Today's guest on the podcast is Morten Storsgaard from PassiveIncomeGeek.com.
The former SEO consultant shares his story and offers actionable insights into his unique approach to building successful niche websites.
Morten's journey started with an eCommerce website, which led to website creation, and SEO consulting with high-end clients.
After a few prosperous years, Morten quit consulting to focus solely on building websites. His current portfolio consists of five websites providing him with a mid-five-figure income every month.
In the podcast, Morten talks about the no-nonsense strategy that has brought him success. He touches on the mistakes he made early on in his career and offers solid advice for those looking to follow in his footsteps.
One of the stand out tidbits of wisdom is on building links — his fascinating and unique approach is an alternative strategy to what most marketers are telling you to do.
Some of the topics and advice he provides are:
- How he researches the subject of his blog
- His straightforward approach to keyword research
- The unique process he has to link building
- Why your domain name is super-important
- How he scales (branches out) out the site
- Silo structure importance
- Outsourcing process and the website he recommends
- Content approach for ranking quickly without backlinks
- What he learned from a journalist about headlines for the content
- Advice on niche selection
- Plus much more
If you are looking for an interview with someone earning passive income from building websites, this interview is for you.
Resources and links mentioned in the interview:
- Keywords Chef
- Problogger Job Board
- Passive Income Geek Youtube Channel
Morten Storsgaard interview:
Read the full transcription:
Hello and welcome to the niche pursuits podcast. Today, we are joined by Morton Starguard from passive income geek, Martin, how you doing?
I'm doing fine. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Yeah. Welcome. Welcome. Glad you glad you could join us. Where are you? Where are you joining us from today?
I'm doing from Denmark of all places.
So, uh, for those who don't know it, it's part of Scandinavia close to Sweden and Norway on an hour away from London. Yeah. Wonderful. Good, good. Yeah. It's um, it's always fun talking with people all over the world, especially in this, uh, in this type of industry, right. You can kind of be anywhere at any time and still be working.
So it's always fun to hear. And I think I've worked for most places in the world for. Yeah, well, it's good for you to be back at home. It looks like so welcome. Welcome today. I mean, we have a, we have so much, we can go through your day. You're a, you're a veteran affiliate marketer and a veteran website builder.
So I'd love to just kick off by if you could just tell us your story, bring us, uh, bring us up to speed a bit on what you've been doing and how you got involved in this, uh, in this field. And we can start from. Yeah, absolutely. So I got into this whole world can say online space. Like I used to say, I used to say 13 years, I think it's close to 14 or 15 years now time is running.
But, um, yeah, I think around the mid 2000, I started, um, an e-commerce sites and I had an investor that invested some money on it. So we scaled the team and the SEO part of that team was what I was most. Um, involved in myself and what I eventually took out of the company and made my own company. So I, so I ensured from e-commerce running an e-commerce site to really do SEO consulting for around a decade.
And while I did that, I grew my own portfolio of sites. And for the last many years, that's what I've been doing full time. So I don't do any SL SEO consulting in. So you did SEO consulting for client work for quite a while before you kind of moved into, into this space. Were you, did you start your own websites while you were doing that?
Or was it a conscious shift where you kind of left it around the time? Yeah, I started another couple of more e-commerce stores and figured out. That I paid most of the revenue to the advertising later to Google ads and display ads and Facebook ads and so on. So I wanted to move myself over there. So that's what I eventually did with building out the affiliate sites and, uh, that I also monetize with display ads and stuff.
So it sort of went hand in hand because I had some pretty big clients. I was doing mostly like PR outreach on were talking SEO. So it was, it was. Really big e-commerce stores with good buckets to do things in a very solid and Whitehead way. We could take a time to care for each link. And so that also gave me some context and many assigns opportunities to, um, to promote on my own sites.
Along with that, as I got to know some journalists. Oh, that's fascinating. That's, that's, uh, that's a good way to use your, uh, your, your day job for your, for your websites.
kind of a good make sense. I think it's maybe a little different from the road. Most people take into it, but, um, yeah, it's it, it works pretty well.
Yeah. So I build up, I can say I build up first, uh, pretty good. Uh, Danish check. With everything tech related, primarily around mobile and internet broadband subscriptions. And then after a couple of years, I figured I couldn't really grow it anymore because then I guess only like five, 6 million people. So, so I quickly started looking into the American.
And there was, that was your first site. Yeah, that was the first like real side that really started to take off. I think I had three, four failures, like complete failures before that. Um, so I was going to ask you because, um, I, you know, it's interesting to hear that you went from, I mean, being SEO for client work into your own websites.
I actually, I run an agency myself and do websites on the side. Yeah. And so I'm just curious, you know, what for you, what was the reason to get out of that sort of work and into work for yourself? Was it lifestyle driven? Was it financially driven? Was it something about working for clients? Although it sounds like you had a great set of clients and a good, a good, a good set of opportunities.
Yeah, actually, I, I continued doing it much longer than I initially I could say that I had to, so my sites could actually sustain us for a couple of years before I pulled the plug on the last client. So many of those clients were also good friends and really interesting clients because as the clients got bigger, like it was, there was some of the biggest players can Navy.
It was also a lot of fun to sit and mingle around with them millions and millions of visitors and do optimizations there and just learn a lot from that. So. So until my sites hit a decent size, I, I decided to continue doing that. But I think the main motivation for me was to, um, to get more freedom. That was actually also why my wife and I started that first, that you miss from a store that was really.
