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Showing you how I build profitable authority sites!


I will show you everything but my password! This site is dedicated to providing you USEFUL posts on how to build profitable authority sites. I share the systems I have setup to produce great content and properly use expired domains and private blog networks to rank quality sites.

Do Internal Links Matter for SEO and How To Build Them Systematically – LinkWhisper Review

There are some things in life you KNOW you should do, and they aren’t hard to do, but they just don’t seem to get done. Internal link building is one of these!

You finish your post, get everything ready to publish, publish and then think: ****, I should really should have built some internal links!

This post will show you how to do this in 5 minutes using this tool for your site so that you never have to worry about internal linking again.

I am going to cover…

● First: Sharing some data analysis that the guys at AuthorityHacker did which shows that YES, internal links really do matter for ranking in Google.

● Second: Showing how this can be done systematically through LinkWhisper (plus my review of this tool).

(‘Data’ and ‘systematically’… 2 of my favourite words. This will be fun…)

One of the most popular books of the year is James Clear’s Atomic Habits, which explains how small, repetitive tasks which become habits and have compounding effects to transform our lives. How does that relate to internal link building? This post covers one of those small simple tasks that will have ongoing compounding benefits to your site. By making the process of internal link building easier, faster, and automatic, you can systematize a good habit!

First: Do internal links matter for SEO?

Short answer is yes!

Internal linking matters for more than just SEO purposes, but for the purposes of this article we are focusing on the SEO benefit.

Don’t let internal link building for SEO purposes distract from the more important issue of user experience and driving traffic to your $ pages.

The guys at AuthorityHacker–specifically Michal Ugor–have created a fantastic article digging into the data of 1 million links.

See their full article here: Internal Links. Great article that goes into this topic in more detail!

Credit – https://www.authorityhacker.com/internal-links/

The bottom line:

1. Pages that rank higher in Google averaged having more internal links pointing to that page than pages that didn’t rank as highly.

2. Anchor text matters for internal links and you can be more aggressive with exact match than typically you would be for off page links.

3. A decent rule of thumb is to have 5 internal links linking out for every post and, for the pages you want to rank, up to 100 internal links pointing to them. As with most rules of thumb this will have limited application.

a. NOTE: I was shocked when I saw my average was under 1 for outbound internal links on my posts!

Second: How to Systematically Structure & Sculpt Them? LinkWhisper Review

So we know links matter and would all love to spend the time analyzing and optimizing them for every post. The reality is most of us don’t have that time.

So what is the solution? How do we get the majority of the benefit as efficiently as possible?

That is where LinkWhisper comes in, a great new tool from Spencer Hawes of NichePursuits.

Here are the steps I use, leveraging SEMRush to identify the opportunities and LinkWhisper to systematically build internal links.

Note: Any time you systematically do something it is not as ideal as fully sculpting the page rank flow with a site architecture plan. But, for the busy online entrepreneur looking for a systematic solution, I hope this helps.

Procedure for Automatically Internal Link Building

1. Identify Opportunities using SEMRush (this is optional and can all be done with LinkWhisper)

a. Note this is similar to the significant success we have had identifying the content that needs a refresh and upgrade. We are excited to combine both upgrades and internal link structure improvements to the key pages we care about and see the results!

b. Go to SEMRush and sign in

c. Enter the Domain in question

d. Go to Organic Research

e. Keyword Identification – Select metrics of ‘Position 4-20’ and ‘traffic 100+’

  • The key here is to identify low hanging fruit on keywords where a small impact in link juice being passed to them will improve their ranking.

f. Export to tracking sheet–see free copy of sheet you can copy

g. Page Identification–What are the top 10-20 pages you care about? You can use Google Analytics for this or SEMRush

h. Create final plan using judgement around what pages are low hanging fruit for boosting traffic and what pages you most care about

