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FATJOE Uncovered: Inside the No.1 SEO Marketplace with founder Joe Davies

Joe Davis
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Joe Davies is the founder of FATJOE. Established in May 2013, FATJOE is the #1 SEO marketplace for SEO agencies.

As part of the FATJOE estate, Joe has integrated an AI Powered Marketing Tool named Optimo into the business to help SEO agencies to streamline their day to day research tasks.

Joe started working in the SEO industry in 2006, just an internet marketing junior for a company that sold vending machines

Joe also found a fond interest in the world of affiliate marketing early on in his SEO career which gave him a strong grasp of SEO.

During his career, Joe has had a few jobs in SEO, went freelance for a while, then joined an SEO agency in 2011 as Head of SEO where he learned about selling SEO and ranking multiple clients in lots of different industries.

In 2013 Joe launched FATJOE, an SEO marketplace which has been going strong ten years now. Joe devotes all his time into running and building his SEO marketplace constantly streamlining processes to give his clients a first-class service.

The Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast with Joe Davies

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 Joe Davies

  • What's your SEO career story, Joe?

  • How did you come up with the brand name FATJOE?

  • What exactly is FATJOE?

  • What has been the biggest contributor to the growth of FATJOE?

  • How have you overcome the outdated mindset of SEOs thinking that FATJOE just provides cheap low quality links?

  • Would you say that FATJOE is just like a shopping cart for SEOs?

  • Has the type of requests from your clients changed over the years?

  • What's your personal view on the AI content discussion?

  • How do you ensure maximum content quality within your blogger outreach service?

  • Do you believe that it is important to cite the author of a blog post?

  • Is blogger outreach as a link building strategy as powerful as it once was?

  • What do you believe is strongest for links, blogger outreach or digital PR?

  • Do you think digital PR links devalue over time due to them relating to old news?

  • What excites you about the SEO industry now compared to when you started?

  • In this modern AI world, how can junior SEOs future-proof their jobs?

  • How do you approach your SEO marketplace service offering to keep up to date?

  • What would you say to those SEOs who say that blogger outreach is no different than paid links?

  • Does FATJOE get an ROI from sponsoring large SEO conferences such as BrightonSEO?

  • Do you ever sponsor smaller SEO events?

  • How significant is brand building towards SEO impact?

  • What do trainee SEOs need to be thinking about?

  • Is there any SEO services you refuse to offer at FATJOE?

  • Would you say that the business model at FATJOE works due to it being scalable?

  • Is your FATJOE customer base, worldwide?

  • Do you offer any SEO services in languages other than English?

  • As one of the founders of FATJOE, what does your day to day look like?

  • What are your quality control processes at FATJOE?

  • How do you ensure that your blogger outreach links are not part of a PBN?

  • Why do you sell your services based on DA when most of the SEO community believe that DA is a meaningless metric?

  • Have you built any SEO research tools that use AI?

The unscripted conversation between Mark A Preston and Joe Davies

Mark A Preston: Welcome to the unscripted SEO interview podcast. Yes, it's hundred percent unscripted, hundred percent unrehearsed, one hundred percent unedited, and one hundred percent real. I'm your host Mark A Preston, and our guest this week is somebody that I don't really know that well, even though he's been around in the industry quite a while, and you'll recognize him as is Joe Davis from Joe. Hi, Joe. Do you want to introduce yourself to the people watching and listening and give a bit of an overview of your background in the industry and what you do now, where you've come from, the short version of your career?

Joe Davies: Sure. So, yeah, I've been in SEO since around 2006, so quite a while now. I started as just an internet marketing junior. I got a job, a brand that sold like vending machines and on the side, I was kind of like getting into affiliate websites and learning more about that kind of thing. I had a few jobs in SEO, went freelance; then I joined an SEO agency and learned about selling SEO, ranking multiple clients in lots of different industries before launching Fat Joe, which is my SEO marketplace and I launched that in 2013 and, yeah, we've been going ten years now, and that's where I spend most of my time.

Mark A Preston: Right. How did you come up with the brand name? Because either you've lost an awful lot of weight or it just sprung out of your head, how did you come up with that brand name?

