I’m going to talk about fishing as it relates to building a white hat authority site.
That’s what building an authority site is all about. It’s becoming that large scale fishing vessel that dominates the seas and is able to catch all the fish.
This is the approach that I’m currently taking when building my authority site.
But before I go any further, I just want to let you know that I launched my first epic post earlier this week for my authority site as part of my dual-case study and it took off quite nicely.
It has brought in over 4,000 visits in the last couple of days, resulted in 30 signups so far, and has attracted a nice number of links and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. While that may not be a large number for some of you guys, it’s a great start for me.
Traffic is starting to die down somewhat now, but hopefully the links attracted will result in a boost in the SERPs in the near future.
The best part about it is that I have now started to build relationship with some of the key influencers in the niche, that I can hopefully leverage in the future and build more links through that.
I already have two guest posts lined up within the next two weeks with two prominent websites within the niche. That should give me another nice influx of traffic, and of course two very highly contextual backlinks.
Now… back to fishing.
Building an authority site and fishing have a lot in common. A lot more than you might think, and I’m going to take you through each of the 4 steps that I’ll be following as I build and grow my authority site.
- Step 1: Choosing Your Niche or Choosing the Type of Fish You Want to Catch
- Step 2: Picking Long Tail Keywords or Casting Your Fishing Net
- Step 3: Writing Epic Content or Placing the Bait
- Step 4: Building Links Through Outreach or Reeling in the Fish
Step 1: Choosing Your Niche or Choosing the Type of Fish You Want to Catch
The first step as a fisherman is deciding the type of fish you want to catch. Ultimately, your aim will be able to sell these fish for a good amount of profit.
But is your strategy to sell a lot of fish for little money per fish? Is it to sell a small amount for a lot of money per fish?
You see, before picking the niche in which to build your authority site, it’s extremely important that you figure out how much your fish are worth and whether anyone is willing to buy them.
A great way of doing this is to look at your competitors. If you see them sailing around in fancy vessel, you’ll know that they are doing fairly well.
In my mind, there are two main ways in which you can make money with an authority site, aside from plain old advertising.
Method 1: By targeting people that have a certain problem using keywords, and offering an affiliate (or your own) product that resolves that problem.
Examples of this would include cream that removes cellulite, products that help smokers stop smoking, courses that helps you earn more money, or a product that helps you stop snoring.
These will usually be very lucrative opportunities, but are therefore usually also more competitive. That’s why you may see many authority sites behind these.
Let’s have a look at the keyword we might type into Google if we were looking to get rid of cellulite and see what comes up.
This is no laughing matter folks. This keyword has exactly 49,500 exact searches per month going for it, and if you’re ranking within the top 10 of Google this is bound to be serious a money maker.
When looking at this, I would be looking at sites that I could realistically manage myself being a 1-man show while using places like Elance and ODesk to outsource, where Google still lets them rank.
A quick glance at the site ranking 4th shows you that this shouldn’t be an issue. Reading quickly through the content, it seems that a lot of this would be fairly easy to outsource, and even the money pages are nothing to write home about. Definitely something you could do yourself.
The people behind this website aren’t trying to help you get rid of cellulite out of the kindness of their heart. They are doing it because they can make cold hard cash doing so.
You don’t have to go far down to the page to find a call to action taking you to a very lucrative affiliate page.
Every sale referred through this website will net the owner around $40 through Clickbank. Not bad.
Of course, they don’t stop there. A quick look at the “Most Popular” articles (or should I say “Most Profitable”?) lists a host of other articles that each contain some sort of affiliate link within them.
Having said that, this is something that your standard niche site probably will not be able to compete with, and requires you to build out a site that is bigger and has more authority. The great news is that you should be able to build plenty of high quality content in this niche that give you ample opportunity for outreach and getting links.
Now let’s have a look at the second main route for monetization.
2. By targeting an activity or hobby that people enjoy, or activities that are part of their daily life, and are prepared to spend money on by selling affiliate (or your own) products.
