What Are Website Traffic Exchange Sites? (And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

What Are Website Traffic Exchange Sites? (And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

Traffic matters. The more traffic your website generates, the greater your chances of capturing visitor interest, encouraging user action and generating sales.

So it’s no surprise that traffic remains a top priority no matter what kind of site you run. As noted by a recent Forbes piece, everything from specific search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to contextually-relevant content can help boost traffic volumes and increase key metrics, while more technical traffic attractions such as reducing page load delays and improving user experience on mobile devices can also enhance your website impact.

The potential downside? These traffic-boosting tactics aren’t quick fixes. They require time and effort to deliver ongoing results — and they’re not guaranteed.

Website traffic exchange sites offer a supposedly speedy solution to deliver increased impressions and help your click-throughs climb the charts, but as noted by Google, they also come with significant risk “because they may lead to invalid clicks or impressions and result in your account being disabled.”

Here’s what you need to know about website traffic exchange sites, how they work — and the red flags that make them a non-starter for sustained traffic over time.

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What is a Website Traffic Exchange?

The idea behind a website traffic exchange is simple: Quid pro quo — you do something, and you get something in return.

In this case, what you’re doing is visiting other business owners’ websites, and they’re visiting yours in return. The theory holds that with enough visits your site will start to climb relevant search rankings and eventually drive more organic traffic your way.

At face value, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea: Since website owners all want the same thing — traffic — why not band together and use the power of the Web at large for collective gain?

But problems crop up as traffic trends away from the organic views and user engagements that search engines are now built to detect. Since you’re visiting sites as quickly as possible to generate their traffic and get the same in return, your website impressions are feather-light and fleeting; there’s no engagement with content and no context for the visit.

As search engines become more sophisticated, meanwhile they can detect this lack of legitimacy — and penalize your site for it.

Understanding Website Traffic Exchange Sites

The most common form factor for these traffic exchange options is as traffic exchange websites. Do a quick Google search and dozens will pop up, all offering high-volume, low-risk services.

These websites are simply groups of website owners who all agree to visit the other sites on the list and in return have their own sites visited. Some are free to join and have hundreds or thousands of sites listed; others come with a fee and may support millions of sites worldwide.

While smaller sites typically operate on a one-for-one model — you visit one website and get a visit in return — larger operations may impose a site-viewing ratio, especially if your site is just starting. For example, if your ratio is 0.5 you must visit two sites before getting one visit in return.

To help smaller companies boost their profile more quickly, many of these website traffic exchange sites now offer for-pay options that promise to deliver a certain quantity of digital visitors in a specific time frame. They may also run contests or promotions that group members can enter (for free or for pay) which will boost their traffic multiplier and supposedly get them closer to the top of relevant, front-page searches.

Red Flags: Why You Shouldn’t Use Traffic Exchange Services

So far, these traffic exchange sites don’t sound like a terrible idea: You get traffic for free or for pay and provide traffic for other sites.

But here’s the problem: As noted by Google, their AdSense program specifically prohibits any artificial means of generating impressions or clicks — if your website is found to be using these methods, your AdSense profile may be suspended and your search ranking will drop. Although website traffic exchange sites use a slightly different model to deliver click-throughs and visitor impressions, they may create similar red flags for popular search engines in turn causing your site’s search ranking to crash.

There’s also the larger problem of organic and contextual traffic. Your ultimate goal is to attract visitors with relevant website content that drives specific action — such as signing up for a newsletter, filling out a contact form or making a purchase. Achieving this goal requires two things: Organic searches that return your website as a top result and contextual, value-driven content that creates consumer engagement

Traffic exchange sites provide the first part of this equation, since group members may be given specific keywords to enter which return your site and boost search rankings. But they fall short on the second half, since these aren’t real visitors but other group members clicking through and then bouncing away while waiting for you to return the favor. This creates an issue for intelligent search engine algorithms that notice your traffic increase — and commensurate lack of engagement, in turn red-flagging your site and potentially damaging your search ranking.

Green-light Options for Increasing Your Website Traffic

If website traffic exchange services are a non-starter, what can site owners do to increase traffic, drive more leads and deliver ROI?

Some of the most effective options include:

  1. Creating relevant content
  2. Buying targeted ads
  3. Writing guest posts
  4. Capturing better backlinks
  5. Repurposing old assets

Curated, context-aware content matters to improve traffic metrics. This means creating website layouts and resources that are relevant to your target audience and provide actionable information about your products, unique market position or pricing.

Free press is great, but it’s not always easy to find. As a result, it’s worth doing your research and purchasing targeted ad space on the social platforms preferred by your buyer personas. For example, if you find significant group numbers of Facebook dedicated to discussions of products or services in your industry, it’s worth considering some targeted ad spend to attract specific user interest.

Many website owners are experts in their field, making them ideal authors for guest posts on more popular blogs or sites. Start by reaching out to site admins about writing a guest post with the caveat that they’ll include a link to your site. This lets you capitalize on larger traffic pools without paying for traffic exchange sites.

Speaking of backlinks, it’s worth trying to generate as many great backlinks as possible. Start with a quick search of your brand, product and service names — if you see them mentioned in search results but unlinked, reach out to the author and ask for a backlink. It’s also worth checking the most-searched terms in your market vertical; if you can capture these searches with on-site content, there’s potential to secure backlinks on popular “best of” articles and listicles.

You’ve got content you’re no longer using, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless. While simply reposting it won’t generate new traffic, you can repurpose popular resources into something else. For example, a well-performing blog post could be turned into a video or serve as the jumping-off point for a discussion, while a whitepaper could see new life as an infographic with updated statistics.

The bottom line? More traffic means better search rankings and improved user engagement on your website.

But not all traffic is created equal. While traffic exchange websites promise high volume and velocity, the value of this tactic comes with risk — and can’t compare to value-driven, user-focused traffic building that steadily boosts your search ranking and helps turn first-page curiosity into a functional sales conversion.

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How to Build and Exit a Website for Mid-6 Figures Using the Shotgun Skyscraper Link Building Technique

How to Build and Exit a Website for Mid-6 Figures Using the Shotgun Skyscraper Link Building Technique

Mark Webster and Gael Breton are from AuthorityHacker.com and have been in the authority website space for a long time. 

These two guys have made their mark on authority website building from content strategies to link building.

In fact, the “shotgun skyscraper” link building method was a term coined them (a play on the term “skyscraper” which originated from Brian Dean). In addition to running their own portfolio of websites. They run courses that teach you to create highly profitable online businesses.

These guys are legit. You won’t hear any black hat tricks or ways to cheat the system from these two. Mark and Gael are known for doing things ethically and the right way, which is why they have been so successful. 

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and interview Mark and Gael. We were able to discuss their advanced link building strategies and much more that they used to rank and sell a site for mid-six figures.

Not too long ago, the Authority Hacker team built an authority site and sold it for over six figures. Unfortunately, due to an NDA, they can’t give the actual numbers. 

In the last six years, Mark and Gael have been able to successfully: 

  • Sell a niche site for over six figures they built in 18 months
  • Negotiated affiliate deals three times higher than the public rates
  • Develop their trademarked Shotgun Skyscraper strategy 
  • Create successful frameworks to identify keywords

Watch the Entire Interview Here:

Authority Hacker Pro is Open This Week Only

Finally, as a heads up, Mark and Gael teach an extremely in-depth training course showing how to build authority sites and use their shotgun skyscraper link building (and much more). 

That course is called Authority Hacker Pro.

They only allow new members of Authority Hacker Pro twice a year.  This week happens to be one of the weeks that Authority Hacker Pro is open.

So, if you’d like to join Authority Hacker Pro while the doors are open this week, you can do so right here.

Join Authority Hacker Pro Today

What is Authority Hacker and its Shotgun Skyscraper Technique?

Authority Hacker sells courses to show you just how to build websites. It’s Shotgun Skyscraper technique is a method of link building that is taught extensively in their courses.  They have two offerings: the Authority Site System and Authority Hacker Pro. The Authority Site System is built for the beginner in mind while the Authority Hacker Pro course is an advanced course. Both courses cover making money through affiliates, advertising, and products. This strategy is referred to as “Revenue Stacking”.

Authority Hacker Pro is only available during certain launch times and you should have a website and general affiliate marketing knowledge already. 

If you already have a website and are trying to either grow or monetize your affiliate site. Authority Hacker Pro is the course for you. 

The course includes over 400 over the shoulder videos. Meaning you’ll get to watch precisely step by step how they are building successful niche websites

The Most Comprehensive Authority Hacker Course is Back Once Again!

  • Designed for ADVANCED affiliate marketers
  • Most up to date curriculum in authority site-building
  • Over 400 behind the shoulder videos
  • Learn keyword systems that actually work!

View the Entire Curriculum

I last interviewed the Gael way back in 2014. Here is what is new in the last six years. 

Buying or Building A Niche Website?

There has been a lot of chatter buying a niche website on sites such as Motion Invest instead of building from scratch. To this date, the Authority Hacker team has only built their sites from scratch. Historically they found that finding quality sites other people have made have been difficult and not quite how they wanted. 

The team is rethinking some of these decisions, though. Timing is a significant factor, and wanting to go fast may mean that buying a site or domain may be a way to break through a bit quicker. 

One way to compromise building from scratch vs. buying a site is to look at auction domains. 

