SEO Exchange

January Newsletter

The new year provides a blank slate for everyone to start fresh.

As members of the free SEO Exchange community, you’re probably looking to start the year with a bang by leveling up your SEO skills. This way, you can build higher-ranking sites for your portfolio or clients and earn more in the process.

To help make your 2021 a rousing success, we’ll help you by delivering the best discussions from the different channels for this month. This allows you to catch up on the latest news, trends, and opinions regarding SEO.

At the same time, I’ll give you a sneak peek of some things other members are discussing in the paid channels. This should give you a taste of what you’re missing out on as a free member.

General Questions

Below is a curated list of the best conversations from the Discord general-questions channel for this month. 

Good Link Building Service for Outsourcing Work?


Hi all, longtime lurker, but first time posting here. Wondering if anyone can recommend a good link building service for outsourcing work? Currently running a trial with The Hoth, but looking for a backup option if they don’t deliver the results I’m looking for. For context, my clients are mostly local/small business, some lower-level enterprise (1-5mill). Thanks in advance!


They work well at either, it’s more the PBN itself you gotta worry about than what it’s linking to. Likewise, you don’t want to put your strongest backlinks at your homepage.

Stay the FUCK away from Hoth. TERRIBLE service 2-3x overpriced.

Hoth’s “PBN Links” are Blogroll sidebar non-contextual links

And the guest posts are insane.. DA30s for $550! That’s ridiculous!

Try: SEO Butler, SEO Builder, Get Me Links, Big Fat Links, etc.

Though the service should really be chosen by the best provider for your niche. Always get samples of links for your niche first and companies like Get Me Links, if you spend a certain amount, will do free consult calls to help plan anchor text and drip feeding.

Additional notes:

Hiring people who offer link building services is always a crapshoot. Even if they send you their link samples, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the same quality for your site.

At the same time, the popularity of a service doesn’t equate to quality (see: The Hoth, FATJOE). As mentioned above, it’s best to look at the niche specialties of the link providers. If the majority of their sample works fall under your industry, include them in your shortlist of link building services to choose from.

Finally, ask around! You can always ask questions on the Discord community for opinions about certain providers. The last thing you want to do is jump head-first with a link provider and get burned on Google search due to the links they’ll produce for your site.

However, you may receive conflicting opinions from different members in the chat group. In that case, use the information you have to weigh your options and make a decision.

Hiring Content Writers


This year my aspiration is to hire a content writer in my niche for my website. When hiring someone like that is it a norm to expect them to optimise their posts for SEO (e.g. Yoast or RankMath) or is this something I would do myself after they send the article to me?


I think all this is about budget and process. For example:

1° option: you can ask just to write the text and then you have to optimise it.

(this is much better when your writer doesn’t have a lot of experience optimising for SEO)

2° option: you can ask to write and optimise the text, in that case you only have to upload the text in your CMS.

3° option: if the writer has experience on CMS like WordPress, and write “optimised SEO texts”, you only have to check it before publishing the text, and that’s all.

My recommendation for on page SEO optimisation, in case you do it or your writer, use Surfer SEO, Website Audit, or PageOptimizer Pro.

Rank Math or Yoast are just for a basic optimization.

Additional notes:

As a professional content writer, I agree with the options above. Each writer works at different levels – some of just starting out with their careers while others are building an empire off it.

That said, it’s important that the writer you’ll decide working with is in line with your budget.

For instance, if you’re cash-strapped but want to get content going on your site, the first option is a viable choice provided that you won’t shell out as much cash to this writer. 

To make this happen, target promising writers who are just starting out and are charging at low rates. Let them focus on writing the best content possible while you focus on optimizing it for publishing.

This might be a more time-consuming option for you, but if this is what you can afford, there’s not much you can do. 

Later on, you can train the same writer to optimize the content using premium tools like Surfer, POP, Frase, or even CORA. This way, you can maximize their talents for now, rank your content much faster, and delegate tasks so you don’t have to do everything.

