Master Plan SEO Strategies with Charles Heflin
Hello everybody and welcome back to Affilorama.com. I have a very special guest with me today, the founder of SEO 2020 and The Master Plan as you’ll find out about very shortly, Charles Heflin.
Mark Ling: Welcome along
Charles Heflin: Thank you very much for having me Mark; it’s a nice beautiful day in Austin, Texas.
Mark Ling: Alright, let’s get to the nitty-gritty stuff. What we are interested in today is talking about Siloing and getting your site to have high search engine rankings (how it’s done). You’ve written a book called The Master Plan, which is a new generation of SEO. Would you just give people a bit of a step-by-step tutorial about what siloing is?
Charles Heflin: Basically, a silo is something that we use in the United States (maybe in other places of the world too) to keep different types of grains separated from each other – you might have one silo with wheat and another silo with corn. Applying that to the internet – you have a silo that has all related information.
You did a website about "pets." One aspect of that website (or one silo) would be "dog training." Now, within that "dog training" silo , you would have all information about "dog training" – and you don’t want to reference or talk about "cat training."
Mark Ling: Why is that?
Charles Heflin: If you do things like that (and I see this happen a lot), it serves to bleed out the theme of your silo. So if you’re talking about "dog training" and you found that you need to link to a reference about training cats (I don’t know why that would ever happen), but if you needed to, then this would serve to dilute the theme of your website and harms your rankings in a very profound way. We will get into that in a little bit. The basic gist of siloing is to have a very highly structured hierarchy for your website. You might have a section on "dog training" or you may have a section on different breeds of dogs within your "dog training" silo.
You might have a section for "Chihuahua training" or "Labrador training. " Then you keep all that information for "Labradors" in one area, and all information for "Chihuahua training" in another area – you don’t cross-reference the two because that would serve to bleed your theme out.
There are certain strategies or scenarios where it would become necessary to link content from one silo to another. There is a very specific way to do that – to avoid bleeding your themes out.
Mark Ling: And you go into that in detail in The Master Plan right?
Charles Heflin: Yes, The Master Plan goes into extreme detail on that. If you look at some of the more popular websites out there:
You look at Wikipedia – it’s very highly structured. Everything is kept within categories and categories within sub-categories and so on and so forth. And they don’t bleed across to each other.
About.com is also a highly-structured silo website.
Mark Ling: Those sites come up everywhere in the search engine rankings as well.
Charles Heflin: Yes, everywhere you will find them.
Mark Ling: If you do 10 different searches for any random topic – from "spoons" to something like "dog training" and you’ll find that they will come out (About.com or Wikipedia).
Charles Heflin: Right. And the reason behind that is not an accident. It’s the structure of their site – they were found out to be more relevant than other websites that’s why they come up in the top 10. That’s really the goal of siloing and the goal of The Master Plan – to take somebody (a complete newbie if you will) who has no experience with this and give them some really profound knowledge on developing a website strategy, developing a website blueprint and structure for their site where they will allow the search engines to understand 100% of what your website is about. And by doing that very strategy I found that 9 times out of 10 (even more) that a website can easily outrank another website regardless of back links.
Mark Ling: Yeah, I know that some people try and look at a site and go "Wow, they’re # 1 in Google. " And then they do a back link check and they found that they have 10,000 back links. Then they get worried thinking how can I get 10,000 sites to link to me? But that’s not necessary is it?
Charles Heflin: No, that’s not completely necessary. In SEO 2020, I’ve also provided examples of this. When you look at the top 10 rankings, you will see that a website with a good solid silostructure that follows a good linking hierarchy with only 100 links can easily outrank another site that has 1,000 links. And initially looking at it, they may not appear to be very different from one another in their structure. But if you go dig in a little bit deeper, you’ll see that they have some theme bleeding going on in the bottom of their silosor they’re linking off to information that’s not related, or they have a ton of inbound links from unrelated sites. And that’s another factor as well – you’ve got to watch who’s linking to you because that’s a good indicator of, perhaps, you’re doing link swapping – you’re buying links to fake yourself as an authority. This is what the search engine may view. It’s maybe not the strategy that you’re going after but if you’re buying links or participating in links exchange, then that devalues the PR value of the back links that you’re getting to your site.
Mark Ling: Another thing that you’re discussing with me is regarding the article to write. Quite often, the common thing that people do is:
They’re writing an article about "how to play guitar. " Then, they will use that phrase "how to play guitar" a few times in their page. But within the page, they might not use actual words that go well with that phrase. These words might be Jimi Hendrix, or might be something like guitar chords, bar (like bar chords), or neck (like the neck of a guitar). They might be just other words that people don’t think of as a standard.
