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Charles Floate on ROI & Revenue Focused SEO: Pushing The Boundaries

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Charles Floate

In the dynamic world of digital marketing, few professionals have carved out a niche as impactful and expansive as Charles Floate, a British SEO consultant and trainer par excellence. Embarking on his journey at the tender age of 12, Charles demonstrated an innate flair for marketing, as he skillfully manoeuvred the realms of large gaming communities and prestigious YouTube ventures. Over a decade later, his youthful enthusiasm has matured into unparalleled expertise, solidifying his status as one of the world's leading consultants in the SEO domain, at the prime age of 27.

With a portfolio that resonates with achievement and dynamism, Charles stands at the helm of over 30 multilingual websites that cater to diverse markets. His acumen as an entrepreneur is underscored by the successful sale of two digital agencies and thirteen websites, a venture undertaken both independently and in collaboration with other organisations. Charles has earned his stripes as a top 1% seller on Gumroad, an accomplishment accentuated by an extensive repository of knowledge shared through over 500 blog posts, case studies, and an impressive collection of over 20 eBooks on a variety of SEO topics.

Charles' influence in the industry transcends borders, reaching Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 companies who have sought his consultancy to enhance their digital footprint. With a proven track record of orchestrating over 1000 link building and digital PR campaigns valued at over $25 million, his insights and strategies are revered in the industry. Moreover, his adept stewardship is recognized by prestigious platforms like Odys Global, WhitePress, and Legiit Marketplace, where he serves as a contracted ambassador, bringing a wealth of experience and innovation to the table.

While his professional achievements are nothing short of remarkable, Charles remains grounded, dedicating his expertise to managing the E-commerce sites and IT for his family business, a thriving enterprise valued at $70 million. His story is not just a testament to prodigious skill and entrepreneurship but also reflects a dedication to family and the entrepreneurial spirit that runs through his veins.

With Charles Floate at your service, prepare to witness your SEO campaigns metamorphose into powerful tools of organic revenue growth, often surpassing the 400% mark. Entrust your venture into the capable hands of a seasoned expert, and watch your business scale unprecedented heights under his guidance.

The Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast with Charles Floate

Watch the interview

(click on the 'cc' icon to view subtitles)

Listen to the podcast

(54 minutes long)

The unscripted questions Mark A Preston asked Charles Floate

  • In a whirlwind tour of the past 10 years, what is your story, Charles?

  • Why is it important to you to share successful SEO case studies even though they go against Google guidelines?

  • Is your emphasis on just seeing what works, rather than trying to disprove what Google is saying?

  • What was the case study that propelled your personal brand forward within the SEO industry?

  • Is posting your content on other people's sites to boost your brand not the same thing as Parasite SEO?

  • What exactly is Parasite SEO?

  • Why do Google rank high authority content even if it is off-topic from the main site?

  • What kind of case studies have you been doing on AI content?

  • How can SEOs improve content quality using AI content tools?

  • Should SEOs and affiliate marketers be fearful of Google's AI SGE?

  • What are your thoughts on fact checking when it comes to SGE?

  • Are you heavily involved in the affiliate marketing side of SEO?

  • Why did you make the shift from affiliate marketing to lead generation?

  • Has you mindset and approach towards content changed now you work within lead generation?

  • Is it possible to generate quality links without paying for them?

  • What is your approach to securing links via blogger outreach?

  • Can toxic links actually de-rank a site as Google just de-values bad links?

  • How can an SEO spot a real harmful toxic link?

  • What's your process when building, launching and growing a lead generation site?

  • Where does your line cross over into black-hat SEO stuff?

  • What's your personal view on the whole Digital PR scene?

  • What type of conversations do you have within your 1-2-1 consultations?

  • How important is it for SEOs to be a lot more revenue focused?

  • Do you feel that there is a lack of ownership within SEOs so they can't be blamed?

  • Is healthy debate good for the SEO community?

  • What made you want to start running your own search conferences?

  • Should event organisers be sense checking the information within speakers talks?

  • What does the future of Charles Floate hold?

  • As you have so much going on, are you very regimented with your time?

The unscripted conversation between Mark A Preston and Charles Floate

Mark A Preston: Welcome to the Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast. Yes, it's 100% unscripted, 100% unrehearsed, 100% unedited, and 100% REAL. I'm your host, Mark A Preston. And our guest today is somebody that shot to SEO fame about 10 years ago for proving that, let's just say, unethical tactics that go against the guideline really do work in a big way. Please let me welcome Charles Floate. Hi Charles.

Charles Floate: Hey, Mark. How are you doing? Very well, thanks.

Mark A Preston: For those who don't know yet, could you give a bit of a whirlwind tour of the past 10 years of how you started in the industry and where you are now and the type of things you're doing?

