Eric Lancheres


Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

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

Eric has an interesting story. Starting in 2007, he was a full time affiliate marketer ranking in the dating, health supplement, and gaming industry until one day in 2011 he lost all his traffic because of the Google Panda update.

After the update, he spent over a year researching, testing and learning about search algorithms so that he could reverse the Google update that took down all his sites.

He succeeded and since then, he’s been focused on teaching, recovering and helping web owners thrive in the face of constant Google updates.

You may have seen him presenting at Traffic & Conversion, SEO Rockstars, IMP and a few more. Or more recently, you might have read his study of the March 2019 Core update.

In 2015, he took a month off consulting to go back to his affiliate roots and produced a single webpage that grossed over $1.2 million dollars in sales in the tech industry.

He’s helped thousands of businesses recover from Google penalties and coached thousands of entrepreneurs on how to increase their website traffic.

He will happily answer any questions on ranking high competition keywords, recovering from updates and scaling a web business quickly.

Please 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 success 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.


Table of Contents

How do you figure out which factor holds how much weight… Also when you reverse engineer and test it, how do you figure out which results come from which action? Are the test single variable? How do you isolate that single variable while limiting all the others?

Reverse engineering SEO is fairly easy but very few people have the time and patience to do so. It’s just a matter of looking at the top results (manually) over and over again in various different sectors.

After a while, you’ll start to notice trends. Then I check page 3,4,5 to see what’s NOT ranking.

There is software like Cora and POP that does this but software can only do so much.

Discovering what works sometimes means looking beyond simple metrics like how many H2 tags there are.

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Lastly, isolating single variables is typically done by creating multiple control pages that are all essentially the same (almost) and then running whatever test you want on them.

Any tips regarding how to choose a target market/product/audience for someone looking to emulate your success and build their own website?

The BEST thing I can advise you to do is to look 6 months into the future. What’s going to be hot really soon?

I love using Google trends and trying to guess what’s going to be hot right before it hits.

This gives you a HUGE first mover’s advantage and you get to ride the wave instead of fighting against it. Backlinks come easier, rankings as well.

That’s how I did 1.2M part time with a single page while I still managed the main business.

It wasn’t by going into an over-saturated market that was dying, quite the opposite in fact!

Any rough tips on using Google trends to look for emerging topics, where do you start?

Google trends is used to confirm your suspicions instead of telling you what’s going to be hot.

I like to plug in topics and suspect keywords to see if they are starting to emerge. (Usually if you can see a little tiny bump, it can be indicative it’s about to blow up in popularity)

The two tools that have made me the most money in the past decade are: Long walks alone and pen & paper.

While I’d love to recommend a software tool that looks into the future, I don’t think it exists yet.

I usually come up with my best ideas during long walks, in the shower or while I’m sitting down for serious brainstorming sessions without a laptop (hence the pen and paper).

Do you promote affiliate offers with the help of ads and funnels or through blogs and seo? What has worked best for you?

There are 2 ways to do affiliate marketing successfully (at least, as far as I have discovered).

You sell directly through contextual recommendations when they land on your page (and they are looking to buy right then and there) OR you build a giant email list by focusing on opt-ins (and then you get a ton of chances to make sales).

If the term you’re targeting is very commercial: (Such as buy viagra), then you go for the direct sale because they want to buy NOW.

However, if the term isn’t super commercial (like how to make chicken bone broth), then you go for the opt-in and sell them via auto-responder / mailing list because they are more likely to buy at a later point. (and you can present them with more offers).

I don’t build clickfunnel style funnels for affiliate offers. I set up a site that gets organic traffic and then either apply option #1 or #2

The single webpage is super glaring now but we won’t mind if you can shed more light upon it. There are a ton of affiliate marketers here.

I wouldn’t go for it now. The time has passed.

How do you build links for dating niche?

The best way to get links in the dating industry is to get to know the big players (and their sites). Then you offer value to them and exchange / get links.

(There’s actually a private mastermind for business owners in that niche).

Honestly, that’s the best way to approach any industry.

Get to know the big players in it… make a name for yourself and then getting links from the biggest sites becomes easy.

Or you could just buy some guest posts from them, there are a few sites selling them in the dating industry.

What you do first if your website get hit by Google update and tanks? Which are the common things you check to figure out the reason?

And while a little text box here isn’t enough to cover everything… here’s what I suggest.

First, figure out if it’s a site-wide drop or a page specific drop.

1. Site wide drops tend to be related to Panda / Thin Pages/ Duplicate OR a loss of link power.

2. Page specific drops tend to be related to bad content or bad links.

Sometimes it’s not even your fault and it’s just that your links lost power (so the links pointing to you link).

