Lots of the components of an SEO campaign can be successfully outsourced. Link building, keyword research and of course, content. But can an SEO campaign be outsourced from end-to-end?
It’s an interesting concept and one Anji Ismail, co-founder of DOZ believes to be the future of internet marketing. DOZ is based on a new concept known as ‘prosourcing’ which enables customers to tap into a base of select freelancers from around the world who are delegated tasks in order to meet pre-agreed traffic targets.
I caught up with Anji and asked him to explain how the site works.
Q) Hi Anji, could you maybe start by giving me some insight into your background? How did you come up with the concept of DOZ?
A) DOZ is a product from Capseo – a company that I started in France in 2009 with my co-founder Faouzi El Yagoubi. From internships, we saw how unscalable digital agencies were.
From the beginning we believed that clients and freelancers couldn’t be in direct relation since they don’t speak the same “language”. A client would like to rank on keywords “X,Y,Z”, but freelancers cannot guarantee rankings. A client would like an increase of X% in traffic, but freelancers cannot guarantee it either.
DOZ is the product we launched in the US in March 2013, after prototyping in Europe for over 2 years.
Q) Could you explain to me a little bit about the process of how DOZ works? After I have given you my URL and traffic target, what happens next?
A) This is magic…. Kidding. Well a little bit 🙂
Our system first analyses your website presence, your URL history, your environment and competition. Then you provide information about your goals, industry, targeted market etc. This information will build what we call a brief.
Based on this brief, our algorithms will filter and curate the best marketing experts that are available at that time, are natives of your target market and have the expertise in your industry to start working on your campaign.
You have to imagine a DOZ campaign as a fastidious sequence of micro-task marketing : search engines, social media and content marketing.
Q) The cynic in me would question the value of signing up for a pre-agreed amount of traffic from indeterminate sources, how do I know that I wouldn’t just get a load of traffic from click farms?
A) Good question. One of the first things our clients have to do when they connect for the first time to DOZ is to connect their Google Analytics account. Our system will cross data from our actions with Google Analytics to show where the traffic is coming from. Clients can control everything and see in real time where their traffic is coming from.
Also we have implemented a “peer review” process. Every task before being validated is reviewed by another expert, in a blind mode, which guarantees confidentiality and also neutral opinion on the work.
Q) Here in the UK, companies are pretty nervous about link building right now, how do you plan to handle people’s objections that what you are doing might not necessarily ethical and future proof?
A) Well, this is why our model is based on a community of experts. We believe that no agency can pretend to have all the knowledge about how SEO works. By asking the crowd what is good or not, we are always at the forefront of any evolution in Search Engine algorithms.
Q) The common problem with SEO is that companies sign up for it and then simply ignore the recommendations provided, how will you tackle that issue, particularly if it is going to cost you money in terms of meeting your traffic target?
A) True, we have seen that a lot. But our traffic is not only coming from Search Engines, so Social Media or Blogs can also reach traffic target, if SEO is not doing as well as it could be. We are also trying to integrate with CMS through plugins, so for clients using those, our experts will be able to push recommendations directly.
Q) Can you disclose some information about the screening process you have for your members, how do you ensure that not only do they have the right skill set, but that they are also reliable?
A) We do several background check using “social proofs”. When the experts signup they are asked to link their Linkedin account, and they can also provide links to their other social network profiles, or personal blogs. By looking at this data, we match their skills, hobbies and experience with campaign requirements.
Also, we have several “test tasks” that the system gives to experts to see if they are a reliable person.
This is our added value, to be 100% sure that the people working on our client’s campaigns are the best, and we are responsible for that.
Q) With such a global reach, how have you gone about ensuring that you have the resource in place to deal with requirements in every country?
A )With our model, you don’t need to have 1000 experts in each country to perform campaigns. What is important is that the core basis of experts stays active.
In the near future, we will be using crowdsourcing marketplace APIs to find experts in new regions.
DOZ is just the “quality layer”, selecting the best people for a given campaign.
Q) One of the biggest problems we have faced with Copify is keeping a writer base engaged whilst we scale up client recruitment and balancing demand with resource. How do you propose to tackle this?
A) It’s an issue that we have too. But we believe that the non-used resources can be useful for other purpose when there is a lack of demand. For example, we are running campaigns for Non-Profits. We call that “Webchariting”, which is basically Webmarketing for Charities.
Your writer base can be really useful to generate content (for free) for NGOs!
Also having a game mechanic using “virtual points” can be a way to keep them engaged even when they are not “working”, for example writing content for the Copify Blog and getting CopiPoints 🙂
Q) On to some more general SEO questions now, are there any particular tools that you use/recommend?
A) Nothing really original I guess, Majestic, – Semrush – Ahrefs – Scrapebox – Webceo and…Google hahaha
Q) Who are your favourite ‘SEO rockstars’?!
A) I’m reading more and more of Danny Sullivan’s articles. We also have some very good SEO gurus in France, such as Laurent Bourrelly.
But there are also tons of anonymous guys who I cannot remember the names of, who are amazing at testing and finding the last small changes in Google algorithms.