Charles Floate: Yeah, so I've been doing SEO kind of for my family business originally, since I was a kid. So my mum got scammed by a a web agency based in the UK that kind of took her for a bit of a joyride on £30,000 of WordPress development. Let's call it, a very cheap theme off ThemeForest and some tacky other stuff. And then they, in the contract and things, they took control of the domain name and wanted all these different additional fees for PPC, social media, SEO and it was going to essentially cost over $10,000, £8,000 a month for the services in 2007, which is ridiculous at the time especially for a small business. So she said, look, we can't afford to pay this. And we're not making any sales because and we put all the money from the budget into the website. Can you take a look at doing anything you can to try and make this website be a success and get that money back for us. Here's a couple hundred pounds. See what you can do. I watched a lot of Whiteboard Friday videos from Rand Fishkin. I went on a lot of forums. I went on a lot of underground Skype communities at the time were a big thing. And all of that kind of stuff. And I just started speaking to all of these different people and started absorbing. All of these different sides of information and understandings of different types of SEO, right? And I've really resonated more with the gray and black hat scene than I did the purist and elitist kind of white hat scene that was becoming so at the time, right? And so I I've always felt I've always had an authority complex. rebel nature in me that whole kind of thing. So I've definitely always peered more into the blackout side. And as a result, I've ran case studies, done websites, done my own different kind of projects and courses even, and training information, all sorts of stuff to build a community and kind of build testing backs data around my thoughts and theories inside of the SEO and search industry.

Mark A Preston: Now, why do you feel it was important for you to publicly share what you're going to be doing and what you have been doing and what's worked, even though it's gone against the guidelines, when you probably know that Google's gonna probably stamp on you sometime?

Charles Floate: Yeah, so Because I feel like there's still a side of me that feels that if a lot of the industry and Google itself is going to say that SEO is a certain way or should be gone about in a certain way, and I can completely disprove that, then is that not for the betterment of the community as a whole, right? Yeah. So that there is two sides to it, where if I am showcasing the entire. Array of what you can actually do and fulfill with Google because I am doing it myself as well, very much because I'm doing it for my own businesses and things on. I'm part of a community of people that are dedicated to sharing testing information with each other on with the broader public as a result of the propaganda almost that Google has put out over the years inside the SEO community and that a lot of the SEO community has then latched on to and held it as the only way to do SEO, when in fact, it's probably one of the weakest ways to do SEO, right? I actually think that we're doing the community and Google even a bit of a service, and maybe Google itself is doing itself a bit of a disservice by not actually. Living up to its words and fulfilling its reputation and rather just putting out information and kind of having its engineers, smearing people on Twitter and getting into arguments and things, right? And all of these kind of silly nonsense and stuff that's been happening recently.

Mark A Preston: So is your emphasis on just seeing what's working rather than trying to disprove what Google's saying?

Charles Floate: So I think there's definitely a bit of both in there. I definitely have an anti corporation agenda somewhere down the line, right? I don't know, I think that if a trillion dollar corporation is going to say definitive statements in its guidelines and try and be the internet police, when it doesn't really have any social credibility to do then I'm going to definitely play a character or a role in whatever realm that they have created where they are, judge, jury and executioner, right?

Mark A Preston: Yeah. I what was it about 10 years ago when Actually, the first time I'd heard about you, and you was doing something to outrank Moz, or around Fishkin, or something way back then suddenly, everyone was talking about your case study, but because you openly shared what you didn't you why did you do that?

Charles Floate: Because if you're going to reveal a case study a case study by nature, is a study of the information that you have developed over the course of a campaign, right? So it's the entirety of a campaign. So I just lived up to the definition of a case study and revealed the entire case study, right? However, I was at the very start of my career, basically. So when I released that case study, I was like 17 or something, right? And I was doing really well with SEO, but I wanted to also. Make a bit of a name for myself. One and Matthew Woodward, who the, who is the person who I released the case study on his blog, right? So he had a massive blog at the time. It's probably the biggest blog in independent SEO blog at the time. I released it on his blog and it was the first. guest post that he allowed on his site because it was that level. So I needed it to try and be at a certain barrier of entry to get onto allowing me to be the first person to allow to get me to be on Matthew's site in the first place, which did boost my trajectory of my career way higher than if I published it on my own website. If I published on my own site at the time, the entire industry, like you said, wouldn't be talking about it, but then because I've always been on Matt's site and I met that barrier of entry everyone was.

Mark A Preston: By you putting your content on his site, it boosted your career and your authority in the industry. Isn't that the same as what you're doing with Parasite SEO now, or what's the difference?

Charles Floate: So Parasite SEO is definitely a tactic where his site wasn't, like a DR 80 or 90 or something. It was like a DR 50 or something at the time. So I definitely wasn't trying to hijack his authority to rank in Google. I was just trying to hijack his authority within the industry, but I was also friends with Matthew, right? Like I've known Matthew for three or four years prior. To actually wanting to do that on his site. And I was a fan of his I'd learned so much from him and I'd implemented a lot of the teaching from his blog and things like that. And I looked up to him that I've really wanted to achieve to be the first person to guest host on his blog. And I knew that case study would be the thing to do it right. And that nobody else could really compete if they did submit anything because it wouldn't be that level.

