11 Actionable Things To Improve SEO, An Interview With Nikola Roza

Hey guys, I hope that you guys are safe in this crisis. Life is not always what we expect; it’s unpredictable at times. But we can follow what we have been told.

You must have observed me comparing SEO with life many times. SEO requires determination, and Nikola is a living example of perseverance.

He is in this SEO space for around five years, and he is known for his generous nature.

He was kind enough to write a guest post here about the importance of category pages. And we are glad to have him here again.

A lot of values coming on your way. Let’s be focused for 10 to 12 minutes to read and comprehend what Nikola is saying.

Who Is Nikola Roza?

interview nikola roza
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#1- Thanks For Managing Your Time Nikola, Please Tell Us Something About Yourself.

Answer: Hi, Chayan, thank you for inviting me. It’s an honor to be here and talk about me on your excellent blog.

So, My name is Nikola Roza, and I blog at nikolaroza.com. My blog is mainly about affiliate marketing and SEO and how to build an online business based on free Google traffic.

I got into this business five years ago when my mother died, and I had no means to support myself. I invested my last dough into basic hosting and WordPress installation, and that is how my blog was born

In the beginning, I had no meaningful traffic to speak off, so I sustained myself through freelance SEO writing (which is now my part-time job- hire me here).

It was the job that puts food on my table, but that also forged me into a wordsmith I am today (I still have lots to improve though).

#2- I Loved The Tagline Of Your Website. Tell Us More About It.

Answer: Thank you!

The full name of my business is “Nikola Roza- SEO for the Poor and Determined”.

I came up with it by combining two elements:

  1. my name;
  2. my business’s tagline/USP (unique selling proposition), which is also reflective of my life’s situation at that moment

“SEO for the Poor and Determined” speaks to folks who’re broke and don’t have a lot, or any kind of money to invest in SEO and internet marketing.

So my website promises them that, if they are determined to succeed; if they’re ready to work hard; and if they’re just a bit creative (where there’s a will- there’s a way) they CAN become a new success story.

My tagline  also reflects of what I had to go through as a new business owner 

I remember that to purchase my domain name and buy basic hosting I had to borrow money from a friend, as back then (2017) I had no job, and was supported by the state (social help) in order to survive.

All I had was a weak internet connection (that I was “borrowing” from an adjacent apartment), an old laptop (from 2008), and abundant desire to pull myself out of the hole I found myself in.

I knew I could do it though, and I’m happy to say I was right:)

#3- How did you learn SEO?

Answer: I first learned about SEO in March of 2015. Back then my mom was terminally ill and was close to dying. But she could’ve been saved had we more money. 

So I tried to create a business and start my affiliate marketing biz with a program called Wealthy Affiliate. 

Of course, that failed because I thought I could do it in 3 months. And I thought that because I was a total newbie.

I knew nothing.

I didn’t know what SEO meant I didn’t know the meaning of “SERPS”

Backlink, anchor text, meta descriptions, meta titles…

 All those left me scratching my head in confusion and desperation as time was running out.

It was a desperate move that came from a desperate situation and of course, I failed. And my mother died because there was no helping her after a certain point.

Then late in April 2016, I came back to it. I remember there were elections here in Serbia and politicians were promising riches if you voted for them. 

And it got me so angry because every year in April there were elections and they were just buying time and had no real answers and solutions.

So I decided to return to the online world and build a business online, even though I still knew next to nothing. 

The only thing I knew for certain is that I could do it, and that is because I know myself very well.

What I decide to do- I do.

Especially in a situation where I know I can’t expect help from anyone else.

Except that I couldn’t start my business because I had no money for another year of Wealthy Affiliate membership + hosting for my site.

So back then I thought

“Ok, you can’t afford this thing right now.

Should you stop then and wait? 

No!

Instead I will learn. 

Knowledge is free online and at least you know where to for it (back them I was in love with Moz and especilaly their Whiteboard Friday videos, which I rewatched 5 times each video)”

So learned I did.

