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.
Just about a year ago I sent you the first email about Content Refined, the content marketing company Maddie Taylor and I founded off of the back of my own content creation process for my money site portfolio. Happy Birthday Content Refined!
The company started with a tiny production team; a manager, two writers and a publisher. Our goals were to hit $10k monthly recurring revenue within 6 months. We quickly realized that this was a really cute goal. In January 2017, we started growing at a rate of 10% per week! This didn’t stop until we hit a bit of a plateau in July and August, but it has picked back up since, due to a few different marketing efforts, finding our ideal clients and word of mouth sales.
What makes Content Refined different from any other content marketing company is that we are very Data Driven!
Our mission at Content Refined is to push the science of Content Marketing forward by creating online content that is optimized to rank on search engines. We do extensive data analysis tests on the effect of different metrics on the performance of our articles in Google. This includes analyzing keyword metrics, word length and the use of various Content Marketing tools. Our tests continue to refine our Content Marketing strategies that will help you – and your business – succeed online.
Content Refined has grown into an agency of 4 full time Project Managers, and about 60 contractors! We’re publishing about 170 quality articles on a weekly basis!
With this being said, we have added a lot of value to Content Refined over the last year…. we’ve improved our systems,
We have done all this, having only raised our prices once over the last year, keeping it budget friendly for our clients.
In addition over the next months we will be rolling out a custom backend client dashboard that will allow allow all our customers to know exactly the status of all their orders at any point.
Well… we’ve made the business decision that we are at the point where we need to raise our prices in order to keep up this level of intensity across the board.
On Tuesday, we will be officially raising our prices, so if you would like to be grandfathered in to our current pricing structure, check out the prices and order before Tuesday!
If you have a content based site and are earning from ads you have likely wondered how much of the cut are the advertiser networks you are working with taking?
In that search you likely had the same problem as we had… resulting in confusion about exactly how much the middle-man (ad-tech-tax) was!
To get to an approximate answer on how much the middle man takes you need to dive deep into the industry and understand.
Networks gеnеrаtе revenue frоm thе ad іnvеntоrу they buу аnd ѕеll. These percent they take and margins they make vаrу оn a mасrо lеvеl frоm nеtwоrk to nеtwоrk, аnd оn a micro lеvеl frоm impression tо іmрrеѕѕіоn.
In an efficient market if they charge tоо muсh, advertisers wоn’t buy; if thеу сhаrgе tоо lіttlе, рublіѕhеrѕ wоn’t lеvеrаgе thе ad nеtwоrk (more on if it is an efficient market later).
Fоr аdvеrtіѕеrѕ, it’s іmроrtаnt tо keep іn mіnd whеthеr thе network іѕ passing оn this “margin” to thеm in thе fоrm оf ROI оr not. Do the саmраіgnѕ they run on thе network meet thеіr gоаlѕ? Whаt kіnd of dаtа аnd tесhnоlоgу dоеѕ thе network рrоvіdе to hеlр drіvе реrfоrmаnсе? More tіmеѕ than nоt, buуіng dіrесtlу frоm аll the рublіѕhеrѕ thаt the nеtwоrk works with wоuld nоt drіvе performance on par with thе nеtwоrk buу and would сrеаtе massive ореrаtіоnаl соѕtѕ thаt аrе еntіrеlу eliminated bу wоrkіng through thе nеtwоrk. Thіѕ is the value thаt the network раѕѕеѕ оn to аn аdvеrtіѕеr.
For a marketplace to be efficient there is a key central concept… is all information public?
Although not perfectly applicable to this marketplace knowing that an efficient marketplace requires transparency the digital advertising ecosystem definitely fails!
Have a look at the image below showing the complexity of the digital advertising system!
Aссоrdіng tо a Fіnаnсіаl Tіmеѕ іntеrvіеw wіth Outbrain’s managing dіrесtоr іn Europe, thе nеtwоrk ѕhаrеѕ “about half” of any rеvеnuе gеnеrаtеd bу раrtnеr sites. Thе соѕt per click раіd іѕ said tо range frоm $0.15 to $0.30 whіlе click rаtеѕ аrе іn the nеіghbоrhооd of 0.50% tо 0.75%.
Uѕіng thоѕе (big) ranges, wе саn соmе up with ѕоmе revenue еѕtіmаtеѕ:
In оthеr wоrdѕ, mоѕt publishers will ѕее RPMѕ between $0.37 and $1.12 wіth Outbrаіn. Thаt trаnѕlаtеѕ іntо $370 tо $1,120 реr million pageviews, mеаnіng that уоu’ll need tо hаvе a рrеttу substantial audience in оrdеr to gеnеrаtе mеаnіngful revenue from these widgets.
