Marco Benavides Ferlini


Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

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

Marco has spent the better part of 16+ years being successful with several online projects, including several companies, client work, and training courses, among others.

He is a co-founder of Semantic Mastery which is a popular SEO training brand.

His passion is tinkering with and manipulating Google to obtain results.

In some circles, he is known as the “mad scientist” because he is constantly testing how Google’s algorithms behave.

Especially when it comes to brute force or, what he calls, Scorched Earth SEO.

He is best known for using Google to rank in Google through his Google stacking methodology.

If you have any questions on Semantic Mastery’s version of how Google’s algorithm works, 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.

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Table of Contents

Do you see Google getting more complex to “brute force” with time?

Google adjust as do those of us who break out the jackhammer.

As long as you’re using foundational web principles, Google is a candy store and will continue that way.

Do you think that part of adjusting to match Google new tech, will involve/require the need for better tech ourselves? Or do you think that even if Google moves to better tech and machine learning, the tactics will be to still to use fundamental web principles?

There are principles that the algorithm is based on that we can always target.

Google would have to make a fundamental shift in its algorithms to impact what we can do.

When they do, I’m already in quantum computing and waiting.

Remember this .. stay two minutes fast and three steps ahead in this game.

Watch where Google is going at all times and wait for them at the crossroads.

But don’t stop there work on waiting for them at the next crossroads and so on

Do you predict that google at some point will start punishing/deindexing/devaluating its own properties for people doing keyword stuffing in them?

Once again, that would take a fundamental shift in the base algorithms.

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I’m sure they could do it if they wanted.

But it has to be worth the effort.

Could they do it at some point? Short answer is yes.

However, rather than worry about what “might could happen”, go and hit it right now.

It has never been easier to rank and make money.

This is coming from someone who has done it for over 16 years. Yes, I was there during the “good ol’ days” and they’re still damn good!

Struggling to get those properties indexed sometimes. Is there a one sure method to do that? Can you rank for a good keyword in national, competitive niche with stacks (not some local story)?

We have someone who does our indexing. We get 60%+ which is more than enough.

I don’t want 100% because that’s totally unnatural. You want to fly under the radar.

I’m using stacks as part of my strategy to rank for national and global terms.

Is there a limit to the number of links that can be built to a brand new stack for a brand new site without resulting in a penalty?

We’ve tested millions of links with nothing but love back.

We’ve pushed millions of garbage links, no filters, so they included porn links in the link profile and ranked #1 for the top market level keyword.

But that’s testing, ok?

Dial it back, use aged contextuals from a trusted builder and, if it’s all set up the way I teach, #1 is attainable in ANY niche.

Is there any relation between organic and ads algorithms in google?

Google will tell you there isn’t.

They’ve been rather emphatic about it, but they play a “semantics” game.

I’ve tested ads to see the effect they have on organic and the data shows time and again that running Google ads has a positive effect on organic rankings.

Think of it this way.

You’re sending targeted traffic to your website that converts if you have laid down the foundation correctly.

Not only will they convert, but they’ll also come back and interact even more with that site. You tell me if those are positive signals?

Is it possible to get a google spanking for making too many maps with too many drop pins and stacking all the maps to other google properties?

I want everything I do to look good to whoever is viewing.

After all, we’re in a visual age. Pushing too many pins might turn a person off. I do my stacking differently.

My property association is what pushes the most power for me.

Different people have come out with different concepts since I came out with the original training on stacking.

I’m not saying they’re wrong. I’m simply saying my way is different.

I want to be able to convert all the way through my stack, if possible, so I make it look as good as possible.

I do what has been working for me for over 4 years.

I’ve got shit ranked and making money since the original RYS Academy and RYS Academy Reloaded training came out.

In some ways, it’s easier and better today.

Where is the training?

The battle plan or RYSR

You can ask free questions every Wednesday, live, here

What do you suggest for keyword dance and stucked ranking?

My guys will know exactly what I say, “Leave it alone. Go do something else while the Google Dance clears.”

There’s actually a patent that goes along with the “keyword” dance.

Once you clear the dance period, you can isolate the top market level keyword in the set in a separate stack within the main stack and push power through that to the destination.

However, if you’ve been stuck for over 70 days, it’s likely that you got yourself sandboxed.

The best thing to do is to start over if you’ve gotten yourself in that bind.