Examples of this might include a product review site of fishing rods for those that enjoy fishing or a food blog that is able to monetize by embedding affiliate offers within their content.
Although potentially a little more tricky than the above in terms of monetization, I think these types of sites are ultra-white hat and will probably stand the test of time better than those above.
This is the category that I have picked for my white-hat site.
The great news is that many blogs and websites posts income reports these days. Not only does that give you a feeling for how much they are pulling in each month, it also gives you ideas for possible monetization options.
This is a great starting point. If they are already detailing out exactly how much they are making, and where, why not use that as a starting point?
Let’s take the food blogging space as an example. Not traditionally seen as a big money making niche, but if done well, you can make a lot of money.
Look at the income reports of Pinch of Yum for example, which is a major food blogging website.
The majority of their income stems from one of their pages that encourages their readers to set up their own food blog – allowing them to promote affiliate hosting through BlueHost in the process.
Now I’m under no illusions that starting a Food Blog is the best way to start making money online, but it just gives you a feel for what can be done if you do it right and what revenue streams you can potentially tap into.
The site that Spencer and Perrin started together at aPennyShaved.com is another a great example. Although this was coined as a Niche Site, it eventually grew out to become an Authority Site that did much more than simply push affiliate products.
People enjoyed going to that site, reading the articles, and in turn ended up clicking on some affiliate links in the process.
That is the type of authority website that I’m hoping to build in the one that I’ve started.
Step 2: Picking Long Tail Keywords or Casting Your Fishing Net
Once you have chosen the types of fish you want to catch, the next thing you do before you go out fishing is where you evaluate where to go and where you can catch the most fish. The problem is that when you start off your fishing career, you don’t have the luxury of having a large and powerful fishing vessel.
All you have is a flimsy little wooden raft if you’re lucky like Tom Hanks did in the Cast Away. Your best friend is a volleyball.
You don’t even have an engine. Oh no… All you have is a cracked wooden paddle. You’ve got to sweat for every inch that you paddle.
Life isn’t easy at this stage.
This leaves you with limited options as to where to go fishing. Even though there are many more fish out in the open sea, your flimsy little fishing boat won’t be able to cope with the rough waters. Your boat would snap into two and would sink into the ocean, never to be heard from again.
You’re much better off choosing a secluded little cove that still has a decent amount of fish, but that shields you from the elements you might encounter at open sea. This will allow you to hopefully pull in some money, and allow you to upgrade to a better ship, and allow you to fry bigger fish in the future.
You may laugh at this analogy, but the same goes for building an authority site. When you start off it will be difficult because you’re site is the antithesis of everything that you’re eventually hoping it to be – to be an “authority”.
That’s why you haveve got to start off thinking small. You have to start by finding all the little coves that your flimsy wooden boat can take you too and start fishing there.
These little coves are targeted keywords for which your website doesn’t need a lot of authority to rank for when you’re just starting off. The funny thing is that some of these still have a decent amount of volume.
The idea when you’re just starting out is to cast as many fishing nets into these small little coves as you can.
In other words, produce content that targets these keywords. You won’t rank immediately, but it will take very little authority for your articles to rank on the first page of Google once your site gains just a few links.
One of the keywords that I targeted for example was on the second page of Google without my site having any links to it and is currently hovering at number 12.
A little bit more authority to my site should push it onto the first page, which will have my site start seeing some more organic traffic than the usual 5 visits a day.
It has 2,900 searches per month.
The key with these keywords are so easy to rank for that you won’t even need any exact links to these pages. The best part is that you can even sprinkle some further LSI keywords into these articles to give you even more bang for your buck.
So how did I find these keywords?
First of all, I tried to scrape as many keywords as possible relating to the site that I’m building. I used a technique very similar to what I described in my black hat experiment using the online tool KeywordTool.io.
