Tory Jon has been in the SEO game for more than 2 decades and, in his own words, “I’ve failed a lot and succeeded a lot, but most importantly, I’ve learned and persevered.”
One of his most recent successful projects is his RV website, Camper FAQs. Tory’s goal is to create a massive resource and community around RV travel. His site is currently earning $8k/month during peak season. In this interview, he offers some fantastic tips, tricks, and ideas as he navigates the ever-changing SEO landscape.
Keep reading to find out:
- More about his SEO background
- Why he created his RV website
- Where his earnings come from
- His main marketing strategy
- How he uses Pinterest and Google Ads
- His thoughts on keywords
- His approach to link building
- How he creates content
- What he’s doing with his email list
- His go-to resources and tools
- The biggest challenge he’s faced
- His greatest accomplishment
- His advice for other entrepreneurs
Meet Tory Jon
My name’s Tory, and I’ve been involved in online marketing and website creation since 2001!
Over the last 22 years, I’ve founded, bought, and sold 50+ websites, started my own website design and marketing business, created a mobile app to help find missing children, and worked for a half-billion-dollar distribution company in the Midwest as the SEO manager.
I’ve seen the rise and fall of many SEO and ad-related agencies (I went to a party at the Playboy Mansion for the now-defunct agency Epic Ads) and many popular online marketers. I’ve failed and succeeded a lot, but most importantly, I’ve learned and persevered.
Today, I still consider myself a student of the game and learn something new every day. As far as my online business, I work with a few clients on their SEO/website needs (though I’m trying to dial that down), and I own half a dozen websites.
One of those websites is Camper FAQs.
All of the websites in my portfolio are in niches I’m personally involved and interested in, which isn’t a necessity, but I’ve learned it helps keep motivation high, burn out to a minimum, and just makes the work fun.
Why He Created Camper FAQs
I created Camper FAQs back in 2019 with the goal of creating a massive resource and community around something I was interested in—RV travel.
It was never meant to be just another small niche site but a large hub for those interested in the RV and camping lifestyle. The timing was right, as the site really started to gain steam during the pandemic, which saw an explosion in RV travel.
How Much Money Tory’s Making
Camper FAQs is a seasonal site, but this site alone earns around $8k/month during peak RV season (April to October). We are just entering the camping and RV travel season now, so it’s starting to gain steam again.
I have many income streams!
Mediavine, Amazon products, and so many other affiliate services and products it’s hard to count, from RV rental affiliates (which can earn over $100 per sign-up) to RV membership affiliate programs, etc.
I also have my own store with a full line of downloadable RV checklists, planners, directories, and more.
The income breaks down to about 40% from ads, 50% from affiliates, and 10% from my own products. But that varies on RPMs, which are currently way down compared to last year.
I typically work about 4 hours per day on my business, 6 days a week.
His Top Marketing Strategy
SEO is my wheelhouse, so in the past, it’s been my go-to marketing strategy so much so that I’ve really neglected other traffic channels like Facebook, Twitter, etc., which I’m just starting to focus on for Camper FAQs.
Pinterest has been a really good traffic driver for this website though (and all of my websites really) with little effort. And I handle the entire pinning process myself.
I simply create three pins using Canva for each post I publish, which only takes minutes, and schedule them out using the Pinterest pin scheduler. That’s it. Over time, you will slowly build followers, pin views, and traffic to your site.
I’m also sending traffic to link-worthy content like statistics pages, etc., using Google ads to naturally gain backlinks. There are different ways to do this, but essentially I create an ad campaign for a max CPC of 0.03, which isn’t hard to get cheap clicks to informational content and track the results.
Finally, I recently created an affiliate program for my store to help drive targeted traffic to my products. They’re all digital download products so that I can entice affiliates with huge commission rates.
I’m sitting at around a dozen affiliates right now, so if you’re in the RV or camping niche, please check it out and sign up! This is a new space for me, but hopefully, it will become a quality traffic source that doesn’t rely on search engines.
Tory’s Thoughts on SEO
Even though I’m trying to maximize other forms of traffic, search engines are still a major traffic source, so they will be an important part of my business until AI completely takes over… just kidding!
Finding “easier” to rank for keywords starts with Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, Google autosuggest, Google’s PAA questions, and related searches, for the most part.
Once I have my main keyword, I try to find as many supporting topics around it as possible. Then, when I have a thorough list, I look at the SERPs for each. This is a must to find search intent and see what pages and sites are ranking.