Joe Davies: Yeah, so we were looking at names, as you do just on Google, we were looking at like gangster names and names that associate with Joe, because my business partner is also called Joe. So we thought it'd be quite cool to incorporate our name a little bit and for some reason we ended up on Fat Joe, which is a bit of a strange one but we wanted it to stick out, we wanted it to stand out amongst the crowd of so many link building companies that are called Link Company, UK Links, Link ology, whatever they're called, boring names. So we wanted something a bit more creative and we ended up on Fat Joe, and it turns out it's actually a rapper's name as well, which has caused us a few problems over the years. But I think we've beaten him now, we've beaten him. We're number one for Fat Joe. 

Mark A Preston: Well, it's certainly memorable and I think a lot of the industry know who you are anyway, but what would you say if you was to sum up Fat Joe as a brand? What would you say you are?

Joe Davies: We're an SEO marketplace. So, one way to describe us would be the agency for agencies. So when agencies need deliverables, such as content or link building or video, press releases, local SEO citations, that kind of thing, they come to us for the deliverable. So they get no consulting, they just get the end product that they can resell to their clients. So, yeah, I'll say in a word or in a sentence or a phrase, it's SEO marketplace for agencies.

Mark A Preston: Right. What would you say has been the biggest contributor to the growth and success of your whether it's a white label agency or marketplace?

Joe Davies: I'd say the biggest contributor to success has been, we've never lost focus on our customer avatar. So me and my business partner, we used to work in an SEO agency, and we had the struggles of deliverables. So we were outsourcing a little bit, we were hiring sometimes, and we never managed to get the sweet spot of quality and cost within the client budget. So, we were using outsourced providers on Upwork, Fiverr; we were using offshore companies, and we were getting really mixed results with their deliverables and their resalable products. So we knew the pain points that agencies had, we knew the pain points of agencies need quality links, they need quality content at scale, and they need a company they can really trust, they need a company they can phone, they need a company that's going to answer every email, that's going to deliver things in a nice report, not in horrible excel sheets. So we never lost focus on our exact customer avatar, and we've just doubled down on what agencies want, agencies need. We speak a lot to our customers about what are your biggest pain points, what are your problems that you're facing every day? And whatever those are, we try and solve them because we don't just be known as a link building company or just a content company. We want to be known as problem solvers for agencies.

Mark A Preston: Because perception in the wider community has been that you go to Fat Joe, if you want some cheap links and I think that mindset is how are you unhappy or become that sort of mindset in the industry.

Joe Davies: Yeah, I'll get that. We used to be cheap, but we're not as cheap anymore; we've invested a lot more into our outreach and into our baseline quality of websites, so we're not that cheap anymore. We're trying to get away from that perception of our brand moving more into a premium marketplace and I mean, you've got to try it to know for sure, but we're just trying to improve our products every single day, and the agencies that use us are getting great results and their clients are happy, and the feedback has just been great. Obviously, we're not for everyone, and we know that, usually it's typically a brand or an affiliate with a niche website that really wants a specific kind of link or specific kind of link building. They might not be happy with the kind of links we can get for them; they might want something a bit more custom and a bit more not off the shelf. So that's fine, we know we're not for everyone, but for agencies. We know where we stand in the market.

Mark A Preston: So just to get an overview of everything, would you say it's just like a shop you're just like a shopping cart for agencies? Is that how to describe it?

Joe Davies: Yeah, I'd say so. Agencies will be doing the consulting and the campaign planning, and they'll be talking to the client, reporting to the client, but then they need somewhere or a vendor who can give them the deliverables for their campaign. So, we fit in in that respect; so there's no contracts, there's no phone calls, there's no meetings. The agencies just give us their inputs, which will be based on the campaign they've designed, and we deliver them the outputs or the deliverables. So, we're essentially a shopping cart or a marketplace, whichever word you want to use. But, yeah, I'll say that's a good way to describe it.

Mark A Preston: Okay. And over the years, on running the marketplace, how have you seen your customers change and evolve in what they're asking you for?