Where can I get more of your SEO goodies – do you have a blog or YouTube channel I can check out?

We go live every Wednesday during Hump Day Hangouts.

We’ve been doing it for nearly 5 years.

Go here, post your questions and we will answer them live at 4 PM Eastern.

You can also search for the Semantic Mastery YT channel which has thousands of hours of free, actionable information.

We also have a free SEO and Marketing by Semantic Mastery FB group.

What’s the most important part of the stack? If you had to pick just 1?

The problem with picking it apart is that it loses power.

It’s stacked for a reason.

All of the tests during 5+ years show that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

But Gsites are inherently powerful.

The stack is what puts it at another level.

Have you considered a double-stack with cheese, hold the tomatoes and mayonnaise?

That’s how I do the do in MGYB.

Have you ran multiple stacks and gsites to one website? What is the outcome? Does it work better? Is it better to run 1 category per gsite and stack for the most relevance?

The most power you can generate is by adding depth and breadth to your main stack.

I brand my main stack and then add relevance as needed.

I did a three-part webinar series for my charity where I showed how this is done.

Do you have a video explaining how to do Stacks?

We’ve done lots of Q & A regarding drive stacks.

Do a channel search in or ask us questions during our Wednesday HDHOs.

For formal training, it’s

should have called it “Worryless SEO”!

What you recommend as the most powerful embed stack combo? And how you recommend using embeds?

I think you meant iFrame stack.

The most powerful iFrame stack is a Gsite + drive stack done the RYSR way with an @id embed.

Grab that and get an embed package with link building to the embeds.

The embed network should be aged and have relevant niches for the greatest effect.

The embed network I use has been aging for four + years and has millions of niche-specific profiles.

For a new domain to get out of the sandbox, what kind of stacks or process to follow?

I follow the Semantic Mastery Battle Plan.

I do nothing different than what I teach our members, unless I’m testing.

If your entity is right and your on-page tight, you can’t help but to rank when you go off page.

Not only that, you’ll push so much ART (Activity, Relevance, Trust/Authority) that you’ll overcome any negative factor which could hinder your rankings.

I’ve ranked for the top market level kwd target and related long tails inside of two weeks, with the accompanying traffic and conversions.

It’s a matter of attacking rankings through sound foundational web principles.

How do i follow this battle plan is in in your channel or is it a course?

It’s a simple step-by-step PDF. It’s exactly what I do to rank.

1. How do you tie all of your Schema on multiple pages together on your site so it is not just a piece here and there, but one understandable group to Google? 2. How (and why) do web 2.0 map embeds help your local rankings in the 3 pack etc.? I see all those Fiverr gigs and I just don’t get it.

1. JSON (+LD) is a container for Linked Data, thus the LD.

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Within that container you can define the data for the bot.

As an example, sameAs is not just for telling the bot about other properties throughout the web.

@id can be used to identify different nodes, not just organizational data.

If you need something more specific, let me know.

2. I’ve talked about how different and special iFrames are.

They’re in a different universe and under a different set of rules.

I can’t speak about Fiverr gigs. All I can say is that you’ll likely get what you pay for.

But when it’s set up correctly, you’re going at the heart of the PageRank and RankingScore algorithms through foundational principles of the web.

Which is why they push ranking power the way they do.

It’s all laid out on my RYSR training.

If you wanna power up a multi location website, do you create one RYS property per city page or one for the entire money site?

One main stack and then mirror the money site.

Adding depth and breadth to drive stacks powers them up.

It’s in my charity webinar series.

Are you creating a main branded stack for each service then adding kw stacks to each of those? Do you offer a DFY service?

I create a branded stack where I associate “company name & kwds in the niche”.

Otherwise, it’s not a branded stack.

What happens inside the branded stack depends on how the money site is set up.

You guys still believe in the power of syndication networks? I’ve heard others say they are not as effective as they used to be.

I absolutely stand by the training.

I love how people offer opinions without providing empirical data to back it up.

Without data and facts, it’s just someone “talking out the side a’ his a$$.”

We have countless case studies that show how they get powered up over time and provide really good boosts for our content strategies.

In addition, the deeper we go into the Semantic web and the more we establish and claim our online footprint, the stronger our entity becomes.

The semantic web is all about entities.

We verify, validate and solidify our entities through our methodology.