Auction domains are a domain name previously registered. An auction domain could provide links back or have a little bit of domain authority already in place. You’re only purchasing the domain URL, and it’s a bit different from buying an available domain. 

Quantity or Quality Content? 

I interviewed John Dystraka not too long ago on the show, and he has been very successful in building sites with several thousand articles. The team at AuthorityHacker uses a different approach. 

The site Gael and Mark sold for six figures a few years ago had 120 or so pages. The top 20% of those pages made the most money. 

Their approach now is to predict what pages will be a hit before they actually hit and focus their time there. 

Predicting Keyword Success

AuthorityHacker uses tools to pull a spreadsheet with every competing domain then map out the keywords and domain competition extensively. 

Mark and Gael create a giant map of keywords and competitors. They are using the Ahrefs tool to help narrow down. When they see competitors with low authority, Gael says if using Ahrefs, the low authority metric when looking at competitive opportunities should be around 30-35. 

While extensive competitor analysis is a huge component, it would be without saying that you do have to use some of your own logic as it’s not purely scientific. Still, their strategy is a framework to decide how to grow their site. 

What makes a great keyword?

The Authority Hacker team has made its approach to finding keywords with the changing landscape of affiliate commissions to be more relevant than ever. 

The example they used was if a keyword is only getting 40 searches per month, but it’s for a keyword with a $400 commission. You’ll make far more than targeting a keyword with thousands of views but low conversions and low commission payouts.

This is interesting as it’s one of the rare times that traffic is not the answer. I do agree that sometimes you should be willing to trade traffic for payouts in some cases. 

Shotgun Skyscraper Link Building Technique 

The Authority Hacker course teaches the shotgun skyscraper method of link building. They trademarked the name years ago, and has been around for some time, but I think Gael is on to something with his additional strategy layer.

He is essentially using the low competition keywords to rank quickly and generate revenue, but at the same time, those high competition keywords he is focusing on getting links. 

You’ll want to use the shotgun skyscraper on the high KD keywords. KD stands for Keyword Difficultly, a direct measurement of the number of external links the top 10 results have pointed towards the keyword. In the Authority Hacker framework, you don’t need to worry about ranking. But you are instead getting lots of links. Using a combination of personalization and templates, you would be surprised at how quickly you can build links. 

Authority Hacker is also a big proponent for adding internal linking using a hub and category approach. It’s easier to provide value to the site visitor with the hub strategy and get the relevant content. You can use tools like Link Whisper, which have a full internal link reporting to send these visitors to pages that are genuinely making you money.

Skyscraper vs Shotgun Skyscraper Techniques

The skyscraper technique is about discovering a great piece of content, developing a better version, and focusing on landing backlinks for the content you’ve developed. The Shotgun Skyscraper technique is similar but what makes it unique is the outreach strategy.

Instead of reaching out to potential sites for a backlink one by one. With the shotgun skyscraper technique, you’ll automate the outreach process by sending out multiple semi personalized outreach emails all at once.

Content Hubs for Negotiating Affiliate Rates

A content hub strategy was made famous by Hubspot but has proven to be a successful strategy. What you do is create a category or pillar pages, as Hubspot called them. With affiliate marketing, the category page will want to be your most valuable offer on it. 

When you create content category hubs, you can reuse the same affiliate offer repeatedly. As you begin to rank for a particular offer, you can negotiate higher offers with the vendor. In some cases, the Authority Hacker team was able to negotiate up to 3 times higher rates.

Negotiating rates and staying hyper-focused on niches are even more critical when you do not focus on Amazon affiliate sites. It takes time to negotiate rates so you’ll want to focus on growing those pages as much as possible. 

Negotiating affiliate rates is something we will occasionally do with my sites, but we often try to pass the discounts on to our readers.

For example, with Niche Website Builders, we got you an extra 10% of the content. This deal is exclusive to Niche Pursuits, and because we often offer these types of arrangements, we see people continually come back to the site creating a win/win. 

Affiliate Managers Giving Higher Commissions?

Once you have volume for a particular offer or keyword, this gives you some leverage to get a higher commission. You’ve proven yourself to be able to sell the product. 

Mark highlighted that most affiliate managers out there have considerable leeway to grant you a higher commission. The process isn’t as complicated as some would think. 

Should you take part in Authority Hacker Pro?

I’m always impressed by the things the team at Authority Hacker Pro is working on and their attention to detail. As mentioned they have over 400 videos in this course. So it’s a commitment you shouldn’t take lightly. If you already have a site and are serious about taking the next step in your affiliate marketing journey. Authority Hacker Pro is a good choice. 

Authority Hacker Pro is only open at limited times so don’t wait. If you want to join the course you’ll need to join before the doors close in about a week!

Here is the Full Transcript

[00:00:25] Hey everyone. It’s Spencer here with niche pursuits.com. And I’m excited to introduce you to Mark Webster and Gail Breton from authority, hacker.com. If you’ve been in the affiliate marketing and niche website or authority website space for any period of time, you certainly heard of these guys over at authority, hacker.com.

[00:00:46] They do a lot of great work. They’ve got their blog there. They even have a YouTube channel and their podcasts and their. Producing a lot of high quality content that teaches people how to build websites that rank and Google. Now they can monetize that with affiliate marketing. And so we dive into that subject pretty deep.

[00:01:04] We specifically talk about their shotgun skyscraper technique for link building. We talk about content clusters, and then we go on to talk about the future of SEO. So we covered a wide range of subjects. But overall, I think there’s a lot of actionable tips that you can take and you can apply why to your specific website.

[00:01:26] If you want to learn more from Mark and Gail, they actually have, I have a premium training course called authority, hacker pro, and you can go to niche, pursuits.com/authority, hacker pro. If you want to take advantage of that again, it’s niche pursuits.com/. Authority hacker pro, but overall, whether or not you take advantage of that, I hope that you enjoy the interview with Mark and Gail

[00:02:06] Hey, Mark, Gayle. Welcome to the niche pursuits podcast. Thanks. Good to be here. I’m not going to expecting that with cuts came already. So he just said they always happen. I can never get worded. Well, we’re going to have to see how this works. I’m not used to having, you know, two guests on the podcast. So this is a little bit new for me.

[00:02:27] So, I’m sure we’ll make it work. Right. Normally works is, you know, you and I can have a conversation Spencer and Gail will just interrupt, regardless whenever you want. You know, I watched the debate last night, so I picked something key. We’re we’re primed for lots of interruptions. Yeah. That debate. Oh boy.

[00:02:46] Well, let’s, let’s not talk about politics. Let’s let’s chat, niche sites and business, of course. but for first Mark, I understand, you were married not too long ago. What? Maybe a year ago. How’s married life. Yeah. One year and three months. It’s very, very different to, the, my old single life. I’ll, I’ll say that I have a dog now as well.

[00:03:07]so his name’s Steve, and the features on our podcasts sometimes as well, just to get more likes. Right. So that was good. So it’s no longer just your schedule, right? You got to, make your spouse happy, unfortunately. Yes. Married. I’ve been married for it. Believe it or not. And this will age me a little bit.

[00:03:28] I’ve been married. It’ll be 18 years in, December. Yeah. How old are you? Spencer? Nobody’s asked me that because I honestly turn these to all podcasts. I can’t picture it, you know? No, you, you, you seem very, very, very. Old in the way you described that 18 years, but you look very young so well, that’s why I’m growing.

[00:03:52] The beard is to help age me a little bit now, believe it or not. my birthday is in October. So if anybody wants to send me anything mid-October, here I will be turning 43 years old and believe it or not. So I I’m an old man, at this point, but I try to stay young as much as possible. I think for this where you used to, like, you’re fine, man.

[00:04:14] You’re fine. It’s like, you’re still running a lot as well. So, yup. So lots of live and left to do so. But we’re losing viewers. Now let’s talk about that’s right. So Gail, we actually had you on the podcast. I just checked, back in 2014. Can you believe it’s been six years since then? Yeah. It’s like, I, you know, it’s like, it feels like a totally haka is not that old, but now the, and I’m like, Oh shit, because that’s, it was just when we started Tori Hy-Ko right.

[00:04:46] I think like our blog post and having emailed me and then like, you guys invited me and we had a discussion, also a people actually on the podcast, funnily enough. and, yeah, I mean, we’re still around, I guess. And you’ll see around it. We just felt like, kind of like running Paolo courses with like, you know, it’s, I think, It’s been fun.

[00:05:03] It’s been awhile. Yeah. It’s, it’s been quite a journey. I mean, you guys, from the very beginning, you’ve always put out really quality content and helping people out learn SEO and, you know, growing authority sites. And, but a lot has happened in the last six years. So I want to dive into not so much, you know, what you are doing with authority, hacker.com, but a little bit more like your own portfolio.

[00:05:29] So. Catch people up with, what is your portfolio of sites looking like right now? What are you guys working on? Yeah through CS. Oh, you know what? You go ahead, go, go for a gal, go for a gal. I can never drug that. The thing is like, it’s like, there’s even kind of like ups and downs and you know that as well.

[00:05:48] Right. There’s times when you’re like doing a lot of projects at once and you’re like, you know what, I need to cut down on stuff and I need to go back and stuff, et cetera. Kind of what happened during the six years basically. So we, I think when we started at  haka, we were running like. Three sides or something like not too many, but like some big ones.