Mark A Preston: You're talking a lot at the moment about Parasite SEO. Everywhere I look, everyone's talking about it. Everyone's sharing their opinions on it. But just so I personally understand, what actually is it?

Charles Floate: Yeah, so essentially, Parasite SEO is a result of Google's link based algorithm favoring root domain authority to such a degree that relevancy is chucked out the window, right? If you create a page on a DR90 or DR95 blog, Or a D five newspaper, it's just going to naturally rank significantly higher, no matter the kind of topical relevancy and authority of a DR. 30 blog, in the same niche. So if I come into any niche that has only smaller websites and smaller authority websites ranking at the time, I can just essentially, Right immediately rank first page and then potentially within the same week rank number one for that keyword Utilizing a page on one of those larger sites and all you have to do is either usually you buy them you know you contact the sponsored agency or the brands department or whatever it is behind The sites and they'll allow you to have a sponsored piece of content on the site or you can actually build some So right now there's a lot of Parasites that are working really well with LinkedIn, with Quora, with Reddit and like a lot of other pages as well. If you go look at AHFs and look in linkedin. com slash pulse right now, you'll see that in the last two months, their traffic has gone from about 3 million to 18 million in three months on LinkedIn pulse alone. And that's a free parasite.

Mark A Preston: I actually put it through A Refs a couple of days ago just to check and it's the graph would just shot up, and some of the keywords that it's ranking for, I think, are, it's just It just, but thing is with LinkedIn, it's that it's not exactly topical authority, the topic, the relationships behind things. If Google is meant to be linked on the topic authority and the relationship between the site and the content. Is it purely just that this so big of a website and so much authoritative, that you can post anything and it's probably going to get ranked?

Charles Floate: Yeah, exactly. That's what it's becoming like right now. And I think it's also a bit of a symptom of the AI content that we've been having over the last kind of year or so, because Google's had to devalue the content signals so much from them, just the pure amounts of Spam and stuff that they're dealing with and the huge levels of indexing and new amounts of processing and amounts of storage and stuff that they're having to do with search because of all these new pages that are being indexed from AI content. They've had to just devalue it so much that links are now at an increased value. It doesn't necessarily, it doesn't necessarily mean that they've increased the weight of links. They've just decreased the weight of content so much that links mean a significantly more than they did before. And like you said, LinkedIn is. Essentially a generic authority, right? So that so they will rank for anything and everything because linkedin is about everything and anything because it's about people Which is about everything and everything, right?

Mark A Preston: You mentioned like the rise of ai content now, I mean What sort of studies have you personally done or found on AI content?

Charles Floate: Yeah, so i've been doing quite a few case studies myself on my own new websites. So I'll create a fresh domain. I build some trust signals based on links on it. I build a custom WordPress theme or whatever. And then we'll do some programmatic SEO with AI content on top of it. And then we're going to mass build, 10 page websites, get them indexed as quickly as possible with Google's indexing API, and then either kind of abuse the fact that they will rank for a short amount of time for a lot of big affiliate keywords, things like that, and just get a lot of sales very quickly, or go for a more long term play and try and get ad clicks and kind of affiliate clicks over time, ranking for all sorts of things. So even if you look at things like Trip Advisor Trip Advisor right now and Booking. com and all those sort of things. They employ programmatic SEO and they're starting to employ AI content on top of that programmatic SEO. So it's only a matter of time until half of the index pages on the top 10 results are going to be mostly AI generated content, right?

Mark A Preston: There's lots of things going around, but content's content. I don't think nobody, don't, I don't think Google cares how it's produced. It's the quality and the impact from it and what it actually does that matters. I think the problem is in the industry. There's a lot of people just spinning out garbage with AI, but surely it's all in what you're asking to produce. If you're asking a human copywriter to produce something and you give them one line, it's going to be trash.

Charles Floate: A hundred percent. Yeah. You need to make sure that you have a correct brief and a prompt and all sorts of things. And it's going to be the people who are best at creating it's called prompt engineering, right? Which I'm not the biggest fan of that term. But we'll go with it. Essentially, it means that you just engineer the way your prompt is sentenced and structured and things so that it outputs the best possible content at the end. And that's going to be a really important field in SEO, where we're going to be creating the ideal output for what Google wants based on the intent of the SERP and things like that, right? So I think that it's definitely going to be the people are gonna be most successful in SEO are the people are going to be latched on to AI the quickest with in terms of creating the highest quality output at the end with prompt engineering and different tools and softwares and all sorts of things. And there's different levels of AI coming soon with like video AI and image AI and audio AI and all these different sorts of stuff, which is going to affect other layers of SEO based activities that might then with consequences affects SEO itself.

Mark A Preston: So moving on from that, SGE, how do you feel that SGE is going to impact not just the general SEO community, but like the affiliate marketers? Because a lot this, I'm getting a lot of fear sense coming from lots of people on both the affiliate marketing side and the normal general SEO side.