Pеrfоrmаnсе dаtа оn Tаbооlа іѕ muсh harder to dіg uр; thе соmраnу dоеѕn’t ѕhаrе thе revenue splits іt offers, and dеtаіlѕ оn performance are sparse. But wе have a few dаtа роіntѕ:
Thаt wоuld trаnѕlаtе into revenue реr сlісk (unіԛuе visits ѕеnt) оf about $0.35, which іѕ rоughlу іn lіnе with Outbrаіn (реrhарѕ a bіt hіghеr). It also іmрlіеѕ a сlісk rate оf about 0.05% реr rесоmmеndаtіоn, which trаnѕlаtеѕ іntо 0.20% to 0.30% реr раgе (since the Tаbооlа wіdgеt оftеn іnсludеѕ multірlе rесоmmеndаtіоnѕ). Thаt gets us tо аbоut $1.00 in grоѕѕ RPM (і.е., $1.00 in tоtаl rеvеnuе gеnеrаtеd per thоuѕаnd раgеvіеwѕ) before tаkіng іntо account Tаbооlа’ѕ сut.
Hоw did Gооglе AdSense dеtеrmіnе the аmоunt уоu receive реr сlісk? Google also runѕ AdWоrdѕ, whісh is kіnd оf a mіrrоrеd ѕеrvісе tо AdSense. On AdWоrdѕ аdvеrtіѕеrѕ runnіng ѕhорѕ, ѕеrvісеѕ, or оthеr mаrkеtеrѕ сrеаtе ads аnd tell Gооglе tо рublіѕh thеm оn еіthеr the Gооglе search engine or іn the dіѕрlау nеtwоrk, ѕо аll wеbѕіtеѕ belonging tо the AdSense nеtwоrk. 68 реrсеnt оf thе amount an аdvеrtіѕеr рауѕ per сlісk on thеіr аdѕ on уоur ѕіtе is уоur іnсоmе. Thе rest іѕ Gооglе’ѕ commission fее.
This ѕtіll іѕn’t аll you nееd tо knоw аbоut hоw muсh AdSеnѕе pays уоu. Thе соѕtѕ per click are саlсulаtеd іn an auction. Evеrу аd thаt іѕ somehow in thе рооl tо роtеntіаllу bе dіѕрlауеd оn your wеbѕіtе takes part in іt. In thіѕ auction, іt іѕn’t juѕt thе hіghеѕt bidder thаt wins, but thе wіnnеr is аlѕо dеtеrmіnеd by his “quality”. Wіthоut gоіng deeper at this mоmеnt juѕt rеmеmbеr thаt Gооglе wіll ultіmаtеlу run some smart аlgоrіthmѕ thаt try tо gеt thе highest іnсоmе реr thоuѕаnd іmрrеѕѕіоnѕ (rеturn реr mille = RPM) fоr уоu (and them).
Blосkсhаіn technology іѕ grеаt news for рublіѕhеrѕ and аdvеrtіѕеrѕ, bаd nеwѕ fоr middlemen.
Thе most ѕuссеѕѕful оf these сеntrаl authorities аrе Outbrаіn, Tаbооlа, Facebook аnd Google. Google mаkеѕ wеll over four bіllіоn dоllаrѕ a year frоm it’s Gооglе Dіѕрlау Nеtwоrk. This іѕ whеrе Google асtѕ аѕ a middle man bеtwееn website оwnеrѕ whо have traffic and advertisers whо wаnt clicks to their site.
If thеу trusted еасh оthеr and had the technology/market, the аdvеrtіѕеr аnd thе publisher wоuldn’t nееd Google аѕ аn іntеrmеdіаrу taking an often unknown ѕhаrе оf the revenue.
Why are ad networks needed?
In a perfect world… If еvеrу uѕеr is a genuine uѕеr wіth 100% ассurасу, the website owner is only сhаrgіng thе аdvеrtіѕеr for gеnuіnе clicks, the advertiser would always pay the publisher when they are supposed to, a central marketplace existed and ad tech to deliver the ad was simple to implement then there would be no need for a сеntrаl аuthоrіtу/middle mаn, ѕаvіng thеm both mоnеу.