I encourage people going through drops to focus on the basics first: Check content, links and site quality.

As a bonus, the most common problem I see these days is that people have too much thin/duplicate content on their website.

One of our affiliate projects was built on an auctioned domain with a clean bl profile that appeared to be niche relevant (now Im kinda second guessing). After 6 months of quality content, on-page, interlinking and building additional solid links, some keywords barely show…others jump around the serps way too much, and last content pieces took 4 weeks to index (naturally). In your opinion, should we register a new domain and 301 everything there, or scratch the project and start all over again?

The website is back from upgrades now (Traffic Research).

You’d be surprised at how many clean sites I pick up that aren’t fully clean.

I ALWAYS test any auction site I pick up by linking to another random page and then monitoring to see if my link help THEM move up a spot or not.

If I link out to another site and nothing happens (or worse, the page drops!) then you know you picked up a toxic site.

That being said, it appears as if you focused on adding content instead of links.

I encourage people to put out ONE really good piece of content on a new domain and then building links to it.

(Or rather, spreading the word about that piece of content so you get links naturally).

Chances are… you’re just missing powerful links.

Any info on conversions? I was able to optimize the site for CTR but conversions is another story.

People have to trust you in order to buy. I make sure that when people read my content, they KNOW that I’m an authority figure on that subject.

I take original pictures (sometimes with my cell phone so they look more ‘real’ and less polished).

I get bespoke imagery done by a graphic artist and I make sure that my copy is really quite emotional to encourage people to buy.

Combine all 3 (authority, great content and emotion) and you have a recipe for conversions.

The biggest mistake I see is that people have a generic looking website, a generic looking article and a blatant call to action.

I assume that all my visitors are smart and they can smell any BS a mile away!

What approach do you take to deciding anchor text for your backlinks?

My golden rule for anchor text is to NEVER use the same anchor text twice.

I write things differently, I try to stay on topic and make it look as natural as possible.

Sometimes that means using only the website, sometimes it means I can be a little more aggressive and get parts of my anchor text in there.

If you’re on a really good site, the ‘ultimate’ anchor text right now (this might change a year from now.

Google loves to do that) seems to be a mix of all your keywords in a different order + extra words.

So for example, if your main goal is to rank for “best fishing pole”, I would have an anchor text that says: “this pole is the best for fishing bass” on a large authority website.

So it’s natural & contains ALL the keywords.

Yes, you can still do exact match keywords as anchor text but they don’t seem to be as future proof and they usually get the page in trouble fairly quickly.

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I like to rank for years at a time instead of weeks

Does this mean that each article should have an original anchor text (over the whole website) that isn’t repeated elsewhere?

You’re eventually going to get anchor text that repeat however I try to avoid it if possible.

(Think of it like trying to avoid puddles when you just finished washing your car…it’s going to get dirty but you at least try to avoid it!)

As for anchor text over the entire site… each article is different so they all warrant different anchor text!

Is it better to go after keywords that have less search volume but low competition, or go after keywords with high search volume and high competition, but know that you have the ability to out-compete? Or is it not worth the effort to compete and instead focusing on grabbing as much long tail traffic as possible?

I take a slightly different approach.

Instead of focusing on long tail keywords or short tail, I focus on topics.

Google has shifted the algorithm so pages that cover entire topics will rank for multiple smaller keywords.

Ultimately, it’s more lucrative to have one really good page covering a topic than it is to have many small pages covering individual keywords.

When I approach the competition, I look at the top 3 results and think: “Can I create BETTER content than what’s already in the top 3?” If the answer is yes, then I go for it.

It’s Google’s job to rank the best content on the internet… so if you already have that, you’re ahead of the competition. (And then it becomes much easier to get links).

The mistake I see most people make when it comes to ‘making money online’ with organic traffic is that they focus on keywords that get too little traffic.

I always try to calculate my ROI in advance based on traffic & sales estimates.

If I know that X keyword/topic will deliver 1000 visitors and I’m selling something for $40 a piece.

Then I can afford to invest Y hours and Z money into that page. That’s just not possible with terms that get 20 visitors.

What tips do you suggest a new blogger in home decor and lifestyle niche in order to improve traffic or site structure? So a new blogger like myself should be on a right track. Any suggestive courses videos. etc..

My BEST advice is two folds:

Start with ONE piece of content… and try to make that go viral.

I see too many people try to put 10 articles on a site before even showing it to the public.

When that happens, none of the articles go viral or attract any attention.

I did a case study where I launched a website with 2 pieces of content.