Let’s say you got an Indian writer from Elance (they’re not all Indian by the way, if you use Elance), quite often, they would just write an article that happens to use that search term (the keyword that you wanted to play on) throughout the article and they haven’t written a proper article that has the themed keywords and hence, the article is ranking quite low.
Mark Ling: Can you explain more about that?
Charles Heflin: Yes, basically it’s an advent of something called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) – it’s an algorithm implemented by Google. They bought a company in 1993 by the name of Applied Semantics who has spent many years trying to determine an automatic algorithm to determine the relevance of text on a webpage. It’s really complex but that’s basically the gist of it. What they’re shooting for is an algorithm that closely mimics what a human will find relevant in a website.
If you were to go a page like guitars in the internet, and you type in "guitars" in a search, and you bought out this page. Then it started talking about " guitars are great, guitars are the best thing, and my favorite instrument is a guitar. " It really sounds kind of silly because you can tell that their obviously trying to optimize for the word "guitar."
What LSI does is that it actually goes beyond that and it takes a capture of all of the websites that has the word "guitar" in it. And it seeks out other words that the top ranking websites (or the top trusted websites) use in addition to the word "guitar. " Maybe "guitar strings" or a brand. So what it does is take a snapshot of the entire internet, and then it looks at your webpage as well as other pages in your website and it looks to see if you have those expert words that a person who obviously knows about "guitar" would use in the content. And if you lack those words, you’re just repeating the words "guitar, guitar, guitar" trying to get rankings – it’s not going to work very well. Google, Yahoo, MSN – all the others are following suit with LSI and the old strategies of ranking by keyword density is gone. It’s nearing its end very quickly. And by utilizing LSI, you can turn your focus away from keyword density speculation; it does away with it completely.
Mark Ling: This is in combination with all the basics of SEO where you get inbound links with the correct anchor text from relevant sites, and stuff like that?
Charles Heflin: Yes, more or less, that’s also not a heavy, heavy factor because if you think about what the search engines are going for – if everybody is talking about today "anchor text, anchor text," you know, get inbound links and internal links using the anchor text that you want to rank for – that starts to leave a footprint (if you will). So if you look at things from a natural perspective, most of the time if you go out and look for people who are linking into your site, 9 times out of 10 they’re not going to use the anchor text that you want them to use. They’re going to use something else. So the relevance that the anchor text plays from external sites linking into yours – I think (this is speculation here) Google is going for the natural relevance factor that they’re going to start paying less and less attention to actual anchor text leading into your site. The biggest thing that you want to do is use proper anchor text within your site.
Mark Ling: Yes, absolutely. It makes sense too that your site should be well-themed. When you think about an encyclopedia, I mean who likes to look at one that is not properly indexed?
Google is (in a way) like a giant encyclopedia where you can go in and you can find free information in the internet about a range of topics. And people in general use Google to find free information. It just makes sense to me – what you’re saying that Google wants sites that are well structured like encyclopedias in a way (like Wikipedia).
Charles Heflin: Absolutely. They’re definitely shooting for that and the advent of LSI is making that become more and more of a reality. And on the 22nd of August, they have a new patent application coming in where they’re looking to implement a human review process into indexing websites. And the theory goes that they’re going to use LSI to weed out all of the garbage sites (all of the crap) and that’s going to leave the cream rising to the top (so to speak). And then, they’re going to have humans actually go in and verify that that cream is really cream, you know. That may sound scary to a lot of people. But the bottom line is that if you create your website for humans (visitors) and it has a good, genuine quality, you’re going to pass the human review process.
Mark Ling: And it means that you can be out there to build less websites – you don’t have to go and build 200 websites. You can build fewer sites, do them high-quality, and know that the crap will fade away.
Charles Heflin: Yes, I’ve seen a lot of the strategy where they say "Let’s build a hundred websites, let’s build a website a day, or a website a week. " And you really can’t focus on quality that way. What ends up happening – I love this analogy here: who works more in an 8-hour day? You know, you have your guy turning out 100 websites in 8 hours for example. And then, you’ve got another guy that is working on only one website but he’s developing on a good, quality, solid content for visitors in 8 hours. Both guys worked for 8 hours. The guy who turned out a hundred websites with crap, scrape content, what-not – he’s obviously going to be much lower in the rankings, he’s going to get pushed down and he’s going to have to keep running that treadmill to try and keep his position where he’s at and to keep his income where it is. He’s constantly on a struggle against the search engines to keep that income where it’s at. And then you have the other guy here who worked 8 hours making good, quality content that’s going to survive the algorithm surges of the search engines – he doesn’t need to go back and try to rework everything. So everything that the guy over here is doing has a residual effect, if you will. He doesn’t have to reinvest those 8 hours.