I set as my goal to read SEO blog posts and tutorials 12h per day. And I’d often do 15 h per day. It was crazy now that I think about it.

 I just locked myself in my room and read and read and read.

At that time I also isolated myself from pretty much anybody. My father was a drunk and I had nothing in common with him. 

And my so-called friends proved their friendship by leaving me to die of starvation, and no one bothered to check in what was happening to me.

But that’s ok. 

It was a life lesson for me and I’m glad I received it. It’s far worse to delude yourself all your life.

So,  I wanted to master all of SEO so  that by the time I can afford hosting for my site, I will have a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be used, and I will know exactly what to do so as to progress with rapidity.

And that effort paid off for me, because since I started my biz for real (freelance SEO writing) I was able to quickly get clients.

 They recognized I knew my stuff and thought I’d been in the feild for at least 5 years, but probably much longer.

So, yeah, to give you a time perspective, I made the decision to educate myself on 16.4. 2016. And I started my business on 4.12. 2017.

So, almost 19 months of non-stop learning where I just refused to give up and had SEO spilling out of my ears.

I remember I dreamed nearly every night or keyword rankings.

And not how I was ranking and earning a ton of money, but how I did SEO and I ranked.

 What I did, how I did it, the logic behind it.

My point is that around 90% of my conscious and obviously subconscious mental effort was dedicated to SEO and finally mastering it.

It was an insane experience , but I’m glad I had it, as it made me into what I am today.

 

Now, I know exactly why I’m doing something, and why I’m not doing something else.

#4-White Hat Vs. Grey Hat SEO. What Will You Choose And Why?

Answer: White hat long term.

Grey hat short term.

And let me define greyhat. 

I think guest posting for links is greyhat SEO. But I still do it as I basically have to.

Because my competitors are buying links, using PBN’s and expired domains to rank. So I have to match them somehow or I will never rank.

But long term, my goal is to create a mass of excellent content that attracts links naturally so that I don’t have to do the grey hat stuff.

Because I really don’t enjoy it.

Bottom line

If you’re just starting out, think long term and where you want to be with your blog five years from now; but also do the short term stuff that will help you at this moment and right now, but that won’t be your primary way of building links in the future.

You must be creative if you have no money and are competing against those that do.

#5- Your Observation For SEO In 2020

Answer: On the surface, SEO is going to get more technical and complicated. But below the surface SEO is going to remain largely the same.

That’s great content and good links will get you the rankings you want.

Great content is not content that you invested thousands of dollars in to have custom designed. 

Great content is the one that answers the query completely.

So there’s no reason for anyone to feel daunted that they don’t have the budget to compete.

Especially since there are a small ton of lucrative, weak-competition keywords where even new sites have a great shot at ranking quickly.

For example, hosting Black Friday deals queries are insanely easy to rank for.

 

So easy in fact that it’s hard to believe because they are money terms and they can make you good money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

I think it’s because those are special-event keywords, meaning they can only get traffic on a few days per year. So it dissuades lot’s of people from trying to rank for them.

To show you how easy it is to rank I’ll give you 2 examples

 

My Wealthy Affiliate Black Friday page is ranking in the first 5 in the SERPS even though that page is less than 4 months old and has zero links pointing to it.

It’s ranking because it is great content, it has a few keyword-rich internal links pointing to it; AND there’s very little competition (the crucial reason)

The same can be said of my ConvertKit Black Friday page. Except that this query is even easier to rank for and I’m ranking #3 with a 3-month old article.

Again, no links needed.

So, saying that you don’t have the budget to compete is just looking for excuses not to take action. 

Take a look at SERPS everywhere and you will see infinite opportunity for growth.

The other big part of this equation are links

You need links because Google needs links. Google needs them to sort out an infinite mass of content and pull out the best result for any given query, or what they think is the best.

So my advice is to focus on creating helpful content first, to bulk up your site. 

And then focus on getting links. Any link anywhere on your site helps your entire site grow in Google search.

Finally, once a blogger has had some success and has some experience under their belt, they can learn to create content and build links at the same time (with email promotion) and that is how you start to grow fast and exponentially.

