How You Can Compete with the Shady Marketers Without Breaking the Rules | Ep. #546

In episode #546, Eric and Neil talk about what shady marketers do and how you can succeed in spite of them. Tune in to hear how Eric and Neil earn good will with their marketing techniques. 

Time-Stamped Show Notes:  

  • [00:27] Today’s Topic: How You Can Compete with the Shady Marketers Without Breaking the Rules
  • [01:05] Shady is: bending the rules, using unethical techniques, or avenues that aren’t on the up and up.
  • [01:32] Facebook has always been big on skin care advertisers. Unfortunately, they offer free trials that aren’t actually free.
  • [02:00] Blackhat SEO’ers would create link wheels, where they would take a web 2.0 properties and link them to each other.
  • [02:34] Instead of making spammy articles, what if you linked all your guest posts together?
  • [02:51] Thinking long term is key to your success, even when learning from shady techniques.
  • [03:36] Yes, the shady marketers may be beating you right now, but they won’t be around forever.
  • [03:53] Affiliate marketers will burn your brand if they have to, but that won’t work for them in the long term.
  • [04:32] Neil does more of everything that will pan out in the long term and ignores the bad marketing techniques. He likes to create more good will around his brand.
  • [05:18] The Skyscraper Technique is more or less what Neil is doing.
  • [06:00] Don’t worry about what your competition is doing if they are shady!
  • [06:25] That’s it for today!
  • [06:27] Go to for a special edition of Crazy Egg, the heat mapping tool.

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The post How You Can Compete with the Shady Marketers Without Breaking the Rules | Ep. #546 appeared first on Marketing School Podcast.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Speaker 1: Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with the guile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. You're listening to Marketing School with your instructors, Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Eric Siu: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.

Neil Patel: And I'm Neil Patel.

Eric Siu: And today we are going to talk about how can compete with shady marketers without breaking the rules. So, Neil, what does it mean to you? I'm curious, what is a shady marketer to you?

Neil Patel: Yeah, so let me give you an example of SEO. A lot of people hit me up, they're like, "Neil, I want to rank for this term, like auto insurance, and the problem I'm dealing with is everyone's using black hat techniques, and they're buying links, and they're doing all this shady stuff, how do I compete with them? I don't want to do the same stuff that they are, it's not long term, but I want to compete, and they've been ranking for years, and it's not fair."

Eric Siu: That's it?

Neil Patel: That's it. That's most of the thing. What I look at a shady is pretty much bending the rules that most companies or people wouldn't use, or stuff that's unethical, like, for example, people may end up lying and then they end up saying, "If you subscribe to my YouTube video, I'll do X, Y, and Z," and they never end up doing it, and you're trying to compete with them, or beat their channel, but, just in general, there's always going to be marketers out there, mainly in the affiliate space, of people who are just willing to do whatever, and just crush you. Years ago, the skincare industry was really huge on Facebook, and dieting supplements, and it still is, and people are doing things like free trail, but they really just keep billing you each and every single month, and keep sending you more and more product, even though you don't want them, but their ads convert way better, so you're like, "How do you compete with them?" It makes it really tough.

Eric Siu: Yeah. So Neil hit it right on the head. I mean, that's what a shady marketer is. So here's what I like to do. When you think about shady, you can call it black hat or gray hat, whatever, think about what these, especially from an SEO perspective, right? Back in the day, black hat SEOs would do these things called link wheels, right, which was where they would just take these Web 2.0 properties, like a blogger, or a [inaudible 00:02:11], or whatever, link them to each other, and then link them to the main page that you're trying to rank. That's a link wheel, right? So, when you look at that, it's like, okay, that doesn't seem very long term, right? So, if you can approach something with a long term mindset, and also think about all of these black hat tactics that work, what if you applied it in a white hat way, right?
So, instead of saying, "I'm going to make all of these spammy directory articles or whatever," why don't you take certain ... Let's say what if you have five guest posts or something, and you link them to each other, and they link to the main page, or not. This is a terrible example, but you get what I mean. You're doing it in a clean way, and you're thinking much longer term, you're going to be able to grow for the long term, because here's the thing, we talked about it in a couple of episodes, easy come, easy go. We've tested various black hat methods back in the day when we first started learning this stuff, and, yeah, we're able to rank things when we're doing things in a shady way, but, dude, it doesn't last very long. It goes away quickly. What Neil and I have both found, that when you do things for the long term, like this podcast, we've done well over 500 episodes now, we do it for the long term, because we know it's going to help in the long run.