Sо now уоu can ѕtаrt to see thе mаѕѕіvе implications blockchain hаѕ fоr thе wоrld оf digital marketing. Blockchain based ad networks cutting out the middle man represents the ѕаmе kind of thrеаt tо bіg tесh gіаntѕ аѕ bіtсоіn/cryptocurrency dоеѕ tо bіg bаnkѕ.
Find out more about how this technology will benefit advertisers and publishers – checkout the site and deck at adbank.network
Lеt’ѕ bе сlеаr though, thіѕ is good nеwѕ fоr аdvеrtіѕеrѕ and ѕіtе оwnеrѕ. Thеу gеt tо kеер mоrе оf the rеvеnuе for thеmѕеlvеѕ!
In 2012 I decided to document my journey of building up one of my online businesses and this site was born.
At the time I was working hard as an Engineer/Manager at a large Oil and Gas company and I didn’t want anyone there knowing I was grinding 3-4hrs/night building up my online businesses.
So I had a problem…use my real name or an alias.
I would be interested to hear feedback from the many long-time readers… apologies if anyone feels tricked!
Until I was 0% in my career I wanted to give and appear to be 110% there.
As my wife likes to remind me… I suck at lying because my memory is so bad I forget even the simplest of white lies. I almost revealed twice I was about to propose to her the day I did…I moved up the timeline so I didn’t reveal it.
So I needed a simple solution to an alias that had everything about me being true but not as easily traced back to my employer.
So everything I have ever shared is accurate with the exception of my last name.
Haver no more… real name is Jon Gillham… but everything else is the exact same!
If you haven’t seen Terry Gene Bollea talk about his alter-ego/alias Hulk Hogan it is pretty hilarious and recommended. I am sure if I had planned to create an alter-ego/alias it would have been a more exciting mystery man then a spreadsheet and systems loving family man who builds online businesses! My point is it is not an alter-ego only a last name change.
Alias (everything but my passwords shared)…
Not Alter Ego…
I have my most ambitious project ever underway which has been going on behind the scenes for a while involving 5 new in house staff/co-founders including one who co-founded and sold a Digital Advertising Network which sold to Google for $xx,xxx,xxx!
My plans for a long time have been to untangle the alias as I have always had some anxiousness about having the alias and explaining to people in person my last name is Gillham not Haver.
Now is as good a time as any to make this change!
I have eluded to it a few times throughout the year about a bigger project in the online space and we are very close to being able to share more details. Blockchain technology is one of those things that once you grasp it you realize it is going to change everything (especially disrupt middle-men).
A team has come together around a unique application of blockchain technology and applying some business model innovation to take a GIANT swing at the most interesting problem I have ever tackled. Our development team is working away and the alpha version is closing in on being done with more details to follow.
There are few times in life where the idea/team/resources/skill-set & opportunity all align and I am excited to see what we can do!
If you are interested in projects in the crypto/blockchain space feel free to contact me and I can share more details.
Nope – same spreadsheet, data, systems and online business building focus moving forward! AuthorityWebsiteIncome (although I am not a fan of the name) is a ton of fun to geek out on projects and try to provide some useful guides to people building online businesses.
Over the last few months, I have received numerous emails asking about writers and where to find them. Writers can often be a headache for people to outsource and can sometimes eat up a lot of time. Our team likes to hire and fire fast and not spend much time on a writer if they don’t produce something great the first time.
Hiring a writer is more than just paying for a service; it’s an investment in both your company and yourself. It ensures your company is properly represented and saving yourself hours of time that can be better spent focusing on any of the countless other tasks that come with running an online business.
There are also many different writers out there, too. There are writers who specialize in different fields, such as SEO, copywriting, dissertation ghostwriters, essay writers, writers to maximize business plans, content writers, white paper writers, resume writers… the list is almost endless and all of which can be found on freelance sites.
First, if you are looking for a writer for hire, you need to think about exactly what you want.
Before you can actually go about hiring a writer, you’ll need to decide whether you want to hire one as a part of your staff, work with a freelancer or an agency. All options have their own benefits and drawbacks.
Working with a freelance writer is a more streamlined process and oftentimes more cost-effective. Interviewing can be tedious and time-consuming. Instead of meeting with multiple people, you can place an ad online and make a decision based on the submissions of writing samples you receive (risky but fast).
Whereas hired writers are either salaried or hourly, freelancers are usually paid per project. If you find a writer who you’d like to work with more consistently, you can offer to pay a retainer fee to reserve a determined amount of time for your projects.