Joe Davies: Yeah, so back in 2013, when we first started, we weren't even doing blogger outreach, which is essentially guest posts. We were creating like Web 2.0 hubs, I even forget what the websites are called now, but you can essentially create a profile on a website and we wrote an article on it linked back to the client and they used to call it link wheel and link pyramids and there were very old style link strategies, but they kind of worked. So agencies were ordering that happily and we got to a point maybe in 2014 where, you know, that weren't really cutting the, the mustard, really you needed a high quality outreach to real websites, and agencies to begin with in the first few years were just interested in does, it tick the box of domain authority or does it tick the box of referring domains or traffic? They were looking at metrics over the actual quality of the site. In more recent years, agencies are taking a more holistic approach to their link building. They're looking at more than just numbers, they're looking at right. Is this a real blog? Has it got a real blogger behind it? Have they got social profiles? What's the traffic like? Let's look at their other content, are they just link sellers? Do they just sell a load of links and they're just using their own blog? So ancestors are looking at all those kind of things and we also need to move with that expectation because quite rightly, so we don't want to be landing links on blogs that are just selling links or they're just abusing their own blog with irrelevant content. We want to get them real bloggers with real genuine social profiles, genuine followers, genuine readers, genuine traffic. So yeah, we've seen the movement towards that and I think with the introduction of AI stuff coming out recently, we're seeing more of a demand for real, for real content, for real websites like Real has got more value now because anyone could just create an AI website or AI content. So that's the shift we're seeing very recently.

Mark A Preston: So you mentioned AI there. What's your personal view on the whole AI content discussion that's going on at the moment?

Joe Davies: Yeah, well, it's interesting. It's really interesting because when Jasper first come out, or the very first few AI tools, it was very easy to dismiss and go, it's never going to take off, it's so cumbersome, it's so wrong, it's hallucinating, it's not giving real facts or content; and now, even within the past couple of months, we've seen such a breakthrough in the content AI can produce. Even from Chat GPT, but there's other tools such as Koala Writer. I think Jasper are about to release an article tool as well, which will be more about one click article generation. And the problem with that is, it means that content will become essentially free. It will become the cost of however much your subscription is to Jasper or Koala Writer or Chat GPT. So, that means that the internet is going to get fill with a load more content than we've been experiencing recently. It's going to be even more not spam, but potentially spam, but it's just going to be a lot of content, and that means Google is going to have a lot more content to decide what to rank and that means that links are going to become more important than ever because it needs to decide which content should it rank now, AI generated content, unless it's been carefully curated, carefully edited, carefully constructed for the searcher, I don't think it's going to stand up against a human crafted article. That's just my personal opinion. You can't beat a human's experience, even a human's humor that they put in into the article. So yeah, I think we're going to see a surge in mass amounts of content being published on the internet, but that will mean that real content, real link building is going to be more valuable than ever. My personal opinion?

Mark A Preston: Yeah, see it as these AI tools and chat GPT and everything that's now the new baseline of content quality.

Joe Davies: Yes.

Mark A Preston: That is the new baseline and people really need to add value not to just what it spits out, but what's out there, because as you describe that the internet is just going to get full of this low. Well, it's not even low quality content anymore. It reads well, it does job and I think the whole industry needs to step up the game and I think on the content side, when you are looking at the horse content and everything in in the blogger outreach and guest blogging and everything, how do you approach that?

Joe Davies: In terms of link building?

Mark A Preston: Yes.

Joe Davies: So, we stick into a hundred percent human only content policy. That's our stance on it for now. So all of our link building, the content, for example, if we do any guest posting or niche edits, we're using 100% human content, and we check that using AI detection tools such as originality, but we also check it using Google Docs. All of our writers use Google Docs to write, and if they've wrote, genuinely wrote the article, Google Docs will have an edit history which shows each sentence being written; two sentences every minute, or three sentence this every minute. It will be a slow build up of the article rather than lots of blocks of text being pasted in. So we have those kind of checks in place, our writers know that we check in this. So our writers are very much on our side that they want to be human writers because obviously being a writer, you respect the craft of writing. They don't want this to alternate AI. There is a place for AI content, I really do think there is a place for it but I don't think it's going to, I don't think it's going to be for everything. So there's going to be a lot of content out there, that just that humans are going to want experience. A searcher will want to read content from a human and there's certain content like for example, an easy example is like recipes. A human doesn't mind that a robot has wrote a recipe, or a human doesn't mind that a robot has wrote a Wikipedia page about the World War II; something like that would be okay for a robot to write, but if you're searching for the best vacuum cleaner, for example, just you want to review, you want a human, you want an experience, or the best things to do in Milan, you want an experience kind of article. So, I think there's going to be a place for both sides but Google are going to try and solve that with beat I think, they're going to look for content that is written in the language of I did this, I think this with images, original images, that kind of thing that a robot just can't reproduce.