I used different variations of keywords relating to my niche to come up with a list of around 15,000 keywords which I dumped into an Excel sheet. I then fed those into the Google keyword planner to get volumes and removed anything that didn’t have search volume, and ended up with close to 7,000 keywords.
Then it was a matter of going through the list and finding buying keywords that I could write a decent article about, but also one that presented very low competition and at least 200 exact searches per month.
The main metric I used to assess competitiveness was by evaluating the allintitle count at Google and ensuring the number of searches generated was below 400.
In order to check this, simply go to Google, type allintitle: [keyword] and look at the number of searches that are generated.
There are a lot of these low hanging fruit available. A lot more than you might think.
Below is a list of the top results that I came up with in the niche that I’m targeting.
I currently have around 20 articles on the site of around 1,500 words each targeting these keywords and I’m sure that once my site gains a bit more authority I’ll start breaking through into the top 10 for some of these keywords pretty quickly.
Right now my writer adds around 2-3 of these articles per week which she is balancing with another epic post that I have her working on.
It’s all about casting as many fishing nets now to lay the foundation for catching a lot of fish going forward.
Step 3: Writing Epic Content or Placing the Bait
In order to attract the fish, you’ll need bait.
Casting a net is all nice and good, and a few straggler fish might swim through, but you won’t be attracting the huge amounts of fish you’re looking for without some good bait.
Catching a few fish won’t even pay for all the effort you spent trying to manually paddle all the way out to the cove.
Bait to fishing is very much what Epic Content is for building an authority site. It attracts the fish, or in the case of SEO, it puts eyes on your content.
The frenzy that results, disperses the bait, which in turn attracts even more fish.
This is what an Epic Piece of Content should do – attract a ton of visitors that share your content so that even more people get their eyes on it.
It also allows you to build relationships which you can leverage for as long as your site is up and running.
I’ll be going into exactly the type of epic content I produced earlier this week, and the ones that I have currently targeted going forward, in my next post on the Authority Site case study.
Step 4: Building the Links through Outreach or Reeling in the Fish
Once you have cast your net, and you have put in the bait, it’s time to start hooking up those nets to your vessel so that you can start preparing to reel them in.
In other words, this is the time to start attracting links to lay a great foundation for the future of your website.
Having written an epic piece of content should be able to attract links on its own, but it’s also gives you some collateral for your first outreach campaign to attract even more links.
I can’t reiterate this enough, but you need to ensure that your content rocks and stands head and shoulders above the rest, otherwise your campaign will likely result in failure.
I’ve tried outreach before with an average piece of content, and you’ll just end up knocking your head against the wall in frustration and potentially even souring relationships with prospects that might otherwise be good.
I will save a detailed post on outreach for a later date, but in the meantime reading resources like the below should give you a great starting point.
- How to Achieve Incredible Results with Blogger Outreach by Adam Connell
- Buzzstream Review & Outreach Tutorial by Gael Breton
- The Link Builder’s Guide to Email Outreach by Neil Patel
Once you start getting some links to your site, and to your epic content, the goal here is to have that link juice flow through your site and start propping up the pages targeting the low competition keywords that I spoke about above.
My plan now is to write an epic piece of content for every 15-20 regular 1,000-1,500 word articles that I post on my authority site to keep the links flowing in. My recent epic post was 10,000 words, and I’m currently working on the next one.
That will ensure that the links keep flowing in and allow my money pages climb up the rankings in Google with internal link juice flowing to them.
That’s It for Today
I feel like I’m making decent progress with my authority site and there’s a steady upwards trend. I have started making relationships with the influencers in the niche, and my site has started attracting some links.
I haven’t seen a ton of movement yet in the SERPs but that should only be a matter of time now.
With regard to the Niche Site, I haven’t touched it for the last two weeks. I have uploaded some content and plan to let it marinate for a little while so that the site can get a little bit of age before I start link building to it.
I’d love to hear from you guys on what you guys think about the case study, or if you have any suggestions for me as I continue along. Make sure you leave a comment below.