Local Directory / Lead Generation (1/2 Ass Case Study....Results)

19 replies
[Updated: Scroll down to the 3-8-2016 update.]
[Updated: Scroll down to the 3-1-2016 update.]
[Updated: Scroll down to the 2-19-2016 update.]

This won't be any new, groundbreaking info for most people, but I thought I would share anyway in the hopes to offer some alternative approaches and ideas to local business directories or lead generation. Perhaps people can add their own results for what works and what doesn't work?

* And when I say "results" - I mean just that. Not opinions, theories, regurgitated crap you constantly see spewed from WSO's here in the forum and elsewhere...etc - you get the point. *

That being said, my 1/2 ass case study is for a home improvement contractor niche. In fact, it's a niche that is sometimes overlooked. I say that because many times, people focus on a particular kind of contractor rather than a specific type of high-dollar job that a contractor may want if you are going to be selling leads or maybe selling/renting space on your directory.

Example:
There are a ton that you could come up with once you understand an industry. For example, Boiler Repair is usually a commercial/industrial type of need....these are repairs that a contractor can usually flip into a full replacement. Or you could just focus on Boiler Replacement right out of the gate.

Anyway, here's what I did.....

1. Just a little over 30 days ago, I bought a new domain that is specific to a particular state. (no previous registrations, backlinks, DA/TA...etc).
2. Built a directory site using WordPress. The goal was to start off with building a siloed sited with 10-12 counties and every city within those counties.
3. Put 4-5 100% unique articles (500-1000 words) on the site as posts.
4. Bought a plugin similar to SERP Shaker and created about 250 pages on the site using the plugin. All I did is optimize the Title and H1 tags...and spun the {city name} within the content on the page (but I used duplicate content on purpose}.
4. I also created a YouTube channel with a siloed architecture as well. County --> largest city --> all other cities.
5. Set it and forget it.

Fast forward to current day and here's my results so far:

1. As you might expect, the YouTube videos ranked almost immediately in some areas. Imagine that video thumbnail image at the very top of the Google for something like {Boiler Repair + Your City}.

2. The website also had some pages rank pretty quickly, but this was mainly in very small cities where competition is minimal.

Like I said, nothing spectacular so far. I might add that some of these "high dollar service specific" types of keywords have absolutely no searches (according to Google keyword planner). However, that doesn't mean that people aren't searching for them. Remember, the KW planner only shows searches starting at 10+ per month.

And even though someone looking for this is probably going to look for a specific type of contractor most of the time (Plumber, HVAC, Roofer..etc), there are likely times when someone will search for a specific service. These are the non-obvious terms you can focus on. At the end of the day, it's all about ROI. Do you know how much an HVAC contractor would make for just 1 boiler replacement/repair job per month?

I have some additional ideas/theories which I'm going to share again in another 30 days (remember....the time to discuss the theory is after you get the results ).

So, if anyone out there wants to share some actual results they've had, please do share.

************* Update: 2-19-2016 ********************

Soooooo, I'm back with a little update. Again, no fluff here, just raw data. Here we go....

The "theory" I wanted to test was to see what would happen if I ran a few SAPE links to (1) well optimized YouTube video. Would it work? How long would it take?

Remember, for my example below, I'm giving you fake keyword terms, but the real metrics as they apply to the keywords I'm actually trying to rank for. Here is the average Keyword Competitive (KC) score from LongTailPro...

plumber miami florida - 24
miami plumbing contractors - 30
miami plumbers - 29
plumbing contractors miami- 31
plumbers miami - 30

1/26/2016: Bought (3) SAPE links off of Fiverr (yeah, I didn't expect quality here). Within a few days, the links were live. The sites were in English.