Charles Floate: Yeah, I definitely think that there's no two ways about going about it, right? It will affect clicks and there's going to be a kind of new approach to SEO, and I think a lot of people are going to be. Left a bit by the wayside, especially if they're very heavily reliant on informational content and apps to power their to power their revenue. Because I think that a lot of the informational queries, Google can just summarize probably to a better degree than your own one page. If you get all 10 pages in the search, give you all the different kind of specific information overlapping and fact checking based on those 10, 10 SERPs 10 pages in the SERPs, sorry. And it will be interesting to see. The level that Google does implement it. That's what I'm concerned about right now. So I've been doing testing and seeing about 60 percent, 65 percent of SERPs are showing SG right now, which is really high to be honest. So if that number does continue, then that's quite alarming. However, there's been a lot of recent anxiety around specific case studies of SGE spitting out really crazy information. A recent one was somebody got SGE that they Googled world's best thought leaders and SGE ranked out of Hitler number one and things like that. You know what I mean? And then I think number two was Mao Zedong stuff, from the communist revolution, I think so. It was. Not the best output. And obviously, if that actually then starts outputting stuff in relation to medical queries with, potentially dangerous information around telling people what to do or how to treat illnesses that are completely incorrect and factually the opposite of what you should be doing and things like that, then that's lawsuits on the horizon for Google because they're no longer can blame the publisher that they're sending the click through to. It's now Google is the publisher with SGE.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, that brings on to the fact checking things, like Google listing things or mentioning something in the SGE that's not factually correct, but I'm just trying to think, how can they go around, or how can anyone go around fact checking that it's correct?

Charles Floate: Yeah, so the one that I saw was basically they go in to have a fact checking AI that checks the AI content. So you're going to have an AI that's checking the other AI that's checking the other AI. It's just going to be like an inception moment, basically, where we're going to have a never ending cycle of AI is that have to oversight other A. I. s, and that's probably inevitable human evolution with the whole, health and safety chain of having to have just a. I. oversighting A. I., right? I think that I don't see any world where it doesn't spit out incorrect information or doesn't spit out something wrong that could, Be not seen as harmful, right? There's just so many arenas that that it could go wrong. That's what I'm looking at. Even if you're looking at, anything from like weapons to gambling, to, all sorts of like horrendous things, it can spit out. Truly awful information. That might a not be true or even worse might be harmful. And I think that's where the, these rushing decisions of releasing these tools are purely based on competition rather than based on safety. And I think that they're going to have to slow down at some point because they're going to get forced to. And I think that it's going to be an interesting time to see what percentage of SERPs SG fully rolls out on, but I did see the other day. That they are allowing the public to now enable SGE on some of their search and stuff. So you, there's actually an opt in button being enabled for some Google accounts just in the wild now and things as well. So it looks like it could be rolling out quicker than people even thought. The end of the experiment is supposed to be December of this year. And then they originally said that they were going to release it straight afterwards. But we will see if that holds true. I'm not sure if I'm not sure if it will.

Mark A Preston: So for yourself, are you heavily involved in the affiliate marketing side?

Charles Floate: So I used to be, but I mostly do CPA these days. So it's mostly lead generation for financial services and crypto and all sorts of different things. And then I've More recently been doing general lead generation for international markets. So there's some pretty crazy commissions and things that you can get for different niches and stuff, what are the traditional ones with gold and silver IRA and those commissions are like minimum 400. And then you get a lifetime recurring commission and things like that on top. There's certain issues that if especially in international markets are really untapped and I think that if you're utilizing Parasite SEO and things like that that they can be massively utilized as gold mines right now. And that's what I'm trying to use as much as I can.

Mark A Preston: So why did you make the shift from pure affiliate side of it to lead generation?

Charles Floate: So I got I don't want to swear, but I got effed over by multiple affiliate networks and multiple affiliate programs and things like that, right? Like you just wake up to a phone call that suddenly we're closing the affiliate program and the last four weeks commissions don't matter and you're, you don't have a cookie anymore and things like that, right? And then in general, I've had a lot of affiliate networks just not pay you out or they've gone bust, or they've, done all sorts of scammy things where, there's been a balance and then there's sudden fees and things which you never had before and all sorts of weird stuff. So affiliates just felt dodgy in general, and it was just a bullet to deal with everybody. And you're dealing with a hundred to a thousand different retailers and programs and offers and all these different things. And there's no dashboard on earth that can truly manage them all. So I've just. light the move over to CPA and lead generation where you're dealing with three lead companies and you're dealing with a handful of dashboards and you're dealing with a handful of niches and they're maximizing revenue because they're also a lot less competitive. So because you're dealing with multiple, massive affiliate sites in most SERPs in local lead generation or in lead generation and all these kinds of things you're not, you're dealing with DR20s 40s maximum normally. So that's where if you're starting, like I said earlier, if you're putting in DR90s and things and 80s into the SERP, you're just going to destroy everybody really quickly.