2. Install LinkWhisper and use the sheet you made in step 1 to set it up

a. Purchase LinkWhisper here

b. Install LinkWhisper

c. Activate LinkWhisper

d. Wait for InternalLinksReport (2-5 minutes)

e. Refer to the plan you made in step 1 and systematically go through each page adding internal links for the ones you care about

3. If LinkWhisper doesn’t have any recommended internal links

a. Search Google to identify top pages for the keyword you are wanting to rank for sitel:yourdomain.com “keyword” the results should show #1 as the page you are wanting to rank for the keyword and then the next 5 pages are likely great places to put an internal link back to your target page.

b. Edit page(s) and add link back to the main page you are wanting to rank for that keyword

Conclusion

Internal link building matters and is often neglected.

LinkWisper and some manual work is a great way to efficiently get your internal link building game back in order!

Hope this actionable article was helpful!

Business Partnerships – Top 5 Mistakes Often Made and 3 Structures That Work

Over the years I have had a lot of partnerships, some have worked out extremely well building friendships and achieving success for everyone… others have ended in failure and disappointment. 

Many people say they like to avoid partnerships because they are always messy! This would be much less fulfilling for me since much of the satisfaction I get from the companies we run is winning together. 

It is true partnerships are often messy, but here are some of the lessons that I have learned and structures that have seemed to work for me and some of my business partnerships. Hopefully if you’re putting a partnership together or adjusting one you already have- this might help you avoid these mistakes. 

Most Importantly – There is no ONE system that is best for everyone. The key is to understand the motivations of people involved and find a solution that has everyone’s incentives aligned. 

I have had my share of painful discussions, but fortunately- I haven’t had any disagreements that I haven’t been able to solve with people. 

In the news in just the past 2 weeks and just in Canada there have been a couple examples of partnerships going off the rails publicly impacting in some cases thousands of people!

Here are 5 of the most common mistakes I have either made myself or seen others in the online world make…

  • Mistake – Not separating capital and management. This is one I see often! Two people come together and say to each other Person 1 “I have an idea” Person 2 “I have money”… boom a business is born. Person 1 is going to run the business and person 2 is going to provide the capital they each get approximately 50% of the business. The result is if the business is successful Person 1 without a management agreement and compensation structure in place will struggle to justify why he will continue working on the business he only has a partial ownership of vs deploying his efforts and now his money into another project. The solution is the person “managing” should be compensated primarily based on results.
  • Mistake – Misalignment on goals – Most commonly this shows up as a cashflow vs growth discussion. If one partner has cashflow from another venture while another is relying on that cashflow to pay the bills this can create a lot of stress. Similarly if the goals for the exit of the business are not aligned it can cause problems. 
  • Mistake – Simple Structure Everyone Understands – Over-relying on lawyers to layout the plan and then no-one except the lawyers fully understands is too common. Rarely does it come down to the words on the agreement as often things get sorted out from everyone’s understanding. The best way I have found is the partners layout the partnership structure (typically in a spreadsheet) and then get the lawyers to make it official. 
  • Mistake – Not updating the agreement as the years move on. Things change in people’s lives and there is always a need to check in on some frequency and make sure the incentives are correctly aligned. 
  • Mistake – Communication and Stewardship Execution Not Disciplined – This is one that is easy to slip! There needs to be a consistent execution discipline to managing partnerships involving communication and stewardship. 

Below are 3 of the structures that have worked most consistently for me.

Structures That have Worked:

