNs, are you less worried about footprints? Obviously the basics like different hosting accounts, etc, but does it change the approach if site has good content, gets real traffic, etc? Can we get more of the story about the guy punching you? I find it hilarious someone would take those guidelines so seriously.

Yup if its a real site you dont need to be as worried about footprints.

RELATED:  Pick Her Brain! with Amy Jones

And regarding the story on the punch, dont wana cover old ground and start fueling any fires.

But yeah some people take what people say very seriously. Just means that anyone speaking is more guarded on what they will give away of thats the reaction.

But it was a one off most people are decent

What’s your opinion on GSA? Are they still relevant?

GSA i still have it, and it can serve a specific purpose but it aint something id use on my own site put it that way.

What’s one black hat seo tactic “one of your friends did” that you have never shared publicly?

My bad ass friend worked in a niche. To get links he looked at the links the top dogs had.

He then checked whether they were accessible for blind people.

Most were not, so he reached out to the sites linking to the client.

Pretending to be blind saying the site the linked to is shit and not accessible for the text reader thing.

Then suggested they linked to a site that was accessible ( which was the friends site )

So yeah my friend pretended he was blind to get links.

What is your take on programs such as POP, Cora and Surfer SEO? Do they have a place in your strategies, and if so, where in the list of priorities do they fit in when tackling a new project?

I like all of those programs and have tested them all, and they give you great insights into what the compeition are doing.

So i see no reason why anyone wouldnt use this as part of their strategy.

The devil is in the detail and using this data to gain the edge over the competition is a no brainer.

I always run an audit on any new project and then will fix technical, speed and onpage as a priority before i do anything else.

The forbes list is out for the worlds richest person. Can you tell me if we have any Seo or digital marketing guy within the list? If the seo guy or the marketer can rank and knows how to rank then how come they don’t make the buzz on forbes list, considering no one is still there? What is your take on this? like, If I know the game, I should be earning too, right?

I’m pretty sure debate could have some of those dudes using seo and marketing to get on that list.

But the CEO gets the credit not the marketing or seo dude.

That said SEO will never have the same mark up or volume as oil or some of the other stuff at the top of forbes.

What are your thoughts on niche relevant backlinks vs high authority backlinks that are not niche relevant? Or are they both good and just add whatever you can get?

If i was to pick, relevance would be the first metric id look at, or the primary metric.

But I do enjoy a nice high authority link thrown into the mix too.

So im greedy, id take both.

Do you have any recommendations on someone who does (corporate website) ADA compliancy?

Sadly i am not familiar with a specialist in ADA compliancy, but maybe someone else can chip in with a name ???

You are expert Affiliate Marketing, I need some help, I want to start affiliate marketing blog/website. Please suggest me one niche which is the best for me because I am a newbie in this field and also suggest ma one Theme & Plugin, which is the best for Affiliate Marketing.

Your own niche research is important, noone is going to ever do that legwork for you, any niche will do.

But id say do a niche you enjoy rather than doing something you know nothing about.

Plugin wise aawp is good for amazon, and any old template will do, many amazon sites look like shit.

So there is no best template, plugin or niche as such.

You just need to find a template you think looks nice and find a niche you can make some decent margins in.

Can you share your thoughts on anchor texts? How do you select your anchor texts when placing links…

Hey man, i just go random, mix it all up there is no crazy formula.

Just a common sense approach, keep it spam free.

Use exact matches on occasion, brand, and any other relevant words too.

What are the 3 questions that you will ask your client prior to start working on any SEO project?

1. Whats your budget

2. Whats your expectations

3. Is it SEO you want, consultancy, training or all of the above as you need to price that shit for a client.

Too many times a client wants hand held, consultancy, training, psycology, mentoring, friendship, shoulder to cry on, and at times they have a budget for links only.

And you end up not being able to serve them.

Do you place a heavy focus on “silos” when building your affiliate sites? Or do you just make sure you are moving juice around your pages in less of a structured manner?

I’m a less structured kinda guy and it works for me.

That said silos work well too, is probably choose a nice silo structure if I could be bothered.

I’ve registered a GMB but it’s a flat, so obviously it has a buzzer number with the address. When registering for postcard verification obviously I need to include the flat number. But for citiations and NAP on website can I just ignore the buzzer number?

Yeah just make sure you keep them consistent including on your own site.

Just remove the buzzer and flat number and stick to that and go get citations man.

When you build internal links to a page you want to rank, do you use only two or three different anchors or more? Or perhaps less (only one)?

Two or three per page is a good number to go by any more is spammy.

Is there any way around the “Google doesn’t like multi mail box addresses” thing? I have clients who need an address but don’t have a physical location. I have had some register will with the multi mailbox addresses, but currently have a couple that google punished. Is there any way to make a multi mailbox address work?

Yeah just try and get an address that people havent spaMmed to death.

Even simply go on Craigslist and pay someone to take the postcard for you.

1) What is your take on CognitiveSEO and SurferSEO? 2) Tools like POP and SurferSEO do suggest some words/terms to add to content to make it rank higher. Do you also use these words/terms as anchors for link building? 3) I have s site I’d been doing link building for over 3 months and now showing some little sign of progress. The progress is extremely slow, as I believe have some internal issues I can’t seems to figure out. What do you suggest?

Cognitive and surfer are also very good tools, i have tried and tested both and like them too.

You can take keywords from pop or surfer and add them in to refine the content.

I mix my anchors but at times do use exact match and can use those keywords for this.

3. Do a site audit and make sure the foundations of the site are on point, as building links to a site with underlying issues is kinda pointless links should be the last thing you do.

Your affiliate sites, are they lead gen or are they to amazon or to online shops / website and (the second part) how do you choose what niche to focus on. Do you focus on an industry you know inside out or do you chase search volume or the highest paying client?

I have lead gen and amazon sites, lead gen wise i try and focus on professionals like dental.

Legal or finance because those guys pay more and have budget.

Amazon wise any niche will do, as long as the search and demand is there then you dont need to know the niche that well.

In an ideal world content wise it would make sense to focus on a niche you understand but i dont see that as being essential.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.