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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.

How to Use SECockpit to Help with Keyword Research

Solid and concise keyword research is arguably one of the most important and crucial process for any money site. This is why we’ve spent a lot of time and resources trying to execute the best procedure possible to ensure that we are using the best tools on the market to help with finding keywords. Although it’s not perfect, our keyword research process is getting more refined as we use and test many different tools. We have done many case studies on the different tools we use and the predictability of ranking for that keyword given a few data points, that article can be found here.

 

Although SECockpit is one of the slower tools, it gives a good variety of keywords and also shows the details of the top 10 sites that are ranking for that keyword which is good when you are doing a competitor analysis for that keyword to determine what it would take to beat them (more on this below). I usually don’t just use one tool when determining the keywords I want to rank for but rather take the keywords and plug it into multiple different tools (LongtailPro, SEMRush, CognitiveSEO as well as SECockpit) and see which ones hit all the preset metrics I have chosen in each tool. This usually takes a very large list of around 300 and brings its down to under 10.

 

Step by Step on How to Use SECockpit

To get into the nitty gritty of how SEcockpit works, and how we’ve used it to systematize our keyword research, check out step by step procedure how SEcockpit works.

Step 1: Dashboard

Login to SEcockpit and go to the dashboard and click on the key symbol to search for your first keyword.

Step 2: Setting Criteria

This is where it gets interesting. Type in a keyword of your choice that is relevant to the your site and look at your options.

I instruct my team to select the Google Adwords ideas that are closely related and to select ‘Append’, ‘Prepend’, and ‘Add Words in Between’. This increases our chances of coming across a great related keyword. We also change Min Monthly searches to 200 but if you are going after bigger priced items that don’t get as many searches then you should adjust this.

Step 3: Full list of Keywords

Make sure you’ve inputted your keyword and that you’ve selected your search criteria and then click on Save and Close for the search to begin!  This tool can sometimes be slow, so be patient, go make a coffee and some food and come back 🙂

Step 4: Competition Score: < 30%

We like to set the competition score to less than 30 with this tool. Ideally if you can get to under 25 that would be great.

Then, as you can see here below, we have our comprehensive list of keywords that meet our metrics:

Step 5: Competitor Analysis (Unlikely)

So this is where you need to do some more digging. With this view, it looks like all of these keywords are great, but you need to click on the keyword to view a full keyword analysis which will give you more information on the other sites that are ranking for it, which, will help you determine if it’s a viable keyword for your article and whether you think you can beat those other articles.

 

Let’s look at the Keyword “Charcoal Pills” which has 40,500 monthly searches and only 17.25% competition score. This generally looks like a pretty golden keyword and at first glance it looks like a no-brainer to go after it.

With this comprehensive keyword analysis, the top 2 things that we look at is the DA (Domain Authority) and the Top 10 websites. As you can see below, the DA is really high, which means that the competing websites are ranking very well and getting a ton of traffic according to google. You can also perform a backlink analysis as well on your site and compare it to those other sites to see if you can beat them.

If our site is not an authority site in it’s space (which in general, most are not), then it would be a bad idea to go after this keyword because our domain will not be able to compete with the authority domain in that space. For example in this case WebMD and other very well known sites in the space.

Step 6: Competitor Analysis (Likely)

Let’s try another keyword on the list, here I’ve chosen a Keyword that was provided to us by the tool based off of the “closely related words” function of the search criteria.

 

Keyword: Activated Carbon Filter – which has 5400 Monthly Searches and has a competition score of 27.39.

When we click on it for the Analysis, we can see right away that this will be a more viable option to go after than the last keyword as the DA for the competing sites are lower in general (usually is you can find 3-5 sites that have a DA less than 30).

Here, I have checked a couple of the domains and I have determined that I can definitely compete with a few of these sites as their DA is low, and traffic to their site is relatively low on SEMrush. This isn’t to say that they won’t be hard to beat, but they are not out of our reach and they are a similar site as the one we have. I’m confident that with the use of SEcockpit, I’m able to find the best keyword using its rankings, but also it’s analysis on who/how others are using this keyword in their niche.

 

Example:

Step 7:

Now that we have our Keyword (Activated Carbon Filter), we want to make sure that we have a good title for the article. Now I’ll create an article title called “Best Activated Carbon Filter for Tap Water”

Place the competitive keywords and all of the metrics that you’ve found into the spreadsheet for that site!  You can download a template of the spreadsheet here.

Conclusion

After I have a bunch of keywords that meet the criteria set above, I like to cross verify with a few other tools before I get the article created. No tool is ever perfect but if a keyword meets the metrics that I have set for the different keyword tools then I find that it’s very likely that I will be able to rank for that keyword with hopefully not a lot of effort. If you have any other tools we haven’t talked about or haven’t tested that you would like us to try out, please let me know!