  1. Base Salary with Revenue Share & No Equity
    1. This one is the simplest and the one I have often started with. If there is a business idea that a manager/partner needs to run with this structure is clean. Typically a below market base salary followed by a solid % of revenue. The benefit is it is simple, has one number to focus on and the emphasis is on fast growth early on. The downside is that the long term enterprise value is not the priority due to neither profit or equity being tied into the compensation. 
  2. Profit Share + Vesting Equity
    1. This has been a fit when I want incentives to be aligned with a longer (ie 5yr+) time horizon and the business is already validated. Profit sharing without any understanding on the expected profit can be tough as people may end up disappointed so this has been a better fit for either acquired businesses or growing internal ones. The benefit is this optimizes for value creation, the downside is it adds significant complexity. 
  3. Base Salary below market to Validate Idea with Equity Attached to KPIs
    1. When there is no initial revenue and it will be a number of months to build the business before potential revenue shows up how do you align incentives with a partner? The solution that has seemed to work in a couple cases has been a below market salary building up a “sweat debt” to bring salary in line with market and then an equity kicker attached to KPIs that will be triggered once the business hits break even. The up side is it has incentives nicely aligned if the business hits its goals… the downsides are it is both complex and the $ risk is squarely on the capital partners shoulders. The decision to reinvest/continue etc can be a challenge. 

Stewardship / Structure

No matter how good the partnership is setup there is a need for ongoing stewardship and management. The way this has worked well for me is the following…

  • Weekly meeting with the manager/partner to review business KPIs
  • Monthly – PnL done monthly and reviewed in detail Monthly and then discussed at the weekly
  • Quarterly – review laying out the major tasks for the next 3 months
  • Annual strategic review 

This is a work in process and I try to follow the guidance from the book Traction.

Standardized Business Stack

Having some standardization across the different businesses when it comes to the business systems has been helpful 

  • Quickbooks Online 
  • Same bookkeeper, lawyer, accountant, bank/banker
  • Google Suite (gmail, google docs etc) 
  • Not 100% Consistent but Software – Jira, GitHub, Trello, Slack, MailShake, Grashopper, ActiveCampaign, WordPress, ThriveThemes Suite of tools, Zaxaa or Chargify, Stripe/PayPal

Does The Holy Grail for Content Marketing Exist Yet? – CognitiveSEO Review

What is the “holy grail” for Content Marketing? The answer is:  The ability to predictably say that if you target a keyword with a specific criteria, and produce an article that meets certain specifications, you will be “guaranteed” to rank in the top 10 of Google.  

Today we look at how CognitiveSEO can help in this quest!

The “Holy Grail” of Content Marketing might be a long shot, but we are always using our unique position of publishing A LOT of quality articles on great sites with Content Refined to try and come closer to understanding the variables that will rank your content with certainty on search engines. With the sheer number of articles published, along with access to data science talent, we were able to perform a multivariable regression analysis that we think it is worth pursuing.

In this article, we are going to talk about the results from one specific tool that can provide more metrics about both the keyword and content quality compared to almost any other tool on the market. 

CognitiveSEO provides an amazing array of metrics for data driven content marketers to dig into and analyze against the performance of their content. Where you would need data from several different tools such a SEMRush, MarketMuse and Ahrefs etc., CognitiveSEO consolidates a lot of that functionality into one super awesome tool. A great solution for those who have too many ongoing SAAS subscriptions already (I’ve been so guilty of this). 

So by using just CognitiveSEO, what are the metrics that would “guarantee” a ranking in the top 10? Come on a stats adventure with us.

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
GIF – Indiana Jones

Stats Disclaimer – Before we get dig too deeply into these numbers, it’s important that we share what some of the statistical performance was for these. 

The Keyword Monthly Volume, Content Performance, Article Word Count and URL Character length are the most valuable variables to analyze. Analyzing  50+ regression scenarios,12.42% r square is the best regression result available using a majority of only CognitiveSEO’s Variables. The best single regression variable, content performance, achieved an r squared value of 4.4%. In most successful multi regression analysis, a variable ” anchor” is needed to drive line of best fit. This seems to be missing as the most successful single regression variable only has 4.4% correlation to google rankings, making it hard to fit the rest of the data to variable with little fit. Actionable insights are still achieved and are explained below. 

Actionable Insights: 

If you are trying to create content that will predictably rank on google, according to CognitiveSEO, you want to follow these guidelines. 