[00:06:04] And, and we did that for about like, honestly three or four years, like four, three, four years. It didn’t reach. There’s not much. and then we. Started another site. We started the site where we made the case study that we sold two years ago. We made, that we sold, we couldn’t say the number. We still can’t say the number.

[00:06:21] It was telling you NDA on this. So we can actually say meet six figures. That’s what we’re allowed to say from the vendor. but like that’s, that’s how we agreed 18 months that we, yeah, it wasn’t a software niche and we, yeah, it was pure affiliate high commissions. So it’s like, that was also making your case because it wasn’t Amazon.

[00:06:40] And it’s like a lot of case studies where Amazon as well. Interesting. And why allowed us to highlight is that, is that one, is that how, when you do volume on private office, you’re able to negotiate. It was the vendors develop a relationship, get higher commissions. To a point where we ended up with like pretty much triple the public commissions, that there was for the program, because we were like one of the fastest growing sites in the nation.

[00:07:02] We were doing good volume. And we were in good terms. Like, not even when two men meet people from these companies in face to face, et cetera. so we had that one. Then when we sold that site, we kind of like divested a bit. Yeah. And the truth is that, we hired Tony hacker pro at the time, but it wasn’t leading to the, what we expected it to be.

[00:07:21] So we decided to divest a bit from the portfolio and kind of like, be like, you know what we want to, if we’re charging people, we want to actually do something great. Right. So that’s when we kind of like divested a bit and then kind of like focused monetary haka. And then for the past, maybe 18 months, we kind of like been releasing up to building or the size, et cetera, and all picking up size that were leftover.

[00:07:42] And now it’s like gross phase. Actually. I’m actually relearning a lot of stuff, new stuff. Like, you know, the thing I’ve never done before that I’m really looking quite deep into now is like picking up, auction domains and things like that to explain Caesar, et cetera. So I didn’t really do that before because.

[00:07:57] No, this was more for PDN people, et cetera. But now, like I kind of want, we’ve had high results with all sites and I kind of wanted things to go a bit faster. We have cash available in hand, et cetera. So we’re willing to trade money for speed. And so I’m kind of like clicking on these things right now, but we’ve also picked up some sites that we can have like, well, low traffic, but we like 10 external traffic in the last 12 months, et cetera.

[00:08:17] So now we’re working on like three main sites and then we’re actually looking for like, to expand on more opportunities basically. And like we’re, we’re looking to like, Rebif of the site portfolio types of types of things. Now that authorial haka is more or less under control and that we’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve with that.

[00:08:34] So that’s essentially what happened in these six years, basically. It’s, you know, I’ll tell you that really fast, but it’s like, you know, it’s like these things and take months to like, grow them, even like selling a site takes forever, et cetera. And so it’s like, yeah. So we’re kind of like regrowing three main projects right now we’re focusing on each of them has an editorial team building.

[00:08:51] Building team is. For all the sides together. And, yeah, we’ll see, like we really, as I said, I’m running about picking up auction sites, maybe even like buying sites from people, et cetera. And hopefully we’re going to expand that a little bit more. All right. Great summary. And I didn’t ask a lot of those detailed questions, because I know you had that really big case study with the software site, which is really interesting by the way.

[00:09:15]I. Enjoyed reading that, partly because like you said, it’s, it was in a niche that a lot of people aren’t kind of writing about, at least in our small portion of the world, right. We’re often near about affiliate size display ads. And, so it’s so interesting to hear that case study. and so congrats on being able to sell that for.

[00:09:34] Mid six figures, whatever the exact, amount there was. But the three, you mentioned that you’ve got three sites that you’re working on now, are those all sites that you started it from scratch or did you buy any existing sites? No, they’re just starting from scratch all of them. Yeah. Good. Well, all of the sites we’ve ever built, honed ran have been ones that we’ve built from scratch in the past.

[00:09:59] We found it quite difficult to find good sites, which other people have built. It’s never been quite the way we wanted it. and we haven’t in the past been able to accept the fact that we need to make stuff or just accept some of the. Imperfections the way they, they are. So that’s why we’ve done up until that point.

[00:10:16] But now we realize that time is, is, is really our limiting factor here. So that’s why we’re changing our thinking a little bit on that. Right. So you’re saying going forward, you’re looking at some of these, auction domains, some more about valuable domains sites as well are good opportunities. Let’s say domain, that’s like three years old with like, doesn’t earn that much, but he’s in an interesting niche.

[00:10:36] Maybe the owner didn’t have the time, the resources or the knowledge to do properly. yeah, that’s the kind of stuff we’re looking to pick up to like kind of like, you know, you know how the first yoga website is, is never amazing. So if we can skip that. Yeah. Like I won’t complain. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:10:53] So, so you haven’t done any of that yet, but that’s, that is correct. Like you’re, but, but you’re, you’re actively looking to buy either all domains or maybe a small existing site. Okay. Very cool. So I want to dive into that a little bit, but maybe let’s talk about sort of the three existing sites that you have right now.

[00:11:12] Are they any of them, you know, performing. Well, at this point that, you know, kind of are worth talking about specifically. I think we have good growth, but like, I mean, the truth is itself is doing really well. So like when we compare the earnings to, well, it’s like, it’s great. But like I told you, haka, add these fine makes more money than them.

[00:11:34] It’s like, I try to be honest with people about that. Like not bullshitting, et cetera. Oh, you just sold your larger site, you know, a couple of years ago, right? Like it’s a, it’s a way like I do the same. Yeah. And so like, I will be honest about that, but the thing is like, we have some really interesting growth in some issues are the problem is that that one side that I’m thinking about is actually quite seasonal and we’re kind of like starting to enter the declining phase of this is analogy.

[00:11:59] So. No, we’re kind of like fighting against the trend to just at least maintain it in revenue. So it’s like, it’s not as exciting to look at as when you’re like in these, right. Yeah. And your traffic is like we 10 X the traffic in like, eight months or something. So doing really well. but, yeah, I mean, definitely could live on that money basically.

[00:12:18] Yeah. So what’s the, what’s the overall strategy, just to give it a highlight of, you know, you’re, you’re building a new site for people listening in particular, right? Like what’s the, what’s the strategy? Is it just, You know, there there’s a couple different schools of thought, right? Like just tons.

[00:12:36] Yeah. Of content. I know you guys just interviewed John Dykstra. I had him on the show. So not too long ago where he just publishes tons of content targeting really low competition. Doesn’t even worry about links. Right. And he mostly monetizes with just display ads does a little social media marketing with Pinterest.

[00:12:53] Right. And. Some of his sites are doing really, really well. yeah. So, so what’s kind of, yeah. So, so what’s sort of your, your overall strategy. I mean, we used to take that approach and we have built sites where we’ve done several thousand dollars articles on the site. And to be honest, what we found happens is they just become a nightmare merit to work with you.

[00:13:16] If you want to start adding in like affiliate tables to every single article and then writing mini descriptions for each of those products, it’s, there’s so much on there to work with. And the benefit of doing that for each individual article that might make you an extra two bucks a month seems. Not that the incentives don’t that strong.

[00:13:33] So what we found with the site we sold a couple of years ago is that we actually had far fewer pages on there, I think 120 or 130 or something. and even then the tops of 20% of those were making most of the money. So now our thinking is more like, well, can we just figure out what the ones that are going to be a hit before they’re a hit are and like, take that approach.

[00:13:56] So, how do you do that? How do you find, what’s going to be a big producer, a big earner keyword that you target extensive competitor research. Really? That’s where it starts. Like really? We tell people like you want to literally have a spreadsheet with every competing, competing domain. In there and there are stats, and we mapped this out like extensively.

[00:14:16] Like, so basically that spreadsheet essentially has like one tab with like all the competitors. And then you essentially tried to have another dive with all the CIOs and then you have usually we’ll have another tab with automatization that essentially the goal is to kind of like link these three. Use the competitors to find the cures and you

[00:14:35] And you’re like, okay, well, these keyboard, I can make this offer this keyword. I can be selfish, et cetera. That’s kind of like how you’re doing when you go off Amazon, because you don’t, you usually juggle with a few of us, even though most of its size, 80% of money comes from like one to three of us. I’d say, you, you try to lean that.

[00:14:51] And so. Yeah, we have that giant map of keywords and competitors. And then let’s say like, usually the metrics I give to people it’s like, I do find, I try to find, out for new site, we tell people all at least the three D or the five sites. Or less on page one. and we want them to get, we use a trust and, you know, they give that traffic metric.

[00:15:12] And the reason I like that traffic metric is because essentially it includes all the long tail keywords that page might be ranking for in that number. So it’s like, you’re kind of like thinking in terms of topics rather than like the keyboard. Right. And so I’m looking, I’m looking to get like 150 to 200 traffic to the pages that are top five, maybe.

[00:15:30] And there are, and there’s some load yellow pages in there. I don’t have too many leads to page. That’s essentially the kind of words I pick when we start on a new site, then, you know, like low authority, let’s say 35. I would say that that would count as low authority. And after that, usually that  is replaced by, one of them made the area.

[00:15:51] So it’s like, if my authority is 50 or 60, they essentially, I do that. And then I increase my traffic number as well. So that. You know, I don’t aim for like two small numbers and like, I get a substantial increase on the traffic on the site. But usually these are the kind of like, you know, you know, it’s kind of like when people invest in, they have these rules, it’s not like pure scientific, but gives them a framework to like, decide how to do things.

