SEOCon 2021: Our Experience at Crowdo

As you might have heard, Crowdo team has participated in SEOCon 2021, an SEO conference that took place in March. Here is a short timeline of what happened back there:

Day 1: Stan (CEO of Crowdo) and Andrei (Marketing Lead) gave a lecture on the following topic “Crowd Marketing: An Uncommon Way to Build Natural Links”. The session was closed with a short Q&A session, handled by Andrei.

Day 2: Stan gave a short lecture on various link building techniques and how Crowdo integrates them in its workflow. This session also ended with Stan, participating in the Q&A session.

We know that a lot of you haven’t had a chance to follow us at the conference, which is why we prepared video highlights from our lectures, as well as complete transcripts from our Q&A sessions.

A Short Video

Note: We can’t publish the entire video lecture because of privacy reasons, but this video highlights how the presentation went.

Q&A Session with Andrei Cucleschin (Marketing Lead at Crowdo)

Edward: Hello and good afternoon again, everyone. So back with me, Edward, from Conex coworking space. And it’s my pleasure to again moderate this Q&A session with all of you. First of all, I would like to say thank you to our speakers in the session, Andrei and Stan, for their detailed insights on crowd marketing: an uncommon way to build natural links. So hello, Andrei and Stan.

Andrei: Hey, how are you doing?

Edward: Very good, thank you, how are you guys doing?

Andrei: I’m doing well, unfortunately, it will be just me today because Stan couldn’t be here . Tomorrow there will be another lecture and he will be leading it, so he will make up.

Edward: Sure. All right, thank you so much, Andrei. And so, again, we are very happy to have you here with us today and it’s a very interesting and insightful presentation from both of you. All right, so let’s move on to the questions, because actually they are quite some questions from our audience who obviously are very anxious and excited to learn more about crowd marketing strategies. So here goes the first question and it’s from David. 

So if you want to promote a product for a niche market and you only have a low promotion budget – is crowd marketing the best strategy?

Andrei: I would say it depends… If you’re just starting out, maybe not, because there are a lot of things that you can do, so, of course, you need to delegate and manage your budget wisely. But if you already have some credibility, so your business is not entirely fresh – I would definitely consider that because it’s really cost-effective. 

So we have done some internal research and we found that on average, people spend about 100 or 200 U.S. dollars for a guest post. And with crowd marketing links, it’s about ten to twelve dollars per link on average. 

So it’s definitely cost-effective. But if you’re on a tight budget, maybe you could focus on content writing first, because if your website is really fresh and new and there is not that much to discover there, but you have a lot of links, this kind of cancels out the whole SEO value of link building.

Edward: Right. So it really depends on the stage of your business and which strategy should be applied.

Andrei: Yeah, exactly.

Edward: All right, so thank you for answering that question and then the second one: how to check the spam score if you are new in making campaigns for crowd marketing?

Andrei: OK, so there are quite a number of SEO tools that check the spam score, one of them is Majestic SEO, as I believe that Ahrefs has this kind of ranking as well. But what we actually do is we usually do it manually. 

So, of course, it’s nice to do it quickly via some tools so you can check the score, and if it’s a hundred, then it’s a warning sign. But the best you can do is actually just do it yourself so you can go on a community , on the forum and just browse it. 

So if you see a lot of irrelevant replies, like go visit my website and there are some random links then it’s a bad sign because if you see a lot of these comments that means that there is no moderation. Nobody’s taking care of the forum and it’s probably a bad place for link building. But there are a number of tools that can do it for you. And one of them is Majestic SEO.

Edward: All right. So if the person is new, better to use the tools that are already out there, opposed to doing it manually?

Andrei: Most likely. It depends on the scale, so, of course, if you have, you know, 10-15 minutes to spend, then I would advise to always do it manually to confirm everything, because the numbers that these tools give us are not always accurate. But, yeah, if you’re doing a large scale and you have a lot of websites to scan, then you will probably use the tool because it’s simply more efficient.

Edward: All right. OK, thank you. And so the next question is : My company is a coworking space, and I would like to know for a new coworking space that is currently doing a branding campaign, what kind of crowd marketing strategies that I can use?

Andrei: OK, so I assume that your question is whether crowd marketing is the right strategy for you and how should you approach it. I believe that Stan has actually mentioned an example about coworking space in the lecture and as he said, there are not tens of thousands of different platforms and communities on coworking space specifically, but there are still a lot of community posts and topics and discussions about coworking space.

You can, for example, search for business or entrepreneur forums. And you will definitely find tons of questions about coworking space, especially if it’s a local forum, because a lot of local entrepreneurs have this question in mind. And yeah, I would say that it’s definitely worth implementing a crowd marketing campaign that will give you your first sign of visibility on Google. And this will make your website look more credible and trustworthy; It’s much better than if you start with guest post links because they are, in theory, more powerful, but they can also look very suspicious.

