Rae Hoffman-Dolan, aka Sugarrae, is a well-known SEO and Affiliate Marketer. Her SEO training piggy-backed on Affiliate Summit, and was an additional registration fee ($800, when I booked). What was I hoping to get for $800?
- I was hoping to have a new connection with Sugarrae, which I got. If you read her twitter stream, you’ll see Rae likes going off on people, which made her a bit unapproachable (in my eyes). However, once we met in person, she’s really kind and friendly (just don’t tell her I said this).
- I was hoping to make some new connections with the other audience members. One participant was one of my competitors in a niche I’m in, but I feel it’s best to be friends with your competition, so you can compare notes about merchants. When conversions are down, and the merchant says there’s no problem, but all of your competitors also say conversions are down, maybe the merchant will take a second look.
- I was also hoping to get some advice on my sites, which I got when Rae was doing live reviews.
- I was hoping to be told the secret formula to SEO and the magic bullet to rank high and quickly. Guess what? There is none.
I’m not going to get into specifics about what was talked about. There’s a reason this session was additional to the Affiliate Summit pass. But, I’ll share a few things with you:
- Title tag is most important on-site SEO factor
- The blog post title does not have to be the same as the title tag
- robots.txt is powerful when used properly
- Establish a natural link profile
- Reviews = money
My site, reviewed
Rae took one of my niche sites, and gave it a quick SEO-focused review. There were a couple of things I could do (2 pages had the same title tag, junk pages were indexed) but overall, she gave it a thumbs up. I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get into a discussion about how I build links, but with my competitor sitting behind me, maybe that’s ok.
Did I get what I hoped for, and was this day worth $800?
- I now have a stronger connection with Rae (beyond our mutual love of Tim Hortons). While I’ve emailed her in the past, and received an answer quickly, this day strengthened the relationship. I also got to meet her husband, Sean, and talked with him briefly at lunch one day. He showed up to my whiteboarding session on Monday, which was slightly intimidating, but said he got some useful information out of it.
- I was a bit disappointed in the audience and their knowledge of SEO, and I feel it took away from the session a bit. There were people who paid for a seat that didn’t even know what affiliate marketing was. Since they paid, like the rest of us, Rae had to make sure they were brought up to speed before getting to more complicated topics.
- I was able to get 2 sites reviewed, because I asked a loaded question 🙂 Sorry, but there weren’t a lot of people submitting reviews. I knew of some problems with BuyLegLamps.com, but got some great ideas when Rae pulled it up.
- I reaffirmed that I really do know quite a bit about SEO! When someone like Sugarrae says you’re doing good, then you really are. Since I’m self-taught (like we all are in the SEO area), it’s hard to judge your knowledge vs. everyone else’s. This was brought up with my lengthy discussion with Kim Ann Curtin, which I’ll be writing up soon
Worth $800? Yeah. If you’re serious about SEO, and have $800 now, do it. You’ll make up the cost in a few months with better rankings and better conversions.
Would I do it again? Probably not. (unless the audience steps things up)
It’s definitely worth doing once, but at this point, keep your ear to the ground and keep up with the SEO industry by reading blogs, attending conferences, and making those personal connections.