Expert Series: “Matthew Woodward” Discusses SEO, Blogging, Link Building & Entrepreneurship!
We finally kick off the SerpLogic Expert Series.. and what a great guest we have for the first installment. If you’ve been around the SEO scene for long enough you will have certainly come across Matthew Woodward by now. His tutorials, case studies and videos have helped countless new comers to the industry as well as seasoned pros. His blog has won numerous awards and earned him quite a bit of respect within the SEO community.
It’s a great pleasure to have Matt here with us today on our first Expert Series, lets get down to it..
1. How did you originally get into Internet Marketing?
I got started online when I was 13 years old writing reviews for a video games site.
That eventually led to a passion for competitive online gaming and I created my
first ever website for the wider community to share videos of each other in action.
All of that happened years before YouTube to put that into perspective. Uploading
videos was not an easy task in those days!
Way back then, I had no idea you could use the internet to make money , in fact I
delivered newspapers just to pay for the server costs!
I was also lucky enough to grow up with the dawn of Google back when Yahoo ruled the
land and link building did not exist that combined with the fact I liked playing
internet made for a perfect match.
Over the coming years the internet gained popularity and I developed my skills in
various areas and I ended up as head of online marketing for one of the biggest
distributors in Europe.
But honestly, the corporate life sucks!
It has a very slow and rigid structure which just cannot keep up with the dynamic
pace of the web.
What makes the Internet a beautiful thing is that the independent agile business
with a 3 figure budget has a significant advantage online over the larger corporate
But eventually I couldn’t deal with the corporate life anymore and decided to follow
my passion for technical SEO by researching, building and ranking over 40 sites in 3
2. How did your original entry into IM transition into your blog and everything
that goes with it?
I started my blog as my personal playground and an SEO experiment in itself.
I wanted to see if I can rank a site about SEO without using SEO with my zero link building case study.
I have seen many great blogs come and go over the years and I was getting sick and
tired of seeing the same old garbage advice getting posted over and over again with
no real substance on popular sites and forums.
One day I realized that I really wasn’t putting my strongest assets to use and that
was my broad first hand experience of technical SEO, digital marketing & the
internet that I grew up on.
So I figured that if I just explained some of the things that I am doing everyday,
that would probably be helpful to some other people.
I decided to create a few tutorials and see what happens:
Each tutorial was created with the mantra that each and every one of them, will be
the definitive authoritative piece of content on the given topic.
I wanted people to tell me that my free content is better than any products they
have ever bought-
I want to create content that is so good that people are scrambling to subscribe. I
want people to shout from the roof tops about the content and share it on social
media and in forums.
That is the mantra behind my 4
part free video training series that teaches people the link building strategy
behind results like this-
That video series alone took nearly a month to create:
But it has helped thousands of people to change the way they do SEO with spectacular
3. You’ve been speaking at some conferences around the world. How have you found
that? Any memorable moments?
Conferences are often good fun and I highly recommend attending Affiliate Summit,
Affiliate World and UnGagged.
They all offer something different but as Affiliate Summit is the biggest conference
it also has the craziest things going on from dinners cooked by Ironchefs all the
way through to private parties with artists like Snoop Dogg.
If you have never attended a conference I highly recommend you do!
You can’t put a foot wrong with Affiliate Summit, Affiliate World or UnGagged and
you’ll meet a lot of familiar faces.
4. What do you think is going to be the next “big” thing in IM? Where do you see
the industry in 5 – 10 years?
Rather than trying to predict the next big thing, I find it’s better just to focus
on people – because while the methods change, people don’t.
Spend time learning what motivates people, what makes people tick, how you can help
those people get from point A to point B.
Once you have an understanding of people it’s very easy to apply whatever the “next
big thing” happens to be as and when it happens.
If that is a topic you want to explore, you should first of all spend a little time
understanding yourself first with this book – but get a print copy. Trust me.
5. You’ve written some excellent SEO guides and tutorials.. What keeps you
motivated and on track when writing those large posts?
I started the blog with the mantra of helping people with step by step tutorials
without any of the fluff.
Yes that kind of content takes a lot of effort and a long time to produce, but it is
also highly rewarding from a number of perspectives.
First and foremost it helps people – just take a look at
some of these testimonials from blog readers.
Secondly each piece of content I create to the standard that I create it becomes a
new long term asset in my business as a whole.