Mark A Preston: So, do you think having a person as an authority that's named within the blogs, do you think that's going to have a massive impact, like respect and trust, values and everything? So these blogs cite in a certain person, so a certain person has written it, the old author authority type of thing. Do you think that's the future?

Joe Davies: Yeah, 100%. So I think beat is going to play a massive part. So, if I was Google and I'm looking at an article, I want to see that it's got an author. I want to see that that author has got maybe a link to a LinkedIn profile or some kind of professional body or even just the title of that person is something relevant to the topic. If I'm reading an article about health, an illness for example, I want to see that the author, or at least there's someone that proofread it was a doctor or within the health industry. So it really makes sense, like if I was Google, that's the way I would filter at least a lot of the content, if it hasn't got that, I'm not going to consider it for anywhere near page one. And then the second thing would be the amount of links that piece of content has got from other authority websites, that's the only way you're going to sort from this sea of content now is going to be, has it been written by someone who knows what they're talking about and does other people think that it's good? And the way that they decide that is through links?

Mark A Preston: Yeah, well, you are renowned for links as in a brand. So, if we move the subject conversation on to more link building type of questions, now does the whole blogger outreach it's not a technique, strategy, whatever you want to call it, is it still as powerful as it ever was?

Joe Davies: I mean, I'm very biased because obviously we sell links and we sell those kind of links. I think that the honest answer is google are trying to weigh a lot more into what the content is about, who it was written by; like I said earlier, I think they are trying to weigh eat a lot more and they're trying to look at the brand equity, so they're trying to look at like, is this content on a website which is trusted? So I think they're trying to weigh a lot more on that. That being said, I do think links are still one of the most important ranking factors, if not the most important in terms of ranking a web page, getting it higher in the rankings that primitive task. I think link building is probably one of the main things you should look at. But yeah, I still think that they're just as important. There are other link building methods. So for example, we do blogger outreach and we do niche edits. Bloggers are the linearity of the web, there's no one linking like Bloggers. So, we think looking from a natural standpoint, these are the people you want to get your links from. Obviously there is a higher tier of link, which is media placements, newspapers, that kind of thing. I'm not fully convinced that newspaper links are amazing, you know, everyone sort of shouts about them as if you really need to try and get links from newspapers or these really high end publications, I don't think they're going to do any harm and they can certainly help your branding authority. But for the bulk of ongoing link building, getting links from Bloggers, recommending your service, your brand, or talking about your content, I think they're the signals that Google are looking at, rather than you being cited for a press story or something like that. So, yeah, to answer your question, I think, yeah, links are still as important, but I think Google are trying very hard to look at other signals as well now.

Mark A Preston: So if you was to look at Blogger outreach versus digital PR, what would you personally believe is the strongest?

Joe Davies: Well, yeah. It's a hard one to answer because I thought about this before, if someone had a gun to my head and said, you've got to pick one, you can only pick one type of link building blogger outreach or digital PR for your website for it to rank, I would pick blogger outreach only because I think the value of the link may be less in terms of authority. So you might be getting a link from for example, if you sell you're a gardening ecommerce store and you get a link off a DR 30 gardening blog, it's relevant, it's a recommendation; Google has seen it as, right gardening blog to garden ecommerce store, that's relevant, let's give it some value. Whereas if that gardening ecommerce store got a link from, you know, the Daily Mirror about a statistic in gardening. I don't think personally, I don't think that has as much value in terms of ranking equity. I think long term the bulk of your link should come from recommendations within blogs. The majority of your link profile should come from recommendations contextual within content from bloggers. That would be my personal opinion.

Mark A Preston: Right. Something I've personally thought about with the whole digital PR side of things. Well, you are being cited or linked to whatever you want on these news related websites. But the word news, I mean, you don't have a news story that drags on for two years, it has a short minimum lifespan. And personally, I think that unless it's a continuous thing, surely then links are going to get devalued over time because Google know that, that's no longer relevant.

Joe Davies: Yeah, exactly.

Mark A Preston: So, regarding yourself, what excites you about the industry now, compared to when you started?