Some more financial and get graphical, uh, independence and, and being tied to clients. I mean, they were totally fine with us traveling a couple of months at the time was I did plan to work from Thailand, from Chiang Mai and from other places for a couple months. But, um, I think, yeah, it's a good question though.
I think it was also because I saw the results I could create for these clients. I had a client in, I think it was no way. And we were working with just the word. And we w we managed to get at the number one ranking in Google within a couple of months and the website, wasn't that good at the time? I figured it's fine that they pay me good money to do this.
But man, if I, if that was my side way differently,
The opportunities missed. Yeah. Yeah. No, that all makes sense. I just, I just was curious because I think that, um, uh, everyone kind of comes into this space with D from different angles. Right. And so it's always interesting to hear what somebody who's successful like yourself. What brought you when you had a successful operation prior to this?
What brought you over to building websites full time? Um, yeah. You mentioned having a couple of failures along the way, especially at the outset. I mean, would you mind maybe just sharing from a high level, what were some of the reasons those sites didn't get anywhere? You know? Sure. I think I was just going into way too competitive issues.
And also I also failed at the keyword research part. Yeah. And also, I think one time I was going into a, that was more of an e-commerce site. I started. Free three or four e-commerce sites that never took off because the product was just not really a good fit for anybody. So there was different reasons, but, um, I think figuring out how to, uh, how to sort of tailor the content to a new site and how to sort of assess the size of the competition and whether you can break in.
I think that that was the thing that, that, that got me into, um, so some see some success in it. I just got done interviewing another individual who I asked him, he said the same thing he said, well, my first couple of sites did not go anywhere. And I said, oh, well, why is that? I picked way too competitive niches and I didn't do my keyword research very well.
So yeah, I think those are definitely some of the two most crucial things to get. And I, you know, we have a lot of people listening who have yet to start their first site or thinking about starting their first site. So, you know, wise words for those who were at that spot wise. So you, your first, um, your first site that you were talking about that kind of was a success, was a Danish tech site.
Um, what was the, like, what was the, what was the inspiration behind that? Why is that something you and your wife started together? Why'd you guys choose that one? And what made that one work out? That one is to start like a super broad site. So I could, um, so what can you say? So I could use all the doors that I had opened through my consultant thing work, so I wanted it to be useful.
Uh, this was really just the scope of the news. She can say everything takes what does not take related. I mean, you can, you can write about taking about anything, even if you have the site about, uh, what not, there's always some tech products you can tie into that niche. So that was, that was the main reason there.
Yeah, it was just a good fit with some of my major clients. Also they could, could mention and get some traffic from those. That's, you know, I think that's, it's something that I think a lot of people could get value out of hearing because we spend so much time as website builders, focusing on these really advanced link building tactics, these advanced ways to, you know, automate, uh, an outreach process.
And, um, and obviously, you know, we can go on and on about that, but. So many of us have a network of people that we know who either run their own websites or have access to their own network of websites. And if we all just looked a little closer in our, in our pool of contacts and our, our, our network of relationships, especially when you're actually focused on a website where you can enter a broad space and then get a lot of interest from other parties.
That's, that's a really good point. I think it's a good point to double down. Yeah, it definitely made sense. And it also was made it possible for me to get my side mentioned on some major publications. And that's, that's definitely what got the ball. Yeah. I'm racking my brain about everybody. I know. I should go through my eyes.
Who can I reach out to about, well, let's talk about where, where, where your websites are now because you're, full-time, you know, catch us up to speed on what your portfolio looks like now. And, um, you know, w w where that's taken us to this. Sure. So at the moment, I'm, I would say I have three big sites, really broad sites, and I'm also, uh, I have two runner ups, two smaller sites that I, that I continue growing.
So I think I'm, as I'm actively working on five, six sites right now, uh, depends a little bit on. So if you writers are working on multiple sites, but, um, I have my own writers and they're typically assigned to one site because it's something that. So, so th that's what it looks like right now, a handful of sites and trying to grow them into really big sites.
They're all super, super broad niches. That's part of my strategy because it makes it easy for me to pivot and I've, I never get stuck with the site. I never want to do that again. Like my small Dana's tech block, that's not happening again. And I like to build my size rebate and then eventually either sell them or just set up.
Yup. Yup. And let's, let's talk about, you know, just to give people some, some context, anything you're comfortable sharing in terms of broad numbers, you know, what sort of, uh, what sort of maybe traffic or income range are you, are you, is your biggest site doing, or, you know, your collection of sites, if you want to roll them all up together, you know, just so people have an idea of where.
Sure I'm in. Um, so, and you always need to calculate between kroners and then dollars, but, um, yeah, but, um, my biggest side is doing now, uh, or I can see my portfolio is doing like mid five figures per month and the best majority is split between these three big sites. And one is a little bigger than the other two.
And then the smallest sites are a lot smaller, but I, I tried to see like how broad I can go. And I also tested to see really, to build like a super broad side. So I tried to build this female magazine. It's just about anything that women could be interested in. So it's as broad as possible, I guess. And then that's, that's kind of interesting too, so yeah.
Well, let me ask about that because a lot of the advice that's given to people is to niche down or to really, you know, pick a topic. There's also all of this conversation nowadays about, uh, building topical authority. So, absolutely talk about these broad sites. Um, why so broad, why is that important? And then, you know, what are the things you're doing to still gain expertise when you're.