Neil Patel: Yeah, and the way I deal with these shady people is just like they're not going to end up being around forever. Yes, in the short run, they end up maybe beating you. It can even be where they beat you for a year or even two years. In the long run, they won't last. Stick it up for the long haul, keep pushing through, provide more value, and just know, yes, they're beating you right now, but they won't be around forever.

Eric Siu: Yeah, and here's the other thing. Also, when Neil talks about affiliate marketing too, like when you think about the shady affiliate marketers out there, those are the ones that will do whatever it takes to ... Let's say the affiliate marketing for your product, they will do whatever it takes. They will burn their brand if they have to, to make a buck, and the reason that doesn't work well is because they just think about the money. Again, when I talk about thinking about the long term, don't just think about the money. It's not just about the money, it's about the value that you provide. The reason affiliate marketing has the bad rap that it has, is because it's so money focused, it's so bottom line focused, that when you go to an affiliate conference for example, it just feels kind of icky, right? I'm not saying all of them are like that, but some of the ones I've been to, it just doesn't feel good.

Neil Patel: Yeah, and the other thing that I've done is I've dealt with these marketers who are like, "Oh, dude, I'm crushing you. Look what I'm doing." And I don't say anything, I keep my mouth shut. I go and I just do more of everything that I know that is long term. When I see people doing shady stuff, like building crazy links, or spamming Facebook, or running forced continuity offers, where you keep getting billed for a free trial, what I do is I just try to create more good will. I'll do more blogging, I'll do more podcasting, I'll do more videos. I'll do all of the stuff that I know is more long term, but I'll go like 10X at it, and I really mean by 10X and just going above and beyond, where I know that, once everyone else catches on that, "Hey, this is shady stuff," and they get pulled and it stops working for them, it's too hard for them to go the legitimate route and catch up to me, because I just done 10 times more than anyone else is willing to do with all the legitimate tactics.

Eric Siu: Yeah, so, if you want to build on that, just google the Skyscraper technique from Backlinko, and, basically, here's the interesting thing, Backlinko's post is about how he can skyscrape maybe the number one or number two result at Google and then just do 10X better than it, Neil's doing that in real life. He's doing 10X the value, so let's say Neil will just go out there, buy a tool for $250,000, or he'll create a really good content piece that's well designed for $30,000, give it away, so, literally, he is doing that. He's just giving it away, not trying to collect anything. He's building different tools, building really great resources all for the long term, because if he knows if he keeps doing that, it's going to compound, and it's going to become really difficult to catch him.
I don't really have anything else on my end, other than just keep focusing on what's really good and long term, and don't worry about what your competition's doing. Everyone's always like, "Oh, my competition's bigger than me, they're doing this." Yes, you need to keep a eye out for them, especially if they're legitimate. If they're shady, not as much, but more so just keep doing what you're doing, and it's okay if your competition's bigger than you at some point. As long as you're happy with the progress, you're doing the right thing, eventually, you will come out ahead, it just takes time.

Neil Patel: Great. So, before we go, go to to learn about our special giveaway just for you, and we will see you tomorrow.

Speaker 1: This session of Marketing School has come to a close. Be sure to subscribe for more daily marketing strategies and tactics to help you find the success you've always dreamed of. And don't forget to rate and review, so we can continue to bring you the best daily content possible. We'll see you in class tomorrow, right here on Marketing School.

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