So the more effort I put into the creation of content, the more it helps other
people and the more it helps me.
6. If you could give a newbie one piece of solid advice, what would it be?
There is absolutely zero substitute for hard work.
There is no a product, service or system on the planet that can replace good old
fashioned hard work.
Now of course its important to work intelligently, make sure you are organised with
a free system like TheSecretWeapon.org which is based on Evernote for example.
But there is never going to be a substitute for sheer determination and grinding out
as many hours, minutes and seconds you possibly can.
When I had a full time job, I would work 6am-7.30am on my own stuff, head out to
work and then from 7pm-1am.
When I transitioned away from my job, I was putting in 80-100 hour weeks
consistently to get ahead of the game. By Wednesday lunchtime I had usually put in
a 40 hour week already.
A lot of people think that coming into IM is going to allow them to live a dream
life style and while that is true, they often overlook the sheer amount of hard
work, dedication, discipline and consistency that it takes to get there.
7. Who are your biggest influences in the IM world? Are there any
marketers/businesses that you follow?
You can find great and varied sources of information from-
Following those channels allow you to get a broad range of perspectives on SEO and
8. I know you live a bit of a digital nomad lifestyle (shame I missed you in
Thailand) like many IMers. How do you find it and all the freedom that comes with
I spent a lot of time travelling but I also appreciate having my roots set somewhere.
As I travelled I was always prospecting places as potential places to live and for
me nothing came closer to Costa Rica where I have spent a good amount of time the
past few years.
You also have to be aware that it’s easy to get distracted with the freedom of
location the digital nomad lifestyle gives you because you transition away from
working hard and making money to relaxing and spending money.
It’s a double edged sword but most people I have met have managed to find that balance.
9. Personal branding is a big part of your success. What do you feel has really
helped you in that respect?
Really I think it’s less about my personal branding and more about producing content
that has a positive impact on an individual persons journey.
However that is not to be said that branding should be ignored and it doesn’t need
to be complicated.
All you need is-
- A mission
- A colour scheme
- A logo
- A tone of voice
In my case, the mission was to create tutorials that have a positive impact on a
persons journey. While it’s a simple statement, it’s a very challenging task.
When I was choosing my colour scheme the combination I finally chose didn’t really
go together, but it stood out to me for reasons I can’t explain.
This is what it looks like-
That also helped form the basis for the logo.
I didn’t want an anonymous corporate type logo and wanted something to be a bit more
personal and inviting, so I got a cartoon me made up-
With a mission, colour scheme and logo in place. The only other thing I needed was
a tone of voice.
But what does that actually mean?
For me – I know for the most part the SEO world is full of false claims, glitzy
sales pitches, rehashed advice & general bull shit to separate you from your money.
On top of that I also appreciate that most digital marketers are busy people with
little time to spare – including me!
So I decided to use those two points as a basis for my tone of voice which would-
- I just tell it like it is and get straight to the point
- Use quick, simple, easy to understand words
- No more than 3 sentences in a paragraph
- Short & punchy
- Keep it simple
That makes actionable content quick and easy to digest and I believe it’s that
approach to writing that has helped seed my content to wider audiences.
10. Whats the plans for the future? Where do you see your site and business
I have just put the finishing touches to my 4 part free video training series that teaches people the
link building strategy behind some of the most competitive niches in SEO.
Those videos are by far the best content I have ever produced and I am excited to
share them with the world.
I also share 5 incredible case studies like this one from the video games niche
where a site when from penguin penalty in 2014 to over 230,000 visitors per month
The site has now enjoyed nearly 4,000,000 visitors from Google since deploying the link building
strategy back in November 2014.
In terms of the blog it needs a revamp in a couple of different areas.
First of all I want to update the overall email marketing strategy. I recently completed a move from Aweber to Drip to get all of this new
And I have already started taking advantage of the new opportunities that offers with some experimental campaigns you can learn about here.
But I still need to create much better, more targeted email sequences which will
keep me busy through July and August.
Next I want to revamp the design of the blog in some areas and I’m already split
testing a number of different blog post layouts to see which commands the most
So far the split tests have produced good results.
I am mostly trying to reduce bounce rate and increase time on page-
At the moment I am running a bunch of tests on various posts to see which format
becomes the winner at which point I’ll deploy the winning design across every post
on the blog.
In the mean time, I’m training for Ironman – which is turning out to be a terrible
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