Advanced SEO Rules and Tactics – Interview With Gab Goldenberg

by mjtaylor on July 20, 2011

Gabriel Goldenberg, author of Advanced SEO's 7 Curiously Obvious Rules & 30 Singular Tactics That Illustrate Them.

Author Gabriel Goldenberg

I was immediately impressed with Gab Goldenberg when I got my hands on a copy of his new ebook Advanced SEO’s 7 Curiously Obvious Rules & 30 Singular Tactics That Illustrate Them. I found more than one technique that made me raise my eyebrows and nod my head.

This is not your run-of-the-mill book of tips and tricks – it doesn’t cover the basics of on- site optimization or any other ABCs of search marketing – other than relationship building, perhaps. This is for serious SEOs who already know what everyone else knows and are ready to take their website to the next level.

Among other things, Goldenberg teaches critical thinking and analysis (some of which you might have learned if you took college lever Logic) and outlines how run SEO experiments via split testing.  The problems he offers to teach the principles will give an intermediate SEO enough homework to last  more than a  month, but the lessons learned will last a lifetime. Beyond critical thinking and testing, Goldenberg also provides clear SEO tactics – one of my favorites is how to undermine the paid links of your competition.

Given the popularity of ebooks, both as link bait and a revenue stream, I asked Goldenberg to talk about writing and marketing of his new book.

Is this your first book?

Gab Goldenberg: It is… I’ve only been in SEO for 5.5 years, and for people who read Malcolm Gladwell, you know it takes roughly 5 years (or 10,000 hours) to become an expert in any given topic.

 What gave you the idea for this book?

SEO ROI bookGab Goldenberg: Honestly – greed :D . That and being an SEO expert is an excellent way to get dates. Why do you think there are so many ‘experts’ ;) ?

If you mean what gave me the idea for the content, I realized that intermediate-advanced SEOs run a 4/5 chance of wasting their time when reading a blog post, if not worse.

That’s because the Pareto principle, aka 80-20 rule, applies to content: 20% of the SEO problems generate 80% of the posts. Once you’ve mastered that 20% … you’ve still got a lot left to learn and yet 80% of what you read online won’t do it for you. In fact, the Pareto principle says the minimum proportion is 20% of causes generating 80% of the results … but it can be sharper, like 10% of causes for 90% of results .

So in other words, there’s a lot of rehash content and comparatively little original material. And with a few exceptions like Scott Cowley ( ), Marty Weintraub at and the blog crew (and others on my blogroll), it’s rare to find people share advanced tactics online. And when I did that, I usually got a great response.

So I realized two things:

1) I could make money by addressing the content people aren’t finding on blogs. Books are a comprehensive, organized resource whereas blogs and the web are scattershot and incomplete… not to mention they disappear.

2) The content I should offer would be sharing advanced, original tactics, and teach people to invent their own tactics / solve search problems with creative and critical thinking.

And that’s what the book’s about!

What’s been your biggest challenge in marketing this book, Gab?

Gab Goldenberg: How about two?

Okay, two! 

Gab Goldenberg: First is perfectionism – I always want my site to be better, down to the smallest details, and I can sometimes spend hours refining minutiae like line breaks. But it pays in greater usability and conversion rates.

The second is reaching out to people to review the book and getting them to follow through. I don’t like the phone even though I know it’s better than email.

What do you most love about SEO?

Gab Goldenberg: Like you, I enjoy learning new tactics and getting creative. It’s a way to express myself without being an artist, I think.

I also really love the people in this industry. I’ve gotten so much from my friends in the business, that I can’t be thankful enough! People like Ann Smarty of guest blogging forum, Jeremy Dearringer of, Mike Gray of, Jim Hedger of, Frank Watson of

If you had to narrow it down to 1, what’s the most important message in your book?

Gab Goldenberg: Success at SEO is due to creative and critical thinking. That means learning regularly – from yourself and others – and questioning constantly. Master those and you’ll become a wunderkind SEO.

What’s the one piece of advice in your book that you have failed to take in marketing the book so far?

I haven’t done enough conversion rate testing I’ve had a fair amount of traffic to my free chapter landing page but only recently have I started optimizing it. That said, early results are in and my first test doubled the conversion rate :D .

If someone will read only one chapter, which should it be? (Other than the introduction.)

The “click here to pay Gab” chapter ;) hehe. I think my free chapter on scaling white hat links without devoting your life to Digg will help a lot of people. Building links at scale requires two things: great content and wide distribution. Creating content is fun so everyone likes to do it and talk about it, but people often ignore or minimize the second because it’s inefficient and frustrating.

Distribution often involves lots of 1 on 1 contact which is annoying. Or it means devoting hundreds of hours a month to becoming a Digg / StumbleUpon / Reddit power user so that you can ensure you link bait is successful. And then you’re still at the mercy of an angry member of Digg’s staff who can ban your account and kill all that time. It doesn’t need to be that way, and so I’ve shared a simple solution to the problem that white hats can get on board with!

What advice do you have for e-book marketers putting out their first book?

I’ve shared 18 crucial tips on Wolf-Howl:

What’s the one question you hoped I’d ask you?

“Am I single?” ;) . Happily, no – I’m dating an awesome girl who’s really thoughtful and generous. Slowly teaching her about SEO and think she’ll be very effective/successful given the right training.

Gab Goldenberg,  author of  Advanced SEO’s 7 Curiously Obvious Rules & 30 Singular Tactics That Illustrate Them, is an SEO consultant, a popular speaker at search marketing conferences, and a regular writer on publications such as Search Engine Journal  (and other industry publications).  Download a free chapter of his recent Advanced SEO Book.


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