Assessing Client Needs for Business Growth – The Smart Way!

We don’t do much of the “fill out this form”, “how did we do today?”, or “rate our services online” stuff for my businesses.  We usually go for more of a personal touch.  When we ask for feedback, it’s more direct through emails or phone calls with clients.  So, how do you gather that feedback as data to assess client needs and the future of your business?

Today I want to talk about those changing needs and determining direction.

crunching numbers business accounting

1. The Numbers Don’t Lie

Track your expenses and income.  Hire an accountant if you’re not great with numbers and/or don’t have the time yourself.  And don’t forget about that bottom line.  If you’re spending too much on a service or offering, and people aren’t paying enough for it (or not enough people are interested in it), then you know something’s wrong.  Maybe you can cut some of your expenses and rebuild that offering in a way that makes sense financially.  Or, hey, maybe that offering is done and it’s time to move on to something else.  I know I’m painting this as very black and white, but it really does help to take a step back, look at the numbers, and determine whether an offering is worth it based on the revenue (or lack of revenue) that it’s bringing in.

One of the tricky parts here is timing.  I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this in the comments as well.  Personally, we track and review numbers across all teams weekly.  If something is outside of the safe zone, we talk about it in our weekly business meeting.  If that continues for a few weeks, we talk more seriously about it.  If a few months go by and we’re clearly wasting our time and resources, it’s time to make a drastic change.

Obviously I can’t share our spreadsheets here, but you’ll need to create a document with your own financial goals in mind that can be updated on a weekly basis.  Include sales and analytics as needed for your business.

So that’s one objective way to see whether your service/offering or product is working for your clients.  But how do we see it coming before wasting that time and those resources?

2. Create Products/Services Based on Repeated ‘Custom’ Client Requests

I can use Content Refined as an example here.  Content Refined is primarily a content marketing company that works on a monthly subscription-based content creation cycle.  Madeleine, our Co-Founder and Business Manager, was finding that she was getting a lot of “custom” requests for upgrades to existing content on clients’ websites.  These clients had content already on their site that they needed someone to go through, clean up, and ‘refresh’ to help it rank higher.  So, that request came in enough times that Maddie thought, “Hey, we need to make this a real offering, not just a special custom thing we do when people ask for it.”

We figured out our pricing needs and built the system around ‘content upgrades’.  Now it’s front and centre on the home page of Content Refined’s site.

Word of warning: you do have to take all requests with a grain of salt.  There’s a fine line between being flexible and bending over backwards.  Custom requests only work if the numbers work.  So you have to be careful at how far you bend your standards to meet client needs.

Which brings me to my next point.

 

assessing business needs

3. Dominate Your Field Before Expanding Out

It’s extremely difficult to expand out to new service offerings when you’re still working on mastering the original one.  Until you’ve got a great system worked out for your business and you’re handling everything on your plate really well, don’t try to start something new.  Pretty reasonable, right?

To be a master in your field, you’ve gotta stay on top of the trends and news in your industry, and really do your research.  Especially in the digital world, things are moving so quickly that it’s hard to stay relevant.  Check out what’s going on in conferences, and get in the networks with the top players in your field.  This way you can figure out what you should be offering before your clients are even looking for it.

To continue with our example of Content Refined, we constantly look at trends in the content marketing world.  With anything SEO related, you really have to look at the data and figure out which tools and methods are the most effective.  Last year around this time we did all kinds of data analysis on all the content that we had created for clients.  Then we had a statistician go through everything to confirm our findings.  Right now we’re in the process of going through everything again to renew those findings and update any strategies as necessary based on the results.  By continuing to evaluate our business with the actual data, we’re able to stay focused in our field while maintaining great results for our clients.

Final Thoughts

Assessing client needs is super important to keeping your business relevant and growing.  It can take your business in new directions that you may have never foreseen.  Have you had experience with something like that?  Leave me your stories in the comments!

How to Check Backlinks of Domains

 

Over the last 8 years my team has been finding domains, buying domains and building PBN sites for both my own portfolio as well as clients. One of the most important parts in the whole process is finding quality domains that can give your PBN some power, and in turn give your money site some power.

 

Most people believe that just going based on metrics such as Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA), Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) are really the only things that matter when deming whether or not the domain is good. However most people forget that these expired domains were once used for something else and so checking the backlinks of the domain to ensure there isn’t anything spammy going on is very important and is often overlooked. You don’t want to put your money site at risk by getting links from a domain that has spammy links pointing to it because Google could penalize you for that.