For my main keyword, I don’t care how difficult it is to rank for, but for all of my supporting article keywords, I actually use a loose version of Spencer’s keyword search analysis guidelines.
The topical authority often drives that main page to the top of the results. But even if they don’t, those supporting pages almost always rank well, and I can funnel that traffic to the main page.
Having links pointing at your site is extremely important, unfortunately. Many sites are crushing it with mediocre product reviews and other questionable content based on the strength of their link profile. And Google doesn’t seem to have an answer to that problem yet.
So, I use HARO, manual outreach, and Google ads to build links. Manual outreach doesn’t have to mean begging for a link. For example, I just created a “best of” article, and I reached out to the promoter of the ten shows I was covering and asked for pictures. They were all really nice and sent me pictures, and two of them linked to my article from their website. I didn’t even have to ask.
Tory’s Content Creation Process
I’ve used every content writing service under the sun, even those highly recommended by popular online marketers, and none of them worked out. Even if the content is ok, it’s never consistently ok, in my opinion. And I don’t want to pay for ok content.
I’ve found quality writers on UpWork, and believe it or not, Fiverr. Actually, my two best writers both started on Fiverr. The trick there is to find a writer who specializes in a particular niche.
For example, if you have a yoga-related website, there are multiple Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT certified) writers on Fiverr. Of course, this might not work for every niche.
His Email List
My email list is something I’m always trying to grow as it’s another way to future-proof your site’s traffic, funnel users to any offers you might have, or promote affiliate offers right in the newsletter.
I refuse to put pop-ups on my sites because, in my opinion, they’re disruptive, frustrating, and just lead to a bad user experience, which is the opposite of what I’m trying to do with my websites. That almost certainly leads to fewer sign-ups than what I’d get if I used them, but I do have an in-content form and sidebar form to grow my list.
I’ve been experimenting with adding hover effects on these forms using simple CSS as a non-intrusive and zero-speed impact way to bring user attention to them.
For example, as a user scrolls down the screen and their cursor goes over the form, it changes color, and the email input field highlights, bringing their attention to it.
His Favorite Resources
I highly recommend listening to the interviews on the Niche Pursuits podcast, and I’m not just saying that because I’m being interviewed by them. It truly is the best way to learn and get ideas to potentially implement in your own business.
I’m also a big fan of the Authority Hacker podcast/Youtube videos.
Other than that, Twitter is actually a great place to follow industry news and like-minded website owners and get actionable tips and advice.
Jared Bauman and Gael Breton are good follows for actionable tips, for example, and Glenn Gabe and Barry Schwartz are good follows for search industry news. That said, take it all with a grain of salt and test things out for yourself.
His Go-To Tools
I’ve used hundreds of tools over the years, and currently, my three go-to tools, the ones I use every day, are Ahrefs, Canva, and Grammarly.
Not overly exciting, I know, but they help get the job done and are the only paid tools I’ve consistently used year in and year out. I suspect some sort of AI tool like chatGPT, for example, might find a permanent spot in the toolbox soon here.
His Biggest Challenge
The biggest challenge is to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of running an online business: search and social media algo changes, new technology (chatGPT, voice-to-text), increased competition, etc.
You have to devote time to learning and keeping up with changes. How you do it is a personal preference, but I listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m working out, sitting in the sauna, driving in the car, etc., through Twitter and, since I’m old school, I still use an RSS feed to keep up with blogs, like Niche Pursuits for example. But this constantly changing landscape is what keeps things interesting.
Tory’s Greatest Accomplishment
While growing Camper FAQS has definitely given me a sense of accomplishment, looking at my entire career so far, my biggest would be the creation of a mobile app to help find missing children over ten years ago.
It’s not around anymore, but that was a project close to my own heart born out of a local tragedy after two girls (cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey) from a neighboring town went missing.
They were reported missing in July 2012, and by October I had released the “Missing Children App” on both iTunes and the Google Play Store, which essentially used the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children data feed and alerted those with the app on the phone when a child went missing in their area, with a picture, description and other important information about the abduction.
What He Wishes He Knew When He Started
When I first started I thought I was going to get super rich real quick. Those who have been around as long as me might remember the iconic Shoemoney Adsense check. Why couldn’t that be me?
While it can happen, I wished that I understood it was going to be a long journey and not rush things. I think I would have relaxed and put more effort into the quality of my business instead of always trying to shortcut the process to get rich quickly.
His Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
Two things – Understand that this is a journey that takes time to be successful and provide as much value to the web as you can.