[00:16:13] That’s essentially how it works. And usually for us, it’s based on his data and extensive competitor analysis, like we look at competitors sites. All the time. And for example, because we’re competing in subs, I know most of the pages on your site for it. I’ve seen that I’ve seen a half ago. Yeah. So it’s like, you know, it’s like, and that’s fine.

[00:16:36] It’s like, it’s okay. Like friendly competition, but like, yeah, we’re very, very, very much based on like looking at what other people do and essentially let them spend the money. And try to figure out what’s working for them so that you don’t have to waste your time and money on stuff that has less chances of working.

[00:16:52] You know, I would also add, we’ve started looking a lot more at the products we’re going to be promoting as an affiliate site. So what is the price point? What’s the commission? some. Programs have like really good deals where they’ve kind of front load the commission and they pay you a hundred percent or even more than 100% of the value of the first sale.

[00:17:12] So like, those are very, very attractive as an affiliate site versus the, you know, 0.3% or whatever day, 3% you’re getting on Amazon these days. Right. That’s made a big difference in helping us to find. Higher paying niches, I think. Yeah. I think I made the argument in the, in the case study of the site, we sold basically say the, the payout of offers increases faster than I see difficulty.

[00:17:38] So if you’re we’re good at SEO, usually you’re better off going for. You don’t really care about competition. You will find a way to get traffic, even if it’s for very long tail keywords, but like mind going for the 40 searches per month keyword, if it’s four, $400 credit card offer, for example, and I probably make more money than like thousand searches, filaments, Amazon keyword.

[00:17:57] Right. and so like, there’s that kind of function as we get more advanced, were you willing to. You’re willing to trade traffic for payouts because it’s increases exponentially higher than, than the difficulty of ISU. It might be twice higher, but you get paid 10 times more, you know? Right. So to kind of summarize, it’s a lot of competitor analysis you’re looking at what are, you know, your, your competitors doing in the SERPs.

[00:18:23]but you’re trying to find those keywords that. A have traffic, B are going to make you the most money. but see, still have some weaknesses in the SERPs perhaps, right? Yeah. Pretty much. There’s a compromise, you know, and after that, when you come with that list of keywords, then you try to build a site structure.

[00:18:39] That makes sense as well. I’m sure you’ve seen that with your sites, but like, Let’s say you have like five to 10 pages on a more set topic. You tend to do better as a website, right? All these pages. Then you do with a single page on that topic. And if you were writing about 10 random different topics, so we tend to try to group these things.

[00:18:55] And it’s kind of interesting when you say as well, because. Well, sometimes I’m willing to write for keywords or you have no chance of ranking so that we’d build that collect complete hub. It’s kind of like the assembly gig, you know, where you just tried the cows, et cetera. And you tried to get the family.

[00:19:07] It’s kind of the same. You’re trying to like essentially be able to hold family because all together as much more powerful. and, any like you are the difficult, what these usually means, these that, The top ranking pages have a lot of links. And so what we do is we flip the script. We use that page to build links to the hub rather than the page to actually rank.

[00:19:23] And so we li we reach out to the people that link out to their competitors. And we were like, well, look, we made a better, more data version. Then you link to us. That’s like essentially the shotgun skyscraper, we teach to people. And so we flip the script. We write about low competition and high competition keyword in the same hub.

[00:19:36] The low condition keywords are here to make money. The high competition keywords are here to get links. Internal linking. I mean, you know, the internal linking I’m. Sure. Yeah. And then the hub works for you all because you get relevant links to a relevant piece of content. The internal needs to monetize piece of content that ends up ranking because it was low competition.

[00:19:55] Yeah. Yeah. So I do want talk a little bit about sort of content hubs or content clusters, and link building. So can you maybe give us a concrete example, either from authority, hacker, or just, you know, make up an example right. Of like, how would you use a content cluster? What might be that article or that keyword that you’re trying to get.

[00:20:18] You know, external links pointing to right. Like, no, no, no, totally hiker that like, everyone can go check out, actually. So actually it’s funny because this is YouTube video coming out where I talk about this. but if you check, we have an article on best keyword research, keyword tools, right. And at the time when we wrote about this, it was like a semi community of Curry, but not too crazy.

[00:20:37] Now you Google that query. It’s like a traffic. Yeah. It’s insane. He’s like, you need to be beyond 92, essentially a complete cure. You have no chance. The good thing is. We actually, because we made a pre original, case study. Initially that page has I think, 85 domains or something. Okay. So I have like I have on that page, but I have no chance to rank for that keyword.

[00:20:57] And so what we’ve done, what we’ve done here as well. We can’t rank for that Curry, but we could rank for . We could rank for a spiteful versus by level, et cetera. So what you do is you create these sub pages. You link from that page that has the authority, and you try to help these pages rank. And hopefully through long tail traffic, you actually make your authority worse.

[00:21:16] It’s a great way to repurpose stuff that became too competitive for you as well. And essentially you transformed that one page that used to be great at the time to a hub that ranks smaller pages. Yeah. That’s a great example. Do you still try to get new links to that? You know, best keyword research tools, article like, you know, it’s, you have two approaches to that, right?

[00:21:37] There’s like, well, Jesus lady D and you’re like, like. Whatever all you can be like. So the, the other person you can tell, because like, you know how content refresh is really important these days. I like people just refer to their content. You could play the longterm game. You can be like, well, maybe it’s an article I’m going to be updating every year.

[00:21:52] Yeah. And I’m going to be approach promoting it every year. And hopefully in two or three years, I’ll be able to compete for that very, very competitive query. Because I’ve been doing, I’ve been quite diligent on my update and hopefully some computers have not done that. so right now we’re not doing it.

[00:22:04] Yeah. But like that’s essentially the two approaches you can be. You can either just like actively recycle your link equity and not really build links. Or also there’s an opportunity where I’m like, actually for these years he was a number four or five. I want to rang them up. And maybe I’m just when I do a guest posting campaign to that page and I killed two birds in one stone.

[00:22:21] Maybe I can get to rank a little bit better for the really, really difficult query. And I get to push the site pages. So. You know, it’s like, I can’t tell you what we’re going to do because it kind of changes depending on their circumstances and where you, how you’re doing, et cetera. But like there’s many ways to manage that, basically.

[00:22:36] Yeah. Any additional thoughts on that Mark that you might want to add to sort of the, the content clusters, you know, and how it interacts with where your link building? no, not really. I mean, it’s usually mostly what, what, what we found though, like consistently over the year, over the last few years is that like, in the past we had this famous, like semi famous health website, which we did loads of case studies and stuff on, but it was like so broad.

[00:23:07] That was very rare that like any one cluster would do very well. It’s just like a bunch of random pages would suddenly do well here or there more recently, what we’ve moved over towards is, is like really going hyper focused on one category, one sub category. So even if we brand the site very broad, we’ll just build out one category.

[00:23:28] Completely first. Right. and that seems to work really, really well. I don’t know if it’s like a massive relevancy signal or, or just all of the links are like we’re acquiring are related to that. So the relevancy of the links or counting or what it is, but I mean, it’s anecdotal, but it’s, it’s working really well for us.

[00:23:44] Yeah. To give you an idea to say we sold for half a million, only had one out of five categories developed the way the site was built is that there was one category was a hundred plus pages. And every other category, was it a single page? It was just get through like mush to Brendan, just to make it look like a full site.

[00:24:01] The content brief was just a deep content. Brief was write 300 or words about this topic. Wow for more for looks than anything. So like that gives you an idea of like how deep you are on this. And like, it’s worked really well for us. And, and also when you, like, for people who do Amazon, they don’t really realize that.

[00:24:22] But when you get off Amazon, you know how it works, a few offers are going to make you a lot of money and a lot of offers are going to come with absolutely nothing and Uganda zero. Right. And so what happens is that when you make a content hub, you can kind of like reuse the same offer again and again, that works well.

[00:24:36] So you need to cross that with your revenue numbers. And it’s like, once I know for walks, I don’t even care about social volume anymore. I just want all the traffic, I can get whatever. And then very often you rifle tiny keyboards and you end up getting way more traffic than you thought. And because that offer, and then when you get volume on these offers, you can negotiate higher commissions.

[00:24:54] So it kind of like multiplies with each other. And so that’s the other thing, because we don’t really do like. Very Amazon focused sites. It’s quite important for us to stay focused on a few products because you know how it works with private FAF. Yep. No, that’s very true. I can give a couple examples of that.

[00:25:09] You know, like for example, jungle scout works really well on across niche pursuits. Whenever, whenever I’m talking about Amazon FBA, that’s sort of like one of my pillars on niche pursuits.com and just anytime I’m talking about Amazon FBA, like it’s easy, even though like jungle scout, isn’t really. Part of the article.

[00:25:28] It’s easy to just kind of add a paragraph or something, because I know it converts really well across that entire category. And so it makes it really easy to monetize those types of posts and even smokey was I lost it for you cause you probably get a good commission, right? Yup, absolutely. So, I just want to add to that as well.

[00:25:47] Like, cause it’s, it often gets overlooked by internet marketers who, who, you know, don’t like talking to people and stuff normally is that. the, once you have a lot of volume around a specific, affiliate product, the negotiation part, where you just ask for more money, ask for a high percentage, most affiliate managers out there have considerable leeway to grant you higher commission.