SAPE Links:
1. URL #1 - (TF: 41 / CF: 39 / PR: 4) {miami plumbers}
2. URL #2 - (TF: 29 / CF: 27 / PR: 4) {miami plumbing contractors}
3. URL #3 - (TF: 31 / CF: 25 / PR: 4) {plumbers miami}


Google Page Rank - 1/27/2016 11:00am EST **************

plumber miami florida - pg 7
miami plumbing contractors - pg 5
miami plumbers - pg 7
plumbing contractors miami- pg 4
plumbers miami - pg 6

Google Page Rank - 1/28/2016 12:27pm EST **************

plumber miami florida - pg 7
miami plumbing contractors - pg 5
miami plumbers - pg ?
plumbing contractors miami - pg 4
plumbers miami - pg 6

*** SAPE Links added 1/28/2016 12:48pm EST ***

Google Page Rank - 1/29/2016 9:45am EST **************

plumber miami florida - pg 7
miami plumbing contractors - pg 5
miami plumbers - pg 7
plumbing contractors miami - pg 4
plumbers miami - pg 6

Google Page Rank - 2/1/2016 4:29pm EST **************

plumber miami florida - pg 8
miami plumbing contractors - pg 5
miami plumbers - pg ?
plumbing contractors miami - pg 5
plumbers miami - pg 11

Google Page Rank - 2/2/2016 12:24pm EST **************

plumber miami florida - pg 8
miami plumbing contractors - pg 5
miami plumbers - pg ?
plumbing contractors miami - pg 5
plumbers miami - pg 11

Google Page Rank - 2/3/2016 9:29pm EST **************

plumber miami florida - pg 8
miami plumbing contractors - pg 5
miami plumbers - pg ?
plumbing contractors miami - pg 5
plumbers miami - pg 14

Google Page Rank - 2/19/2016 10:43am EST **************

plumber miami florida - pg 6
miami plumbing contractors - pg 7
miami plumbers - pg 6
plumbing contractors miami - pg 5
plumbers miami - pg 5

As of today, my links are still live and there has been some improvement overall. Obviously, there are still a lot of variables here (quality of the SAPE Links, KC of the keyword terms...etc), but I think it's a good start.

************* Update: 3-1-2016 ********************

Well, looks like we're going backwards now. I attribute this to the quality of the SAPE links as they are not even in a relevant niche. Plus they are probably getting spammed to death.

Every ranking is the same as it was on 2/19, except for "plumbers miami" which dropped from page 5 to page 6.

Google Page Rank - 3/1/2016 10:49am EST **************

plumber miami florida - pg 6
miami plumbing contractors - pg 7
miami plumbers - pg 6
plumbing contractors miami - pg 5
plumbers miami - pg 6

************* Update: 3-8-2016 ********************

This week it looks like I moved up one page and then moved back on another page, so it was a wash. I also noticed that the SAPE links are no longer in effect this month as I manually inspected the links.

The next tactic will be to try to find some 2-3 expired domains with good metrics (TF, CF, MozRank, PA, DA) that have a "city name" in the URL or that are in a somewhat related niche/broad niche - and then do some 301 redirects to hopefully pass on some linkjuice.

I've never done a 301 redirect before, so I can't comment on its effectiveness.

Google Page Rank - 3/8/2016 1:27pm EST **************

plumber miami florida - pg 6
miami plumbing contractors - pg 6
miami plumbers - pg 6
plumbing contractors miami - pg 5
plumbers miami - pg 7
#1 or 2 #case #directory #generation #lead #local #studyresults
  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    I am a big Local Directory fan. I personally implement them often and for a number of reasons. The more I learn about SCHEMA tags, the more I am using Directories, not only for the sake of traffic, but as a citation. When you have a true local CONTEXT and GEOGRAPHIC based citation that many listing wont have, this helps your SERP's listing a whole lot.

    I develop sites very much in the same manor as you. use wordpress, build out Silo structure etc. I will say I do NOT get into the video aspect as you do. I gravitate towards smaller markets where in many cases the added SERP listing is pretty much not needed.

    Where you and I really split ways is the content. Im not saying its bad.. but I simply do not spin. I try to stray away from duplicate content - not always easy. I do know other members of this forum do smashingly well with basically spun duplicate content.

    Its been a few years, but I have built a similar site to yours. Mine specifically is broad in the sense that it covers many if not all of the trades. I have them listed by county that they have an office, and then again in the counties that they work in. ( this required a bit of leg work, in calling each and getting an answer to that question. )

    Getting these guys / companies on the phone.. Hey, this is so and so, here is what we are doing, This is an introductory offer, we need some additional information. At a later date once we have some traffic flow we will be offering premium services... will this be something you would be interested in?