Mark A Preston: Yeah. I used to have about 120 sites myself, all lead generation SERPs. So I'd basically get them ranked and generate the leads, then it's working out what sort of industry to tap into. At the moment, I've found one where I'm getting like 300 per lead. I suppose it's coming up with those industries, just like with affiliate, which pays the biggest commission that's less competitive. It's just that instead of getting paid for the commission, You're just basically selling leads. For me, that's always been a side of it that I've focused on. Purely because in order to generate the leads, the content, it doesn't just have to be written to rank, it has to be written to convert. And I think that's the biggest difference. So when you went, when you've moved over from affiliates into lead generation, did your mindset around the content you're publishing on the pages have to change because it had to convert into a lead?

Charles Floate: So because I was doing a lot of international markets, especially we're doing a lot of Nordics, right? We have to use local writers. So we're doing like Norway and Finland and things like that. And because you have to use local writers, I wasn't 100 percent sure on the quality. of the content in the end, right? So what we would try to do is get other SEOs in that country that I had a relationship with to just basically check the content for its rankability and its convertibility. And so we would just test 10 writers, see which one is the best. Based on those 10 example articles and go with them. And then in general, that allowed us over time to just amass more and more content out of the highest quality writer, right? But in, because we're doing a lot of international markets, we're not really having to build as many pages as we would in English, right? So there's a lot, there's a lot less keywords, there's a lot less searches. There's a lot less people and things like that, right? So you're dealing with like queries that have 800 searches, but the CPC is 50 euros and things like that, right? So it's just wild what what some of the opportunities are out there, but it's just mainly about. Making sure that the writer is going to be, like you said, good at not only ranking but converting, especially if you're dealing with languages that you yourself can't check and optimize and things right. Yeah.

Mark A Preston: Now moving on to link building. I know it's, Every, it seems to be something that everyone talks about, but hardly anyone can actually do properly. Now, getting the elephant in the room out of the way, is it possible to generate quality leads without paying for them?

Charles Floate: Yes. So a hundred percent. So you can build free backlinks. It's just that your time is going to be significantly more investment than your cash will be right. So there's always this kind of reward curve where if you put maximum amount of time in, you can, you don't have to spend nearly as much money as if you put maximum amount of capital in. So I always try to make sure that. Our campaigns are a bit more balanced but we're just in general buying links. And we found that over the last kind of eight, eight years or so, it's gone from around 15 percent of people when they reply to our emails asking for money. To 80 to 90 percent of our campaigns, they're asking for money to straight off the bat now because I think there's an evolution in the digital economy and people realizing that you can actually make money on the internet. And there's all these, there's all these influences and stories and things and people trying to extract their rightful revenue from the internet from their little space that they've created which I think is fair enough. And I think it's I don't see the only way I see where it's slightly anti competitive is that obviously if whoever has the biggest budget wins at the end of the day with links, that's not fair in terms of competition in terms of small businesses versus large corporations and things. However I also don't think that it's particularly fair to rip away a very valuable resource of income from bloggers that especially potentially doing difficult and through COVID I've always just come from the approach that I don't care what Google says, I'd rather put money in these small little bloggers back pockets and these people's back pockets and go from it about that approach. And like I said, that the kind of rate of people replying and wanting money up front has gone from 15 percent to 80 to 90% in the last eight years or so. So I think that Google has failed in their mission to stop the buying link economy. And then I think that the propaganda definitely hasn't spread well amongst the blogger community either. Yeah, I think.

Mark A Preston: Oh, I can't remember when it is, but I noticed a significant change from people I've talked to that was doing the typical outreach, suddenly, they, they were getting links from bloggers, then bloggers started realizing they could make a fortune. on the side of just doing what they do naturally, but all this money they can earn on the side and suddenly it was all it turned into like this money making thing for them. Do you think there still has to be a sense of quality, around it? There has to be a sense of, what they publish on the sites. And do you think that Doing the blogger outreach or the yes posting still has a massive benefit and boost.

Charles Floate: Yeah, 100%. So it just depends about how you go about it. And I think that too many people go about it the wrong way and don't really do the proper analysis of the sites that they're buying links from and, or even getting links from for free either properly. So they don't check the link profile, they don't check the keywords the site's ranking for, they don't check the domain history, they don't check the who is, they don't check the way back machine. All of these various different things that allow you to see. Into the domain and websites past that would be harmful to your site and in the end, if you end up building a link that is either neutralized, which happens more often than not, or let's hope not becomes toxic then you've just paid to actually harm your website. A lot of the time, people, this is why also people are scared of link building. It's because you can harm your website off doing it right. It's. a 2%, 1 percent chance, probably a higher percent if you have no idea what you're doing, right? But there is still that level of risk and also that there's a level of risk that Google could potentially turn that site toxic later on down the line because you don't control that website because the owner of it could go and turn around and be like oh, whoa, I have 200 emails from casino websites wanting to post guest posts on my site. Let's go and take all of them and publish 200 guest posts of casino sites on my blog in one day. And obviously that's what we're going to tank the site, turn it toxic and have your link as well and make it look natural. So there's the level of, you can't really fully control the site that you're getting links from either. And that's why there's all sorts of PBN link tactics and things that a lot of people find really popular because then you can't control things. But at the end of the day I still think that organic kind of natural or at least natural looking links are the best kind of approach, right?