Yeah, I should definitely mention that. I always start with a part of the niche, so I start pretty new. So you can say, I choose a domain name that allow me to continue building. So I would never choose a domain name, something like a camera. Uh, something like that because it wouldn't allow me to go into computer monitor, so I would not.
So I would always try to not be limited by the domain name, but then I like to focus down on one very, very defined vertical. You can say our category of silo, whatever people prefer to call it, but definitely build out a good deal of content around. That's very, very closely related. Typically wise. So, so I, I definitely believe in establishing that that silo structure or having that topical relevance for the articles.
So basically, you know, when, when, when you talk about broad it's, it's something that you've done it for years and years and years of almost building out like mini silos for this. This niche. And then over time you become this very broad site because you've just built out so many silos of content around different topics that pertain to the topic, the overall carcass, mostly like, future-proofing it.
So for example, my psycho downsize that I'll also share on my YouTube channel. So it started. Just writing about furniture, really. And then we talked about tiny houses, you know, these little things, cute things with wheels that people told around. And then we started talking about RVs. Now it also has like a couple of hundred articles about boating because everything ties into how to live in a small space.
It's a confined space, whether you're living on a boat or an RV, a tiny house, but, but together, I mean, those. All on their own, pretty big, could it be pretty big niche sites? So that's just an example of how we can continue building. But, but again, this, this side here is on a branded domain name. Of course go downsize.
It doesn't really mean anything. I mean, it does mean a little bit, but it's pretty broad. It could also be something that definitely limits me to take, for example. Okay. So that's a great example because I was on go downsize before we interviewed. And I didn't, I didn't even, I didn't know that you had started in furniture.
That's fascinating. I saw a lot of kinds of RVs, a lot of kind of voting and a lot of kinds of about tiny homes where they're kind of the three things that stuck out to me. She started in furniture. And then how did you like, just walk, walk through that as an example, how did you. Go from furniture and then know that it was time to move into other categories.
Did you have a target with the furniture silo if you will, before you moved on or was it something that happened more organically? I'm really curious about that. Yeah. So, so the reason the whole we started the whole site was because my wife studied architecture and she's very interested in small spaces and optimizing and that kind of stuff.
And she drew some drawings. For project for boat, for boats, how to have most stores on boats, but that's not really why I started it. Started out with her passion for these foldable furnitures and Murphy beds. And extractable everything. Then you can fold up and down and have multiple functions in a tiny room or a small space.
So really it was more like a furniture. Uh, not a catalog, but more likely, really listing and mentioning furniture and list posts and stuff like that. And I just figured after a while there wasn't that many searches to be made or to target around. People were not looking at that much for contractable tables or fold down furniture or stuff like that.
So I ran out of topics pretty quickly. It was also like. Many years ago. I think it's more trendy now, but, um, but back then, so we figured we should, we should broaden it out. So we started writing about tiny houses and it was something that we were looking into it a little bit ourselves, Susan, definitely some passion for that as well.
And w I think we wrote 150, or maybe 200 articles around tiny houses, and then I figured maybe I could break into RBS. And then the same thing happened afterward with, with boating. So, yeah. It's so great. I think to hear about, um, that as a use case, because you can feel a little trapped in a it's like a silo, right?
You can feel like, oh, Is this too big? Is this too small that you're really kind of bridging the gap between niching down, but also giving yourself the ability to when the time is right. Move on from a, a silo to the next silo. If I can, can I ask you about your, your keyword research with some of these sites?
Because some of these sites are really big, like, you know, again, going back to go downsized, I think I would be guessing at over a thousand articles in that site at this point. Yeah. How do you pick topics? How do you tackle these big. Keyword silos, really, if you will, where there's tons of topics, what's the process you go through.
Yeah. So I, I always go after what I call underserved topics. So really the topics where nobody wrote that article before. So I always started out with that. When I go into a new silo, you can say, when I want to build, start building out a new cat. Uh, or a new site for that matter. I always like to start super, super specific and see if I can find something, a part of questions, typically that people ask that nobody wrote really good institutes and maybe the one ranking up there in Google is somebody who just mentioned it as a subheading or as a little part, it's pulling that part and ranking that, or it's ranking some user generated content like Quora forums.
Right. And that just works so well, especially with the new site or new silo until you have that topical relevance and you have that authority around what you're writing about, because I mean, Google has to show something up there. And if what this is showing up there is not really on point or it's user generated.
Then it's typically very, very easy to beat and you'll just rank so much faster in my experience. So I did a little testing about that and I just found it. It's so much faster because Google is not really taking a chance because you're not going to beat anybody if there's nothing else up there, all the quality.
So, so that's, that's what I do on a use Google autocomplete, and I use pure also ask for the most part, you really just typing it into Google and see what Google comes back with. Yeah, that's, that's my main process. Do you, do you F do you lean heavily on tools or do you, you know, cause you're saying a lot of things that are more manual based in their, in their, yeah.
It's, it's a very manual process. I should say. It's, it's it's time consuming as well. I've tried to teach somebody to do it, but I think sort of. Uh, cumulative knowledge. You have both from doing it across the PSAs, but also within the specific news that you know, what you've been over and all that. I think it's, it's, it's hard to teach somebody else to do it well, and it takes a long time.