Page Not Ranking for Keyword Even on Top 100?


Anyone had keywords that won’t rank in top 100 no matter what? Rest of the site is ranking well. But have a stubborn keyword that won’t even break into the top 100. I’d say its medium difficulty keyword. It really should be in the top 100 at the very least. Article is well-written. Over 4000 words.


Is it in the same niche, etc? I had it with one article before, would not budge and it was such a stupidly easy keyword, it’s like google just didn’t give a shit about re-crawling anything to do with that keyword :joy:


Yeah, it’s the same niche. Don’t know why it won’t rank at all. There has to be something wrong with my article right?

It’s a “Best X” post


you can try with a couple of internal links.

with a couple of external links, good ones with nice anchor text.

and for the content, maybe is unnecessary to have 4,000 words,

you can use the content and keywords gap with the 5 first places in SERP.

and maybe you can push more with some NLP audit from google or Surfer SEO.

Additional notes:

They pretty much hit the nail on this one regarding the content.

If we were to create a checklist for this, it’s going to look like the one below (with additional points in red):

  • Make sure that the page can be crawled and indexed by Google (use Google Search Console for this one).
  • Find pages related to the content you want to rank and link to it from each.
  • Include external links to relevant, non-competing, high-authority pages in the content.
  • Analyze content using content tools like POP and Surfer to see how the page stacks up against the top-ranking pages. Maybe elements on your page (word count, headers, images, keyword usages) do not line up with the averages of the pages on the top of organic search. 
  • Understand the prevailing intent of the top-ranking pages. Maybe your content doesn’t match the intent of the keyword you’re targeting.
  • Check loading speed using Google PageSpeed Insights and apply the suggestions in the results to make your site load faster.

Home Page and “Normal” Page on Site Ranking for Same Keyword


Hi, guys, what would you do if you are ranking for the same keyword for your home and for a “normal” page?

In case No.1 Home rank higher than “normal” page.

In case No.2 “normal” page rank higher than Home.

I have an idea, but maybe there is more than one option, thanks.

luke whelan pr:

What exactly do you mean by ‘normal’ page dude? A blog post? A money page or category page? I would just pick the one that’s going to do a better job at exactly what you’re trying to do.


You’re right, with a blog post is a better comparison in this case. Imagine this: your home was configured for the keyword “CRM” and you have a post for “The coolest 10 CRM 2021”. But in google when you are searching for “crm 2021” you have your post ranking 2 and your home ranking 5. This is an affiliate site. And I was thinking about the solutions.

luke whelan pr:

And which performs better?

conversion wise and in terms of other metrics?

And how long have the pages been ranking?

I’m almost thinking that it’s not even a problem

In all likelihood, it’s not a problem — just as long as the better performing page in terms of conversions isn’t ranking lower than the better one.

Additional notes:

There are two ways to look at this question.

First is what to do if one page is ranking over the other. The answer above talks about this – focus on the one that ranks higher.

But what do you do with the other page? Maybe you can rewrite and optimize it for another keyword to rank for that instead. Another idea – albeit an extreme one – is to redirect the lower-ranking page to the higher-ranking one to maximize the latter’s SEO performance.

If you’re going with the second suggestion, you may need to repurpose the existing content on the page you will redirect. You could use it as a guest post or chop it down into different articles.

The second way to look at the question is this:

What if both pages are ranking for the same keyword, but the higher-ranking page is really optimized for another keyword?

This is tricky because the content isn’t written for the keyword it’s ranking for. At the same time, Google likes it enough that it ranks for the keyword anyway.

In this case, it’s a wait-and-see game especially if the page just started ranking for the wrong keyword. Maybe there were changes in the Google algorithm that led to this oversight on their part.

If the problem still persist after a few weeks, there are a few options you can do:

  • You could link the lower-ranking page with the correct keyword to the higher-ranking page with the wrong keyword. Place the link on top of the page before the content and inform readers to go to the page if they’re interested in reading content about the keyword they searched for.
  • Re-optimize the high-ranking page to the keyword it’s ranking for instead. Similar to the one above, either redirect the lower-ranking page to the new one or rewrite it as well.