But if you’re just starting out focus on content first, and then get some links. 

And celebrate your every link, as they’re not easy to get.

And also, the first link is the hardest. But once you have it, it’s as if a barrier comes down and suddenly you’re a true link builder.

#-6-You Also Write Many Guest Posts, Do You Believe That Guest Posts Are The Most Authentic Way To Do Link Building?

Answer: For me, the two most authentic ways are expert roundups and guest posts.

Because with expert roundups you submit your tidbit of knowledge for the roundup and are rewarded with a link. 

As you should be.

 For guest posts, it’s even more legit because you provide the whole article that you wrote for their audience.

 Of course, you should be rewarded with a link because you want to get an SEO benefit out of it.

 However, it’s important not to  SEO your guest posts a bit too much. Stay away from keyword-rich anchor text and don’t make guest posting your only link building strategy.

 And of course never buy guest posts or links in guest posts.

 Instead, develop relationships with bloggers so they invite you to be a guest on their site..

 For example: 

 A while ago you invited me to host me on SimpleFactsOnline. I felt honored and gave you what I think is a really good article on using category pages for SEO.

 And I thank you for it and that’s how our blogging friendship was born, Chayan.

#7- On-Page SEO checklist for new bloggers

Answer:

  • Keyword in SEO title
  • Keyword in URL (URL short, just the target keyword)
  • Keyword in Meta descriptions (because it gets bolded in the SERPS)
  • Keyword in Headline (headlines can be longer so make them interesting too. Not just the keyword)
  • Keyword in the first 100 words.
  • Keyword in first image alt attribute (I usually make a custom banner and put a keyword there)
  • Keyword in a first image file name
  • Target keyword 3-4 times throughout the text
  • Keyword in subheadline
  • Keyword rich internal links
  • Few relevant outbound links

Pro tips:

  • Use Google suggest to find related keywords to the one you target with your article. Record them and then sprinkle them in your text or use them as your subheadings (do what makes sense)
  • For every post try to create original images (not all of them but at least one) Google-like original imagery and you’ll rank higher in Google Images, and normal search too
  • Don’t worry about the exact keyword placement. For example, it is not important to have the target keyword at the start of your SEO title (it’s much more important than your keyword is there, AND that your SEO title reads well)

#8- How To Get The Recent Updates About Search Engines?

Answer:  On principle, I’m against paying too much attention to Google’s updates, especially core one’s.

Why?

Because knowing about them only raises your level of stress while it contributes nothing to the practical side of things. 

Which is how to combat whatever happening with the SERPS and your site

Usually, you can’t as it’s out of your control and with core updates no one knows what’s going on and even folks that claim they figured it out are just guessing.

So the solution is to keep your head down and keep working as if nothing is happening.

Focus on what will always work and that is high-quality content and good “whitehat” links

Those will always work and if you focus on them you will have a large advantage over your competitors as most of them will worry about Google updates instead of trying to improve their business.

So that was my long winder answer but the best source for news on Google updates is Barry Schwartz.

I look at his Twitter profile when I want to see if there was an update recently.

If you want things automated a bit then I suggest AccuRanker’s Grump feature.

It’s a free tool that measures volatility in Google’s SERPs.

So, high volatility= probable update.

On a side note, I recently reviewed Accurnaker so that’s where folks can learn about it some more.

#9- How To Understand The Searchers Intent?

Answer:  That’s easy and people make it more complicated then it needs to be.

First, Google your target keyword and take a look at the page one to see what’s ranking.

If you see a bunch of videos, then you know you need to do video. If you see an image carousel it might be worth it investing in custom images as you primary content.

And if you see a blend as is often the case, for example blog posts and videos then I’d go with a typical blog post because they are easier to create, especially if you’re on a very tight budget.

But if you’re not on a budget and that keyword is important to you, then it might be worthwhile to create both a blog post and a video.

That’s when you can try to conquer two spots in the sameSERPs.

And more real estate= more clicks.