Mark Ling: That’s right. And there is more time that goes to creating a quality site as opposed to creating a site and pushing it off even if you’ve got a site with only a few articles (in a reasonable quality). If you put more time into the actual site and make it bigger, it puts you in the top 1% just like that (I’ve found this in my own experience). Most people just seem to have a block on their head of 40 pages in their website and that’s it. Honestly, when you put up a 2,000-page website, you pretty much give it a little bit of time, and as long as they’re quality pages, they’re there to stay. Big difference!
Charles Heflin: Huge difference. The quality websites are going to survive and then when you cap off good, quality content with a solid silo website structure – that adheres to keeping everything categorized. Then, the search engines are never confused. You pass your LSI test, if you will. And that rises you to the top relatively quickly especially for a long-tail search terms.
Your search term is "How to buy an Ibanez guitar in Austin, Texas. " If somebody were to type that in, it has very low competition and you find that most of the time, you can quickly (within a week even) become #1 for a search term like that. And that would be one article that you write.
And then you couple that with another long-tail search article about "Gibson guitars" and some other state or city. You couple all of this together down at the bottom of your silos and as you continue to add articles into your website and keep them categorized, you’re going to start ranking higher and higher for broader search terms like "Ibanez guitar. " And as you rank higher for those, then you’ll start to rank higher for the broadest term which would be " guitar."
Mark Ling: Yeah, and for those of you, if you’ve ever made a website, how often have you ever made a site that has 40 pages, yet you find that the only page that ranks well is the page that was at the top of that hierarchy. It’s the same sort of thing, as if you’re adding more hierarchies, so you’re getting more and more chance of getting ranked for more search terms that you want.
Charles Heflin: Yeah, what you’re doing is, you’re casting a net (if you will), a wide net where you have your information about "guitar" and you have your long-tail search term around the edges of the net which lends support to the center – which would be your highest search term, "guitar." And then all of your long-tail terms around the edge support and strengthen the overall theme of your whole site which would be "guitar."
Now, you don’t want to straightly go after the broad search terms because you’re not going to rank for them. There’s too much competition in those markets, but by focusing down in the bottom of your silos, writing good, quality content on your longer-tail search terms, you’ve got to lend strength to your overall theme. And as time goes on, you’ll start ranking higher and higher for your broader terms. So the strategy is, don’t go for your broad terms first, but go for your long-tail terms first. But focus on good, quality content and then, as you do that, you will start rising up.
Mark Ling: You were saying something to me yesterday about how all these top PR firms – they charge out astronomical rates – tens of thousands of dollars sometimes depending on the website. This is their big secret, could you tell us more?
Charles Heflin: Yes, absolutely. Some of the highest paid SEO firms on the planet – they charge tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars to do SEO for their clients. And this LSI hierarchy – keeping to a structure, making sure that you stay within your themes, and there’s no theme bleeding going on – all of this is their big secret. Of course they’re not going to let the cat out of the bag and I may upset a lot of people by letting you guys know about this.
Mark Ling: But you had already.
Charles Heflin: Yeah, but I’m not concerned with that. What I’m really concerned with, and I know you are too – is letting people know the real facts, the real deal, the no hype, no fluff way to gain rankings in the search engines. And that’s really what I’m after, and that’s the whole purpose of The Master Plan and my website SEO 2020.
Mark Ling: Alright. You’re also saying that you’re going to provide a free report with this video that you’re working on at the moment. Could you just give people a quick overall rundown of that?
Charles Heflin: Yes, I’m working on a free report. Basically, what it’s going to do is take you to this stuff – real world examples of why and how using a properly themed siloed website is going to outrank 99% of the competing websites on the internet. There’s no hype, no filtering here. It’s going to be something that’s going to show you exactly why this happens and how you can do it yourself.
Mark Ling: Awesome. That sounds really promising as well. Other stuff that you cover in The Master Plan is that you go into quite a lot of detail on monetizing and tools – stuff like that. What are the tools that you spoke about in Theme Zoom, do you mind talking just a little bit about that?
Charles Heflin: Yes, Theme Zoom is a tool that was developed by Russel Wright and his team of programmers – Sue Bell is one of his major programmers. And they have really pioneered a keyword research tool that keeps LSI in mind. It goes through and does an incredible amount of back-end processes when you do keyword research. It looks for instances in the top 50 or 100 websites for your search term and extracts expert verbage and possible silo categories. And then it goes in and takes those possible silo categories and sees how many websites out there also have those categories and it nominates them once or twice, or 3 or 4 times. A quadruple-nominated silo would be definitely something that you want to go after because it’s highly themed and has been found highly relevant by the search engines. To make a long story short, Theme Zoom basically does what it would take an army of 10 people a month to do, in just a matter of a few minutes. If you’re going to look at all the processes that it goes through – it does this search and compares this search to that search – to explain it I would probably confuse the heck out of you.
