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Podcast 47: How to Create Epic Content and Attract Natural Links for Your Authority Site with Gael Breton

Podcast 47: How to Create Epic Content and Attract Natural Links for Your Authority Site with Gael Breton

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I'm excited to bring you another podcast episode today!  Perrin and I were able to recently sit down with Gael Breton of AuthorityHacker.com to discuss all the important elements of building an authority website.

Gael knows what he is talking about.

You'll like this interview because he not only shares very actionable tips, but also gives the URL of his website that is making over $10,000 per month.  I always love having an example website that I can look at and try to replicate.

As you know, Perrin and I have been building our own authority website for the past couple of months and have some great ideas.  However, we've been reaching out to people with additional ideas recently, and Gael is one of those guys that has been willing to give us a few tips.

As a result, we asked Gael to join us on the podcast and discuss exactly how he's gone about making his site, HealthAmbition.com, such a big success over the past year and a half.

You'll find lots of takeaways during this interview.  However, a couple of my personal takeaways are his strategy for finding and creating content that has the potential to be very shareable.  And then how these shareable pieces of content can attract natural links and increase the overall authority of your entire site.

I encourage you to listen to the entire podcast as there are lots of great nuggets of wisdom here.  Below I've recorded most of the questions and answers in a condensed format if you only have time to read the interview.

Notes from the Podcast Interview

How did Gael get started as an entrepreneur?

He started by promoting a marketing agency as an affiliate.  He was not happy with the work being done for clients that they referred, so he and a partner decided to start their own online marketing firm.

In 2012 he had 100 clients, and he was really good at “gray hat” SEO.  He could rank clients and had great results for their sites.

At one point he was ranked for “Nascar” above Nascar.com and ESPN.com.  However, he was not very good at converting that traffic.

Then when Penguin came around, he lost over 50 clients in a period 6 months.  It was a very hard time.  They decided to refocus their agency onto more long term strategies.  They realized that additional Google updates were going to happen, and they didn't want to get hit like that again.

As a result, they decided to learn more white hat and long term strategies.  They continued to just focus on growing websites for clients.  At one point they had up to 30 employees in Budapest.

Eventually, they decided to start building out a couple of their own websites near the beginning of 2013.  This is when they created HealthAmbition.com, which is an authority site that he talks alot about on his site AuthorityHacker.com.

Are you taking on any new clients?

They are not really looking for new clients.  Only if a client has the right fit, they might consider taking on a new client.  They are mostly just trying to maintain that side of the business.

What are the Conditions that clients have to meet to work with you?

First they need a proper technology set up on their website.  Gael really likes WordPress, and unfortunately lots of clients just don't have the right technology set up for easy website changes.

They also look for active communities that have active group, forums, and other content marketing opportunities.  The client has to be in the right niche.

How Succesful is HealthAmbition.com?

  • The site gets about 300k visits per month.
  • They also generate about 6,000 emails per month from the site.
  • The site is also earning low 5 figures per month in income (over $10k/month).
  • Gael also believes they are sitting on a lot of opportunities in terms of monetization or creating their own products.

How is HealthAmbition.com Monetized?

Right now its monetized with Google Adsense, and a couple of ad slots on BuySellAds.com.  They have not really focused on monetization at this point.  They are more focused on building the traffic and audience.  Gael really believes that a few tweaks could increase the earnings quite a bit.

They also make a bit of money through affiliate sales on Amazon or other info products.

They will be building their own product most likely very soon.

What are the steps to build an authority site?

First, create high quality content and the type of content that is very shareable.

This shareable content can not only bring a ton of traffic through Pinterest or other places, but tons of natural links.

They also create media that fits well for your audience.  This could be videos, images, or other platforms where you niche is active.

Gael is also very concerned about collecting emails in order to build a long term relationship.

How to create an epic piece of content and market it properly?

First, you can use tools like BuzzSumo to discover what types of content are successful.  Then you create content that has done very well on other sites in your niche, and you can then improve on that piece of content.

Take the same content idea and simply make it better with more stats or strategies.

After you create that content, find out where other sites have promoted this type of content and you can share your content in the same place.

By promoting your content on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and other places, you will actually start getting natural links.

This strategy can take a long time for each piece of content; however, it can be very effective.

What's also great about getting these few links, is that this is often all you need to rank for keywords in a post-penguin world.  This will also really help increase your overall authority with your site as well.

How much should people write keyword based articles vs. shareable articles?