 So imagine you have a new brand and you already have hundreds of different blogs discussing your website. This is kind of suspicious and with community websites, it’s a bit less strict so to say.

Edward: OK. So let’s move on to the next question and this one. I’m going to put it in the chat box as well, because it’s quite long

Andrei:  Long one again, maybe it’s not my lucky day 🙂

Edward: We have very enthusiastic participants today, so. All right, let’s read it together. What are the differences between crowd marketing, social media marketing and other organic digital marketing techniques? What are the challenges that a beginner would usually face? 

Andrei: OK, so first things first what’s the difference between crowd marketing and social media marketing. So first of all, I would like to point out that social media, if you mean traditional media like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, is not an effective place to build links like it’s a great place to promote your brand, maybe have some eyes on your website, generate some traffic.

 But with regard to link building, it is not very useful. Google has confirmed that mostly links from these platforms, like from social media platforms are not taken into account. All of them are nofollow. And I mean, if you want to promote a website going over to Facebook or Twitter is great, but with regard to your SERP movement, it will not make much of a difference, whereas forums, especially relevant local forums, will make a difference. So that’s one thing. 

What are the challenges that a beginner would usually face? I would say link deletion, because beginners would probably rush for quantity, which is usually not the most effective approach.

Edward: OK, so let’s go to the next questions – Is it OK to get a referral link from a different language site, even if we are using 300 to 500 symbols unique comments?

Andrei: OK, so the question is whether it’s fine to use different language websites for your own website. So I assume you have and let’s say an Indonesian agency, but then you’re asking if it’s fine to post on English or American forums. And the answer here is yes. 

So it would be perfect if you could find Indonesian communities to place your replies, but it’s not required. So let’s just say that going to local forums, finding local communities is just another level. So if you place backlinks on some English forums – this will still push the needles. But if you do it on some Indonesian, some local websites, this would be even better. 

So I would say that if you can’t find a local forum on your specific subject, you can still try going for international platforms. But if you can find it, then of course, you definitely should prioritise local websites.

Edward: OK the last question of the day.

 What would you do if there is a black campaign or a negative stigma against your product in the said community that you are trying to reach? So I assume the product is not well received by the community that they are trying to reach. So there is like a black campaign or a negative stigma in the community. So what kind of strategy can be done?

Andrei: OK, so. Let’s just speculate two different scenarios here, so scenario one is you have a product that is just not accepted by the audience. In this case, I would try to focus on other marketing aspects first. 

So maybe do some rebranding, launch some more campaigns just to try to shift the mindset, the perspective of your audience before, you know, you try to post any comments, especially with links. 

So, you know, if you if your product is not well received by the audience, I guess that as your link building is not your top priority at the moment and you should perhaps think more about your brand perception first. 

And if we’re talking about negative SEO, because we actually had a few cases like this, whereas  there is a company that purposefully pays someone to go to different websites and blogs and spam their competitors’ links. 

So in the eyes of Google, their competitors will look untrustworthy. It’s like, you know, they want Google to see that their competitors are trying to game the system. And that’s what we call negative SEO. 

If that’s happened to you or, you know, somebody who had this experience, then the first thing I would do is use the Google disavow tool to discourage Google from indexing certain backlinks, as well as reporting the issue to Google directly, because negative SEO is black hat method and Google actually punishes websites who are involved in that. So that’s what I would probably do.

Edward: All right. OK, so thank you, Andrei. I think we have covered all of the questions from the audience. So once again, audience, we understand that there were some technical difficulties. So if you wish to have a follow up conversation with Andrei again, feel free to reach out to him. He has given his contact during his presentation. And Andrei, I believe I think we will see you again tomorrow.

Andrei: Exactly.

Edward: All right. So there is more time to connect with Andrei and Stan. So thank you so much for your time.

Andrei: Thank you so much. I was really glad to be here and have a good day. Enjoy the rest of the lectures.

Edward: All right. Thank you, Andrei. And see you all participants in the next session, bye bye!

Andrei: Cheers!

Q&A Session with Stanislav Lisunov (Stan Fox, CEO of Crowdo)

Amy: Hi, and thanks so much for that talk. That was really insightful and it’s always good to go away from a talk with loads of actionable insights. So thanks for that. And where are you, where are you dialing in from today?

Stan: Where am I from? I’m from Moldova. Maybe someone knows it’s a small country near Romania and Ukraine. Yeah, yeah. We have very talented people here. It’s a small country, only three million people, but most of them are IT specialists.

Amy: Yeah, it’s a good community there.

Stan: Yeah. Good community. Very good country with nice people.

Amy: Amazing. And we’ve got lots of questions. I’ll try and get through as many of them as I can in the ten minutes. But let me just start with one from John. 

