@ Jason Acidre is the Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, a Philippine-based Inbound Marketing Consulting Agency. He’s also the author of Kaiserthesage, an SEO blog, and has been the marketing strategist for Affilorama affiliate training for the past 2 years. [I gave him nicer anchor text; he didn't ask for it, for you haters out there.]
You’ve built an impressive amount of comments on your posts [ed: 20+ average] in just under 2 years of blogging. What 3 things have you done that have most encouraged this community of commenters to build around your blog?
I think it’s mainly because of the content I provide. When I started blogging, I wasn’t really sure of how I’m going to approach my audience, since I started blogging without thinking who my market really is. But along the way, I realized a lot of things on how to really stand out as a blogger.
That’s when I decided to cover common topics (related to search engine optimization), but with a twist. I made sure that for each post that I’m going to write, I’ll be offering something new that people won’t see often written on other popular industry blogs. I guess that was my edge. Also, by the time I realized those things, I began writing longer and comprehensive posts, to keep my readers on coming back to blog, which I think encouraged most of them to share, bookmark and/or voluntary link back to my posts.
Lastly, my blog’s comment section allows dofollow links, and I think that’s one reason why people leave comments on my posts J
So to answer the question, the 3 factors that made my blog kind of successful:
- Content that get searched by people, but offers more than what they’ll usually expect (unexpected hook).
- Comprehensiveness of the content.
- Rewarding my readers (by giving them dofollow links on the comment section).
You played a video game – Counterstrike – professionally, before entering SEO. Did your Counterstrike days influence how you do SEO?
Yes, I definitely learned and acquired a lot of skills (that actually became a habit) from playing the game in Pro-level. Counterstrike is a tactical first-person shooting game that highly depends on timing and precision (on how you shoot/attack your opponents to win rounds), and to be able to win games will extremely require teamwork, given that I played the game for 7 years, there are several remarkable attributes that I’m really thankful to have learned from that experience:
- Basic leadership – which mostly comes down to how you can maximize your teammates’ unique skills and specialties, calling plays and on boosting their morale when in crucial situations.
- Competitiveness – since we compete with other teams, it’s given that most gamers will easily possess this trait, and I think that this is a driving force which makes people great at what they do.
- React, adapt and strategize in real-time – the game required us to think and act fast, as it’s important to react, adapt and outsmart our opponents’ plays, especially when they are gaining the momentum in winning rounds. This pretty much happens in the search industry as well, when game-changing updates occur, we SEOs need to react fast on how to reorganize or how to make our next strategies immune to future updates.
- Impregnable fighting spirit and optimism – our team has won several times catching up on our opponent’s scores, where most would think that we’re already done for. There’s always a chance of winning – even you’re down by a lot – you’ll just have to believe in what you can do and try to overcome those you think you can’t do.
- Always have a Plan B, C and D if possible – winning is so important to us before, especially on tournaments, where losing is not really an option to everyone else. So when push comes to shove a plan B is required.
- Winning rounds is not enough, keep on attacking – I guess this situation also happens in the SEO world. After getting top spots on major keywords, you’ll need to attack more and get your other keywords ranking as well. Dominating is quite different from winning.
I imagine you were involved in Counterstrike “clans” and forums around the game – what lessons can you share with us from that?
It’s pretty much the same with how social networking works. Gamers want that glowing aura whenever other clans see them on events/competitions. And they want to be in or be compared with the other titans/ace players of the game (just like how we want to be on industry influencers’ radars).
In the gaming arena, if you want to achieve that kind of status, you need to “earn other clans’ respect” by proving greatness on how you play the game. Whereas in the blogosphere, you need to prove yourself as an authority through the content you publish (which is pretty much the same).
When I started blogging, I didn’t have the chance to do both, I wasn’t that active on Twitter back then and I only did guest blogging for Affilorama(and still doing it up to now). But the method of networking that I used before (and I would definitely choose to do again in case I start all over) is through blog comments.
I had a list of blogs (prospects) that I followed and wanted to be on their radar. So I focused on interacting with them by leaving useful comments on their blog posts (to make them more interested of what I might have to offer) and enticed them to at least see a single blog post published on my blog. When some of them started sharing my content on Twitter, that’s where I think I began to be more social.
Having solid content on your blog and great comments on other influential blogs is a powerful combination. I’ll definitely choose that route any time.
Does living in the Phillipines give you an advantage over North American or European SEOs in terms of in-person access to low-cost labour?
Definitely! When I started Xight Interactive, I picked some of my old friends (whom I think were very qualified), so it wasn’t that hard to find people who are fit for the job at first. But now that we’re growing faster than I expected, that’s where I realized how fortunate I am to be living here. It’s so easy to find talented people and I get to train them myself (or by our other resident consultants and editors). I’m considering that as an advantage, seeing that we’re also competing globally.
As of now, our company’s revenue is mostly coming from our SEO, content and link building consulting services, and we are just treating our own websites (ecommerce) as investments for the company’s future, so we aren’t expecting that much from those yet.
Those projects (websites) are actually our team’s biggest motivation, particularly when the SEO consulting department is getting tougher challenges. It keeps us focused on our initial steps as a startup company, because it makes us remember how important our first steps are to be able to move on to the next step (which we all want, to have our own big money sites).