So it's something that I still do. And I think it's definitely the most time consuming thing that I haven't outsourced yet to my team. So it's, so I don't rely on much and tools. I do use the tool keyword chef C H E F. Yeah by Ben Adler. I think that's pretty cool. It's the closest I've seen somebody building a tool.
That's doing something similar. It's still, I always go over manually and check for the competition. I just use it sometimes. When, uh, for example, when I've been in a, uh, for awhile, if I've sort of feel like I'm drying out the topic of this, not a lot more to write on or. Or if it's, if it's quite competitive, then I like to use a tool like that just to, um, to help me get some ideas and go over large chunks of data quickly.
So let's talk about link building, because I know from having watched a few of your YouTube videos, You and correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't really do much link-building with your sites nowadays, but you came from such a link-building background. That's what I mean. So let's talk about that. So why is that the focus now?
And I'm just curious to learn more. Yeah, I, so I think there's a couple of things I want to touch on. I think, first of all, I think building aside without having any, uh, without building it or actively, uh, we can just say making sure that links are coming to the site. Um, I don't think that was possible like 7, 8, 9, 10 years.
When I started these other sites, but I see Google really, really becoming good at understanding what, what a search phrase is about. So I have articles, ranking ranking for stuff that's not even on the page. Then. It's kind of interesting because Google understands what the topic is. So you don't necessarily need to have specific synonyms and stuff.
I know this is counter to what many other people sort of give her a teaching. Um, but, um, that that's really what I do. And many times. Go after I focus much, much more on the topics then the actual keywords or specific phrases, because when you look in search console, you'll probably rank for 15 or 50 or a hundred different ways that people will type this into Google that have come from a lot of different things.
So I don't buildings anymore because I think my, so I should say my money because I, it's not my, my own time. It's I run a pretty big team. So, but I think my morning, my money is have a better return. If it just produce more content around stuff that hasn't been written about. So it'll rank, regardless of whether I linked to it or not.
So I relied very heavily on these underserved topics. I spent a lot of time trying to find stuff to write on the very, there, there were really no competition or very little competition. And as soon as I establish some authority from these links coming again, ugly to the side, then I can then I'll start, uh, at that point going into the more competitive.
So, if I were to summarize, basically your money is spent better, just building more content because I feel so. Yeah, because building links takes time and energy. And whether you do it yourself or the outsource it, whether you give it to someone in your team, what you're saying is basically, Hey, if you, if you target the type of keywords that you're targeting, then just go write more of those rather than spending that energy on LinkedIn.
Yeah. And many times I feel like it's just, there's also an art of taking, uh, let's say Google or complete people also ask, gives you this search price and you see, okay, I can rank for this. If I wrote this article, then maybe sometimes take it a little step up and see what's really behind the search phrase.
Maybe you can broaden it out a little bit and write a slightly broader article. So it's not like, so pupils sometimes when I say this, they think that. Uh, that would be very, very little traffic to each article that many articles will have like thousands and thousands of page views per month. Some articles have like five to 10,000 page views per month just because nobody wrote the article before.
It doesn't mean that this is a tiny topic. Just means that nobody, nobody wrote it well. Or. I came at it from that angle. And sometimes it's just about shifting the angle. And then as soon as you get up there and it starts with souls because you have this other angle at the same thing, I should have an example.
I'm going to ask you for an example. I'm so bad at coming up with examples on the spot, but I get to you on the spot. I always come to the worst examples, but let's say you see, you see somebody ranking there for something like, uh, how much can an, uh, How, how big of an RV can you tow with your F 41 50, something like that?
So that's very, very super specific. And so you could just turn it around and give it another angle. Uh, like what's the max capacity for a Ford 100. So it doesn't necessarily need to be a towing. It could also be a what's a bad example. So for assemblies here's what's so funny is I actually have a Ford F150 and I've actually been searching those exact queries lately.
So I don't know how you came up with that example off the top, off the top of your head. When you just talk about it, you don't know, but these are great examples I could go on because I've been searching these things. So for example, how big of a trailer camper we can betray? What could I have told them?
Turn it into a general tow, a guide for the full one 50, instead of just talking about trailers or campers or toy haulers or what not. And by doing that, of course you can see it's now a much, much bigger topic. Of course, this one is written. I wrote it. But, um, something like that is probably too broad, just as an example, to see how we can sometimes broaden it out.
And so you don't have to just copy paste what's in there with a lot of people also ask or whatever method you want. Uh, I think people are just way to focus still on specific phrases and words. I want to talk into the title. I like to sometimes, really just try and sometimes see what, um, what would an offline magazine, right?
What would a journalist, how would they put it? Because will many times generate a lot more clicks and Google will definitely match it to the. Search phrases, even though it's not exactly what they looked for, if it's close enough and it's just the way better title, you'll probably have way more clicks and more traffic from less, uh, appearances on Google.
That makes sense. Okay. I have four questions I wrote down that I want to come back. No, no, you're good. You're good. This is good. That's not nothing to apologize about. I want to come back to them and I just finished up on the link building. Cause I had one more question for you on link building. Do you find that when you write in this style, do you do your sites basically not end up with many links over the course of time, but they still rank well because of the type of keyword research you're doing and the type of articles you're targeting or do they end up naturally getting links to them over time?
And if they do, do you think that that's a part of, uh, of the success of the sites is they do end up with links, but they end up with them organically. Yeah, I think there's two answers to have two aspects of this answer. So one of first, I just want to say, I found some niches with very, very few sites will link to you like ever.