And John says: How important is the text surrounding a link and all the links in paragraph text more valuable than at the end of a piece of text?

Stan: Yeah, of course, it’s very important to surround the link with the text, as I said, regarding foundational links, when you create a user profile (as an example) – you always want to have good text around it. 

You just have to say that if you want to know more about this product, visit this website via this link. It’s better than just link insertion with no context.

Amy: That’s super helpful. Thank you. And we have a question here from Jess.

And naturally, how many guest guests post should you aim for to elevate your domain authority by a point?

Stan: Well, I’m not sure that you always want to go for domain authority, because the domain authority is very important, but  you know  it’s just a metric. And first of all, you are interested in the Google SERP movement.

 So I know guys who make domain authority without any guest posts, just making fake things to grow the domain authority. So don’t always rely on domain authority. Aim on SERP movement. it’s all we need.

Amy: OK, perfect. Thank you. We have another question here from Habib. He asks: when you get backlinks from other languages, how does that affect the site with Google and does it become more localized?

Stan: Uh, well, you mean if we make links from English sites to other language websites. Yeah, we’ve tested it a lot, like a lot because we’ve introduced other languages in our service not so long ago.. Maybe a year ago. Before that, we’ve made all the links in English. And yes, it works somehow! But for sure it works much, much better if you have links from the language of your own website.  

I mean, if your site is in German, it’s better to backlinks from German sites. But anyway, the link works. Even if you put them in English, but the domain is good, you know, like with good organic traffic with good key metrics and if it’s niche relevant, then the English link will work too. Yeah.

Amy: OK, great. And this is another question kind of in the same lines of relevancy.

So in terms of link building, is relevancy still considered to be the best option? So, for example, if my site is a niche gaming review site, should they source links from other gaming sites or is it fine to go for other less relevant sites as well?

Stan: Well, it’s a good question because sometimes I see links from, you know, like big, big magazines or some big sites. But the nature of these sites is general, you know, they talk about mammas, about cars, about gambling, about everything. But these sites are big magazines.

And I’m sure and it’s been tested; if the link comes from a niche relevant site,. and the metrics are not as high as, you know, this magazine – it will still be better for your SEO. You better  get more niche relevant backlinks from relevant domains, exact domains, and they do affect much better than if you have links from big sites with general purpose. you know. For example a car site( an automotive niche site) – you better reach out to automotive blogs, than the big sites like, you know, big magazines like Forbes, etcThey take a lot of money, but the SEO juice, I think is much better from niche relevant blogs.

Amy: OK, that’s really interesting and then a question I have along the same lines. 

Is  linking more competitive and more successful from one industry to the next. So a lot of the work we do, we see in the gaming example gaming and gambling sites having a huge amount of backlinks that you would need to compete with websites like that versus maybe something like fashion. Is that something you say?

Stan: There are some big niches like gambling, pharmacy or other grey niches where you have to build a lot of links because all the competitors have good sites, good content, good technical SEO and stuff. And Google has to decide somehow which of them will go to the top. And that’s why, in my opinion, link building will never die despite Google saying that link building is not as useful as before. 

When we speak about high competitive niches – there is no other way just to get to the top, because all competitors have great sites, great blogs, you know, useful articles and other things. And somehow you have to find a way to build more backlinks. 

When we talk about, gambling or pharmacy niche, you can see that many of your competitors use  black hat methods. They just hack the domains and put links from it, millions and millions of links and they get to the top. They get high positions in search because of  backlinks.

And when someone tells me that in 2021 Backlinks do not matter anymore, I just laugh because reality says differently.

Amy: I’ve got one final question, and I think we’re running out of time:

Are nofollow links still worth having from an authority perspective?

Stan: Yes. As I said before, I’m totally on the nofollow side. Some webmasters count them as useless links. But Google themselves say that they count them as hints. They announced it in April 2020, as I remember once when they introduced user generated content and promoted links. 

And Google said that the following, they count them as hints. And in our experience, because, believe me, we have so many clients for crowd marketing, and some of the forum links are nofollow. And when I see it – we have made some tests building only nofollow links for some articles, you know, and we see that their positions have grown – I believe my own eyes, my own brains. So I’m sure that nofollow links have a positive effect on SEO. I’m sure that the dofollow links are better, but nofollow works too.

Amy: Great. Thank you. Thanks for all of that. I personally found it really interesting and helpful, so I’m sure others did too. I know you said at the end of your talk, but if people want to reach out and get in contact with you, what’s the best way to do that?

Stan: Yeah, contact me through Skype you can contact me and you can go through and just try our live chat.

Amy: Great. Thank you very much.

Stan: Thank you. Bye Bye.

Amy: Thanks. Bye bye.

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