It seems that the SEO landscape is really prone to get inundated with “secrets.” The idea behind it is that there is some deeply hidden SEO secret experts use for themselves to earn millions without telling anybody else. Indeed, some of the so-called black hat SEO (for most people, simply called SPAM) truly works like that.
On the other hand, many legit SEO experts believe in the “SEO secret” approach: They try to hide their best techniques to sustain a competitive advantage. You will find a lot of agency-owning types who rarely or never publish techniques or case studies, and they brag instead about the “Fortune 500” clients they have had. They drop some names everybody knows, and then people are convinced they are some high-profile experts. After all, they worked with huge brands, gigantic companies and corporations everybody knows.
I have worked with huge brands, too. Unfortunately, most of them wanted me to sign half a dozen NDAs forbidding me to talk about that, so I’m not even sure I can mention them after all these years. Also, the SEO practitioner is often just a cog in the machine in such circumstances. Were the changes I implemented, or at least suggested, really the key to growing that business, or was it one of a myriad of other factors? Long story short, I personally prefer the publish or perish approach of the scientific community. You have to write about what you do so that it’s public; then your expertise can be validated by peer review.
So what is my secret? My secret is not to hide my trade secrets. By giving away all I know before others, I can often be the first person to report something or to publish it at all. It’s often risky, as being the “whistle blower” in your industry can mean that you will be subject to criticism or ridicule. Still, most people value honesty and deep insights. So I’ve been able to get much more traction with my writing than my background would otherwise have allowed. I’m just a Polish immigrant living in Germany writing in English about SEO 2.0—nobody knew who I was prior to employing this tactic.
The biggest link building secret–lack of secrecy. [tweet this]
I didn’t have millions of dollars in venture capital or dozens of employees doing the groundwork while I travelled the world showing off how big of an expert I am. I have to do everything myself. Despite that, business blogging has made me one of the most prominent voices in the SEO industry and beyond. The secret ingredient of my success has been the lack of secrecy, the giving away of all my knowledge as soon as possible. That way I have been perceived as a bigger expert than those who were hiding their know-how behind the logos of huge brands. Maybe they were even making millions, but nobody has witnessed it. The general public doesn’t know how they did it. So the sheer fact they did is even questionable. So the secret to build, or rather earn more links, is to give away all your secrets as fast as you can so that people will link to you. A guy who has perfected this strategy is my fellow Berlin citizen, Brian “Backlinko” Dean. His meteoric rise to fame in the industry has proven my point.
This tip, and 19 more, can be downloaded in one PDF.