So in these niches that are just very few links for some reason, that's just, they're just some niches where people, they just don't link. I don't know. Or I might have an idea, but that's hard to say without, uh, same with the nieces, but, um, so, so there's definitely differences. And remember, you always only have to beat the competition, right?
You don't have to be the average site. So, but other than that, I think from writing on these under sort of topics, many times we'll write something that nobody wrote before. So let's say a biggest side, like insider or business insider or whatever, want to write an article. And they typically go for the very meaty, big topic.
They wouldn't touch something like this. That's more. At least appear to be like more specific stuff. Right. But then they would touch upon this in one of these media articles, media articles. So they would, might maybe have an aid to the touches and something that you have a full article about the only one there.
So if they want to reference anything, they have to reference this. So, so my science will definitely picking up a lot of links, I think because I, I ride mostly about stuff that nobody wrote. Um, so they have to use me as a source if they want any sources on it. I think that's one thing, but also really, I also see some of my sites ranking with very few links because it takes long time before these links come.
I mean, up to a hundred thousand pages per month, they see very few links. That's already really a pretty decent site. I mean, you can make a lot of money with a hundred thousand page views. So I, I definitely don't think the links are. As crucial to say we're like 5, 6, 7 years ago. And once the once in a while I see aside a student in my course, or just for my mastermind group, whatever, something, when people show me a side with a lot of traffic and some really crazy rankings.
And you would think that was impossible because they don't have like more than maybe just a handful of really strong links. So I think links are definitely becoming less than. Well, and I'm glad you mentioned it because some of those, I mean, to hear you say things like, Hey yeah, if the links do come, but they come later and they really aren't the primary driver of success and traffic.
And when you put a hundred thousand page views a month number on that, like, yeah, no kidding. If you can do what you do get to a hundred thousand page views a month. Before links even really start to come in organically. Clearly that's, that's an indication that building could be like just forums and all this stuff that I don't think really move the needle because they're pretty easy to manipulate those.
Just, you know, you can pay anybody on fiber to place links on forums and stuff. So the really good media links they typically typically come later. Yeah, but, but who knows? But I, I think it's definitely less of a factor today. I mean, I think to your credit, like, I, I, to your point, I mean, I looked up go downsize and boy, it certainly has a lot of links to that side, but that's, it's been around for a long time and you talked about how that's a much bigger site.
And so it only kind of goes back to kind of what you were saying. Okay, let's go back to some of this, um, some of this content type of stuff you were talking about. How you use, uh, Google auto suggest and auto-complete and all these things we're talking about, the Ford F-150 topic. So this is something that I think a lot of people have questions about, and that is when you're doing this style of keyword research and you're pulling out different queries, these long tail type of queries in Google.
How do you, how do you, how do you, you talked about how to broaden it, how to take different topics and make them larger. How do you know which ones to make larger and which ones to just answer quickly in a short order? I think I'd developed it. What can you say the sentence from, from seeing what ranks and really what sticks and also from looking into search console and see what it eventually ranks for, because sometimes you'll have an article pulling in, let's say 500 or a thousand page views after it has done.
So for a little while, you'll be able to see all these different phrases and then sometimes you'll just see something that's just much better than what you wrote. Like a much broader question that it starts ranking for. You'll see. Okay. It's actually pulling in quite a lot of. Th this broader phrase, maybe I should write an article about that.
So that's definitely one way. I also do use tools. I do use a reps also to see what other smaller sites are ranking for and what forums for on some stuff that I know I can beat what they are ranking for. And sometimes they rank for some pretty competitive stuff, something like a towing guide for a car or something like that could easily be something that a big, um, forum for trucks could, could rank for.
And then I just want to come at it from. From another angle maybe, or just see if I can take that over or maybe, maybe there's a big sign up there and I want to go for the second to third ranking and then I think, okay, that's the title is pretty bad. Maybe I can. Make it way better. So I'll take that over.
I don't know. Did that answer your question? Yeah, no, it did. I, I it's, it's an open-ended topic, right? Like, I mean, how do you know? Well, sometimes you just have to do a little bit more research to figure it out, but, um, yeah. You know, I, I think it can definitely help if, if this is the first time people are doing this, um, since, since I, I have a course and I.
A couple of close to 500 students in there. So I know. So I've talked to a lot of people who are getting into this method because that's what I teach in my course. And I can see it makes much more sense for people to do this and to find these topics. If they know something about the niche, especially if this is the first time people are doing it, because if you know it, then you also know what the broad questions are because I, I did a site about.
And I know, obviously not obviously, but I know very, very little of us. My wife has in a couple of dresses and that's where it came from since you knew which models to promote and stuff, but I know nothing about it. So doing topic research for that site was pretty, pretty tough. Uh, I had to ask her all the time, is this something people ask, you know, this is a valid question and this is something, one in a million would ask.
I had no clue, you know, But writing about, for example, camera gear. Now I'm staring at a camera here. Obviously. I know cameras pretty well since I'm a YouTuber. It's just so much easier for me because I, I mean, I know, I know what people should be asking at least what, what good information. Yeah, it's a good point.
I, uh, I could tell a lot of stories about the same thing where I was, you know, whether it's, you know, working with a client or on a website of my own for the topic is a little bit less, uh, important in my mind. You know, you mentioned something earlier that I wrote down, I thought was interesting because I don't think we focus on it much in as SEO folks.