Mark A Preston: Yeah, you mentioned Toxic there, which is a word that has sprung up lots of times in the industry. Now, what's your thoughts and beliefs on toxic links don't actually exist? Because Google doesn't penalize you for them. They just devalue those links.

Charles Floate: So they definitely do exist because I've seen them firsthand, right? And we've tested it and we've shown them to tank sites. And there's multiple other SEOs that have backed up the theory and have done. experiments where on perfectly healthy websites, they pointed links that they have thought are toxic at them and just tank the traffic on them. And there'll be no other reason because there's no, there's not even an update anywhere near that date, and things like that going on. So I, they, they definitely do exist. And I've seen, and like I said, I've seen it firsthand. However, they have just gotten a lot lower in what's it called? Happenings, whatever. So the majority of links now are neutralized, right? I would say that. Only one in every 10 million links is going to be actually truly toxic or something like that Which is still a fairly high number of links if you're actually building, you know out of a selection of 10 to billions So I think that you still have to be careful and one toxic one toxic link one truly toxic link can be Really detrimental to that page generally though. It's only page level So if you build a if you build one of these links at your site and it either becomes toxic or it was toxic from The start only that page usually gets tanked. It's not the whole website.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, because everything's going on to a page specific For these links. Now, a fair few years ago, let's just say somebody chucked a load of thousands of links to my site, my own personal site, and let's just say the anchor text wasn't in relation to what I did. Let's just say that. Now, it didn't do a thing. In fact, My traffic, so went up a little bit, if I'm honest, maybe not for what the proceed, but to me, that shows that those are not really toxic links because, Google OD volume and everything. So what are the telltale signs of what people should be looking out for in, toxic anything toxic relating to what will harm your site.

Charles Floate: Yeah, I think that most people are really bad at negative SEO, to be honest, in the first place, and that's what even in the SEO industry, 99. 9 percent of people can't pull it off. It's actually pretty hard to do. But when it comes to actually trying to find what links could be toxic and utilized for actually harming website or something like that in general, Malware and hack sites and things like that are very damaging to be linked to you. Any sort of link where the traffic on the site itself has just been eradicated. So you've seen a site that's gone to 45,000 visits and AHFs, and now it's at 210. In the space of a week, that's probably not a site that you're wanting to be getting links from. Any sites that have got massive amounts of redirects, any sites that have got a lot of spam on them that are heavy, casino guest host farms anything that is in really bad niche neighborhoods and stuff like that, they can be seen as toxic, right? Because they're linking to adult content or they're linking to all sorts of things. There's really high levels of stuff. Where Google is if you get links from like terrorist websites, things like that and stuff, but that's going to some next level extreme, that so yeah there's definitely different levels of kind of toxicity out there, but there are ones that can. There are ones that you, there will only be a temporary effect and ones that will be a long, longer term effect that needs additional work to get it removed, not just by removing a disability.

Mark A Preston: Let's move on to positive things people can be doing. I'm my mind's so against the checklist format. For me that most of the industry adjusts SEO robots. They just want a checklist, boom, don't tick, boom, don't tick, they need a brain. From your perspective and what you found, and obviously Google guidelines doesn't matter to you. You'll do what works. What's up, how do you approach, say you're building a new lead generation site, how do you approach things?

Charles Floate: Yeah, so I would begin before we even put the website live, we would create the entire website itself. So we, when the website goes live on day one, we want the entire website as it should be indexed. Minor, the mass amounts of blog content that we're probably going to do later on down the line, but we want homepage, Category pages, what's the blog supporting privacy policy terms service, every single page that we would need as a core website. We want that live with content, optimized site speed, optimize the entire lot, right? Then we're going to do foundational link building and entity stacking just to build trust from Google. So citation and social profiles. Maybe a press release if we have an address all sorts of reference websites that Google has in their trusted sources, which is like knowledge panels and feature snippets and things like that. And just build our trust signals on top of the quality website that's already built out. And then over the next several months, we'll just do a topical map. Based blog content campaign mixed in with a ton of really high quality link building. So the link building is going to be mostly based on analysis of which pages are going to need it the most. And ideally, we don't actually link to our money pages. The actual pages we're trying to rank. We don't link to them at all. We just link to our supporting pieces of content. And then those link internal links to our money pages.

Mark A Preston: Now, as you, you talk in there, I'm thinking, that doesn't sound very blackhat. You just sound well what you need to do.