[00:26:08] Some will try to incentivize you to do it. So, you know, because number one in your review, right? These more articles. Yeah. You don’t, you don’t have to do that. I’m not saying you should be like a, Tit for tat kind of thing. but the amount of you, you could do, you mind, you can increase your revenue is so much higher than, you know, building out another category or, you know, building another a hundred links or 50 articles or something just cause, you know, we’ve had cases where they would literally triple our commissions over like a six month period by just focusing so many people to that one offer.

[00:26:41]and not that moves the needle quite significantly. Yeah, no, that’s a great point that people can try out and, you know, are, are you guys completely off Amazon? Right? Were you cause you can’t negotiate with Amazon, right? Like you can’t like there’s, you know, Jeff controls the strings there. so there’s, there’s an argument to be made though, right?

[00:27:04] To promote private affiliate offers. Sure. So to clarify though, we still use Amazon quite a lot. It’s kind of our, if we don’t have an offer, if he does not specific, then we’re going to promote, it’s the, it’s the everything else affiliate program, because it just has so many products, you sign up for it once and, you know, promote anything on there.

[00:27:25] So if we don’t have an exp another explicit program to promote, will we’ll still go to them. And sometimes. When we’re starting a starting a site. I mean, usually now we plan specific affiliate programs to join, but y’all, you often need to like, grow your site a little bit and build out before you can, you can apply to some of these individual programs.

[00:27:42]so you know, you can stick Amazon in there to start with at least. Yup. That makes sense. So, speaking of, kind of your newer sites that you have now, you talked about. The fact that you aren’t publishing quite as much content, at least initially you’re going after sort of these core topics. Right.

[00:28:00] Focusing on those, trying to make those every single one ring, try to make them a winner. Right. so what do you, do you have a target amount of content that you hope to publish on these news sites? Like, is it, Hey, We’re going to publish 50 articles and, you know, build links and see how it does. And that may be all view.

[00:28:18] One concept where it’s like, we can, like, we kind of like indexed the side before, because you kind of want to eat to age anyway. So like once we have like five, 10 articles, we tend to index the sites so that it just starts aging, but we don’t really tell anyone. We just let Google now. but we kind of have like that consideration of like the site is launched properly and usually the number would be between 40 and like 80, 90 pages usually.

[00:28:38] So it took quite a bit of content, can take a while sometimes to do it properly. but yeah, we have that. We have that V one concept. My idea is like, well, if, if, if I do these pages and if I do it, yeah. I build a hundred links to the site or something like that. Like I said, a goal as well. I expect that site to at least be breakeven.

[00:28:55] That’s kind of like, we’re looking for the breakeven point when your side brings as much money as it costs, then you, you have the luxury of time to grow it, you know? And so it’s kind of like the first goal of new sites is not like to make millions. These two. Pay for themselves and pay for the deals. And usually we hire a full time writer or something for new size these days, we tend to hire specialists these days.

[00:29:17] Like, yeah, so like people who actually have experienced in the field, et cetera. So it’s not always the cheapest. so usually like the breakeven point would be like, Three to $5,000 a month. I would say four for a site like that. That’d be, how’s a breakeven then usually that V one plan is okay. I think if we do that, we might reach breakeven, but obviously, you know how this goes is it’s hard to predict.

[00:29:38] So it’s like, it’s, it’s a guesstimation is just say that this process also allows you to identify potential superstar sites. So like that, that one that we sold the grew really fast, but we didn’t. Really intend or expect it to that to happen. It just happened to be a site that as we started doing this and started building out the first 50 odd articles, we really got some great initial traction and we thought, Oh, we got to like put our weight behind us and really make it work.

[00:30:06] So, yeah. We found some unique was in this new structure. Like the way we did it is we found, I talk about this in one of our YouTube, the way we did it. I’m not going to say which means I’ve got to tell you how we got the key words. we actually put the, the health section and knowledge base of the software tools in.

[00:30:22] A truss, every found which problems people were looking for. And they essentially created content around the problems people had and, and promoted, promoted offers around that. And that was interesting. That was one of the biggest factors of growth. So yeah, like that’s one thing you can, another thing that works like that, as well as you can put like really big size, you can put Reddit, for example, you could put ready.com on HRS.

[00:30:46] And you type the name of products in your own issue type. Then they like keywords related to your niche, but like more, more niche ones, you know? and then, and then you will find like weird questions. If it’s ranks, it’s like a usually use not that competitive, like nobody’s building links to it, nobody’s optimizing for it.

[00:31:02] And so, and if you find like pages in your niche with a lot of traffic, I’m kind of like an angle to monetize. It’s like essentially solving the problem while selling your product. that’s usually like an, a good, low hanging fruit for new sites as well. So let’s talk a little bit more about link building.

[00:31:19]I think, you know, when people think authority, hacker, they. One of the big things is link building that you guys teach. You talked about the shotgun skyscraper technique that you’ve sort of coined to that phrase at least. so let’s is it okay? It was, it was a defense mechanism. Someone else has a similar trademark, so we didn’t want, it went to take a photo of a mock was a shotgun for the sales page that would certainly attract a certain crowd.

[00:31:48] Right. That would be great. so, Either explain the shotgun skyscraper technique, or if you’re doing anything slightly different with your new sites, these three new sites that you talked about, explain sort of your link building strategy now. Okay. So shotgun skyscraper, skyscrapers, a play on the skyscraper technique, which was, I think originally coined by Brian Dean.

[00:32:11]so you have a. An article, which a very high value article, which hopefully is targeted, a keyword with high I  keyword difficulty, K D is a direct measurement of the number of external links. The top 10 results have pointing towards it. So normally when you’re trying to rank a, an article, you look for low, medium competition keywords because you think it’d be easier.

[00:32:36] Well, we don’t actually care about ranking these articles. We care about getting lots of links. So. So we look for a high KD keyword. That means that the article, the other article is already ranking, have lots of links. We build a better article than that. And that is really important. It’s not just, Oh, tell your writer to coffee, the number one ranking article and this, this, for this keyword, right?

[00:32:57] You have to actually put a lot of thought into making it good. I’m making it legitimately better. This makes this a really important point, especially nowadays cause the loss of people doing this technique. So if you do that and if you do that well, then you craft, an outreach campaign where you start contacting everybody who is linking to all of these people.

[00:33:16] Who are ranking for this keyword, and you have to apply a little bit of common sense and logic and filter out anything kind of unrelated. And there’s a few cool techniques for, for doing this, but most of this work, you can create into a process where you’re downloading all the backlinks lists from hay, trash, merging them altogether.

[00:33:35]D duplicating them, filtering them out. You can even like filter them by dr. So maybe you want to take a different approach for the very high dr. Sites that tend not to respond to these, these kind of mass outreach requests. so, once you, once you have that prospect list, you need to find email addresses or contact information for all of them.

[00:33:54] There’s a number of ways you can do that. hunter.io is a paid tool. You can use it for free, but only I think 50 or a hundred a month. so that that’s an approach. So we use Hunter quite a lot. There’s also a bunch of other things you can do with like ScrapeBox and like scraping people’s Facebook page, Facebook page about pages because loads of people have emails in there.

[00:34:14]and there’s a few of the techniques and stuff we use as well. And then we use it. Cool. Like Mailshake or actually now Hunter dyo has a free outreach tool. I think it’s called Hunter campaigns. So we’ve started using that as well. And then you create a semi personalized template. You want to like pull in fields.

[00:34:34] First name and anything else that you can do to personalize it, the more personalization and the better you outreach a bunch of people and you say, Hey, essentially, you’re what you’re saying is you linked to these people linked to me as well. Now you have to be a bit nicer about it and not sound like you’re just saying.

[00:34:52] Yeah. So, but the key with this strategy is you can do a lot of outreach. some people think, well, that’s kind of spammy or, you know, you’re annoying people. I wouldn’t respond to those squares and I wouldn’t respond to those great. I don’t respond to those queries, but the fact is a lot of people do, and.

[00:35:08] Some people will ask you for money, if you’re okay with paying money for links, you can do that. We don’t, we’ve never paid for no, we never paid for links in that sense on any of our websites. and so, yeah, that’s, that’s essentially the technique I would say, I would say as well that the. How that technique is.

[00:35:26] One is in negotiation, in the conversations you have when someone responds, not in the filtering or not an outreach message. It’s in not negotiation, because if you have someone really good responding to those emails and really connecting with people, you, you got so many more links. So. Right. I can suspect and know from previous emails, either that I’ve gotten or sent that a certain people full, I think as you’re sort of insinuating here, certain people might own a whole portfolio of sites, right?

[00:35:59] Like you found one of their sites, they might have an even better site. Right. And they. Connect with you. Maybe, maybe talk about some of that negotiation that happens. Like what will, what sort of a best case scenario of an email you send out? What’s better than just getting a link to the article you wanted anyways.

[00:36:18]so as you said, getting multiple links or building a relationship, so you can. Basically get a guest post or ask for a link from them for any future website or any other page you want to push, you know, having one link to your domain from a target is good, but being able to push five money keyword pages that you want to push, you know, your number two for you, or just the bottom of, just to the top of page two, for anyone to on this page one, those kinds of relationships really powerful.

[00:36:47] So again, one, one of the. Good things to do when you’re doing negotiations, just track everything. So everyone you’re talking to everyone who you think you can get another link and reach out, reach to, and, and just, I guess, really try and connect with them on a personal level. So like figure out what else they do on the internet.