That’s how I know I can take on million dollar spenders and win for pennies on the dollar!

I recently started a new business making WordPress websites for local small to medium businesses. I am looking for guidance on what I should do to get my GMB to rank inside the “box'” for local searches.

If you mean ranking in “the three-pack” or maps pack by “the box”, Local GMB Pro teaches it step-by-step. It’s been ripped and copied by others and for a good reason.

It works, even in the toughest niches.

Here’s something actionable: optimize the listing, add as much info as possible, add images and videos and then start doing posts frequently.

Target keyword sets with your posts, link out to other posts, the map, and the money site, build a drive stack + Gsite, run a PR stack, then build links to everything.

Let it simmer for three weeks to see where it settles, then target anything that doesn’t rank well by repeating the above but targeting what’s stuck.

What is the most frequent mistake you see people do when making/using a Google stack?

They cut corners. When you cut corners, you lose power.

I know it’s not simple to do a drive stack + Gsite my way.

It takes my VAs 6 – 8 hours to build one out MY way.

But it’s done that way for a reason.

I’d also say the not following the instructions in the Black Book and not closing the loop is a huge mistake.

Lastly, trying to do it on the cheap or free is a big mistake.

I’ve had countless people reach out to me with stacks that don’t work.

When I ask to see the stack, it’s always not done to my specs.

When you add the bits and pieces and connect all the dots, it’s when the magic happens.

Is there a ‘stacking for dummies’ anywhere?

You can start with our RYS Academy launch party video

And there are no stupid questions. Answers, however, can be REALLY “stoopit”.

When making curated content is there a max number of words/chars you still to in quoting?

It depends on whether you don’t mind plagiarising or do mind.

I’ve trained my VAs to credit the source of the content, but they aren’t given instructions about how much of the content to use.

If it works in the curated post, they use it.

Is there any easy way to use about a thousand job photos with GPS embeds I have in google photos in a stack for local relevance using local Viking?

This is a touchy subject. Someone from that group was in my Local GMB Pro training and ripped it almost word for word.

They started out with a knock off of our Syndication Academy and even used our images for f#<k’s sake!

When I called them out on it, they banned me from the group.

Couldn’t face the truth? You’re asking the wrong question and the wrong person in the wrong thread.

Can you automate building drive stacks? Or is this a manual process?

Anything can be automated, to a point.

The question should be, “does automation produce the same results as manual builds?” That depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Another good question would be, “Do automated stacks rank as well as manual stacks?” I’ve been working on fully automating the build of stacks and the Gsite since before my original training came out.

Whether I go through Google apps scripts or a web app, I always run into roadblocks that prevent full builds.

And that’s a big no-no, IMO. In fact, all of the automation software I’ve tested only do partial builds

. I’ve yet to see someone automate a full RYSR stack.

What’s the problem? Everything in an RYSR stack works in conjunction with everything else to exponentiate ranking power.

Yes, I’ve done the math.

If you remove parts of it, then it loses a lot of what can make it so effective.

Thanks for the awesome question.

What keyword any seo specialist include in his/her CV or resume to attract HR of the company?

What’s worked for me is search terms in the skills section, good headline and images, previous job accomplishments rather than listing past jobs.

And you should definitely go and look at other people’s profiles that appear for the search terms you want to appear for.

It’s one of the best ways to optimize your own profile.

I don’t have much more because I don’t use LinkedIn for job search.

Which of your courses would you recommend for beginners? Looking to focus on local SEO and GMB?

The SEO battle plan! It’s a simple step-by-step PDF.

Things don’t have to be overly complicated to work well.

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What do you think is the main mental hangup for SEO’s and digital marketers working with clients?

I could do an entire laundry list of hang-ups:

You have trouble approaching people

You’re not good with people

You don’t like leaving the house much

You don’t like to cold call

You don’t like to talk on the phone

You don’t know if you can get results

You can’t get results you can replicate across niches

You don’t enjoy talking

You don’t enjoy client work

You’re simply trying to pay the bills and clients are a means to an end

You don’t like low-paying clients

You don’t know how to raise your prices

You’re worried that if you raise your prices the client might walk

You don’t know how to value yourself

I could go on and on, but behind each one, I can usually find some sort of fear.

The problem is that if you’re not confident in what you can do, you cannot express what you don’t have.