And that is, you talked about. Writing from the perspective of a journalist. Um, you talked about titles and using titles a little bit more. I don't want to steal your words, but, or, you know, mentor words, but I catching and attention grabbing, I think as SEOs. Maybe a little bit known for just taking the main keyword and making that the title and moving along.
Yeah. Talk about that. Even cramming in a few other synonyms, get in as many as we can, but plus the year and plus, you know, your view maybe in there as well, but I talk about, you know, what do you, what are you doing when it comes to your titles and what type of advice can you pass along from that state?
Yeah. So, so during my consulting work, when I worked with these clients, I also, I had a good, a good friend. She was actually a client herself and she was a editor of major newspaper. So I picked her brain a little bit about this and asked and asked her how the right titles, how they also, I mean, she also writes title online newspapers and how they get people to click on it because she was not.
Yeah. So we're not talking these super click baity, uh, nine tips, number five. You'll never believe it's not that kind of stuff, but mom, just, what was, I just wanted to pick a brain of how, how do you do this? How do you figure out how to word this? Because they also have a limited word count and stuff. Yup.
So we've talked a lot about that. And, um, that really opened my eyes to see how important that clicks through rate and Google is. So if you can have more people click it, I've seen some times, even if I come from a pretty weird angle, if it's very much something people want to click on that, eventually I rise up because, and I think that CTR definitely be a ranking factor.
You can really pick Google's brand directly on that. They'll have different answers depending on when you ask. But I, I think that. Ana. I also seen some testing where people would manipulate it. So for a few days they will have a much higher number of clicks and that goes up and goes back. So I think it's, I think it's safe to say that it's a ranking factor somehow in their.
And so I think it's definitely worth it. See if you can see if you can, um, kind of get rid of this, uh, mindset of trying to list keywords and title and really just see if you can make the best possible titles. So there's a couple of things I look for. First of all, I want the reader. When you see the search result page, I want it to.
Super super clear that this article helps what you're looking for. Right? Like to, what do you call front-loaded? That's the word? She taught me to have the most important words toward the beginning. So for example, instead of how much can you show with the 41 52. 41 50 colon complete towing guide, because obviously you're looking for, for one 50, that's the only thing I'm going to talk about in that article.
So I'm not going to rank for how much can a Silverado tow or something like that. So I want that for one 50 words to be what the beginning of this something she taught me. So it's just a way to really, um, mess with that title until they think it's something that then your mom and your sister would click on.
If they. On Google. Yeah. That's yeah. That's okay. That that's one good tactic right there to try. And the other fun thing is, um, uh, obviously a lot of people love to test things and SEO testing can be very challenging, but Google search console makes it really easy to test titles because they give you your CTO.
And, um, they give you your average position. And so you can go in and try a different title for a week and kind of, you know, get some really good data. Whereas with other tests, SEO can be harder to get some clean data to see what happens. Um, well, I want to talk about your course in a little bit. I have some questions for you and really the Genesis of the course, cause it is pretty new.
Um, but before we talk about the course, let's talk about scaling. You know, I mean it would be, I think I would be remiss if I didn't talk to you a little about scaling. You have sites that are, that now collectively are the. You know, kind of five figures a month, you've clearly scaled that out. And how do you take some of these approaches that you are doing and maybe speak to the person who has one site right now, or maybe has a site that is growing.
But it's not going to grow much further until they figure out how to scale a little bit. Like how do you scale out to get to that sort of level without losing a lot of the key components that make your site successful first? Yeah, I think I sort of got forced into outsourcing because we had a, we had a son.
I have max he's five now. Oh, congratulations. I have a five-year-old thanks. Yeah, they're great. Want to work him? I just want it to work. Um, so I sort of, if I wanted to grow the company, I needed to work less, it was just no way that I could do everything. So until I had him, I had a very small team and I'm doing the first year or so.
I worked very little and, um, so I just really needed to hire somebody to help me as a first I outsource writing. I think that's definitely the first thing people should do. And the second thing is typically to have an editor, have somebody else publish what they write on. Recommend giving writers excess to publish our regulatory site for several obvious reasons.
So it's just to have some middleman in there to check that everything is right. So I also did that. And then eventually I ran out of time just editing all day long. And so that's, that's how I got into it. And I would say, uh, forcing myself or getting forced by myself to outsource was, has been such a huge, uh, Um, driver for the company, from my company, because I think most of us is a Jack of all trades.
You want to do everything ourselves. Everything is interesting in the beginning, but, um, as long as you do that, of course, there's just so much you can do. And, um, B and just having to outsource it. So I outsource things pretty early on. As soon as I saw that, what it could do, it was just. Yeah. I mean, I can't really describe how much differences it made.
Um, so I think that's, it's really, really important for if people want to grow. This is not like you have to do what I do and have a big team. Um, you can always keep scaling and there's definitely also, um, A big point and figuring out why you're doing this because I could also like 10 double what I do right now.
And I don't want to do that. I don't want to have a bigger team because I still want to be able to play Legos with max for a couple of hours, the afternoons. So I know that I also wanted my freedom and not work all day long, but I think, um, if you have, if some listeners here, they never outsourced an article, just try that, just try and outsource a handful of articles and see.
T and try maybe three, four or five different writers. Sometimes you'll find the writer that's much better than yourself. I found some really excellent writers, a low price point for some of my sites, and they've been made for it with me for years. And didn't make it as this may make a huge difference.