[00:37:07] One of the best examples I had was. I used to love my electronic music and was like wanting to be a DJ and all that back in the day, someone like cyber stalked me and found my, like an old SoundCloud page of mine, which had a bunch of like DJ mixes and stuff. And then I don’t even think they liked that kind of music, but they’re like, Hey Mark, I found your Seinfeld page.

[00:37:28] I really liked this. have you heard this track from this new. You DJ. And I listened to it. It was actually a pretty cool track. and that’s like one of the few, few times where I’ve actually given a link, from authority hacker to, to, to someone actually paid attention to what they had to say. So I think more than one.

[00:37:48] So it’s not going to work again. So don’t email me about that guy. Anything like that, that helps you stand out and show that you’ve actually taken an interest in and cared. I know it can be, it can seem a little fake when you’re doing doing that. but just the fact that, so I knew they were doing that to get the link, but the fact that they had gone to the effort of it, and to be honest, the track they recommended was actually kind of cool.

[00:38:11]made me listen to other original pitch was, and the original pitch. although it looks very similar to most other link building outreach messages, But the content they had was actually really good. And the, the link that they wanted us to decide that they wanted to, the page that they wanted to us to link to rather was very relevant to what we were talking about.

[00:38:27]yeah. I just, it makes sense from that, that perspective. So, is it possible to get a link, to your SoundCloud page? We’ll put that in the show notes so people can go check out your old music. Okay. so the, the, the outreach that you guys are doing, I mean, you’ve got a whole process set up, are Mark and Gail actually doing all of that and monitoring the emails?

[00:38:53] Or do you have VAs and everybody doing everything? No, it would be, we used to do it ourselves initially, before we figured out a lot of the systematized elements of it, and I think that’s something really important whenever you do any starting a new link building techniques, very important to do it yourself.

[00:39:08] Get a feel for how it actually works. Don’t try and build a scaled version before you’ve built the basic rough around the edges version. but nowadays, I mean, we have, we have people who work for us. We don’t really go with the VA approach so much. We haven’t been able to make that work. with email outreach.

[00:39:26]sometimes it’s kind of okay for some of the patients expecting elements of it and anything to do with data analysis and working with Xcel and Hunter. And that stuff seems to be not so bad, but when it comes to crafting outreach messages or responding negotiation, any like cheap VA that we’ve, we’ve worked with just hasn’t had the.

[00:39:45] Finesse. I think that’s necessary to stand out from everyone else. Who’s doing this, this kind of outreach. So we go where with, you know, more higher page, full time employees. and that’s, that’s, that’s been, that’s worked very well for us. It’s taken a while, have a say to. train those people. And as we’ve, as we’ve done that, we’ve also improved our processes just bit by bit adding on some automations or building a script or a macro or a tool, which interfaces with, you know, some API and just speeds up certain parts of the process.

[00:40:17] No, we actually have the staff that comes up with the improvements and works with developers to build tools, et cetera. So it’s kind of nice actually, like I’m like. Interesting building for awhile, but I did do original shotgun skyscraper. It’s like, I just went off for two weeks and I had this idea and then came back to Mark, like, look, I’ll be with all these leagues.

[00:40:35] And then that’s how it started basically. And I was like, Oh my God doing this, Laurel. I’m looking at that. Okay. And then you fixed everything. Yeah. That’s how we work together. Yeah. Mark. Gail’s the crazy idea person and Mark year the Lake let’s button this up and make it done right. Pretty much. I just go and do something else, you know?

[00:40:58] Yeah. That’s good. I mean, you guys are a great team, to, to be able to work together. How, how long have you guys been working together now? It’s over 10 years now. So we, before we started authority, hacker, we had another business together as a digital marketing agency. And, that was our first business.

[00:41:17] My first. Thing in entrepreneurship really. And, that was, that was interesting. We talked about that a lot on our podcast in the early days, but, we didn’t, I mean, we learned a lot from working with all these clients and doing a bunch of SEO and digital marketing, but we’re not agency people. We don’t have the patients, especially Gail doesn’t have the patience to, to deal with, clients and all the red tape.

[00:41:38] And it’s just really nice, you know, working for yourself. Not having any red tape being, if you have an idea going, just implementing it without having to get approval from the web developer and the legal team and all these other people. yeah, we worked for some big sites, so there was a lot, at some point we were doing, we were doing lingo for Macy’s for example.

[00:41:54] Oh, wow. I be like every outreach template had to be approved by the social media manager, the lawyer. The head of SEO, then the assistant SEO lady was like five or six people. I had to approve the list of websites, the outreach emails, et cetera. I mean, we learned a lot doing this, but wow, that was, that was hard.

[00:42:13] Like I think, I think also beside SEO is so different from small sites as you like. You know, like one time I had a desk on like updating title PDF, which you’re like, okay, sounds easy. Right. And they sent us this Excel file. That was like 300 megabits. Yeah. It was like a hundred thousand pages. And they’re like, well, we want this updated in four days.

[00:42:33] And we have to build the whole system. I’ll make any call Turk. Who’s like editors that we check every scene, et cetera. So it was like a whole, yeah. It’s like, it’s just not the same, basically. So it’s like, it was interesting. We learned a lot, it made us creative, you know, but, But it’s like, I wouldn’t say it all translates to the stuff we do today.

[00:42:52] So just to kind of tie it back into, to link building, to wrap up that shotgun skyscraper technique. I want to just clarify, you mentioned that you are writing the original article on a high KD term that maybe you’re not trying to rank specifically for that term. Right? You’re, you’re building all the lace to that page, those pages, but then your.

[00:43:13] Linking out, I assume to all the other terms that you really want to rank for, is that correct? Even, even if you don’t link out a tall, even if you, you know, you just have a ton of links pointing to that one page, it increases your overall domain authority. And as much as people say, you know, Google works at page level and stuff like we’ve seen it firsthand.

[00:43:33] You have a hundred links pointing towards. One page and that page has no links pointing except for maybe the menu and stuff. No links pointing anywhere else on, on, on your site, it’s still increases like the, not like the domain authority, but like the genuine, yeah. Underlying Google domain authority. And seems to seem when you do that a lot that you can just create new content and events targeting.

[00:43:58] Laurie medium competition keywords. It ranks like within hours or days, but then if you do go and smart about it and use, you know, link whisper and these other amazing tools out there to build internal links, then from that page to other pages on your site, especially money keywords, where you’re like a page where you can make, can make a lot of money, like pushing an affiliate review or something.

[00:44:21]then that can be even more powerful. Yeah. I want to point out to a mistake. People may make when they doing something leaking though, it’s like, they, they, they put as many into Onyx as they can on that page links. But the way page rank works for Google is essentially the page rank is divided by the number of readings that comes out.

[00:44:37] Right. And it’s like, not all pages are making you. The same money, some pages make you very little money. Well, some pages are like very important to most of the money you make that not. So, so I think one thing that people never think about is deleting internal links to pages that don’t perform that well anymore, or like stuff that has changed, et cetera, and focusing on just the few internal things that really move the needle in terms of, in terms of income.

[00:44:59]I think it’s really powerful, especially when sizes get a little bit older, you know, you’ve been working on the cycle to, for years, you’ve been doing internal linking every time you publish a new page, et cetera. And then you’ll have your old articles that literally like internal links. Well, it’s kind of like diluted.

[00:45:12] Then you can cover it. We boost that by removing the links to the pages that don’t matter as much to you anymore, which happens. You know, there’s always a cycle was like, these pages used to make a lot of money, but not so much anymore. Now this new one, the next Monday, et cetera. So. yeah, I think it’s important to kind of like revise that like, you know, twice a year or something like have that kind of like spring cleaning of your website.

[00:45:31] Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a great tip. I know a great tool called Linquist for that gives full internal linking reporting. If people want to, you know, do some spring cleaning on their site and that was a free version. They can check it out. They can try it for you. That is true. That is true. so, eh, Le any, any final thoughts on SEO?

[00:45:51] I mean, recently we’ve seen a lot of changes, maybe not changes, but, boy SEO is always changing I guess, but what I’m referring to is we’ve seen some things like GPT three and other advanced, you know, sort of. Writing natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and people are scared that, Hey, all of a sudden, we’re going to have robots writing articles and, you know, if they can just crank out a thousand grade articles, like how do we human stand a chance?

[00:46:22]I’m just curious, curious your thoughts on kind of the future of content. And SEO, it doesn’t specifically need to be, you know, sort of this GPT, but just any forward thinking, looking thoughts on content and SEO. The, I think the mistake a lot of people make when trying to look, look ahead into the future is they compare now to some distant point where like all these changes have manifested and like, okay to go from here to here.

[00:46:52] It’s like a cliff edge, you know? I mean, every writer is going to be out of a job and the machines are taking over a sky now. Oh my God. But actually non-processed might happen over, you know, maybe five years, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, however long it is. it’s, it’s going to happen, but it’s going to be gradual.

[00:47:08] So you have GPT three at the moment, which I haven’t actually used it, but as I understand you couldn’t basically ask it to write an article and it will. You know, it, some kind of AI to the first two sentences, somewhat. Okay. Nickel. So you could, you could in theory, use that to replace a bunch of writers, but it, the content wouldn’t be legible, but you could perhaps have your writers use that in certain subsections of their writing.