    Obviously that step is creating the introduction of our company, but MORE importantly it is giving me CONTENT that is not found on other sites. As an example here.. usually HVAC guys are plumbers as well or in some cases Electricians. they really don't want "Repair" work, but may take on new construction projects.

    Kind of what you end up with Is "primary" listing of guys that are located in the neighborhood... support your neighbor kind of stuff, and then below that is the out of county companies that also work in that county.

    Like you say, the secret here is the keyword targeting. I stopped using the AdWords keyword planner YEARS ago.. there is no sense in it. we all KNOW its not accurate, but continue to use it. I goto Google and start with a Primary term "Plumbing + City" and look at 3 things. What the auto fill lists - I write that down, the number of pages for the term, and then at the bottom the recommended terms.

    In this process I am allowing the data of Google dictate my keyword targeting, and the number of pages for a term is telling me to some extent the competition level for that term.

    I will deliberately load up a page starting with the terms with least competition. once those have settled in a bit in the SERP's as needed I will then get in and make any changes I think I can to increase the listing. I do this repeatedly over the next number of weeks and add pages in reverse order based on competition.

    At the same time I am in this process ( BTW I only really do this process of bigger sites and Directories ) I am looking at Google Analytics for any other potential terms that I could be adding to the list or needing to improve its pages.

    So here is the better than theory behind this.. If you look at Google AdWords, there is something called "Quality Score" In the manor that I look at this data, there isn't really one score, but a number of them. I look at 6 different variations of the score
    1. Account Score
    2. Keyword Level Score
    3. Landing Page Quality Score
    4. Mobile Score
    5. Ad Group Score
    6. Ad level quality Score
    If this type of scoring is happening on the PPC side of Google, would it not make sense that it takes place on the search side? Because we are talking about "search" we can immediately drop #5 and #6. So dropping in the pages with the least amount of competition, I am ensuring a solid Keyword level score with what we are hoping will be exact match terms ( yeah yeah Google is "Predictive" - and that's why, in the process above I target the "predictive" terms ) And because My keywords are dictated by the page itself, the landing page will score well. The mobile score is a whole other discussion but again it scores well, and combined my "Account Score" that we can call "Site Score" on the search side is going to be high, due to the attention to the variables.

    So from the ground up in the roll out of the site, I am starting with a high scoring base. As I roll out the different level of terms based on competition, I am relying on the score from the previous sets to increased my overall ranking ability for tougher terms.

    I have played with this "theory" for years. I will tell you that the process above vs just throwing up a bunch of content and letting it fall as it will saves a bunch of time and effort. The only conclusion I can come up with why this works.. is page / site scoring

    My experience with this stuff.. is you end up with a pretty decent sized site, hopefully it was designed with some depth, and you are going to get a bunch of terms with minimal search throughout a month, but usually convert well, and then you will get a few whopper terms ( relative to the market you are targeting ) with overall lower conversion.

    I believe the way you are going to use this, and the way I do may differ. I use this as an entry into doing business with any and all of the listed business' its that no risk foot in the door. The ability to walk into a business and say "Hey this is exactly what i am doing for you now, what else can I do for you." Changes the dynamic of the relationship.. you are not someone with no history in front of them.. you have laid the ground work for the history of a working relationship.
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    • Profile picture of the author shockwave
      [Updated: 2-19-2016]
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      • Profile picture of the author DWolfe
        Thanks for the update ! most people do not come back and tell us how they have made out.

        I see you dropped down to pg 14th for Plumbers miami after being on page 6th but then did a jump of to page 5. Good work, did you change something there ? Or did it just jump around a bit and land on page 5 by itself ?
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        • Profile picture of the author shockwave
          Originally Posted by DWolfe View Post

          Thanks for the update ! most people do not come back and tell us how they have made out.