Compared to the possibly-costly process of firing an employee, ending a relationship with a freelancer is much easier. All you have to do is send an email letting them know you’re no longer interested in working together (sometimes you can get someone who sends a million emails asking why they were fired and for another chance – as I have experienced!)
Hiring a writer as part of your staff isn’t without its perks. Even with email, Skype, and other modern technologies, nothing compares to communicating face-to-face. Sometimes, explaining exactly what you want is easier in person.
Working with a content management team such as Content Refined, offers the ability to be hands off and hire a skilled team who just produces quality content. Plus, many content management teams also offer scheduling and marketing services.
Most content management teams have a team of writers so you can rest assured knowing there will always be someone available to take on your project. If you’re dissatisfied with the quality or style of the assignment, you can simply ask for a different writer’s spin on it.
Like with freelancers, payment is usually per assignment and based on the services provided. However, you’ll likely end up paying more when working with content management teams, which makes sense since a team is bound to have more expenses than an individual. However, with additional services like promoting content across various social media platforms, your money will be put to good use.
Now that we’ve gone over why hiring a professional writer is essential, let’s take a look at the 5 best places to hire writers.
“To connect businesses with great talent to work without limits.”
This is the biggest and best platform that we hire a lot of our team from.
Upwork is a website that connects freelancers with those who are looking to hire them. This does not only have to be article writing it can be a wide range of different tasks from hiring a VA to getting someone to build you a website.
With over 1 billion users active on a daily basis, Facebook is undoubtedly one of the best ways to find a professional writer. Unlike Upwork—which only provides you with the information submitted by the freelancer—Facebook gives you far more insight into who you’re dealing with as a person.
Experienced freelancers may even have reviews on their wall and clients on their friend’s list. We have only recently started to use Facebook for hiring, but the outcome has been fantastic so far. They are a bit more pricy then the other places listed here but can sometimes be worth it.
By utilizing its search function, you can easily connect with thousands of people—both individually and in groups. For example, this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/copyjobs/ features over 13,000 members who are all skilled copywriters.
Because business dealings managed via Facebook are usually done in private, it’s hard to discern how payments are usually handled, we usually use Paypal for our transactions with them.
The greatest pro of finding writers on Facebook is its massive user base. The biggest downside is its publicity and the risk of scorned clients or freelancers posting negativity on your wall.
Fiverr (Not recommended) is almost the antithesis of Upwork. Instead of posting jobs, those looking to hire a freelancer, select a category, then a sub-category of work and choose the freelancer they feel best fits their needs from the listings. We find that the pool isn’t as large as Upwork but there are still some good quality writers if you give it enough time.
Rather than applying to different jobs, freelancers on Fiverr post a listing that specifies what type of work they’re willing to do, their skills, and their rate. Each listing comes with three options: basic, standard, and premium—each with its own rate and services offered.
The going rate for 1000 words seems to be anywhere between $10 and $25, depending on the seller.
The biggest advantage of using Fiverr is being able to compare and contrasts the many different sellers to be able to find the one that’s ideal for you.
The biggest downside to using Fiverr is the inability to post jobs with specific requirements and I find the pool isn’t as big as other platforms.
Onlinejobs.ph is a website that allows you to outsource work that you have to skilled individuals in the Philippines. I haven’t used this one but I have heard some great things about it.
When looking for someone to hire, you can either post a job and wait until someone applies or search through the site’s resume database using keywords.
Once you’ve found someone you’re interested in working with, you’re ready for the next step: Ironing out the details like payment (which is handled via PayPal) and expectations.
The greatest part of using onlinejobs.ph is its TimeProof tool: Software that records any activity, takes screenshots of the freelancer’s screen, and then sends them off to the employer automatically.
As with all outsourcing, you run the risk of working with someone who isn’t too familiar with your language, which may end up leading to issues. In my opinion, this is the biggest disadvantage.
Before working on onlinejobs.ph, it’s important to remember to read up on the conversion between your nation’s currency and the Filipino peso.
Guru.com seems similar to Fiverr in how employers sift through freelancer listings and profiles in order to find someone that can provide what they need. Like Upwork, the website manages payment by serving as a middleman. Unlike Upwork, where the website’s team ultimately decides if the work has been fulfilled satisfactorily, Guru claims that the employer ultimately decides whether the provided work is worthy of payment.
Leaving the terms of payment up to the employer is simultaneously Guru’s biggest pro (for the employer) and con (for the freelancer).