They both received hundreds (even thousands) of links and with those 2 pieces of content, we were able to hit over 2000 daily visitors.

Once we had the momentum going, I had writers create a few more pieces of content.

Spend days brainstorming ONE big idea. What’s the best piece of content you can produce in the home decor niche?

Work on that. And if it’s a hit… great, continue!

If it fails, then try again with the lessons that you learned.

And while Traffic Research is more for advanced marketers/ SEO people, it does contain series such as SEO Simplified and the White Hat Case study where I show exactly how I start websites from scratch.

We have several niche sites that all rank and we monetise with ads and amazon affiliates. We have page 1 rankings for a good number of articles. We don’t really do backlinking at all. Are we missing a trick by not doing and if so other than guest posting are there any other strategies you could point us in the direction of?

I’m going to read between the lines and assume you have a method / process that works and you’re looking for ways to make more money.

To that, I say you can either improve your process or scale it (do it more often).

Let’s talk about improving the process first:

If you’re ranking without building links, you’re either getting some naturally (great) or you’re in markets that aren’t very competitive.

If you aren’t ranking in position #1 for your most lucrative terms, then yes, building more links will help you increase profits (and therefore, improve your process… which you can then apply to all your other sites).

There are many different flavors of guest posting however my personal favorite (and highly under utilized) method is to quickly build relationships with authority sites in your industry.

(Get an introduction from someone or get to know the owners of the websites) and then get a post there linking back to your site.

For example, Steven Kang and I have formed a relationship so if he were to ask me for a link, I’d say: “Hell yes, where do you need it?”

All we needed to do is connect via Facebook, talk a few times and here we are.

That is BY FAR the easiest way to get authority links that will have your competitors scratching their heads wondering: “how in the world did he get that link?”

Alternatively, you can also go out and buy guest posts. You can get some off market places but they tend to be hit or miss.

Coincidentally, my TR team is putting together a list of guest post sites (that aren’t listed in market places) that everyone tends to miss.

They aren’t always easy to find but they can be worth their weight in gold!

tl;dr Yes, building links can help you if you aren’t ranking #1 and guest posting is one of the more popular ways of getting links these days.

What is the key to success in selling consulting services in seo in comparison to doing the seo as a service?

SEO Consulting and SEO services are drastically different.

If you want to be successful with consulting, make sure that people know your name and seek YOU out.

Having a podcast, Youtube channel, publish regular papers, host a Facebook group or speaking at conferences will help.

At one point I was doing 2-3 full consulting calls per day (exhausting when those are 2-3 hour calls each) and while it was lucrative, I don’t feel it was sustainable long term.

On the other hand, SEO services relies on having a strong sales team/pitch and a team that can deliver once you get the clients.

This is more of a team business while consulting is a smaller operation.

The main difference, in my opinion, is that in consulting, the clients seek you out while to sell services, you seek the customer out.

We are currently working on an old site with 3000+ contents (not exactly thin content, but non-value add imo). The owner wanted to add affiliate review contents moving forward, while keeping the existing ones. We’ve seen the site consistently lose ranking over the past 12 months, a major drop usually coincides with an algo update. We had review contents went live (KD <10) but they weren’t ranking anywhere even in op 100. I’d rate the on-page at 7-8/10. I highly suspect this is related to site-wide content quality and relevancy issue. Which would be a better approach, 1) clean up the site (not sure the success %), or 301 existing review contents to a new domain. Or perhaps something else?

I see this all the time and help people navigate through this.

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First, 301 redirecting will do nothing but move the same problem to a new domain.

Instead, you need to address the root of the issue.

For older sites, you’re typically looking at a few issues:

1. Older links aren’t as strong as they once were.

2. The content isn’t as relevant/good as it once was… and as Google updates it’s algorithm, it becomes more severe towards thin/lower quality content.

If the site hasn’t been GAINING new links, then it’s dying. So that’s one thing to check.

Also, I feel it’s fair to mention you don’t want random scraper site links, you want real, legitimate new links from forums, related sites, etc.

And if it’s content, then you need to address the thin, duplicate and cannibalized content.

If it’s WordPress, I even developed a plugin to help with it called the Site Quality plugin (it’s free) and if it’s on another platform.

Then Screaming Frog SEO will be your software of choice to track down the issues.

I like to paint an analogy: Your website is like a restaurant and every page is an item on the menu.

If 90% of your items are crap, then most people will have a bad experience.

Google will see that most of the site is lower quality and it will reduce it’s rankings.

It’s usually better to have less pages (but make sure they are all high quality) so that no matter what someone picks, it’s great stuff!