If your client is business-savvy, you’re in trouble since your fear and lack of confidence will get picked up.

You always have to go into whatever it is that you’re doing in this business from a position of power.

If you’re afraid, for whatever reason, then you’ve given up your position of power before negotiations have even begun.

It means you get stuck with crappy clients who demand too much and never pay enough. It also means a fast track to an ulcer.

It sucks when you have to take on crappy clients just to make ends meet.

It really sucks having to worry about losing a crappy client because bills are due!

I’m an avid reader.

My favorite book is The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

One of my favorite quotes from that book is, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Going after rankings is war to me. Going after clients is war to me.

I want to be in a position where I know the client is closed before I walk into the meeting.

In fact, I know the client is closed before I do outreach or before the client contacts me.

That’s #POFU, in part. It’s being able to choose who you work with and naming your price.

It’s being able to fire a client who demands too much and pays too little without worrying that you won’t be able to pay all of the bills.

It’s understanding your worth so that you approach each part of whatever you do online from a position of power.

So much so that you win the war and don’t even have to fight a single battle!

But you have to overcome all of the fears in your head, which is part of winning the war.

And, yes, “It’s All in Ya’ which was the title of my presentation for #POFULive, lol!

Do you find google stacks without clicks on them still valuable or does there need to be at least 1 click on something to kick / pass some 2019 juice? Any easy way to generate clicks that count you could share.

Google stacks + Gsites are powerful in and of themselves.

When you do things correctly, you can get great results and the Gsite will rank and convert.

We’ve had a test/case study Gsite ranking #1 for the terms “SEO Virginia” and “Virginia SEO” and related search queries.

That Gsite has been ranking since before the release of the original RYS Academy training back in August of 2015.

It’s incredible to be able to rank something and then not have to worry about Google updates.

That’s why I call it “Worryless SEO”.

That case study/test has not had anything done since May of 2015 and there it sits, steadily collecting leads for targeted keywords month after month and year after year.

And easy way to generate “targeted” leads is to run some YT ads to your project.

My partner, Bradley Benner, shared a great method for doing just this in our SM MasterMIND.

The three principles/pillars that I teach are:

1. Activity

2. Relevance

3. Trust/Authority (I put these two together because they go hand-in-hand).

It’s the art of ART! Once you have all three pillars in place, you create a money-making machine.

Assuming there is a website with a homepage > 3 category pages > and about 30 or so posts under each category, what page would you point an RYS stack at? Would it make sense to use multiple RYS stacks?

The process doesn’t change for me, EVER. I always say brand, brand, brand and then brand some more.

Entity verification, validation and solidification is where it’s at. You’d get a branded stack + Gsite from

You’d push brand + keyword or brand + location + keyword, depending on your niche, through the main stack.

Then add depth and breadth to your stack by adding stacks inside the main stack and inner pages to the Gsite that mirror what you’ve done in the money site.

I gave away some scripts during my charity webinars that make it easier to add depth and breadth to drive stacks as needed.

Do you sell your own in-house scale-able solution?

We have agency owners using our DFY services for their client-base.

I am not sure what you mean by “the scalable solution is missing from it.”

I have a team of VAs in MGYB who are trained in my process and deliver what I need on a daily basis.

That’s my scalable solution until I find a way to automate 100% of my RYSR process.

I don’t want to cut corners because I’ve noticed time and again through having 1000’s of stacks built for myself and clients that the stacks lose power if they are not fully built out.

This is one instance where the cliché, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” is actually not a cliché.

Is GEO tagging images pointless nowadays? heard google strips that data from pics nowadays?

I’ve tested images with and without GEO-tagging.

I’ve seen time after time that GEO-tagged images work better than those that have no GEO or Exif data.

In fact, it’s when you can get to the centroid of the business and begin uploading images through a cell phone or any type of mobile device that the “magic” begins to happen.

Think about it.

Cell phones include GEO and Exif data by default since most people have their GPS turned on.

Whether Google strips the information is irrelevant. Google has the information and uses it.

How and why would take much longer to explain than a response to a question in this thread.

But I’m sure you can see the advantage of giving the bot all of the information you can vs. not.

In regards to my sites RSS feed for the DFY syndication network, should I display my full post in my RSS feed or just a snippet? If just a snippet, do I want a “learn more” link pointing back to my post?

I use the full post. It makes things simpler.


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