Charles Floate: Yeah, so the foundations of the website aren't really black hat at all for me anyway. And a lot of it, like I said, is just to build the initial trust and natural brand and things and entity for the website. Because if you start off immediately, Trying to throw redirects and spam and traffic and CTR manipulation and PBN links and all this stuff at the site straight off the bat, you're going to just screw up the whole project, right? You do that stuff later on down the line when Google already trusts the website, when they've already got a bit of the, bit of a feeling for you. That kind of thing, and you've already had the shake of the hand, that kind of thing. And once, once you've done that allows you to get away with a lot more of those links that are potentially toxic. Almost there, almost almost, grey, black kind of techniques and things as well.

Mark A Preston: Yeah. Now, digital PR, basically, what's your... Personal view on the whole digital PR scene.

Charles Floate: I think it's overpriced. That's the first thing. I think they're charging clients a fortune, I've seen some contracts be absolutely ridiculous and essentially a lot of it. It's just hyped up link building anyway, right? It's just, they're selling the same links that they were selling to SEO clients for 500 to corporate clients for 2, 000. That's all that's happening here. The markup is Forex. But that being said, there are some agencies that are some freelancers, some services even some in house people that are absolutely amazing at building. Really cool campaigns in house, a lot of like link bait a lot of ego bait all this sort of stuff journalists Based content harrow content all these sort of things that end up procuring massive amounts of really high quality links for sites without having to pay These huge budgets right if you can hire an individual pr person for four or five thousand dollars a month And they can get you 20 or 30 links from really high end publications every single month. That's going to be way more via the content campaigns and via the link bait campaigns and all the outreach campaigns and stuff like that. That's going to be significantly higher value for money than if you were paying some agency 15, 20, 25k for the same thing, right? Yeah.


Mark A Preston: Now, you do consultations, one on one consultations. What type, obviously without breaking any NDAs or anything, what type of conversations do you have in those consultations? What is it about?

Charles Floate: Yeah. So it's a massive range of people, right? So I have all sorts of, small site owners that have had their website absolutely pop off. And they're scared that the traffic, they're going to lose all the traffic overnight or something all the way to massive corporate clients from, like banks and some of the biggest crypto networks and things in the world and stuff. So the conversations are very different depending on what client I'm speaking to, but in general, it's just a lot of how they can increase their revenue based on SEO. So a lot of people get to, especially when you're doing SEO consultancy, a lot of people. at the beginning, get way, way too focused on how you can improve their SEO. And most consultancy clients do not give a fuck about how it's, sorry, do not give a crap about how you can improve their SEO, their traffic. They care about how much money you can make them. So I tell them, Hey, look, I think that if you improved Your CRO and that you did some CRO with your buttons here and your breadcrumbs here and your images here and blah, blah, blah. Then I think that actually you would be able to get a 20, 30, 40 percent increase in conversions, which would be an extra 200,000 300,000 a month.

Mark A Preston: That is how I've personally, I've always been, it's now I get frustrated with some SEOs that says that's not my job. My job is to get the site ranking and drive traffic, not my job to convert, but for me. One of the very first things I want to know is it actually converting? How is it converting? That's the core thing. Because ultimately, like you said, businesses just care about growing the business, the revenue. And I think what needs to happen for the SEO industry to be a lot more revenue focused rather than just traffic focused.

Charles Floate: Yeah, I think the mentality just needs to shift. I think people are just geeking out a bit too much, basically, about how they can maintain their traffic and things like that and just get back down to the bottom line, which is that we're in a capitalist society of people trying to make the most money that they can for clients and the people that, for the clients and themselves. And it doesn't really matter about these incremental tiny little changes. As much as it does about trying to get large percentages of increased on the bottom line of revenue numbers.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, there's so many quick wins with working with what they already have found over the years. Rather than, but rather than trying to build all this new stuff. To get more traffic. I just find it frustrating when I see things that people are trying to drive traffic to something that's not working, it's not converting. Why are you doing this? It just frustrates the heck out of me, and I think that there's a big mentality of ownership, I think, in the industry. What, and what they will own and what they will. And I think a lot of it is. They don't want to be blamed for anything if results don't happen, exactly.

Charles Floate: It's they don't want her responsibility at the day. And I see that throughout the industry where there's all these different blames on campaigns and things like that. And I think that it's. Just at the end of the day, if people own up to what they're doing, that they'll see a lot more success at the day anyway, because people will be able to see when you are making progress and when you've made success for situations for the whole company as well. And there's a lot of people that are just too quiet and just don't speak out properly and things like that. And I think it's, a shame because if you actually gave your voice and contributed then the community might be a bit better as a whole right if everybody put in their part and didn't just sit in the shadows agreeing with everybody without actually telling anybody that they did.

Mark A Preston: Yeah I think there's a way of doing that as well you know there's a respectful way and I think some people get a little bit carried away and maybe a little bit emotional on the conversations they have been online. After all, there is theoretically only what works and what drives revenue. We work in an industry that's not regulated. It's just that we tried something and this is what we found, and I don't think that, I think people should be more open minded to start listening to what others are doing rather than trying to stamp on that's wrong. You can't tell somebody that's wrong if you don't understand what they've done or why they've done it and how it's put together. And I think the industry as a whole needs to, you don't have to agree. But unless you listen first, how can you possibly say that's wrong?