Duplicate Home Pages?


Hi, can anyone advise on duplicate home pages eg and  – I think I need a 301 redirect?


I would talk to your host provider and you may have your public folder under a special route. Or have multiple index.html files in the public route folder

In addition, you can:

Create a .htaccess in your web root directory and tell it to not show the file extension.

This means that the server does not require the file extension (for example: .html, .php ) to load the requested file.


Hi, if those pages have exactly the same content, first try to remove the duplicated document. If not, use the “noindex” meta tag in the document, or use the robots.txt. If you’re going to keep alive the “/index.html” or simply you can’t disappear the duplicated content, you have to tell Google what is the canonical URL, and then yes, you should apply a 301 redirect to the good one.

Additional notes:

There’s nothing more to add since both guys provided good answers to the question.

General PageSpeed Tips


Hey, folks! I know this is a bit too general even if it is general chat, but any good PageSpeed tips??


I would use the google page speed tool and just follow their recommendations. Sounds simple but just work through it step by step. Other than that Image Optimization, Minifying JS and CSS and really checking what plugins and stuff that are loading on your page you really do need is a good way to start. Also check for a good and speedy hosting if you use WordPress I am sure someone here has a good tip for that :slight_smile:  Also use an SEO-friendly WordPress theme – I like Astra and GeneratePress.


Thanks Flo! Working with a client at the moment and they have such a slow theme it’s driving me nuts :joy:


Yeah then it’s a bit tricky to change everything hehe. Also check for Plugins so they can delete a few or inactivate them. They can be quite heavy :slight_smile:


Really? I never knew that had an effect. Any types of plugins in particular? Or just excess plugins? Great tip mate, thanks very much for that.


The GMetrix Tool has a good Waterfall chart which tells you about loading of plugins :slight_smile:


The first thing actually I put my attention on is the images, are they really being compressed?  are they matching with the correct size for the specific placement? In my experience this is one of the most common performance issue. JThen just take away the plugins that really are not necessary, install WP Rocket for cache or NitroPack for a all in one in order to get a better performance, (Awesome, right @Floflo87 ?). You can start from that point and scale with the most technical issues later :slight_smile:

Additional notes:

A lot has been said about improving site speed, so I won’t have to chime in on this one.

However, if you truly want to make your site load as fast as it can, you need to hire a developer who can interpret the data shown from Google PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, and the like.

Even the best and most expensive WordPress plugins can only do so much. Because, unless you know the structure of your site like the back of your hand and the types of files that load every time a user opens a page, all the “improvements” that plugins can do are minimal at best.

Another tool I’ve heard is Nitropack, which is known to truly improve a site’s speed and overall performance. 

I cannot recommend this as I haven’t tried it yet. But a lot of SEO experts swear by this plugin, so it wouldn’t be bad to try the plugin out yourself.

Algo Update Penalty


One of my sites, 10 years old, lost about 50% traffic after the latest algorithm update. Any new articles I post, even for incredibly easy to rank keywords, show up in the SERPs for a few days (page 2-3) and then completely disappear. Has anyone seen this behavior before?

My content is far better. Long form, well researched, vs thin content junk sites.

No penalties in GSC


Check the algorithms, BERT for example use your meta combined with the intent of your content in order to match with the user intent. In this case you can check the intention of the pages that actually rank in the firsts positions. Maybe Google decided to change that. If that’s the problem, solve it with a multi-intention pages. 😉

Additional notes:

Regarding this, check out Charles’ video on YouTube regarding the December 2020 algorithm update here and here as well as his SEO predictions for this year here.

This should give you a starting point on how to make sense of your current rankings since the algo update dropped.

Keep in mind that the videos are opinions based on Charles’ observations on his portfolio sites.