Metrics: 

Minimum Conditions:

  • Keyword difficulty should be at least 17
  • Content performance score should be at least  51
  • The readability score should be at least 47
  • Minimum article length should be 250 words

Ideal Conditions: 

  • Keyword difficulty should be at least 17
  • Content performance score should be at least 85
  • The readability score should be at least 65
  • Minimum article length should be 1400 words

I checked to see if one of my best ranking pages met this criteria, and check out my findings below! 

My article “How to Build a PBN” is a great example of this. This article does really well–it has 10 keywords ranking in the top 3 spots on Google and it has been picked up for Google’s featured snippet for this article. 

In this case all of the “Ideal” Criteria were met!

  • Keyword difficulty should be at least 17
    • For my Keyword it was 37
  • Content performance score should be at least 85
    • Our content performance score was 97
  • The readability score should be at least 65
    • Ours was 75
  • Minimum article length should be 1400 words
    • We went big with this one and it was 14,743 words long! 

Conclusion: 

So what does this mean? Have we “cracked the code” of content marketing? According to this data analysis (which has pulled on hundreds of articles written by Content Refined) we are able to predict that if the ideal conditions of an article are met, you should be able to rank in the top 10 of Google. We’ve given you the Holy Grail–so give CognitiveSEO a try for yourself and really step up your game in the world of content marketing.

How to Promote your Service with Affiliates–The Right Way

This post is to serve a couple purposes… 

  • First: I hope to show that if you have a valuable service this is a way to get people on board to help promote it. 
  • Second: This is where I am going to send people who reach out with messages like, “Hey you don’t know me, but promote my course/app/service so I can make lots of money”. It can be mildly frustrating when we receive these messages. 

At the bottom of this post we will share some resources on how you can achieve similar results in terms of impressive traffic increase that Doug Cunnington achieved to his sites.

End Result:

The end result of this effort was…

  1. 12.83% increase in page views to the upgraded articles (in 4 weeks)
  2. Doug’s niche site’s organic traffic is now at an all time high (see image below)
  3. A great article explaining the strategy that resulted in that traffic increase
  4. $8,388.00 in sales from 7 new customers for Content Refined

Strategy Overview:

At ContentRefined Maddie and her team developed a process called the Pareto Upgrade where they identify the content to upgrade that will have the biggest impact and be able to predictably show an increase in traffic quickly.

Doug Cunnington is a contact in the space who runs a site called NicheSiteProject

During a conversation with him we were comparing notes on what was working now with his sites and what we were learning from all the data analysis ContentRefined does. From that discussion an idea was born to take one of his sites, identify and complete several upgrades and share the results.

Based on those results, we completed an interview and case study post at Doug’s site you can see here.

The results of a value first approach was a win for Doug’s site, win for his audience and a win for ContentRefined. This is an example of the type of affiliate relationship of ‘value first’ that we prefer to do.

The business benefit to ContentRefined was significant with over $8k in sales and 7 well-qualified new customers we will be able to help! 

Results:

Doug Cunnington’s Case Study

Results for Content Refined: $8,388.00 and 7 new customers

Doug Cunnington made $838.80 in Affiliate Earnings

5 Key Lessons Re-Learned:

  1. Always seek to add value first. 
  2. Give away all the information of a strategy so anyone can execute it themselves.
  3. Reaching a new audience is most efficiently done working with someone who already has an audience.
  4. The people who see the largest benefit of Content Refined’s offering are profitable niche site owners.
  5. Content Upgrades continue to blow me away with how fast they work, how well they work and how consistently they drive an increase in traffic.

Want Similar Increase in Traffic As Doug Achieved?

  1. Do it yourself – Here is a detailed step by step guide – Pareto Upgrade Strategy
  2. Have the experts at Content Refined do it for you – contact ContentRefined

Boring is Sexy – Business Model Analysis

I have occasionally had posts on here over the years that reflect my evolving thinking on business and business strategy.

Today’s post I want to reflect on what I have learned over the last 2 years, as I shifted much of my focus to adbank and blade – then came back to do a deep assessment on the health of the other businesses.

