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Tor Refsland Discusses SEO And Content Marketing

It’s time for another expert interview about SEO and Content Marketing. This time, Tor Refsland from Norway shared with is some super useful tips from his experience.

Ready to learn more about SEO and content writing? Let’s meet Tor.

1. Who are you and how did you start doing SEO? What do you do now?

My name is Tor Refsland and I live in Norway with my girlfriend, Sara, and my baby daughter Luna. I used to work as a SAP system administrator for one of the biggest companies in Norway.

However, after almost falling 393,7 feet into a certain death from paragliding in Turkey, I started to review my life and decided that I needed to do some major changes. After working my b*tt off building other people`s dreams for about two decades, I decided that I could do the same for myself.

I decided to leave my six-figure job in order to follow my passion, to found Time Management Chef, where I help online entrepreneurs SAVE TIME and INCREASE RESULTS.

In every activity I do in my business, I`m constantly looking to crack the code for that SPECIFIC activity, so I can get the BEST results with using as little time as possible. It`s all about finding the best way to leverage your time. That is also the way I apply SEO on my blog (I will cover that part more in details below).
My main strategy now is to create awesome content, do guest posting on big websites and sharing great content on Twitter.

It seems to have paid off.

In about 8 months, I won the award for “Most Epic category” on Jon Morrow`s blog Boost Blog Traffic, I got interviewed 5 times, I got 14 guest posts published on big websites and I got featured as an expert on 24 websites. For more details, click here.

Nothing of that would have been possible, if I didn`t focus on creating useful and awesome content.

Once you take yourself out of the equation, and only FOCUS on helping your audience, the world will start to move and good things will happen.

2. Do you think backlinks will remain to be the most important ranking factor?

There is a reason why the best Internet marketers in the world say that you NEVER should rely on only one source of traffic. It`s like the stock market. You shouldn`t put all your money in one type of stock. It`s all about DIVERSIFYING and reducing the risk by spreading your money on several stocks.
The same goes for traffic. If you are ninja on getting traffic on Facebook, and 90% of your traffic comes from that source, what happens if Facebook makes big changes that will affect your traffic?
Or even worse, the platform is being closed down.

Yup, you just lost about 90% of you traffic. Kind of frightening, right?

The same goes for SEO on Google. SEO is great. However, you should also prioritize to get traffic from other sources.

3. How do you see SEO in 5 years?

To be frankly, it`s hard to predict the future, but one thing is for sure, and that is that there will probably be several big changes in the way the Google algorithm works.

The big question is; how will that impact your SEO?

I firmly do believe, that there is ONE thing that will never change, and that is awesome content. If you produce awesome content, then people will share, comment, like and link to your stuff. As long as you are focusing on providing TRUE value for people that creates ENAGEMENT, I believe that you will rank well on Google.

Backlinks from good websites are votes that your content is good, and it will boost your SEO ranking. Regardless, what Google decides to do in the future, is hard to predict.

4. What’s your favorite technique to do email outreach? Share your tips with our readers

First you need to have some awesome content.

Then you need to identify people who have shared that kind of content before, or people who that content may be a great fit for their audience.
It`s all about giving first, though, without expecting anything in return. Once you have established connection and you have given them some great value first, you may ask the influencers to share your stuff, and a while later, perhaps ask them to link to your content.

I wrote a good article on TwelveSkip on how to get influencers to share your content. You can read it click here.

When you have done ALL the steps above, it`s time to send your email.

Here is the template I use:

Topic: Quick question

Hi [First Name],

my guest post just got published on [Name of website], and I`m really proud 🙂
I was wondering, if you have time, would you mind share the post?

Since it`s my first post there, It would be great if it got some traction 😉



If not, it`s totally fine 




[You first name]“

5. Link building in competitive niches, how would you do it? Do you believe in link building or link earning?

I would start by connecting with influencers and then give them a lot of value first. Then I would do a roundup post that included the topic and keywords you want to rank for.

I did this on the following post 80 Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy Experts.

It generated 20 231 page views in 6 days, 1200+ shares, 74 comments and some backlinks. It`s ranked on top 20 on Google in just a few months.


I believe link earning with the focus on creating awesome content will be the best strategy in the long run. However, if you do link building, you should still focus on creating great content.
What the heck is the point in getting traffic to your website, if people won`t follow your call to action?

6. What’s your favorite method to build backlinks?

Guest posting, creating great content and then using Brian Dean`s Skyscraper technique.

7. What type of backlinks are working best for you now? What links everyone should avoid?

Organically backlinks have worked best for me. Guest post on BIG quality sites within your niche. I would stay away from buying links.  

8. What’s your biggest SEO accomplishment? How did you do it? Share your story.

My blog post “Want To Become A Winner? Use The DUMB Goals System” is currently ranked #7 on Google for the keywords “dumb goals”, only beaten by Lifehack, Brendon Burchard, Evan Carmichael, Forbes and a few others.


tor biggest seo accomplishment

When I originally created the post, I used Long Tail Pro to search for words I wanted to rank for within the topic goal setting. I did this with several posts, where each post was targeting a different keyword.

Then after 6 months, I started to check my ranking on Google, and some of the posts were starting to rank well without much effort from my part. I Just shared each post 2 times on Twitter each week.

I prioritized the highest-ranking posts, and I did a total post makeover:

– I rewrote the content so it went from mediocre to pretty awesome

– changed the headline (the permalink and keywords stayed untouched)
– created new blog picture
– created new pictures for Social Warfare (great plugin to increase your social media shares)
– inserted content upgrade on the post (which lead to more value to the readers and more subscribers)

– linked to the post in my other posts (internal linking)

The visuals play a big deal.

Old blog picture (with old headline):

old blog picture

New blog picture (with new headline):
new blog picture

I guess we can all agree that the blog picture got transformed from one limping, hunch backing picture to something sexy.  

Regarding the blog picture makeover, I will have to give credit to my friend and awesome designer, Ashley Faulkes from Mad Lemmings. Without him, my blog pictures would still make people fall asleep.

8. Has any of your websites ever been penalized? Did you recovered? How?

Not yet. I have been very careful on how I build my SEO presence. So far I`ve stayed away from re-spinning blog posts, buying links, and other short cuts to get my website ranked higher.

SEO is not really that hard, it`s all about creating awesome content and putting it in front of enough people. If it`s good, people will share, like, comment and link to it.

Too many people are looking for the easy way to rank high on Google fast, and they may use methods that Google will penalize in the future.

SEO is not a sprint, it`s a marathon. It`s all about having clarity and a good SEO strategy. I think that doing SEO organically with creating good content is the best and fastest way in the long run. However, you need to be willing to put in the sweat equity.



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