Does the site really have 3000 complete articles or 3000 pages?

I usually see 3000 page sites slimmed down to 300 pages when you trim all the fat.

Of course, if it’s 3000 articles, you might have 300000 pages of fat that need trimming.

1) Your 3 favorite SEO tools today you can’t live without 2) Have you heard any recent tips for ranking business locally? Google 3 pack etc…

Ahrefs, Screaming Frog SEO Spider and that’s about it. The rest of the stuff are plugins I developed for various tasks.

And press releases work well for ranking businesses locally. Honestly, I think the favorite ‘local’ trick is to use a technique I call the Photographer technique.

I go more into depth in my training videos but… the short version is that you take local pictures of events in your city.

Host them on your website and then get local newspapers to link to that page.

Super easy free links from the best local authority sites around.

What training videos you have for new bloggers?

My best training is going to be SEO Simplified, my Mega On-Page series and 7 Backlink Rankings.

Those are premium trainings inside Traffic Research.

However I also have free content on my Youtube channel

I’ve a client who pays out 6 figures monthly to his SEO affiliates. It’s an 80/20 thing where most of the sales come from a few products. I have the opportunity to become his only affiliate. Would have to dominate page 1 for his products in return. How would you approach this to estimate if it’s worth it and how much resources (time and $) is needed?

If I understand correctly, the client is thinking of shutting down his affiliate program in favor of doing it all himself in-house, giving you a piece of the cut in the process.

However, in order to do it, you need to outrank all the existing affiliates on page 1?

This sounds like a bad plan. While I specialize in estimates, forecasts and planning, you’re going to end up screwing over affiliates that have supported the guy for a long time.

If they know SEO and already have optimized sites/links, you’re going to have a hell of a hard time moving them (never mind an entire page of them).

Think about it this way, people charge 10k+ a month for reputation management when there are only a FEW entries (with zero backlinks) on page 1 saying something bad about someone.

You’re talking about displacing an entire page filled with optimized content (with backlinks) for a specific product.

While you didn’t provide the product (or really, any information about ranking difficulty), I think the entire idea is both greedy and foolish.

The existing affiliates (who themselves, have likely invested quite a bit into those pages) are either going to recommend the competitor or just transform a positive review into a negative one.

However, if you’re really serious about this (hey, everything’s possible), then the best solution is to buy all the affiliates sites.

Start making offers, buy them all out. 20x-30x the yearly revenue. I’ve seen it done.

If a site is in a language primerally say swedish aimed at that market, and also needs to attract traffic from the states, is it better to have multi language or two separate sites? Also does the content fall into a duplicate algorithm with 2 sites (if that is the way forward) having the same content but in different languages?

You can do it both ways and both can work.

You can either have 2 sites or have different languages hosted on the same site (as long as they are in directories or subdomains) such as /us-en/ or /sw/

I personally prefer the 2 site approach because it makes things simpler, cleaner and then you can have a localized .se domain and a .com for the US.

The .se will give you a huge boost in Sweden but will make it really hard to rank in the US.

As for duplicate content, you should not have any issues. You can’t pop in a Swedish article into Google translate and expect to have a relevant English one.

The content will need to be re-written to preserve expressions (and for it to make sense). I wouldn’t worry about this one bit!

Are there any other factors in seoing a site in a foreign language that might not be so obvious at first glance?

I’m not sure if these are obvious or not but… get a local server hosted in Sweden for the Swedish site.

Get links from .se domains and from content in Swedish.

This will give you a huge edge over anyone else trying to compete with you (who isn’t doing those things).

Foreign rankings are fun because you tend to get amazing results with relative ease.

If right now you target an affiliate keyword in a competitive niche like dating or finance. What will be your Blueprint to move forward for this kind of site?

Asking for a blueprint like that is a bit like asking: “What’s your blueprint for starting a business and taking it public?”

Generally, the big ideas are well understood however the magic happens upon the execution of those ideas.

So while you want to do the things you already know (have good content, links and authority), it’s the execution that will separate you from the other players.

If you’re really interested in full blueprints, I recommend enrolling in webinars / programs / trainings from various people in the SEO industry.

(I have one myself however I’m not here to sell anything)

What do you thinks causes Google Sandbox. What is the best way to get out of the sandbox?

The sandbox is coded in to prevent people from spamming with new domains so there’s a time factor for sure.

You can avoid it by using an aged domain. However if you are going to start with a fresh domain, then you’ll want to acquire a low volume of high quality links.

Register with the main social media platforms (and link back to the site) and then get yourself in the news (or trending on social media).

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