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AFP 30: 8 Misconceptions Regarding Site Rankings

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EMD’s are dead!  You HAVE to build links to stand a chance!  Google HATES niche sites!

We get questions, comments, and emails mentioning these types of things all the time.  Sometimes mis-information is distributed by those who stand to profit from our believing it. (Selling you tools, ebooks, or coaching that profits from our fear) Other times it’s a misunderstanding of the data (small sample size, confusing correlation with causation) or a regurgitation of that information by well-intentioned “connectors“.

How do we know that these eight points are REALLY misconceptions?  We don’t know for sure.  We’re not SEO experts and don’t claim to be, but we know enough to call out those that aren’t either.  The problem with SEO is that it’s vague, ever-changing, and a perfect industry for fraudsters and deception tactics.  We take on some of this in the episode.  Whether you agree with us on these points or not, we’re hoping this stands as a reminder to be critical of ANYONE who’s “sure” when it comes to what works and what doesn’t in regards to SEO, rankings, etc.

Check out this week’s episode here:


Direct Download – Right Click And Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • CRM Migration, Site Redesign, IntelliTheme Beta, and Joe knocking out some calls to listeners! Does Google really hate niche sites?
  • SEO: Everyone’s an expert… Why (as a buyer) you might prefer sites that are NOT on the first page.
  • Software to track rankings, giving Squidoo another look, and adding additional users to your AdSense account


Now…over to you!  What have you heard from the “experts” regarding ranking that just doesn’t seem right?  Any thing you’d like to share?  Let us know in the comments below or feel free to say hi on Twitter!  Or…you can use SpeakPipe to leave a message below and have a chance to be featured in the next podcast!

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Partner at, host of the Empire Flippers Podcast, squatter on Twitter and he’s doing his best on Google+. He heads up the marketing side of the house, so if you see us around the interwebz it’s probably him!

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  • Steve Wyman CloudVenturesGroup

    Hey J, J & J

    TOTALLY agree. get the free guide, implement and learn… shame some people don’t get that…. On the other hand less competition is no bad thing.

    As you know I also agree with the dont worry about rankings, the traffic and Income are more important.. Its worked well for me..

    Love WhooshTraffic, Parnell and Co are very responsive to requests, and is improved dramatically over the last few month… One of the few things i pay for monthly I use the down to 1000. neat when your looking at sites that are not ranking well or brand new..

    The keyword research tool and comp tool are still underdevelopment and not that strong IMHO.

    One thing that’s brilliant and i have not seen anyone else do is the “screen capture” of the results page which is awesome.

    Squido lens – surprised you’d not played with them before used to have to build a lot of links to get them ranked. So it will be very interesting to follow you along.


  • Andy Hayes

    Great tips today, guys. Thanks again for the shoutout – of course you had to share the most negative feedback point we got! LOL. Oh well, sometimes you gotta take a bullet. :-)

    Really interesting about your CRM, I’m not sure I really understood what you were doing until now, but that’s an awesome idea. Smart!

    • Joseph Magnotti

      Thanks Andy, really looking forward to getting the contest off the ground. Thanks so much for your help,it’s been invaluable.

  • Matt

    Awesome! Love the podcasts keep em coming!

    • Joseph Magnotti

      Thanks Matt, we will try to get back to a regular recording schedule. Every 10 days or so.

  • Claire Smith

    Hey Thanks for the mention guys. I was very surprised. Cheers. And I am working on the book!

    Great podcast guys. There certainly are a ton of myths flying around.

    That’s great you are going to try the Squidoo lenses, it may be old school, but something is working. They certainly convert well.

    I don’t back-link at all. Never have really, I figured I’d get around to it eventually, as it seemed an inefficient way to spend time, but never really needed to in the end.

    I was relieved to hear you are not back-linking your niche sites either. I set up my first ever niche Amazon sites in early June and left them alone over the summer. Traffic (and a few sales) just started up again last week so I hope the Laisse faire works on them all.

    As far as time to rank a Squidoo lens, it depends on your competition. I go low monthly searches (like under 100!) with low competition and it works lovely! The lower the allintitle competition, the faster it gets sales. There are the odd duds of course, but sometimes they surprise you.

    Generally you get some google search traffic after a day, then it seems to keep growing steadily for non-seasonal items. Sales can happen the first day (love those) and others sometimes in the first week and they climb over time, I have many lenses that still have traffic climbing after 6-8 months.

    After the first week there can be a drop or quiet time for about 3 weeks then the sales start again. I don’t follow rankings either. I don’t check unless there is a big jump up in traffic (like a Google update) then I check the odd phrase if I see a ton of traffic for a new one. It seems they are getting ranked for shorter tails (with higher searches) over time, but I have no precise stats on that.

    Look forward to seeing how you do! Those who have tried it lately have been pleasantly surprised at the speed of the sales, from what they tell me.

    • JustinWCooke

      Thanks for the insight, Claire! Really looking forward to your Squidoo book that’s coming out. I don’t really see this being a “direction” we take our blog, business, etc… I just view it as an additional revenue stream through a different revenue model. And, honestly, I’m looking forward to just trying something different, heh.