Joe Davies: Well, I'm really excited about the AI stuff to the point of we've started building some AI tools for marketers and SEOs. We've got a tool called Optimo, it's completely free, and we're just building out tools such as keyword Research, topical Map Generator, content brief generator, brand name generator; so I'm really excited about how SEOs can integrate AI into their workflow. I think too many SEOs are worried about AI taking over their job or replacing them but I think we should be more excited about how it's going to make our jobs not easier, but a lot more effective. We can pair our processes up with AI so easy. It was only today, I was doing some keyword research, and I exported a list from Ahrefs of Keywords that I wanted to target and I thought, I need to write an article for each of these keywords, I pasted them into Chat GPT and just said, will you create an article title based on this keyword? And it did. When the article title is really good, they may need a bit of editing, but just something like that I couldn't do six months ago, but I can do it today. That excites me and I think the industry as well is growing up in terms of we're not looking for hacks anymore, we're not looking for shortcuts. We're kind of looking at building a brand. So even the niche corner of, like, Twitter or the general SEO community, they're starting to realize, hang on, I'm not just building a little website that reviews vacuum cleaners anymore. I need to build a brand about the home and they're realizing this shift and I think it's just a better way of looking at marketing, a better way of looking at business. We're not trying to hack Google. We're trying to be the best content for that particular topic, and Google will rank us over time. So, yeah, that's what I'm excited about and I think things are getting more advanced with AI. I don't think it's a scary thing. I think it's a good thing.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, for me, it's fantastic for the ideation and research part and I know I've spoken to quite a lot of agency owners that says to me, Mark, I'm going back a few years and said, if we can ever get a solution to solve the mundane research manual tasks that half the team does. If something can replace that and do that job for us, then those people can concentrate on helping the businesses to grow rather than just doing all these tasks. That doesn't necessarily create impact, and that's how I see it evolving. I mean, I get approached by a lot of more junior SEOs that are genuinely scared.

Joe Davies: I saw your tweet. I saw your tweet this morning.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, they are genuinely scared, afraid of, what can I do? I'm really interested in the industry. What can I do to make sure that my job is safe in like, two, five years or whatever? And this is the sort of mentality that's in but for me, it's just about helping them to do their jobs better and giving them more information that you had to go digging for before. I mean, what's your view on the whole sort of future proofing an SEO?

Joe Davies: Yeah, I mean, I think it's all not much has changed, really, because we've got SEOs working for our company, and a lot of the mundane tasks a couple of years ago, they weren't doing themselves anyway. We were outsourcing it to we have VA’s in the Philippines, so it's kind of like the same it's the same difference, really. We're just outsourcing it to a different process, really Instead of going to a VA, it's going to AI. In terms of future proofing, as an SEO, I think it's good to know a lot of the different parts of SEO. If you're deep into technical, I think it'd be good to at least learn about the creative side of SEO, you know, coming up with the content ideas, how do we do the research? What makes a good article? What makes a good user experience on the page, rather than getting too deep into the technical schema stuff and page speed? And then as well as that, if you're really on the technical side, for example, completely over the right hand side of creative, where you're just thinking about ideas of what's going to land links in newspapers, maybe it's a good idea to think about a little bit of the technical side. So I think future proofing yourself in terms of learning new sides of the SEO coin is a good move. And marketing in general, I think it's good to know a lot of the crafts in marketing, even as far as, like ads or social aspects because everything connects, you know, every part of marketing connects to the other part, and think it's just good to have that. If something does change big time, which I don't think it will, which I don't think anyone's got anything to worry about, I don't think link builders or content writers or technical SEOs or PR people have got anything big to worry about. I just think it's peace of mind just to know a little bit of something else, that just in case something does happen one day or something does change drastically, you've got something else in your toolkit that you can start applying.

Mark A Preston: So is the Fat Joe, as a marketplace agency, are you thinking about the future? Are you thinking about remodelling things of the approach or due to maybe changes that's going to happen in the future, how are you as a marketplace handling that?

Joe Davies: Yeah, so we're pretty much business as usual. We think that this AI content or this AI shift in marketing is going to cause a lot more demand for links, like I said, and a lot more demand for real content. There's a lot of business owners out there and there's a lot of agencies who are very persistent, that they want real human content, not only just for because they're scared that Google might de rank it, but because they think it delivers a better quality, they think it delivers a more genuine result. So, yeah, we're pretty bullish on the future of SEO link building content as it is and we're thinking about AI as a tool to help our jobs, not to replace it. We are expanding into more services, so you might have seen on our website that we started doing some design video services. So we do explainer videos, video ads. We started doing other things such as keyword research, this Press release citations. We do a lot more than just the link building and content. So we kind of branching out a little bit and diversifying in that way.