Out of the 5 websites listed above, I’d have to say Upwork is the best for finding writers. Even though Facebook has a massive user base, the straightforward and streamlined bidding process for Upwork makes it easy to find someone to work with.
If you have any questions or know of any other places, I would love to hear about it! Please mention any other writing resources below and what it’s advantages/disadvantages are (self promotional posts are allowed within reason 🙂 )
As always, I wanted to show you what we have been working on and what it means to you ranking websites.
So hope you enjoy data… lots of scatter plots below. To all the true data/stats experts I definitely accept that I am not a statistician and these result may not pass the statistically significant test but some of the results have very clear/actionable learnings if you want to rank your site higher!
After reviewing Content Analyzers and Keyword Difficulty tools in two previous posts I wanted to open the door to other variables that could have a positive or negative effect on ranking for a given keyword.
We have collected a bunch of data again on the posts we analyzed before based on suggestions from you… so thanks!
The topics I will cover is information that is provided from various sites that I thought would be interesting to see how they may have influenced the ranking process. Included will be:
All of these variables come into play after you have researched and selected a Keyword. So let’s see how much they say they really have.
A couple months ago I shared the data on Marketmuse (you can find that here) and how predictable it is on getting your content to rank by taking into consideration your competitors, the length of the article, and the words used in the article.
Over the last little while, we wanted to test other tools to help us with ranking for our keywords so we have taken a look at a few other Content Analyzers, one being CognitiveSEO.
We have talked about Cognitive SEO a few weeks ago in terms of keyword difficulty and it was one of the tools that showed great predictability. If you missed that post, you can check it out here.
The result from this process was that CognitiveSEO in terms of the absolute score performed better than MarketMuse over the same data set (47% vs 38%). However, based on how much the correlation has moved based on the size of the data set I am hesitant to say option 1 is better than option 2.
BUT… the big takeaway is that with both tools there is a strong benefit to using a tool that helps you ensure you are covering the topics that their “content brains” (my name for them) suggest you use.
For a more robust tool set that allows you to more easily improve your article use MarketMuse but if you are just after a score then CognitiveSEO is a great option. The price of CognitiveSEO is also much easier to stomach for a portfolio builder vs agency.
This variable can be accessed from almost all keyword difficulty sites. For this analysis we used SECockpit and took the domain authority for the top 10 sites ranking for the keyword and the max domain authority.
The statistical correlation of a low average domain authority as a supplemental predictor to rank was a solid 24%. This is another big opportunity to add to your competitive advantages when it comes to ranking. Overall maintaining an average competitor domain authority under 60 out 100 seems to be the target.
For the max competitor domain authority score most keywords have a max DA within 85 to 100 range. It seems consistent that at least one of the ranking sites has a high score and the statistical relationship represented was a weak 9%. This variable does not hold much weight in my books as it is very inconsistent.
For these variables we took the domain’s authority and trust flow. This analysis disregards anything to do with the keyword or the article content therefore its results can be read into as much or as little as you want in terms of how it predicts ranking.
Opensite Explorer by Moz provides a commonly used domain authority which is a rating on a scale of 1 out of 100 to show how authoritative your site is, and we used it to see how the authority for a website that an article is published on helps.
With a little under 10% correlation the result is not strong enough to conclude anything significant.
Majestic trust flow provides a rating of legitimacy based on the quality of backlinks and we used this score to see if a higher trust flow would provide some boost in ranking ability.
With a weak statistical relevance of 15% the trust flow seems to hold some weight in the ranking process. This means that backlinks will help specific articles but they also seem to help the bottom line for all article in a tiny percentage.
I recently came across the free CoSchedule headline analyzer tool early in the spring and was quite excited by its potential. However as I used it more often and conducted some research around it I became less enthused.
The tool is designed around click-through-rate and should still have an effect on ranking but with only a 10% correlation significance as a predictor of ranking this tool underwhelms currently based on its potential. I have found that using this tool has not helped my team in any way on creating more catchy titles so we have since stopped using it.
Over the last few weeks I have rolled out a lot of informative articles about the analytical space around ranking. I have learned a lot and hope you have enjoyed the same with me. While there will never be an exact answer or solution to getting to the top of Google, I hope that you can see here that it takes a lot of effort and commitment to various factors but with the right approach and strategy you can try and get a step ahead of the field and be successful.
I am always interested in new tools or ones I have missed that may be useful to any part of the ranking process so feel free to share your tool that you feel gives you that competitive advantage and we can introduce it to our research team for further analysis in the future!