Mark Ling: Well, it’s worth knowing – at least people are well informed on what’s out there anyway. Yes, you can do it a fair bit yourself, especially if you don’t need it to be quite perfect, but if you’re looking for something that does it largely and automatically and has been built for LSI, then this is something to look at. They do have some sort of cheap version of it – not a separate version – it’s fully functional but if you buy it for a day (it’s only $20 in a day), it’s quite expensive for a month (like $99 or something). But if you bought it for a day, you’d be able to give it a really good test drive and see if it’s right for you. You may even be able to get what you need for the following month out of a day’s use anyway. Am I right in saying that?
Charles Heflin: Yes, you’re absolutely right. You can test it out and Theme Zoom has very solid and thorough tutorials on how to use the application to achieve what you’re trying to achieve. I want everybody to keep in mind that you do not need Theme Zoom to structure your website and find your keywords. Actually in The Master Plan, I go to great detail about how to do your keyword research manually – using free tools without paying for any tools at all. So I kind of do that to show people a contrast, so they can gain an appreciation for using an automated tool like Theme Zoom.
The Master Plan
Mark Ling: That’s awesome. I know you have spoken in bits and pieces here about things you’ve covered in The Master Plan, but would you mind just giving people some refresh and overall roll down of what’s in The Master Plan?
Charles Heflin: Sure, basically, what The Master Plan does is break everything down into 12 essential elements of creating an online asset that is deemed as:
- A win for the search engines because you’re providing good, quality content for their index
- A win for the visitors who would visit your website because it’s seen as good, quality content that a visitor finds valuable
- A win for you because the search engines are going to reward you with higher rankings
So basically, what The Master Plan does is that, it takes you step by step into building that online asset. It has 12 steps you know, starting with siloing – very broad detail about pictures, graphics, and what-not. It also talks about how to start your website – I have some very good examples on Excel spreadsheets that shows you exactly how to layout the blueprint of your website – it goes in great detail into keyword research.
Mark Ling: And the feedback from Affilorama members that have bought it (what I’ve heard) is very, very positive (about The Master Plan). I’ve heard people saying that it goes hand- in-hand with Affilorama as well. And it’s a really, really good plan like you don’t just cover all the stuff that they need to know, you also have a plan at the end that tells them a step-by-step action plan so they know what to do.
Charles Heflin: Yes, exactly. It takes you through. The Master Plan really is coupling the 12 essential elements of creating an online asset with a schedule which is broken down by hour and day. I really feel that scheduling is a crucial element that tends to take all of the clutter out of your head of what you should be doing and gets it down into a solid schedule that you stick to, by hour, by day. And then you will always know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing on what day. You can chart your progress, and you know that you’re laying a solid brick into your foundation on a daily basis. So, that’s really what The Master Plan is about – it’s a scheduling system to keep you from getting confused as to what needs to be done. Couple that with solid and on-time SEO strategy.
Mark Ling: Alright, and what’s the customer support like. What do you do as far as that is concerned?
Charles Heflin: Customer support – we have a private forum only for members of The Master Plan where they can go in and ask questions to other members. They can ask questions for me if they wish. They can go in and gain more of an understanding of the strategy. They can also go in and research other chapters of The Master Plan – I have the forum broken down by chapter so that you can easily go in and look, and reference and find more detailed information on what it is that you have questions on.
Mark Ling: Alright, for those of you out there, if you want to check out Charles teaching style and see if it’s right for you, you can either go straight and get The Master Plan or you can have a look at the free report that Charles will be generously providing with this discussion that will help lay it out in even more step-by-step detail.
Charles Heflin: Yeah, I would definitely recommend downloading the free report. Kind of, get your mind wrapped around the concepts. You know I certainly don’t want anybody to invest in The Master Plan who isn’t ready, so the best thing to do is read the free report, see if it’s something that you can comprehend and understand and if it is, then I would definitely like to welcome you onboard The Master Plan and the private forum.
Mark Ling: Awesome. Thank you very much for having me here to be able to talk to you about The Master Plan. You’ve said that you’re going to be keen to help answer stuff as well through Affilorama?
Charles Heflin: Yes, if you’re a member of Affilorama and if you have a question, feel free to ask – I’m there to answer.
Mark Ling: Alright, we will see you next time. Thank you.