Where does you recommend? We'll go to F maybe find, uh, writers and, uh, and you know, w where you've seen be a good spot now. Yeah, I think I've tried the most platforms like fiber of work and pro blogger and, uh, also, uh, sites in the Philippines and South Africa and Craigslist. So these days I only use pro blogger because I like the fact that you just advertise your job post up there.
So small, like small dogs, you just put. Posts up there and then you get to work with them directly because I don't like to be tied into a platform such as our work. I think it's, there's just too many hoops and hoops to jump so much feedback and milestones and stuff. So unless you hire somebody with a set amount of hours who week I find it very hard.
I just don't really like the way and just slow really the Upwork site. So there's really just Upwork, if you want to do that, I think wasn't it like E-Lance oDesk and freelancer turned into, I think so there's not a lot of to go for if you want. Yeah. Freelancing platform. And I think they totally spoiled on those three.
So I used to use E-Lance and I think I really liked it if I remember correctly. And then it was just so much better than what you have developed work. I mean, just clicking something and waiting for it to load. It's just horrible. So I, so I use pro blogger because I want to work directly and not be tied into a platform.
I have my own systems that I use. That's great. That's great. Um, I've used pro blogger before as well and had good luck. Um, good. What let's talk about your course. Let's talk about, I mean, so you're over at, um, you put together a course, you have a passive income geek.com and, um, you know, w when did, when did you start deciding, uh, to go into this space of really education?
Uh, you clearly have a portfolio that's successful and, and, and you're very busy. So what's the impetus for passively. It was 100% to get more network. So that's why I created the YouTube channel. And then I figured after a while, I should probably do a course. I also, I do like to teach that's what I did as a consultant for, for a decade.
And I also, sometimes I would teach a whole class within companies to educate the whole marketing department. So I did that a couple of times and I, I actually liked. And it was getting pretty lonely to sit here and Denmark and do American websites. So I, 100% went into the YouTube channel, which turned into me creating the course just to get more network.
And I would say it's the money in courses is not that good. I could definitely make much more money from just, uh, continue building my site, but that's. Pretty lonely too, to do that. I really wanted to be able to pick other people's brains and get to toe now and talking to somebody like you and Spencer.
That's really cool. I mean, I couldn't do that if, if I didn't somehow get out in public and, and share stuff. So, yeah. So, so I figured I wanted to create a course because I, I thought that I had some unique perspectives to share. Yeah, your YouTube channel is, is great as well. I was watching some of the episodes, um, in preparation for this, I watched perfect.
The art of swatting, mosquitoes, and Venice. Um, yeah. And while you were doing, I need to video. So, you know, it was, uh, on location and, uh, no, but it w I, I actually, there were several YouTube videos. I was taking notes. Um, while I was, I was actually exercising, so I couldn't, uh, I didn't have my pad of paper.
Right. I had to go back and rewatch a few of them, but yeah, you've got the YouTube channel. You've got the course. What's unique about your course. What would you say separates or what's maybe a unique differentiator or something that, that you tackle in your course that people might not find elsewhere that it would learn?
Yeah, so some things that I didn't find anywhere, what's the good process for selecting niches that you can actually get into that are not like super competitive. And also that. It takes into account a lot of stuff, like why I'm YL and stuff, since I've been going into so many uses myself. I think I have a pretty good process for that now.
And also for finding domain names. I have a next in an Excel tool that I built that helped me snatch some good, really good broad my names, because it's getting harder for us to find good domain names. I really obsessed over the domain names because I feel like that's really. That's the one thing you cannot never change.
Of course you can do that, but it's very risky to move aside, go to a couple of hundred page views. What not. So around the domain name, I think that's much, much more important than people, uh, make it in other, uh, um, ramp it up to be, you know, the courses, because I, I feel like seeing that domain name there.
So for. Probably 80 and 90% of your visitors to your site, to the type of site that I built when they meet you on Google, they've never seen your site before. So you need them to click immediately and to trust that the domain name. So that's something that I'm, that I spend a lot of time on teaching people how to find a good domain name that's available, also something that would work and that they can grow with.
And then also about. Types, you can say types of articles. I have specific types that I invented myself. That gives me a good deal of traffic. I have something people want to see that they can look at my YouTube channel, something. I called the army and Smith. I combine a lot of smaller topics into bigger, uh, article.
Um, and then I also have specific types of articles that, that I have, uh, Seen that get me more links. So across my thousands of articles I've seen, where do I actually pick up links naturally. And then I'd try to turn that into types of articles that I can, um, decide to have on all my sites. So I know that those will eventually probably get me some.
It's a good solid links. So those, those are definitely some, some things that are, that I was sorry. I was going to ask you more questions. Um, I am curious, and this is somewhat related to your course and somewhat related to just your thoughts. We talked about your YouTube channel and its success and whatnot.
Do you, uh, Do you take some of those insights to your, uh, your, your own websites? And do you build out YouTube channels and other social media efforts? Or do you really try to just rely on SEO and organic traffic? Yeah. Sometimes I would, I will do a YouTube channel for a site, but I'm mostly not. It's definitely not, not the case.
Then in most cases I do not. I just focus my time on writing more, more content because I've sometimes. So for example, with go downsize, we, we have a pretty decent, a YouTube channel.
Yeah. With a lot of content on that. That was mainly because my wife, she started writing for the site initially, and then she figured it. She didn't really like to write you a small video type. So she started the YouTube channel and we did some home tours that really took off. And then she did that for a couple of years and the got a lot of traction, the attracting, but that it didn't really.