 

Below, is a step by step guide on how you spot check the backlinks of the domains to ensure they were not once abused. For looking at the backlink profile, we always like to use Majestic as it is one of the more reliable tools that we have used.

 

Example of a Bad Domain

For this example, we are going to use the domain ablasor.com

 

As we can see in Majestic, it has a bit of TF and CF (although you want to try and get to as much of a 1:2 ratio as possible. If you can get a 1:1 that’s even better.

But there are two other places that need to be checked. The anchor text profile and the backlinks.

 

For the anchor text profile, you can see that their are not only spammy words being used but also foreign anchor text. This is a clear sign that this domain has been abused.

However, sometimes the Anchor Text appears to be normal and we would have to also check the backlinks to ensure there isn’t any foreign or spammy links.

As you scroll through the list of backlinks, first check to see if there are any unusual or foreign texts.

If there isn’t anything that stands out, click on a few links and open them up to see if there is anything suspicious that pops up. When we open up a few we get some pages that look like the below. This is a clear sign of spam.

Example of a Good Domain

In this example we are going to look at the domain platinumassetdiscovery.com

 

That domain has good TF and CF and has a pretty close ration of 1:1 which is a good start.

When looking at the anchor text profile of the domain, we can see that the anchor text words are relevant to what the domains topical trust flow is which is Society/law. There is also no spammy or foreign words.

When we go and look at the backlink profile we can see that they all look good and no foregin words are present.

When we open them up they go to sites that are relevant and not foreign content.

What’s Next?

 

After you have looked at the domain in Majestic.com, you then want to check it in archive.org and check a few different dates to see what the domain once was. Ensure that the domain wasn’t used in an inappropriate way or that it had foreign content on it.

 

Conclusion

I find that a lot of people miss a few of these steps which can be vital when looking at potential domains to link to your site. If you have any questions at all or need some further clarification on how to follow these steps please let me know!

 

Keeping Connected with Remote Employees and Freelancers (4 Tips from Experience)

I work in-house with a really fun and committed team of employees, who work with me on several projects and businesses.  However, a lot of the people behind the scenes here work remotely.  From part-time VAs paid by the hour or by the task to full-time salaried employees, I’ve had to develop some strategies on managing and keeping connected with remote workers.  After all, we’re living in the age of digital nomadism, and if you’re able to travel the world while staying committed and efficient with your career, all the power to you!  I love that entrepreneurial hustle.

So here are some of my top tips for making remote work, work.

Step #1: Weekly Check-Ins

I do this across all my businesses and it is quintessential to getting stuff done.  Weekly 1-on-1 check-ins with team members, and weekly check-ins with the entire team together.

Say you have 3 people plus the manager (in this case, myself) on a team.  You could create a spreadsheet like this one to keep track of their weekly efforts on your end.  

FREE Weekly Score Card Template

business management weekly meeting

I also encourage my team members to keep track of these check-ins on their end as well, to stay organized with their weekly tasks and progress.

For the full team meeting, it’s a more developed document which includes going over the business values and goals, weekly numbers, and weekly tasks and goals across the team members.  This gives everyone a chance to speak freely and stay focused and on track.  If you’re checking in and truly evaluating goals on a weekly basis, there’s way less risk of letting things slip.

Step #2: Get on the Phone

Yes, we do probably 90% of our communications via email.  And some people, especially in the digital media world, are introverted and get anxiety thinking about talking to other human beings.  But actually getting on the phone with somebody is invaluable.  It leaves no room for hesitation or shuffling of the truth.  When you speak directly with people, you’re automatically way more connected.  With remote employees, I mainly use Skype or Zoom to make free calls on the web.

Step #3: Get Together When You Can (Staff Parties!)

Encourage your remote team to come visit whenever they can.  Depending on how far away they are, it may be once a month, or only once a year, but it’s huge for keeping people connected and happy.  We’ve done some fun stuff over the past few years, from a simple pizza party in the main office, to a bowling outing, to brewery tours around the area!  It’s always good to take a break from the laptop life and do something fun to relax with everyone.  Plus, it gets people chatting and becoming closer, which helps to build the team up with more trust and respect.

Of course, for some really distant freelancers and VAs, this is a lot harder.  But generally maintaining a happy and friendly tone with your trusted team members goes such a long way.

staff party

Step #4: Be Available and Responsive

No one likes the unapproachable boss.  You want a boss who, in addition to good news and successful progress, you can come to with issues, concerns, and questions.  My core team members have my cell number and know that they can text or call when they need to.  Now, that’s not to say that there’s obviously a limit to expectations.  I can’t be expected to pick up the phone at 3am or be on call 24/7 when I’m taking vacation time.  But making sure you’re responsive to issues from your team when they need you is important.  In my experience, mutual respect in these situations is ideal.