          I see you dropped down to pg 14th for Plumbers miami after being on page 6th but then did a jump of to page 5. Good work, did you change something there ? Or did it just jump around a bit and land on page 5 by itself ?
          Nope, didn't touch a thing. I think the SAPE links are kicking in.
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    • Profile picture of the author Robscom
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post


      Like you say, the secret here is the keyword targeting. I stopped using the AdWords keyword planner YEARS ago.. there is no sense in it. we all KNOW its not accurate, but continue to use it. I go to Google and start with a Primary term "Plumbing + City" and look at 3 things. What the auto fill lists - I write that down, the number of pages for the term, and then at the bottom the recommended terms.
      I know you mention that the Adwords planner isn't good, but are you using any KW planner in addition to the method you discuss here, or is a KW planner not even needed at all?

      (Thanks in advance. )
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by Robscom View Post

        I know you mention that the Adwords planner isn't good, but are you using any KW planner in addition to the method you discuss here, or is a KW planner not even needed at all?

        (Thanks in advance. )

        I laid out my method - manual. I am more interested in what people are typing than some generated list of keyword combinations that some software is pulling from adwords. If for example you got google and type "widgets" in the search box... a list appears below where you are typing "widgets definition" "widgets" "widgets wordpress" "widgets on S5"


        you then click search ( with only "widgets" in the search box ) and scroll to the bottom of the page. there is then the list of "searches related to widgets". More often than not there will be 8 more listings there.


        The listings given in the drop down at the search box are the most common things typed.. the 8 on the bottom of the page are what is most commonly searched "next"


        Google has now revealed to you the most common terms, and the best words by means of "Intent" to target. You simply are not going to get this type of information from adwords or any other piece of software.
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        • Profile picture of the author shockwave
          Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

          I laid out my method - manual. I am more interested in what people are typing than some generated list of keyword combinations that some software is pulling from adwords. If for example you got google and type "widgets" in the search box... a list appears below where you are typing "widgets definition" "widgets" "widgets wordpress" "widgets on S5"


          you then click search ( with only "widgets" in the search box ) and scroll to the bottom of the page. there is then the list of "searches related to widgets". More often than not there will be 8 more listings there.


          The listings given in the drop down at the search box are the most common things typed.. the 8 on the bottom of the page are what is most commonly searched "next"


          Google has now revealed to you the most common terms, and the best words by means of "Intent" to target. You simply are not going to get this type of information from adwords or any other piece of software.
          Yes, in my opinion what Savage4 mentions is the best way to go - it's what people are looking for now. I use ScrapeBox for this kind of stuff, but you can use UberSuggest to accomplish the same thing.
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        • Profile picture of the author Robscom
          Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

          I laid out my method - manual. I am more interested in what people are typing than some generated list of keyword combinations that some software is pulling from adwords. If for example you got google and type "widgets" in the search box... a list appears below where you are typing "widgets definition" "widgets" "widgets wordpress" "widgets on S5"


          you then click search ( with only "widgets" in the search box ) and scroll to the bottom of the page. there is then the list of "searches related to widgets". More often than not there will be 8 more listings there.


          The listings given in the drop down at the search box are the most common things typed.. the 8 on the bottom of the page are what is most commonly searched "next"


          Google has now revealed to you the most common terms, and the best words by means of "Intent" to target. You simply are not going to get this type of information from adwords or any other piece of software.
          What if the "widgets" word brings back a lot of non-relevant searches?

          For example, if I sell license tags, "tags" as a search brings back a lot of results that aren't accurate for me. (Gift tags, sales tags, etc.)

          I don't sell tags, but I sell something that this scenario applies to, so I'm having some issues. :/
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnnyBattles
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      So here is the better than theory behind this.. If you look at Google AdWords, there is something called "Quality Score" In the manor that I look at this data, there isn't really one score, but a number of them. I look at 6 different variations of the score
      1. Account Score
      2. Keyword Level Score
      3. Landing Page Quality Score
      4. Mobile Score
      5. Ad Group Score
      6. Ad level quality Score
      What tool(s) do you use to "grade" your landing page(s)?
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by JohnnyBattles View Post

        What tool(s) do you use to "grade" your landing page(s)?
        boy.. really good question. the answer here is I don't use tools. I am not sure there are actually tools for this. by all means if you know of any let me know. - the issue here is this is stuff you don't see written elsewhere. Its a bit of a hypothesis on my part, one that I would say works well for me. Asking the question: if Google is doing this type of analysis for paid advertising pages / sites, why wouldn't they for regular pages / sites as well?