[00:47:33] So maybe they’re writing a review article, which includes, an FAQ section with a bunch of questions, which has each, maybe two or three paragraphs long. And you could ask GPTs. Three to help out in that sense. So in a way you can think of it rather than a replacement to your writers, a way to augment them or potentially augment them in some situations.

[00:47:54] And then as technology improves more than it may be able to do other things and eventually create whole readable article articles that are passable, in the sense that you wouldn’t know, it would pass the Turing test wherever you would know, whether it’s a computer written, written or not. As you said, SEO link, building content, all this stuff it’s changing so fast.

[00:48:14] If you, if you, when you started this, if you said what’s SEO going to look like in 2020, and you think to what it looks like now, it’s probably quite different than the direction that you thought it was going. I know for sure. It’s very different to the way we thought we thought it was going. so I would just say to people, like, just trying to try and adapt as much as you can and don’t freak out about these kinds of Skynet situations, right?

[00:48:36]And, and it’s, it’s probably not going to be as bad as you, as you think. Right. Yep. I agree. I mean, bottom line is that I think humans are always going to want it connect with humans. Right. And so there’s always this, this advantage of, if you can truly write in a way that connects, like we’re, we’re we’re years away from where.

[00:48:56] Yeah, I think there would be people that want to read content by humans and not content by robots as well. There would be people who’d be like, no, no, no, no. I don’t want to read any of these robot sheets. I want to someone who wrote it, et cetera, billings, there’ll be like an Apple ad block, plus the blocks out robot, or like a seal like certified written bike seal.

[00:49:17] Right? Like, I’ll get your content, you know? Yeah. It’s also also want more and more people starting to consume content on video. Now G a is much more prevalent data. Everyone has a cell phone, a smartphone, these days, much easier to create videos than it was 10 years ago. So, you know, that’s another element too.

[00:49:37] I think people like connecting with the author, not just reading a bunch of bunch of tax, to together information. So. Yeah, I’ll be honest. Where for me, the more immediate change to the internet is more like a lot of content is hosted on third party platforms versus on your website. Like for example, you removed the comments from this person.

[00:49:55] Why? Because you’re kind of on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, et cetera, essentially. You’ve, you’ve moved that content from your website to that. So I think like that’s more. Like, you’re going to have to have your brand exist on these third party platforms. And maybe the way people will touch your website will be a little bit later to like, like get a deeper version of your posts.

[00:50:16]maybe try an email list, maybe like, you know, this kind of like deeper connection. And, so I think it might be tricky for things like ad based, websites. Like, you know, it’s like the number of pages you can generate your site will be a little bit harder because most of the internet traffic will be directed to Facebook, YouTube, et cetera.

[00:50:35] But you can like, for example, YouTube, you get money from that sense. You still get all of that, et cetera, you can still monetize, but, you’ll still be able to, like, I think that’s why I tend to like, projects where you can eventually sell your own products as well. even if you don’t have to do it now, like, you know, Like, it’s kind of like the, the attitude we’re taking two hours, two hours new sites right now, which is like, we don’t try to make it very complicated.

[00:50:57] We just want to get a lot done, but we want to see that perspective that we can take them to a place where we could even have our own shop or products or whatever. And then, then yeah. Then you could actually explore that brand to YouTube, to Facebook, to all that you don’t care that much because eventually you just drive people to do the final purchase on your website.

[00:51:14]and then, you know, the thing as well is like, these platforms are more than happy to give you impressions. People stay on their platform. This is when they click to go towards your website. So when you have that kind of business model, you tend to have much more traffic opportunities as well. So, but you don’t have to do it now.

[00:51:30] Like it’s still good, right? I mean, I guess it was still amazing, et cetera. It’s like people are making a ton of money. That’s right. It’s still, and people are still doing really well with it, affiliate and all of that, et cetera. But I just like the perspective. I like the idea of like, you know, what, if anything, I know I can turn this around.

[00:51:45] It’s a flexible niche where I can actually go and do these things. And that’s kind of like the way you future proof things, you know? Cause then you can just turn your traffic around and monetize it still in a bit of a different way. Yep. I a hundred percent agree. so speaking of video and YouTube that you mentioned, you guys are making a little bit more effort, it seems like on your YouTube channel with authority, hacker, over there, you’ve got the nice, setup that we talked about a little bit before, right?

[00:52:11] You invested a lot of money and in the microphones and the setup and the video equipment, how is YouTube going for you guys? I mean, it’s, it’s starting to grow. It started, we started like hitting that compounding phase. So like the numbers are actually going up kind of in a more meaningful way. Then what was interesting is with our approach is we have this podcast for several years before, which was just audio and we’re like, let’s do video and let’s make that our YouTube channel and most of the videos on our YouTube channel, our podcasts, like an hour or so long, there’s not, it’s not the usual.

[00:52:46] Not the usual YouTube algorithm built videos, you know, 10 minutes or so click baity titles. We start to do duty if you click baity titles now. But I think because we, because, cause we had that, that flip from the audio to the video version, it took a while for us to like really understand what was working on YouTube.

[00:53:06] We’re doing, taking the same approach with audio podcasts, and that wasn’t really resonating at least in the YouTube algorithm recommendations engine. And all that, but now we’ve started looking at the data and like, which, which podcasts working better on YouTube and then we’re okay. Adjusting future topics and angles and little bits of in our presentation, how we do it.

[00:53:25] So those iterations of start to stack more and more. We start doing better B roll and, and all sorts of stuff on top of the video version of the podcast now as well. So it’s. It’s going. I think if you ask to ask us the same question in a year’s time, it’d be very interesting to see how far far it’s gone.

[00:53:43] Cause it’s, it’s a channel. We we’re getting a lot of value from it at the moment and we really want to push further. it’s also quite enjoyable to make videos, versus just sitting in behind a blank screen. Yeah. I think if you start a podcast and you don’t do it on YouTube these days, you’re crazy.

[00:53:57] It’s like actually, like the audio podcast space is so competitive. Like I’m sure if you look at your download numbers, it’s like a flat line and like slight, like you look younger, you might have a slight increase, but, people don’t discover podcasts, audio podcasts. They just follow that phase on the people that like our, as YouTube is that recommendation engine, et cetera.

[00:54:16] It’s kind of like. You know, that that enters the realm of like repurpose content, doing things for multiple things. Like, you know, then you can take clips and put them on Instagram, do the scenes, et cetera. And, yeah. It’s like, I enjoy YouTube personally. It’s like, you know why? You know, I enjoy YouTube.

[00:54:30] Yeah. Because Google falses they’re fricking. I’m searching dent on every query now. So you can’t even make cool stuff. You just need to make one, they want. And it’s like, and it’s very often true. She’s got a heat. Like I don’t like creating content that matches. I can’t tell you how, like, I hate that because it’s usually like, Terrible content doesn’t work and you should do it.

[00:54:51] It’s just terrible. But because everyone writes about this, then Google, as soon as that’s the truth. And if you’re at something else you don’t rank. And so on, YouTube is engagement days, which means like, we get to say what we want. And then if people watch and like, et cetera, then we will get the distribution, which is a lot more enjoyable for us to do this than to actually go ahead and.

[00:55:10] Rewrite the same article a hundred times on Google, which is essentially how Google works these days. Yep. No, I I’m sort of looking at it the same way. Like I’ve started to put a little more effort into my YouTube channel. Like believe it or not. I was just looking yesterday. I’ve had my YouTube channel since 2010.

[00:55:27]but most of it is just been like, I did a quick demo of long tail pro and I threw it up there. Right. Like it, I never actually like. Cared, what people looked at on YouTube. I just had it embedded on niche pursuits.com. Right. We did that at the beginning. It was a hosting. It was a hosting for me. but now I’m looking at it.

[00:55:47] And you mentioned something that, with YouTube, you can do things that maybe are more interesting that, you know, they, they, are something that you should just. You know, you feel like talking about or sharing, or here’s a quick strategy. it’s more interest based than, Hey, just straight keywords.

[00:56:05] Although the people want it. Go ahead. So I wouldn’t you what it used to be like to be a blogger when bloggers yes, exactly. Exactly. Which is what I miss. Right. Like I can’t, I can’t go over to niche pursuits and just write whatever I want. And sometimes I do that. but those articles usually don’t perform that well.

[00:56:23] Right. Yeah. Later, like what’s left. Not exactly. Exactly, exactly. And it’s like, that’s, that’s how Google works now. Now they want you to write you to the target on content that just answers the search intent of the query, but like, You know, before if you were doing something really cool and getting a lot of things you could rank because you were doing really well.

[00:56:41] I need metrics now, even if you’re the lead metrics, it doesn’t matter. Like if, if Google wants to these folks for that query, you don’t have at least books. You’re not going to show off. There’s no chance. Even you have 10 times more links and that’s, and that’s why YouTube it’s fun for me because it’s still, you still get a benefit of search, but it’s actually a search powered by interest and people’s engagement.

[00:57:01] Like Google used to be several years ago. Yup. I agree. And then we, and our audience, those were humans, you know, when they’re looking at us on YouTube. So that, that helps. Right. So that can’t be taken over by a robot quite yet. anyways, Mark, Gale. It’s great. Yeah. You on the podcast, any final thoughts or just.

[00:57:22] Tips, perhaps for somebody just getting started out there trying to build that either their first site, they’re trying to rank in Google any just final advice for them. yeah, I would say that the, the one biggest thing yeah, you can do to differentiate yourself from other people is content quality. So that doesn’t mean, I mean, even though Gail was saying like the intent of the search find a keyword is like, maybe there’s a list post.