Mark A Preston: What would you say to the people that say, like services like you offer blogger outreach and that is no different than paid links that obviously Google say the against? What would you say to that?

Joe Davies: Well, with paid links there's a scale I mean, so you could pay for a link on a website and it could say on the article, this is a paid advertorial and then you'll have the article and the link might even have a rail tag which is sponsored and then Google will look at that and go no value or little value. Then you can have a link, where the kind of links we get, where we collaborate with the blogger on a piece of content we talk about what content we can write for their blog, what keywords are they trying to rank for. So we try and give them a piece of content they can potentially get traffic from and they'll happily accept this content and post it within their feed, not on some contributor category or anything like that. They post it front and center of their blog and they're proud of it, they'll even make edits to it and there's no sign, there's nothing to say it's been paid for it or it's been contributed or even that it's a guest post. So, we're really on that end of the strategy where we our posts look no different to any of their posts, so there's no reason for anyone, any human, any search engine, algorithm to detect that it was a solicited link.

Mark A Preston: Right. Moving the subject away from content and links. Now, I was at Brighton SEO last year, and obviously your branding would just everywhere cost you one of the main sponsors of the conference. A couple of questions. One, why do you feel you need to sponsor conferences on a big scale? And two, do you get an ROI out of it?

Joe Davies: Yeah, good question. We've always sponsored Brighton, so it's kind of like a tradition now. Like, we sponsored it in 2013 or 2014. We used to do like, we used to have the stand and speak to people. And those early sponsorships were very valuable to us, because we were speaking to people face to face, speaking to our customers, meeting our customers, and our business just seemed to really grow from those first couple of sponsorships, especially in the UK, and then we did some in the US, and the same thing happened there. We never tracked ROI, we tried to one year, but it just failed miserably. It was really hard to do. I mean, we did like a tracking link Fat Brighton, but no one used it, so it was a bit of a waste of time. We just knew from the contacts we were speaking to that we landed five to ten decent clients in those early years. So ever since, we've just been a bit, I suppose, sentimental to Brighton SEO, to sponsoring it every year. We're not completely sure on the ROI, but we just do it as an awareness branding exercise and people find it weird if we don't sponsor it. People always kind of like, oh, why not sponsoring it this year? So it's kind of like we set aside a budget every year that we think we're not going to make an ROI on this, or we're not even going to track it. We're just going to be at this conference, this conference and this conference, and whatever happens, happens, and that's how we treat it now.

Mark A Preston: Right. Do you ever get, like, other events and the more smaller conferences approaching you to sponsor them?

Joe Davies: Yeah, we get a lot. There's so many SEO that there's just so many conferences and events. We can't do them all because I don't think the ROI is there, if I'm being honest but I think it's just good to do a few and just have your awareness around there the same as doing a TV ad, you can't really track the ROI from it, but it just gets that awareness. It's like top of funnel, top of the funnel stuff. Even the young juniors who just start in SEO go to Brighton, they're learning about our brand, and they might ask us some questions or send an email or land on one of our blog posts. So it's good in that respect.

Mark A Preston: Yeah. Now, you mentioned one word there, brand. Now, how significant is brand building towards SEO impact?

Joe Davies: I think it's very significant. I think Google completely used brand. I don't know what the official term would be in the algorithm, but I think if you've got a big brand and they can measure that through lots of different ways, through brand mentions, even stuff like your anchor text, if most of anchor text is coming through on your brand name, that's a great signal that your brand is bigger than a keyword, it's like apple. If you look at their anchor text, their biggest anchor text is Apple, not laptop. So it's kind of like the brand is bigger than the industry and I think that's an extreme example. But if you can build a brand for your small site or small business in terms of people are searching for your brand, people are linking to you by your brand name, I think that's a great signal for Google to trust your website as a whole and then when you're publishing new content, it gives you that favorable signal to rank. So, yeah, I think brand is very important.

Mark A Preston: Right? So board people coming into the industry at the moment. What would you say they need to be thinking about?