Top Question from Premium Channels

In this part of the monthly newsletter, I showcase the best question and topic discussed by premium members in the different Discord channel. If you want to ask your questions here or engage with their messages, upgrade your membership to a paid one by clicking here.


What’s the best way to set up the internal linking structure with money pages and supporting content and how many pages should link to the money page, maybe there is a good infographic about it? 


My technique is to build your topical bubbles and target pages, then flow the internal links from the list of supporting pages using a unique exact or partial anchor on each page. One internal per 100 words, one external per 300 words is a rule I have set my VAs to pretty good success over the last several years.

You target the supporting pages with the highest RD/strongest links with the most competitive keywords in a descending list of the strongest pages to the strongest keywords

This means you get the most juice to the most competitive keywords, you never overlap once you’ve used a keyword and you are being as aggressive as possible whilst staying safe from over optimization.

Additional notes:

The structure described above is similar to the reverse silo method advocated by Kyle Roof in one of SEO Fight Club’s videos about link structures.

In this case, it’s important to place your internal links on the first 100 words of the content so Google can crawl the link structure much easier as opposed to placing the links lower in the article.

Also, you need to be mindful of the anchor texts you’re using to link to a specific page on your site. Diversify the anchor text by using partial-match or related keywords.

It helps if you can organize keywords you’ll use for anchor text from the most competitive to the least competitive. Then link to your target pages from your best, i.e. top-ranking, supporting pages using the most competitive keywords.

Craig Campbell AMA

With over 57.6k YouTube subscribers, 59.4k Twitter followers, 30.6k followers on TikTok, and over dozen of invites to speaking engagements every year, it’s safe to say that Craig Campbell is one of the most prolific marketers in the world.

In this AMA session, he showcases his SEO knowledge as he answers tough questions from highly experienced members in the premium Discord chat:


Thanks for doing the AMA @Craig Campbell SEO. Here are my questions!

1 – What’s the current best way to rank YouTube videos?

2 – What’s your thoughts on CTR manipulation and have you successfully implemented it?

3 – What do you think of the December core algo update and have you seen many major shifts?

Craig Campbell:

  1. So for me YouTube is all about CTR and Engagement, the more people watching your videos and watching them in great depth, commenting, liking, and all of that stuff really carries you a long way on YouTube. Of course your Title of the video needs to be targeting a keyword that is going to bring in some traffic and encourage some clicks, but it’s that engagement that helps a lot. Don’t always think bots, I’ve been using my mailing list, push notifications, organic social media audience, alongside some Facebook ads, YouTube ads and ads on Quora to try to get that engagement, but the icing on the cake can be & Microworkers just to ensure it all goes well.

  1. Yes i’ve played around a lot with CTR manipulation over the past year, i’ve found that a lot of the bots or traffic networks don’t always provide the best results which is why i’m utilising my own assets such as my mailing list, push notifications etc.  CTR i have played with on YouTube but also tested it on GMB’s and Organic Landing pages and all have been very successful. I also had Holly Starks using her set up to rank my podcast well on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and again that was a massive success using CTR. So across the board there is a lot of benefit in implementing CTR into. your campaigns over and above whatever it takes to rank, whether it’s GMB, Organic, or any other platform.
  2. The December Algo update has impacted many people, everyone i’ve spoken to has had some kind of impact. When looking at the likes of Ahrefs for example we see fairly big dips in traffic, now i know people have dropped a ton of keywords, but i think that many people ranked for a bunch of keywords which were loosely related to their niches, and the actual dip in converting traffic hasn’t had the same impact. But yes, many affiliates have seen an impact. But when you analyse it, poor on-page, poor topical clustering, pretty much all the sites that tank has average at best SEO. People must do better.

Other questions answered by Craig:

  • What’s your income split/time split between affiliate , client , youtube ect… What do you see yourself prioritising in next few years
  • What are your three best techniques for improving the performance on a WordPress site? : )
  • What are your feelings on Google’s push in recent years for EAT? Is it a real thing or really just a smokescreen to get you to not focus on links as much?

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