This was a unique opportunity for me because I got to come back to some parts of the business with what felt like cold eyes- and really review what was working and what was not working. What businesses stood the test of time, what businesses improved and which ones got their asses kicked!

What businesses Struggled, which were Stable & which Thrived?

Struggled

  • Portfolio of sites – minimal/no management and most struggled
  • My personal site (AuthorityWebsiteIncome) – Not posting for 6 months doesn’t help!
  • FBA Business without a manager

Stable

  • Boring SAAS business – listingeagle.com has continued to be stable with 0 effort in years
  • Some very evergreen hyper niche content sites were stable
  • Evergreen ecommerce business with minimal management
  • LightningRank.com – Kelley was able to keep this business stable

Thrived

  • Content Refined – With Madeleine as the manager in place and properly incentivized -Content Refined continued to thrive
  • BrandBuilders – Manager in place properly incentivized to grow the business
  • FBA Business with a Manager

What is the key Takeaway – Boring is Sexy!

The only projects that survived/thrived were ones that had a manager in place or were boring/evergreen businesses (either SAAS or content).

What does this mean for the future of my online businesses. Here is how this review impacts my plans moving forward by business type…

  • Content Sites – Boring evergreen niches or divest other sites that require more active management
  • SAAS Portfolio – Focus area for growth with proper management in place from the start
  • Productized Services – If the manager is well aligned and the customer acquisition channels are diversified this model can be very stable.
  • AuthorityWebsiteIncome – There is a need for my increased involvement – which is great as I really enjoy it!

The key takeaway is that boring is sexy when it comes to long term stable success!

This is not a unique insight and one that is supported by the most successful conglomerates for many decades.

For example…

Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway does not need a lot of introduction. Many people know the basics of how Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger applying a relatively unchanged set of investing principales from Omaha have outperformed pretty much everyone over the last 50+ years and grown it into a monster with them becoming 2 of the wealthiest people alive.

I have long been a fan of everything Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffet, I highly recommend reading The Snowball, Warren Buffet and the Interpretation of Financial Statements and Berkshire Beyond Buffet along with his annual shareholder letters.

The key takeaways we can apply to online businesses is a focus on

  • Decentralized great management with minimal overhead at main office
  • Focus on the very long term
  • Don’t be afraid to go against the crowd

Constellation Software

Constellation Software is a relatively unknown Canadian company that doesn’t make a lot of noise but has achieved phenomenal results (over 1 decade of stable 30% annualized return on invested capital). They focus on boring low churn B2B SAAS businesses.  To get a real sense of the business I recommend the 10 years of president letters (here). The CEO and CFO did a deep dive looking at the high performing conglomerates and shared the insights in the 2016 and 2017 letters which were very telling.

Key Traits:

  • Decentralized management
  • Focus on cost and a few key metrics for operating units (CEO is 6’4” and flies coach)
  • Capital allocation rigor bordering on fanaticism – not being afraid to walk away from deals that don’t meet their hurdles and not bending those hurdles for years!

3G Capital

The 3G Way, Dream Big and True Power (tougher to get through) all provide a great insight into the management system and culture behind 3G Capital.

Key Traits:

  • Fanatical focus on costs (CEO is on the road 200+ days a year and flies coach)
  • More centralized than constellation or Berkshire
  • Meritocracy with A LOT of responsibility placed on managers

Another similar company to these above many haven’t heard of is ESW Capital (great story in Forbes here) who share many of the same traits but is arguably the most centralized out of the list.

What do all these high performing companies have in common…

  • Fanatical focus on controlling/cutting costs but with above market compensation to top performers
  • Disciplined focus on a set of key metrics, the metrics are not always the same
  • Mostly decentralized with much responsibility to the business managers

Hopefully this honest assessment of what businesses struggled, which were able to stay stable and which ones thrived is useful. The similarity of the traits the businesses that thrived shared with the example companies is very telling.

I look forward to continued sharing on what is working and not working across all my projects.

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