Joe Davies: Well, I think they need to be thinking about AI, I mean 100%, they need to have an awareness about that they're going to know about it whether they like it or not anyway. But they're going to need to know what kind of strategies and what kind of processes do I need to learn and is AI involved, what tools do I need? Because things have changed a lot in the past two months or even three months. Any SEO course that was released six months ago is going to be out of date now. I think the rulebook has changed, the process have changed. They'll get left behind if they're not using these new processes. I think they need to be very aware of what makes good content, what Google is deciding to rank. There's a lot of changes going on with Google now. Their SERP is going to change a lot. We've seen in the announcement recently. It's going to become a lot more visual. So this is going to change SEO's jobs in terms of not just the content side of things, but the visual side. So what images are we including? Do we need a custom image? Do we need to create something that's going to show up on the SERP in a certain way? What size do we need to put that? I think that they can learn a bit about technical SEO and that kind of thing, but I think it's like you earlier, I think Brand is going to play a big part. So it's going to be like overall marketing skills.

Mark A Preston: Right, so getting back onto Joel, is there anything that you'll flatly refuse to offer as a future service?

Joe Davies: Yeah, so we do we refuse to offer quite a lot of things. We get customers asking, usually they're not agencies, they're usually in-house at Brand or maybe a niche site. Website Owner they'll ask for a website with a particular trust flow, a certain amount of traffic, they want the blogger to have certain content on the website. They want the website to be over six years old. They'll have all these custom criteria. They want to pre approve all the websites. So when it comes to something as custom as this, we point blank say, this isn't for you, we're for agencies and they want to order links at scale, we don't do pre approvals. We don't do all these custom metrics. Here the metric tree offer. You choose one of those. So, yeah, we refuse those kind of custom work. There's nothing off the table in terms of future services as long as it's scalable and we can give a deliverable that's tangible, we will do it. One thing we do want to get into is coming back to the digital PR stuff. We would like to offer that at some point. We think it's very hard to do in a scalable way. I think it's a very custom job, but that would be something we'd like to do. We're having to refuse to do it at the moment.

Mark A Preston: Right. So, do you think the whole business model and the reason for its success is because everything you do is totally scalable?

Joe Davies: Yeah, I think it's the same reason McDonald's are so successful is because you can't go into McDonald's and you can't say, look, I want a Sunday roast, and I want a chicken dinner, and I want a pork belly. You can't say these things that they don't do, and they won't do it for any amount of money. So they only do what they offer on the menu and because of that, they've built strict processes around all those things. They can do them at scale, and they don't veer from that for any amount of money, for any amount of complaining. They just do what they do and if you don't like it, you got to go somewhere else. So that's kind of how strict we've been. We're not being rude to customers or anything. We're just saying this is what we do. And if it works for you, great. If it doesn't, we know there's many other agencies out there that will do it. So you can find them.

Mark A Preston: Right. Your customer base, are they all over the world now, or is it mainly in certain countries?

Joe Davies: Yeah. So mainly we're US. So we're about 70% US and then the rest falls into UK, Australia, and we we've got a bit of Europe, Canada, Ireland. Yeah, that pretty much makes up the most of it. There's, like some Singapore, Malaysia. So, yeah, it's all over the world.

Mark A Preston: Do you do anything in foreign languages outside of English?

Joe Davies: Yes, we've got a multilingual outreach service, which we're really trying to scale, but at the moment it's proving very hard because obviously, you know, the industry outside of English language is very behind and it's a lot smaller. So to find, you know, German bloggers that blog about gardening, you know, it's a very small pool of bloggers. And then to outreach them with an email saying, can we collaborate with you on a guest post or a piece of content? They don't know what we're talking about. They've never heard this before, they don't know what we trying to get at them. They think it's a scam. So it's a lot harder to do, but we're trying to scare it and we do offer it, but it's quite expensive at the moment. But, yeah, there's a lot of call for links for some reason. The German SEO entry must be must be pretty hot right now.

Mark A Preston: Right, so you as one of the founders of the company, what does your day-to-day look like?

Joe Davies: So at the moment, I'm taking a role of it's basically head of marketing. So my partner has taken the role of head of tech. So together we kind of play the founder CEO role, but we've got our areas of responsibility and we've with the head of marketing. I'm looking after the SEO guys, the Ad guys, looking at new services we can offer, improving existing services, looking at our outreach team, and how can we improve the processes and the success rate of new outreach efforts that we've got. Obviously, we're always trying to find bloggers to collaborate with and we're trying to increase the quality of those blogs as well and remove any bloggers that are abusing their own blog because it happens as soon as bloggers know that they can make money from a blog, they just abuse it. So we have to keep looking out for these blogs that are getting low quality. And yeah, that makes up most of my day.

Mark A Preston: Right, so you mentioned quality there. Do you have a process in place for quality control throughout the process?

