On today’s episode I talk with Brie Moreau from from wldm.io about his SEO background and his current move from an agency model to an operator model.
Brie started his SEO background back in 2007, he had a friend who ranked for the KW “gold price” and was making millions from Adsense which really got him interested. He then started building out some affiliate sites which started making him some money, then added some client work.
He then migrated across to agency world as wanted to get better at SEO and work with large clients. He ended up working for one of the big international network agencies where his clients were banks, airlines and hotels that pass work to other corporate SEO agencies such as https://resolutionmedia.com/us/en/ & https://www.iprospect.com/en/gb/#
Brie purchased 3 websites (one from gumtree and the other two from Flippa) in the sub $50k range that make him between $500-$1500/m. He’s now looking to put a website operator on these sites to grow them, and also get more case studies to promote their forthcoming operator service. He has one operator deal at the moment with a party-hire directory currently operating in a single city in the US. His model will be similar to the $1k/m and 50% upside I created which is now over at https://alphainvestors.com/operators/
He went to Silicon Valley and met up with VC and PE companies and ended up pitching them website assets, how would you feel about getting 20% ROI, and then split upside 50-50. They said let’s do it and he had access to $1MM-$3MM but the issue is how to deploy that whilst minimising risk. He spent the next 2-3 months trying to find a deal, ended up finding a million dollar deal on FE International, was a website called https://listenonrepeat.com/ which was a youtube player that strips out the ads so you can create custom playlists. The PE company started doing due diligence on it as it was netting $400k a year net profit which was probably a bit inflated, and felt too good to be true but the website had been established a long time. They were concerned it was breaching the ToS from YouTube / Google so denied the deal. Brie was relived as the weight of being in charge of $1MM in equity was weighing on him. Instead we think it would be better to invest in a company that Brie sets up so can split that capital over 10 sites rather than 1-2. The deal made him realised the best thing for him to focus on going forward is to build out a really solid CRO team to be able to immediately add value to deals through data. CRO will get the quick wins (3-6 months) and then they will stick around for the SEO (which will kick in at 6-9 months).
His strategy for finding deals was to use scrapebox to find sites with Adsense code that can negotiate a deal on, that can then take to AdThrive or Mediavine to see if would accept (by downloading PDF from GA), and if so then make the purchase (the holy grail approach of website flipping).
He is also building out SEO a/b testing software where they show the google bot and user different versions to best optimise for clicks through from SERPs, similar to https://odn.distilled.net/. Quickest wins are adding price and date to the title tag and aligning the title to the meta description, so that your KWs are aligned and there is a flow between them. Also the more KWs you put into the meta title / description, the more keywords you rank for.
He is building an operator team, moving away from just being an agency team. He has backlinkers, content writers and high level SEOs. To get the top SEOs he uses proper job boards and by offering remote work he can really attract the high level guys. They have a staff of 20 SEOs, account managers and an operations manager, with a core team based in Eastern Europe. His team delivers 150-200x high quality 800+word guest post links a month for clients – this is a lot of words per month to deliver. Brie states that this is why back linking is the only part of the SEO process that large companies such as Airbnb outsource to companies like The Hotheadedness’s and Outreach Mama (content and technical SEO is kept in house). It’s not just guest posting that they do, they offer genuine custom outreach for clients that includes skyscraper as well as niche edits.
A couple of Brie’s staff members already have profit share in some of his businesses and what he’s trying to achieve with the larger operator deals is that the main SEO working on the account gets 1/3 of the profit, the company (Brie) gets 1/3 of the profit and then the core team gets 1/3 of the profit (from the 50-50 split with the investor). These operator deals are likely going to be 2-3 years so Brie want’s to ensure that everyone is committed. All the operations team are salaried and the rest are contractors.
This is the final episode hosted by Richard Patey post the acquisition of Flipping Websites into Alpha Investors and for the immediate future he will be focussing on building up his software review site for the content site challenge.
Stay subscribed for for future episodes in the new year.