        I grade this stuff based on where pages are ranked in the serps. Basically the more pages you have on pages 1 and 2 the better your score would be. ( so I guess you could say I use Long Tail Pro and Google Analytics )

        If you have read any of the stuff I have written here and elsewhere.. I write a lot. pre launch development among the other things is the development of 50+ pieces of content, sometimes a lot more. I am working on a project right now that is a bit wide in context, and I have slated to have 200 pieces of content written before I launch the site.

        So the process... I don't dump all the articles at once. I start pages that target the least competitive terms first, and get good rank. I then move up in the level of competitiveness and release content - and tweek to get good serp rank. At the same time I am looking to see where some hidden opportunities may lay and release content targeting those terms. At all phases of this I am focusing on getting optimal serp rank for these pages. I do not want some page 15 straggler.

        The idea of having as much content as I do at launch, is to mitigate the scramble for content later when it is really needed. I have been doing this stuff long enough, and thru research and pre develop of these sites that I kinda know the direction it will go, so the content is already there. This gives me the time needed to start social communities and spend time on other aspects of the site, and not having to worry about the content ( other than its ability to rank as needed )

        I hope that answers your question.
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        • Profile picture of the author Robscom
          @savidge4

          Thank you. That helps me quite a bit.
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnnyBattles
          Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

          I grade this stuff based on where pages are ranked in the serps. Basically the more pages you have on pages 1 and 2 the better your score would be. ( so I guess you could say I use Long Tail Pro and Google Analytics )
          Thanks for the reply. I understand what you are saying but perhaps I should have better clarified my question. By "grading" a landing page, I am referring from technical aspect. For example, several seo plugins available have a "built-in" page grader based on keyword density, content length, etc.

          With that in mind, is there a tool/resource you use to help you build without signing up for adwords and running a campaign where you can "score" your page to see the "quality of it?

          Sure, you can easily click on existing competitors ads in the paid results and examine their page, however, they could still have a poor quality score.

          Hope this makes better sense.
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          • Profile picture of the author savidge4
            Johnny,

            My bad.. I realized after I answered ( well didn't answer ) that I went on some tangent. I just had not made it back to answer.

            If you have read any case studies on "landing pages" I am sure you have read the importance of matching the context of the ad with the context of the landing page. more specifically the headline of the ad and the headline of the landing page.

            If you test these things at all, you know that sometimes it really doesn't work out so cut and dry like that. I would say most of the time it does.. but there are those times that what gets them there is maybe not so much what keeps them there, and gets them to buy.

            The ultimate tool in my arsenal is testing. I test the ad ( I want real good CTR - and I will get into that here in a minute ) and then the lander itself, I want it to convert, and minimize bounce rate. All of this is usually done on properties other than where I will actually be running an ad. So If I am wanting to run an ad on Google, I would test on twitter or facebook. I do this so I don't decrease my overall advertising score.

            When I launch a campaign in its final resting place, I am pretty sure that it is at close to its optimal level. At this point there really are no tools needed to tell me if I have a good lander or not.. its either doing what its supposed to or its not. Even before the comments I am going to make below, CTR, Bounce, and Conversion Rates were and are the indicators I look at. I use Google Analytics for that.

            So back to CTR... Google recently ( Feb 23, 2016 ) did an Algo update that looks specifically at CTR within ads AND organic results. If people are not clicking, Google is not making money, and either are you. As far as I can tell at this point the primary penalty here for the ad portion is higher ad spends. I am assuming this to some extent because 60% of my ad spend decreased over the last week.

            On the organic side of things, it seems to have hit mid to high comp terms, and low CTR means a loss in rank. I am reading around the web that some losses are page 1 to page 5 etc... apparently big losses can be had, and the opposite, I am reading of some major gains.