Final Thoughts

Working with a lot of remote employees means overcoming obstacles like time differences and varying schedules, as well as the lack of face-to-face communication.  These are a few of the core approaches I’ve taken to keeping everyone connected and communicating well with each other, while staying on top of goals.

Have you had similar experiences with remote workers?  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Guide to Publishing Articles on WordPress

Whether you have a bunch of sites or just one, it’s always an easy task to outsource your publishing to a VA. The one main reason why most VA’s fail is because they don’t get clear or proper instructions on the tasks you are looking for them to complete. In order to help you out, we are going to share with you the SOP that my team uses when  uploading the content to my money sites.

We also have a template of the document we send to the VA to ensure each step by step is taken that you can download.

FREE VA Step by Step Template

 

Step 1: Login

  • In order to get to the login page for any site using WordPress, you need to add /wp-login.php to the end of the site url unless you have created a custom login link for security reasons.
  • You will then be brought to this page:

 

Step 2: Adding a new post to the website

  • Once you are on the sites dashboard page, you will need to go to either the left hand side and click on Post —> Add new post

Step 3: Inputting the article into the post

  • Enter the title of the article
  • Copy and Paste the content from the article into the body section

 

Step 4 : Editing articles

  • Before the article is uploaded to the site, we always like to run the article through MarketMuse to see how it compares to the other articles ranking for that keyword. If you don’t know how to use MarketMuse, we have a good tutorial here.
  • After we run it through MarketMuse, we then upload it to WordPress.
  • Ensure all subtitles are formatted to Heading 2 and any heading sections underneath each of those headings a Heading 3 and so on.
  • Ensure article is grammatically correct.

 

Step 5: Adding Images/Charts/Videos

1.Create images that are copyright free and that go with the article (use google free for use and modification images or photo stock service)

  • You will want to add 1-2 photos related to the article. You can use Google Image search and filter for “free for reuse”.
  • When adding the photo make sure you rename the title of the photo.
  • You will want to add your keyword as the Alt tag when uploading the content.

***** We have now switched to using photo stock images as sometimes these photos are labeled for reuse but have some fine print that states otherwise so please be careful.

 2.  Please embed comparison tables using HTML and/or plugins

  • If you are comparing products or are creating a “5 best…” type articles, it is always best to add in a comparison chart.

3. Find and post relevant videos to the article if applicable

  • Most times there won’t be a video that needs uploaded but we add this in just in case. Sometimes if I am creating a review article, I may find a video of someone using that product.

Step 6: Add Internal and External Links

1. Finding authority sites in the same niche and link externally

  • Find some relevant popular terms in the article to link to authority sites. So for example, in this article we could link the keyword “graffiti” to the wiki page for graffiti – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti
  • You can do this with different sites such as About.com, ehow, yahoo answers or any other general authority sites.
  • You will also want to add any monetization links that you have if applicable.

2. Link internally

  • Link internally to other article on the site. Don’t force it, it should be a natural link.

 

Step 7: Other Important SEO Work

1. Bold Keywords

  • Throughout the article you will want to bold the keyword. If the keyword is used a lot of times, stick to only bolding 2-3 times.

2. Add Tags

  • Add tags for the post
  • Use 2-4 tags that are related to the article.

3. Meta Description (SEO Pack or YOAST plugin)

  • Copy the Title of the post into the SEO Title Box
  • Add the first 1-2 sentences into the description box. Ensure that the keyword is near the beginning and that the sentences make you want to learn more.
  • In the keyword box, input your keyword you are wanting the article to rank for

4. Categories

  • IF there is a category, select the category (sometimes they won’t have one)

 

Step 8: Publish or Put into Draft Mode

  • Once you are done you can either publish the article or if you have a VA doing the work you can ask them to save it into draft mode for you to review before publishing. I do this for the first few when I hire a new VA to double check their work, but after I become confident in them I will tell them to just go ahead and publish.

Conclusion

I know when I first started off I was publishing all my content because I wanted it to be done properly and didn’t thing that a VA could handle it. After a while I found that it was eating up my time, time that could be spent focusing on other aspects of the site such as link building or other outreach strategies. I decided I would test out a VA and for the first few, they just weren’t doing what I was expecting them to do, however after I created the SOP for them, they were easily able to pick up the skills I was looking for and was able to execute perfectly. This showed me that a lot of tasks can be outsourced if an SOP is created.

What task would you love to outsource? If it is one I have created a procedure for I would be happy to share!