Joe Davies: Yeah, so we've got an outreach team who also double up as their sort of relationship manager with the bloggers. So there might be bloggers that we use on a regular basis, bloggers that we work with in certain industries, and we have like 15 quality markers that we look at and it ranges from very high end things like DA or traffic, and it goes down to the meticulous things like have they got a social profile? Is the social profile real? Like, do they post on it and do they get comments and do they genuinely post stuff? Have they got an about me page and a real, genuine intent for the blog? Is it a real person? Because a lot of these times bloggers can fake their persona and it's very easy to find out. If you do a lot of digging, you can find their LinkedIn, you can find real Facebook profiles. So we look at the amount of posts that have been published over, like, for example, a year. If that's gone crazy, we know that they're potentially selling guest posts or they're doing something a little bit that they shouldn't be. We also look at external link ratio, so if their external link is very high, then there's potentially something going on there that's dodgy, not always, but yeah, we look at all those things and we keep a track of all these things once every three months, we'll replenish our relationships and get rid of any relationships that are longer serving those quality markers.

Mark A Preston: Right. So when customers come to Fat Joe, they can more or less be guaranteed that the link isn't going to be on some sort of PBM. Is that basically, in a nutshell, what you're saying? Genuine sites?

Joe Davies: Yeah, we aim for every link to be on a genuine website with all these marketers here. Here we understand that sometimes there may be some blogs that they may have fell by the wayside a little bit, some of their content may not be as good. Sometimes we may not pick this up and a customer may say, I'm not quite happy with this one and we will say, okay, fair enough, and we've got 100% money back guarantee or replacement policy. We'll just replace it and we'll find a new blogger for that. Obviously, working at scale, we can't catch everything. And sometimes there is the odd occasion where we need to replace something or the link might go down or something might happen, which is why we have this very flexible replacement or 100% money back guarantee policy.

Mark A Preston: Right now, on your website, I see that your services, or let's say your packages, are based on DA. So the higher the DA, the more you pay. But what about everyone in the industry that's saying, well, DA is meaningless, but you're selling a service based on DA? How would you sort of explain that?

Joe Davies: Yeah, I mean, it's a tough one because we understand that DA, isn't the deal and all; there could be a DA 20 that's got a lot of traffic and a lot of different other signals which make it probably more valuable than the DA 50. There's a lot of nuance and there's a lot of different ways to analyze a site. We can't please every one of those metrics, and every SEO has got a different way of analyzing or measuring the quality of a website. We understand that, and we've just had to pick one metric and run with it because DA, we understand, is quite an old metric as well. It's by the guys at Moz but for some reason, it's always stuck around as a metric that agencies recognize, bloggers recognize. If there's anything untoward or anything that's wrong with a blog. Like, for example, a blogger may have artificially inflated their DA, we'll look at that as an investigation. We do try and incorporate traffic as a secondary metric. So, on DA 40 and 50, we guarantee minimum amounts of traffic, like 1000 traffic at least. That gives you some kind of double pronged guarantee that it is a genuine website. Whereas the lower DAs, we don't really guarantee traffic, we just say that it will have some traffic. But, yeah, it is an interesting question. It's something we're looking at because, like I said earlier, SEOs have got far more advanced recently with how they measure the quality of a website and it's hard to really display that on a website on a sales page and say high quality or low quality. We just got to say it's this metric or this metric, if that makes sense.

Mark A Preston: Yes. Oh, wow. The times run away. Is there anything we haven't covered that you feel the audience really need to know?

Joe Davies: I'll do a quick plug. Well, if you go to, I think a lot of your audience may be interested in the free AI tools there. As we've been talking about incorporating AI processes into your SEO workflows, there's a good place to start, but besides from that no, I think we covered quite a lot there.

Mark A Preston: We have and final question is, what sort of conversations would you like to have with people and where can they find you?

Joe Davies: So, yeah, you can find me at fatjoedavies on Twitter, and I speak about SEO link building, agency life, AI stuff, general life, anything really. Follow me there and you can ask me any question DM me, I'll happily reply. 

Mark A Preston: Okay. Well, on that note, thank you for your time. It's been a blast, handy sounds so quick. It's incredible.

Joe Davies: It has, yeah. Enjoyed that.

Mark A Preston: Right, thanks a lot.

Joe Davies: Cheers, Mark.

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