All that much traffic to the site. And so, unless I think, unless you have a course, like what do we call an info product or something? I think it's really hard to monetize a YouTube channel. I mean, the YouTube channel, it had a lot of traffic, but it only made like one grand per month. So it's like fraction of what the website makes.
So I wouldn't spend my own time doing it, but sometimes it can make sense and it definitely gave us some branded traffic. Yeah. I mean, if it's, if you know the niece then, and if you're comfortable with the camera, you can very, very quickly produce some videos. So I think it can be a good idea, but, but I recommend people really just focusing on one traffic channel and one part, really just writing the best possible articles and get the side off the ground.
Cause it's just easy to, um, to run after a new idea all the time and start. And that was really the root of my questions. I'm glad you said, you know, like you have a successful YouTube. For your passive income geek, basically, you also have a successful one for, for go downsize. So you've used YouTube very successfully.
The end of the day. You really probably don't recommend it. No, I mean, I only use YouTube for, I, I don't want to have a site about a block, I think is probably one of the most. Uh, you guys probably know that. So as I didn't want to do that, I like to blog about something that, where I see less competition.
So I, and then I also wanted to challenge myself to do YouTube because it was definitely my wife building out the good analysis, YouTube channel. I, I did one video, I think, uh, for. The challenge that I wanted to see if I could get good at that. And also because I, as I said, I, I like to teach and I think it's, it's fun and it's a good, it's a way that I, I meet other people that I just have a lot of fun with it really.
You can do much. Uh, it's just so different from them from the text format. And I think it's a lot of fun, but I know I wouldn't recommend people starting a YouTube channel, um, just to get traffic to the website for something good. Okay. Good. Well, let's we start to wrap up here. Uh, is there anything we didn't talk about that you think is really important?
Uh, or anything we glossed over that we didn't go into depth enough? Um, I, I think we have touched on most of the things that I, that I had on my mind. You had some really good questions. Um, I think we we've been around. Yep. Good, good. Uh, I w we should do a part two, some doubt. I have all sorts of other questions.
I'll let you know. I mean, I think it'd be so interesting to hear more from you, you know, on some of these topics, like, um, you know, you had some sites in Danish and then you started building. Sites, you, you have obviously a wealth of background in a whole number of these topics that we could go into depth on, but at the same time, like I think that you really shared some great nuts and bolts, um, on how to practically go after.
Uh, these bigger topics and break them down. And we talked about link building and I said some of those insights were really good as well. So yeah, a lot of great stuff here. And, um, maybe I should just quickly say that I'm definitely not against link building. I don't think building good links to your site will hurt your site.
Some people hear me say that it's definitely not the case and I should be the first one to say that links are definitely moving the needle. I've seen that many times. It's just that I think my money is better spent on creating more content because the content. Typically get the Mo the more traffic and also sooner.
So, so, I mean, if you have the team, if you have the capacity, or if you want to break into super competitive niche, you probably have to build things. But, um, but I just like to just focus on the content side of things and then see them come and organically. So, yes, just a little caveat. And it's a good point, because, and to double down on what you said, you're very clearly focusing on underserved content.
That's how you started the whole, basically the whole interview. Yeah, your premise, is it underserved content doesn't really need links to rank, but you're exactly right. If you're going after really competitive content that is, is, is very served to borrow the term. Then you, you, you know, you might take a very different approach and obviously you can just do that later on, because if you have like 200 articles that are underserved, then eventually you will.
Those links. And then I just wait a couple of years. So, so I don't build my sites quickly. So after a couple of years, I'm want to go after the more competitive topics. So I have some of my bigger sites, two, three years old, and now they get into two, three, 400,000 page views, and then the links are coming and they have links from some of the biggest sites in the industry.
Because because I like to build them. So they really look great. They look huge from the start. I really obsessed over the design and that bowed page and the contact page and showing. That, that somebody behind the side of them is not missing any of these that looks super authoritative. So people want to link to it.
So down the line, it will pick up those links. And then I want to go after the more competitive stuff in and beat those others sites. And it's true. People love to talk about link building. It's one of the most challenging things to do. And then. You know, talk about doing it right. And doing it in a way that that helps recite out.
So it's, um, it's really good to spend extra time doubling down and clarifying and talking more about it because, um, man, it's, um, it's, it's, it's, it's sure as a ball of wax that's for sure. Again also seems like it's sort of dividing people a little bit to build links to do not buildings. So, so yeah, so I mean, if you have, if you like pulling links, you can definitely do that.
I, I don't particularly. Like love billing links. I did that for so many years. I think it's getting a little boring to shoot people, emails and ask this and that, and next YC. So yeah, I'd just rather just work with my team. Yeah. I think it's a great, uh, great clarification now. Let's see. So for more information about you and your course, people can go to passive income geek.com and follow along there.
And obviously we did talk about one of your sites. Go downsize.com. It's a really well done site. So people kind of want to get a better idea of some of the tactics that you're using. That's, that's a good place to go and, and see them. And, um, yeah. Well, Martin, it's been a really great, a really great time chatting about, about websites and about, about your journey to building, um, quite a few websites and where you're at now.
Thanks for, uh, thanks for joining the podcast. Thanks, likewise, Darren, and thanks again for. Yeah, we'll talk soon. Thanks again. .