            The tools that you speak of... I would say they are useless... or let me say that I am not a big fan. If there was a tool out there that would let you set the parameters, I might find that of interest. IF I HAD to pick a piece of software to calculate this stuff for me it would probably be Content Marketing Software | Squirrly SEO. I actually do use this on some of my blogs - not so much for the tool itself, but the reporting aspect of the software, its pretty comprehensive in what they monitor and deliver a report once a week.. pretty good stuff.

            Hopefully now I have answered your question

            Originally Posted by JohnnyBattles View Post

            Thanks for the reply. I understand what you are saying but perhaps I should have better clarified my question. By "grading" a landing page, I am referring from technical aspect. For example, several seo plugins available have a "built-in" page grader based on keyword density, content length, etc.

            With that in mind, is there a tool/resource you use to help you build without signing up for adwords and running a campaign where you can "score" your page to see the "quality of it?

            Sure, you can easily click on existing competitors ads in the paid results and examine their page, however, they could still have a poor quality score.

            Hope this makes better sense.
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  • Profile picture of the author thomasmps
    I really love this thread guys lets keep it going. I am curious do you have a wordpress theme that seems to work well? i am thinking about building out a restaurant directory and was curious if you had an opinion on both the niche and theme?

    also i wanted to know how are you going about monetizing the directory just charging per lead or monthly ?
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    • Profile picture of the author shockwave
      [Updated: 3-1-2016]
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  • Profile picture of the author shockwave
    [Updated: Scroll down to the 3-8-2016 update.]
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  • Profile picture of the author DirkSchmid
    Originally Posted by shockwave View Post

    4. Bought a plugin similar to SERP Shaker and created about 250 pages on the site using the plugin. All I did is optimize the Title and H1 tags...and spun the {city name} within the content on the page (but I used duplicate content on purpose}.
    4. I also created a YouTube channel with a siloed architecture as well. County --> largest city --> all other cities.
    Can I ask which plugin you've used instead of serp shaker?

    Did you've created the youtube channel manually and also the videos or with some kind of automated software?

    Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author shockwave
      Originally Posted by DirkSchmid View Post

      Can I ask which plugin you've used instead of serp shaker?

      Did you've created the youtube channel manually and also the videos or with some kind of automated software?

      Thanks
      The plugin I used is called Super Bulk Post Maker (SBPM), I think I paid around $60 for it. Works pretty good too.

      Created the YT channel manually, there really weren't that many counties (silo) or cities (the actual spun videos).

      Btw, not much has changed since my last update. In fact, I really don't do much online marketing anymore.

      But, if any of you have some extra time/money to piss away and take a crack at it, here's how I used to scale up back in the days where I did dental lead generation - using only videos.

      === The Shockwave Shotgun Approach ===
      Disclaimer: I'm not convinced that trying to find a loophole with YT videos works anymore - and really hasn't for a long time unless you are in an uncompetitive niche. YT just doesn't give as much weight to videos anymore - especially if it's a "local" business.

      1. Get a toll-free number from CallFire
      2. Make a 35 sec - 40 sec video with a voiceover. Use a single image (white background, and your toll free number in big, bold, letters, with the word Dentist (emergency dentist, local dentist...etc). The voiceover should direct the caller to call NOW to be matched to a local dentist in their area.
      3. Video Spin Blaster - used this to spin the videos thousands (yes, I do mean thousands) of times. Same video, same length. I think it somehow change the HASH within the video so YT wouldn't recognize it as the same vid. At one point, I had over 10,000 videos - literally. As you can imagine, that was a lot of cities. Some ranked well immediately, but the ones in major metro areas didn't do so hot.
      4. Create multiple YT channels. I had 10 - 20...can't remember for sure, but I loaded them up with a ton of the same video.

      As you can see, this was NOT anything fancy. It was simply a numbers game. But the end result was, I was making $1000 - $1500 per month for Pay Per Call leads.

      If you try this approach today, I would say your channels will get ripped down pretty quick either by YT itself or by other haters.
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      • Profile picture of the author DirkSchmid
        Originally Posted by shockwave View Post

        The plugin I used is called Super Bulk Post Maker (SBPM), I think I paid around $60 for it. Works pretty good too.
        Thanks, plugin looks great. Anybody has experience how it compares with Serp Shaker?
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