  • Gilad

    Hi guys,

    Great podcast as always.

    A quick question that has been troubling my mind:

    Hyden posted here:

    that he hasn’t ranked his sites from July. I myself have encountered a similar problem with my July sites, have you having problems with your sites as well?

    • JustinWCooke

      Hey there,

      A cursory look at July shows our sites to be performing just fine. I don’t see a break from the norm. If anything, our April/May sites aren’t doing as well…but that may be due to Joe having sold off some of our better sites from those months already.

      Hayden mentions the problems and lays out two reasons he think they may be struggling along with his action plan to correct. He’s stating that his 1-page sites may be too thin so he’s going to add another 5 pages to each site. He also mentions he may have too many outbound links on some pages and is dialing that down.

      Hayden seems to be a pretty straight-shooter and shares his evidence openly. My problem is that trying to figure out why Google does this or that often sends me down a rabbit hole of despair, frustration, and wasted time. Joe keeps reminding me, “Is it working? Great. Are our customers happy? Great. Stop worrying…” lol

      • Steve Wyman CloudVenturesGroup

        I so agree with you on this one Justin. look down the rabbit hole way to often.

        My one page starter sites from July are showing no issues. its not that.

      • Joseph Magnotti

        Agreed Justin, if anything, sites built since May are getting BETTER. I believe this is because I have made some minor adjustments to our keyword research, like focusing more commercial intent and “can we really build content around this”.

  • Ballz

    I am curious to know, having used many CRM software’s, how you guys set up the fields. Did you set them each up as a lead with custom columns. How are you tracking where they are in each and what you need to do? Do you setup them up as Opprotunities in the CRM so they are easy to track?

    • JustinWCooke

      Great questions,

      We setup each site as an “organization” with the domain name as the organization. We cut out almost EVERYTHING from the CRM and wanted to try to put all of our data under organizations so that it shows up on the first page of each record. (That means disabling Calendar/Tasks, Tickets, Leads, etc…REALLY simplified)

      We tried to make everything possible multi-pick or date fields. When you use text blocks it leaves plenty of room for errors. (lowercase vs. uppercase, misspellings, etc.)

      We’re using custom filters based on each job responsibility. (Site creators have their own filter, content manager have their own filter, etc.) The filters are based on a set of rules…if something else must be done before they can start, those records are “filtered out” until that piece has been completed.

      We’re using both QA filters and custom reports to help us look for missed records, incomplete data during the migration, etc.

  • Frank

    Looking forward to hearing the next podcast as always. I use the same theme as you guys for my blog but it seems ok for now. If you get a second go check it out and let me know what you think. I’m only two months into it. Take care Justin and Joe


    • JustinWCooke

      Hey Frank,

      I was going to delete the link, but after checking out your site I thought it was a pretty good example of what an authority site should be and thought others might benefit from checking it out too!

      I like the bold colors! The engagement (comments) seems extremely low, though. What do you think you could do to get more interaction from your readers? How can you get them more involved in the site?

  • semir

    thanks so much adsense flippers…for the mention of claire..i was looking for a blogger who shares squidoo/revenue share site success story and income report…but didnt find any…and i saw her monthly income and read some pargraphs before i came here to say thanks..and it is so great……hope she is sharing the truth. i hope it will be very helpful for me as my country doesnt allow credit cards/debit to be spent online…for domains..sorry but i didnt listen thepodcast …saving me bytes of connection. thanks so much bye

    • JustinWCooke

      Hey Semir!

      It’s hard to say if she’s telling the truth or not. We’re just getting to know each other so I can’t completely vouch for her quite yet, but I will say that I’ve checked out her site, her content, her lenses, etc. and it all seems to jive. I believe she is who she says she is and that she’s actually doing what she claims to be doing. I’ve gotten some value out of the content on her site and I’m anxiously awaiting the release of her ebook on Squidoo. :-)

  • Dan

    I love the idea of launching Lenses in niches that you are already making money in and testing the results, could be a process you could double down on and sell whole “keyword bundles” when you package products for your customers.

    • JustinWCooke

      Hey Dan,

      It’s been fun digging into the Squidoo community a bit, actually. Yeah…a couple of ways we can go with Squidoo:

      1. Use it to test out potential keywords for niche/authority sites
      2. Add them to successful niches we’ve already targeted (and possibly give away to buyers as a value-add?)
      3. Use them to build legitimate links to our related niche sites

      Mixing our lenses and niche sites presents a bit of a problem, though. We’d probably have to have a “public” Squidoo account and some private accounts as well that aren’t shared…

  • Isaiah Coe

    Really great podcast guys,, only podcast I like to listen to!

    • Joseph Magnotti

      THanks Isaiah!

  • Marko Radulovic

    So Google has targeted “low quality EMDs” in its brand new update. Several fledgling and growing sites of mine have now disappeared completely, all EMDs that ranked very quickly. What have you noticed with your sites, guys? I am thinking that partial match authority sites are the way to go now. But I’m getting a sick feeling in my stomach over all of this.

    • Joseph Magnotti

      Justin is coming out with a new post on this topic soon. Stay tuned for details.

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