#10- Best Keyword Research Tool And Why

Answer:  SEMrush. 

Becuse it shows you the keyword your competition is ranking for. If you have a site of similar strength, then you can just create a better piece of content and  quickly overtake them in the SERPs.

 

Because  when you know what works and you have proof through SEMrush, then it’s really easy to outrank someone.

If you don’t have money for SEMrush or any other tools then I suggest you use Google auto suggest and search for really long keywords 

Those will have less competition and with enough articles you will start to rank and get decent traffic.

Then after traffic come sales and then you can buy a premium tool to make your KW rsearech more effective.

#11- How To Do Link Building In A Legit Way?

Answer: The best links are those that come naturally without you even asking for them. It’s when you do your work and someone let’s you know:

“hey I linked to you!”

That feels so nice and also- these links work!

So to achieve that, it’s a two step process

First, create a lot of high quality content on your site. That content should be informational in nature and that content will be you future link bait.

Second, get involved in your niche. Comment on other blogs, share their content; link to them and then let them know…

Basically, become a blogger whom everuotehr blogger recognizes.. It will take you several months to do this BTW.

Then all those bloggers will start coming by your site to check you out and then they will start spontaneously to link to you.

It’s because you’ve done favores for them first (comment, shares links) and they will feel it’s only natural and normal to respond in kind.

In blogging, what goes around comes around and I’m learning that lesson myself, as I keep getting links left and right and totally unexpected.

Like I said it is a very nice feeling being appreciated like that.

#12- Your SEO Tip For Our Readers.

Answer: Besides building links and creating content which I talked about before, my other tip is not to forget on page SEO

On page SEO is nothing more that you giving signals to Google about what your page is about and what it should rank for.

On page SEO is invaluable to you if you want to rank.

Or as i like to say it:

“You will never rank with on-page SEO alone; but you will also never rank without it”

Unless you give Google the on-page signals it needs, then even a million links won’t do much for you.

#13- Your Feedback For Simplefactsonline

Answer: Your site is excellent. Well designed, lots of white space and highly readable.

Your site structure is also good because all content is accessible from your menu, both to Google and your visitors.

I would suggest you focus on content and link at the same time. 

Create content that you feel is great and that deserves to rank (even if it takes a bit longer ) but also connect with other bloggers and build as many good links as possible.

Remember good links are links from other blogs. Don’t waste your time with forum links, or profile links …

One good link from a weak website  is worth 50 profile or forum links.

Also when building links, focus on relevancy. Don’t worry about DA just make sure you’re getting links from related blogs. 

Also don’t worry too much about anchor text. It’s not as strong a signal as it used to be.

That’s it, Chayan..

Keep learning. Keep growing your blog and yourself as a person. 

And have patience. Patience is key and even when it seems like things are not moving, they are but you’re not seeing it as you’re a human and not a computer, or an algorithm.

Thanks again for the honor, buddy!

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interview nikola roza

8 thoughts on “11 Actionable Things To Improve SEO, An Interview With Nikola Roza”

  1. Hello Chayan,

    Thanks for organizing this awesome interview of Nikola. I know him from past a few years and he helped me a lot. We are now a best friend and help each other to grow our blog. He is a very friendly guy and have good knowledge of SEO. If anyone wants to know more about the SEO, He is the Guy. Awesome Interview

    Regards,
    Vishwajeet Kumar

    Reply
  2. Hi Chayan,

    Thanks for bringing Nikola in Here, he is an awesome blogger with quality experience. I have found him very humble and ready to help when you need him.

    I especially I love is blog tagline “seo for the poor and determined”… That sounds like me, I learnt SEO with nothing, no single course but my determination is the winner…I am never giving up.

    Nice one Nikola…I had interviewed him on my blog and have you (chayan) on my list too.

    Best regards
    Folajomi

    Reply
    • Hey Folajomi,
      Thanks, A lot Folajomi for considering me for the interview. Let’s get back to this interview and say something about Nikola. He is a dedicated blogger and an SEO champ. A lot to learn from him.

      Reply

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