Podcast 19 – Building a brand the grey hat way (with Travis Jamison)

Travis (@travis_jamison) from Supremacy SEO.

Travis Jamison from Supremacy SEO is a grey hat SEO specialist. This week he steps us through a step by step grey hat brand building strategy. He also makes an offer that hopefully Pat Flynn can’t refuse.


or Download the file or visit iTunes.

Pat Flynn offer

Travis wants to take on Pat in an SEO challenge. If Pat loses he has to interview Travis on his podcast. Either way Travis will donate $1,000 USD to a charity of Pat’s choice.

Pat, if you are reading feel free to email me dan@inform.ly to make it happen.


Grey hat brand building formula

1. Brandable domain

  • Focus on a brandable domain name and do the traditional brand building that you would do regardless of SEO.
  • Have one main brand website
  • Don’t worry about keywords in the domain

2. Content / long tail

  • Build quality content
  • Always use long content – 2,000+ words
  • Look at the top results in Google and model off that
  • Focus on buyer keywords
  • Add media to your pages (pictures, videos) – google loves it. Take other images and crop / resize and re-name after keyword
  • Link out to high authority sites but not to your competitors. Better to be relevant but Travis doesn’t see this as essential.
  • Doesn’t bother with no follow or do follow on the outgoing links

3. Pre-reputation management

Review sites and Q&A sites

  • Don’t wait till your brand is hurt before paying for reputation management
  • Provides social credibility, buffers against bad press and helps rankings to own more sites in your niche
  • Make sure you rank for reviews of your products
  • Q&A sites – paying a team to ask and then answer questions
  • Review sites – set up a site as an affiliate site that you own

 Social Signals

  • Buying Facebook and Twitter follows from Fiverr
  • Uses social signals for the main site – at the moment Google not smart enough to know the likes are gamed
  • Not all social profiles are indexed
  • Can get more quality bought likes and tweets

Social profiles

  • Setup accounts on the main social sites
  • Can use these to outrank bad reviews later on
  • Travis uses Hootsuite

4. Feeder sites

  • Sending grey hat links through to feeder sites
  •  5-40 pages ok content focusing on brand keywords
  • These sites server as backlinks and traffic for the main site
  • High quality backlinks should pay for themselves
  • Uses keywords for domains for the feeder sites – uses keyword tool
  • Uses a team to write the content and update WordPress
  • Banner goes at the header of each of the feeder sites
  • Puts a bit of text up the top before the banner so as to not be slapped by Panda
  • Images pass plenty of link juice, Travis usually links back to the site with keywords links as well
  • Unsure whether Google looks at both links on the page but it helps for relevancy anyway

5. Link building

  • Uses exact match anchors less of the time
  • Most like building tactics still working like they used to
  • Main keyword should be used in anchor around 10% of the time
  • Uses keyword generator or google keyword tool to generate a lot of longtail keywords for the anchor text and focus on buying keywords – keyword diversity – around 10%
  • Uses the main domain as the anchor (naked URL links) for around 40-50% of backlinks
  • Uses words like click here, read more etc – around 10%
  • Uses the same strategy for feeder sites but builds a lot more links in more automated ways

 Recommending for new person

What’s coming next?

  • Google will start targeting platforms. Things like wiki links, social bookmarks.
  • Dan thinks 2 tiered structures will be next, Travis thinks it’s a long way off.
  • Try to appear natural and you should be ok
  • Web 2.0’s probably won’t work for much longer


Dan Norris is a co-founder at WP Curve and a passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.

14 responses to “Podcast 19 – Building a brand the grey hat way (with Travis Jamison)”

  1. Social proof = 1,200 FB likes

  2. Dan Norris says:

    Ha cracked up when I saw these stats (before I saw your comment). My post impact chart in Informly has been rendered useless ha ha.

  3. How To Win Friends And Influence People? 😉

  4. This article is relevant to my interests 😉

  5. Daniel Duckworth says:

    I’m dubious about buying FB likes and +1s. More +1s than FB likes. Google knows which +1 users are real by simply looking at their behaviour. Do they have any Google services? Do they +1 similar content? Do they post status updates? Do they have people following them? Gaming +1s isn’t going to work and will likely end up with a penalty. Same likely goes for Tweets since all of the tweet data is indexable and analysable. However for FB Likes, Google doesn’t have access to the data to verify the weight or validity of them. How will Google combat paid FB Likes? I guess it could look at geographic information. I.e., website typically gets traffic from Australia or USA, but has 1,200 FB likes from users in India. But then smart FB Like sellers would have accounts from specific regions.

  6. freaking love this Love the idea of making “the gurus angry” by outranking them.

  7. In fact I like this one so much, I feel like buying you 2000 likes 😉

  8. Dan Norris says:

    Ha ha, Travis already beat you to it! I could use some +1’s though ha

  9. lol. The idea was never to make the guy mad, I like the man. I was more just playing around.

  10. Agreed somewhat. First of all the main purpose I use these for is not ranking, but social proof.

    As for Goog +1’s, I used to buy them. I still think that they are probably safe for now but why risk it?
    In my opinion the thing to remember is to take a “big picture” view of it all. The actual total percentage of people gaming google +’s is so insignificantly small that I can’t see it being a factor of the algorithm for the near future (I could be wrong of course).

    As for tweets and FB likes… think of when something goes viral. Suddenly thousands of tweets and likes go flying at a URL. This is considered normal. Twitter feeds in particular tend to be more just people posting link after link after link. It could be a lot more difficult to pinpoint something like this.

  11. I sure am popular 🙂

  12. Daniel Duckworth says:

    @Travis_Jamison:disqus I think there is a danger is doing this kind of stuff for clients. Let’s say there is no harm in gaming social signals for now and your client is happy. What happens in 6 months when they are hit with a penalty? Make sure you SEO contract covers you if this happens.

  13. marlon sanders says:

    The thing that I *think* appeals to people about what Pat is doing is that it keeps growing over time. Personally, I’m sure a gray hat or black hat person could crush Pat in a contest short term. But the real issue is 2-5 years down the road. What are you building for? Does anything exist a year or two down the road? I know people with email lists of 1/2 million names who can’t pay their aweber bill to mail the list. Sure they made a quick buck. But they’d like to have Pat’s 50 or 60 g’s a month that keeps growing month after month vs. the quick buck they made once upon a time. Having said that, I think Pat’s skill level in doing what he does is extremely high. Anyone can do gray or black hat stuff. Building a credible brand ESPECIALLY on a dubious topic that Google probably freaking HATES like Passive Income is quite the accomplishment. In fact, I’d say it’s a ninja skill only the elite can pull off.

  14. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks Marlon Agreed although you have to do what you are good at. I suspect Travis probably wouldn’t be that great at doing what Pat does and visa versa. Thanks for the comment.

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