[00:57:49] So write a list post, but that doesn’t mean just copy or rewrite someone else’s list posts, like look genuinely, look for ways in which you can improve it and make it better. And yeah. Yeah, improve the production quality, like try and be the best when it comes to content and everything else gets much easier.

[00:58:04] Link-building especially when, when you do that. Yeah. I can give a practical example. Like one thing that we’ve done for the past two years on outsize to like enhance their quality is we’ve hired illustrators. I knew create custom illustrations for our content actually. and it’s like when there’s technical stuff, I mean, I’m thinking of one of our sites right now that we’re working on when it like very technical.

[00:58:24] Things that people need to do. Like, we literally have the diagrams showing exactly how they need to do things and like little arrows pointing at it, et cetera. And, you know, it’s like, it’s kind of like, it looks like a comic book almost, you know, you have each step, et cetera. And like people can go through that.

[00:58:36]so that’s, that’s an idea on how you can improve your production quality. So even though you have to measure the search intent, it’s just, you can still be creative, but it’s quite constraining. but it’s. Probably still the best traffic source to rank on Google. So you should not, despite what I say, you should not give that up and you should definitely, definitely compete on that.

[00:58:57] And we do compete on that. It’s just for hacker, because we’ve been doing my marketing for so long. We just enjoyed it, just like sitting back and actually talking about more advanced things than just repeating what is a long tail keyword or something like this, for the thousands type basically. Yup.

[00:59:14] Great tips. Great advice guys. Like I said, it’s great having you on the podcast and being able to see you on video. I know people can go to authority, hacker.com if they want to follow along with what you’re doing. But is there any other place that you’d like to send people or how can they get in touch with you?

[00:59:34] Yeah, I think we have, yeah, so we have a podcast as well. Authority, hacker.com/podcast, 230 something episodes up there. Now come down every Monday. It’s also on YouTube, YouTube, just search for authority, hacker we’re on social media, but we don’t really post that much. We don’t like great in it. We’re more like I say, podcasts, blog, email type site.

[00:59:56]so follow us there. it to the newsletter, we spend a lot of time on this lately actually. Right? Like, so it’s like, it’s funny, you think it’s tight from the bucket. So we kind of like take a tangent from the podcast. We take like a set up eco something. We might just have brushed on us. I think. I would just like expand on these I’ll like make real case studies.

[01:00:12] So like that’s where we go and show screenshots of stuff. Basically all the blogging that Google doesn’t want anymore, we put it in the email that way. So there you go. People can head over to authority, hacker.com, check out those resources, join the email list or anything else. guys, it’s great to connect again.

[01:00:32]it’s been six years since around on the podcast. Let’s let’s maybe not wait another six years to do that again, but, I appreciate it guys. Thank you. Absolutely. Thanks very much for having us on Spencer. Thank you. Cheers. .

How To Create Effective Website Content Templates To Scale Article Production

How To Create Effective Website Content Templates To Scale Article Production

I bet it’s one of two reasons:

  1. You’re just starting with content sites and need an efficient way to outsource content production to freelancers, OR
  2. You’ve had some success with SEO sites and need to find more time in your schedule to scale up.

Did I get it right?

Either way, you need an efficient method of assigning work to writers so that you receive publish-ready articles with as little time-input on your part as possible.

Content templates are the single, best way to scale up your article production quickly and easily.

What is a content template?

Template for content

A content template is a blueprint that writers can use to create a specific type of article.

Instead of training several writers to create your articles just the way that you like them, content templates allow you to go through this process just once.

These templates should include your desired article structure, format, explanations of what should (or shouldn’t) be included in each section, and examples that illustrate how a final product should look.

After it’s created, you can simply share this document with a freelance writer or content creation agency, and they will be able to get started writing immediately.

Benefits of content templates

You probably have yet to realize how much time is being wasted by NOT using content templates.

Content templates allow you to:

  • Achieve clarity in regards to your needs and expectations
  • Reduce the amount of time you spend assigning work and training writers
  • Create uniform articles in regards to structure, format, and voice
  • Use lower cost writers since you are removing high-level decisions from their plate
  • Quickly increase the volume of article development
  • Ensure core elements are not overlooked or left out of an article

The benefits you experience from using content templates will vary by usage, but you can expect to free up massive amounts of time so you can get back to growing your business.

Style guide vs. content templates

Style Guide Vs. Content Templates

SEO content site owners often confuse a style guide with a content template.

They are not the same thing!

A style guide is a document that defines your brand’s voice and writing style.

It lets writers know your standards and expectations for all articles on your site, regardless of the content type.

Style guides generally include rules for capitalization, source citations, image attribution, punctuation, and other similar writing elements.

While prominent publications tend to build their own style guide, content site owners like us can generally get away with using the AP Stylebook for our needs.

Writers will likely have experience with it already, and it helps you avoid reinventing the wheel.

Conversely, content templates apply to a specific article or type of article.

It will include rules specific to the article such as what sections need to be included, what should be included in each of those sections, keywords to use,  types of sources you want to be included, and specific rules for any media integration.

The bare minimum template

There are a few core elements that must be included in your template.

They include:

  • The required word length
  • The article title or a clear explanation of how to create the article title based on a topic
  • The target keyword and rules for its usage
  • Structure rules such as how subheadings, bullet lists, and other similar elements should be used
  • Instructions for how to integrate both internal and external links
  • Examples of existing live articles that you want to mirror or “beat”
  • A checklist that writers can use to cross-reference their article against quickly

These elements are all you need to get content production rolling quickly and efficiently.

The detailed template

The chances of your writers making a mistake drop drastically as you increase the granularity of your template.

Just keep in mind that your ability to use this content template for the creation of many articles will decrease as your instruction specificity increases.

The way I get around this is by creating a rather broad content type template and supplement that with a spreadsheet that has all of the article-specific information that the writer will need to meet my expectations.

By doing this, I can use a single template for the production of many, many articles that all follow the same rules.

At that point, the only thing I need to do is create a spreadsheet with article-specific information such as the exact title, keywords, and other article-level instruction that will then be applied to the broader template.

It works like a charm!

Being comprehensive vs. micromanaging

Comprehensive vs. Micromanaging

Ok, ok… this section is a bit self-serving being that I operate a content creation agency. But, it should be helpful for you when creating long-lasting relationships with your writers.

We get A LOT of clients that try to micromanage us through their content templates in an attempt to get us to create the exact vision that they have in mind.

We once had a client that provided us with a 46-page content template for a single 1000-word article!

Their templates become so detailed that they may have well just written the article on their own.

Let me explain why micromanaging doesn’t work.

Besides being counter-productive to your goal of scaling content production, you will never be able to get a writer to see the exact vision you have in your mind.

If you already have a predefined vision of what you expect to see in the article down to the sentence level, you absolutely should be writing the article yourself.

You need to leave room for the writers personal writing style. By trying to get them to write in the same way that you would, you’re essentially masking the writer’s inherent talents and forcing them to be something they’re not.

SEO content site owners do not have the full picture in regards to how Google evaluates content in their ranking algorithm.

Instead, we use the best practices available to us and run tests to see what works best in our vertical.

Knowing this, we all need to give writers a little more breathing room. As long as the article follows SEO best practices, you’re in good shape.

If you feel the need to be extremely specific about your expectations, the way to get the best results is to provide the writer with multiple examples of existing articles that exhibit what you’re seeking from the article they are creating for you.

You can even point out specific sections in those example articles and explain why you like them or why they’re important.

Try it out. I bet you’ll be surprised at the result!

Iterative improvements


Be prepared for disappointment when you use your content templates for the first time.

While you may think that you created an iron-clad document that will be the answer to all your scaling problems, your writers may not interpret it the same way.

This is not to say that your new content template won’t work and your dream of scaling content production is doomed. It just means that some tweaking is in order.

Please don’t take it out on your writer if the article they created didn’t match your vision. Instead, remind yourself that you are a business owner, and it’s your role to manage this process until you achieve your expected results.

Feedback from your writer in the form of failure is an invaluable tool that you can use to propel your business forward.

Here is how to make iterative improvements to your content templates:

  • Create the first draft of the template
  • Order 10 articles using the template; one article per writer
  • Review the articles in detail and make a note of every “failure” you find
  • Create a log of each of these failures; notate what was wrong and why it didn’t meet your expectations
  • Update your template with specific guidance, so those failures do not happen again
  • Rinse and repeat

You will move closer and closer to the “perfect” article with each iteration of your template.

Keep maintaining your issue log and update it after every batch of content comes back.

Eventually, you’ll see clear patterns that signal to you what is confusing your writers. You can then adjust the template to alleviate that confusion.

It’s time to scale!

Scale Up

And, there you have it.

This is the exact process I use to develop my content templates as well as the templates we create for our clients at WordAgents.

Take the time to create a comprehensive content template for each type of article you publish on your website.

After a few iterations, you’ll be well on your way to pain-free content production at scale!

Vin D’Eletto

About Vin

Vin D’Eletto owns and operates WordAgents.com and has over a decade of experience building, operating, and selling revenue generating websites.

When he’s not glued to his computer screen, you can find him drinking Sake at his Japanese restaurant or having family time with his wife and German Shorthaired Pointer!