Charles Floate: Exactly, yeah. And there's room for healthy debate. And I think that's how you see growth in the discussion and in the techniques and things, right? But, Pete, like I said, people get too emotional and get too involved in things. And it's spilled over to conferences and all sorts of stuff as well. And I think it's just a bit... Ridiculous. And with the advent of AI and Google changing things and Paris and all stuff, I think that people are getting less caught up in the white hat versus black hat versus gray hat versus Google versus whatever kind of discussion and more on just am I creating more revenue or am I not doing the work that I should be?

Mark A Preston: Right, so you mentioned conferences there, and you host your own conferences, and I've recently been to one, fantastic by the way. What made you start running conferences? Because I've done little events myself. And, it's not really to make a load of money.

Charles Floate: No number one, I really like just having all the best people in SEO in a room, right? So it's just awesome to be able to have the knowledge shared and lessons learned and all that kind of thing. And network and put people together that have never... Potentially spoken and stuff like that. So you can create new opportunities that would have never been created online. I also think that there's a real lack of quality in terms of events and conferences in the SEO scene. So I've really wanted to try and push something, and especially in the UK where there's quite a few events. And obviously like the big ones, like Brighton SEO and stuff, and all that kind of stuff. But there's just a kind of lack of focus on specific quality, right? It's just a broad, general very corporatized kind of conferences and things like that, which most people don't really because they're just, they just end up being pitch fest and stuff, right? They don't, you don't actually learn anything new. You just end up going and getting drunk and being sold to, that's basically it. So I wanted to create an event where someone can actually get a significant return on whatever the investment was that they took out to get to the event and be there in person.

Mark A Preston: Do you think it's important for event organizers to very fine sense check the information the speakers are going to present.

Charles Floate: I don't know. Some conferences do. I get speakers to send me their slides beforehand most of the time just so that I can vet them and see if there's any improvements and things like that. But I'm not going to say. Hey, you're not allowed to say this on stage, right? Because I'm pretty anti censorship. And I think that a lot of conferences have harmed themselves over the years from having that approach and stopped a lot of, or a lot of good speakers, not certain speakers from having the full delivery or full presentation that they might've had. If they had been allowed to go to the actual information that they would have wanted to share rather than being forced to share.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, I've spoke on a few stages around the place and it has happened to me in the past where I've been censorshiped and said you can't mention them because they're competitors. They're our main sponsors. You can't do this. You have to say that. And in one case. It even changed all my slides. It really went mental. And that book. God, the time's rocking on. What does the future of Charles Floate hold?

Charles Floate: Wow, that's a pretty deep question as well. Maybe I don't even know the answer to that one. And I haven't asked it myself. I think that the... First of all, this month in like the next two weeks or so, I'll be launching my full training platform. So that's been a long time in the works. And then I'll also have a really cheap ebook. That's only 7, but it has about 10 different contributions from various millionaires in SEO. And there's also a load of additional freebie information on there. You've got six different ebooks that I've written for free that you can download on the site as well. So that will be coming out next month. Then in October we've got, I'm doing various live streams online. Then you've got Changma SEO in November. Then I've got December. I'm running an online event from London called SEO Stream. And then next year, just a couple more events. And growing my personal brand and involving as many people in Paris SEO as I possibly can to annoy the hell out of Google.

Mark A Preston: I think you've started that mission and that, but when do you sleep? You've got so much going on, you're creating so many things do you have to be very regimented with your time?

Charles Floate: Yeah, yes and no. So I got away, so I live in the Thai Islands, where I don't really have any other responsibilities, so I have... maid, chef, everything kept taking care for me, even the dog barking and stuff. So my time is mostly just focused on working and like eating and going to the gym and like watching entertainment and things, right? So I would say I do get about 11 to 12 hours of consistent work every single day, which is a lot more than most people basically. And I do that every day. So I don't miss Saturdays. I don't miss Sundays. I've done that for a long time and I'll probably continue to do that until I. Slowly burn out into my thirties or something and and then take a seat back and maybe go to an angel investor mode or something.

Mark A Preston: Many thanks for joining me today. What sort of conversations would you like to have with people watching this or would you, do you have time, where can they find you?

Charles Floate: Yeah, for sure. I appreciate you having me, first of all, and then you can find me on my Twitter, or now, x is @Charles_SEO, or LinkedIn is Charles Floate, and then just as well.

Mark A Preston: What sort of conversations would you like to have?

Charles Floate: Sorry, yeah. In, in terms of conversations, I just like to have any conversations around parasite SEO, Black Hat link building, and then just different opportunities and niches and AI. I love I'm in love with AI at the moment, right? I've been just chatting to chat GPT more than I talk to humans these days.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, I think many of us can relate to that. I'm going to say many thanks for your time. I know it's valuable, your time and, I love the openness of this conversation and the honesty behind it. No worries, I appreciate it.

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