People should definitely do both.  Polling your audience and asking them what they want to read about on your site is a great way to go.

Gael recommends about a 50/50 effort between keyword based articles and more shareable content.

What are a couple of examples on HealthAmbition.com of viral type articles that have done well?

First, “The Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water when you Wake Up” has done very well.  The article has over 2,000 Facebook shares, hundreds of comments, and over 20 natural links that they didn't do anything to get.  They used Pinterest on that article to get pins as well, currently over 800 pins.

How did Gael come up with that article topic?

Gael hires specialists in the area as writers.  Some of these writers help come up with these ideas.  They find the writers through a lot of trial and error.  However, they usually have a track record of being involved in the niche and often have a follower-ship on Twitter or Facebook in the niche.

Another good piece of content on HealthAmbition.com?

Washing your face with apple cider vinegar.  The article has done very well on social media and elsewhere.  They also sell apple cider vinegar as an affiliate through Amazon and so the article makes decent money as well.

What's working so well to build your email list?

Use a popup.

Use multiple offers depending on the category or page they land on.

Gael also uses Facebook retargeting to generate more email leads.

Do we focus on building links too much?

Gael believes most people focus too much on manually “building” links rather than thinking about what causes people to naturally link to you.  Links are important, but building links is not what you should do.  You need to attract those links.

First, put great stuff on your site.  The Red Bull guy jumping from space is great content and has tons of links.

Think about the type of content you can provide that will attract links.

Second, do content promotion.  Share your content where it should be shared.  Then outreach to others in your niche…but don't just ask for a mention or link.  You need to be involved in your community and help out other people first.

For example, you can put someone elses blog post in your email blast and tag that in Google analytics with a message.  By helping others out first, then people will take notice and eventually send links your way.

Tell us about AuthorityHacker.com and how's it going?

Gael is really focused on actionable content that focuses more on white hat strategies.  He feels like there is a gap in the market.  The site is doing well, they have about 1,000 email subscribers at this point only after about 3 months since they started.

Gael's free SEO course: AuthorityHacker.com/free-course

Gael's parting words of advice

A big reason a lot of people fail at content promotion is because there is a learning curve, and they run out of patience.  Its important to be patient, and give your project at least a year at the beginning before you expect to see big growth.

Gael is also the creator of CopyCog.com.

This is a platform to help you recruit and manage your writers.

Your Thoughts

Overall, it was a pleasure doing this interview with Gael, and he shared lots of valuable tips for creating and sharing great content that attracts links and more.  As always, I'd love to hear your comments or questions below.

Listen to the Podcast

 

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64 Comments for this Post

  1. Debbie

    Debbie

    yes! Build useful websites and the natural SEO traffic will happen. No more of this building links BS!

    • Bill

      Bill

      Exactly! Doing business like this feels better too.

      • Gael

        Gael

        Glad you liked it guys 🙂 I wouldn’t say no to link building if done the right way but building links the way most people do, yeah, I’d agree this is BS for long term businesses.

        Gael

  2. Bill

    Bill

    Great post! I’m working on an authority site too. I’m trying to figure out how broad I should go. This is very helpful information!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks! Just remember if you have a brandable sounding domain (apennyshaved, healthambition) you can start very niche specific and then broaden your reach as you go.

      • Gael

        Gael

        I concur. One of our mistakes with Health Ambition was to go too broad right away.

        As Spencer says, pick a brandable domain and start small. You can always broaden later.

  3. Manita

    Manita

    Thank you for this great podcast! After listening to the podcast, I feel like equipped to start working on my own authority website as this is something I have been procrastinating for the past two months. Please keep sharing more information about authority websites – it’s greatly appreciated!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Glad you enjoyed the podcast Manita…and thank you!

    • Gael

      Gael

      Glad you liked it Manita, thanks !

  4. Shane C.

    Shane C.

    Another great episode of my favorite online business podcast. I am becoming more and more convinced that authority sites are the way to go. I may even retire mini-sites for good.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Wow, favorite online business podcast??…thanks!

  5. Jack

    Jack

    Great stuff here – I really liked the idea about creating sharable content on Pinterest and I ma going to implement it.

    A few comments (all based on my experience):
    Gael was saying that he might be able to add Taboola / Outbrain – You will need much MORE traffic: around 2-3M page views per month (so a bit too early for that for his site). The also pay peanuts and this is the reason you need massive amount of traffic.

    Email list – there is a HUGE difference between getting someone to signup to your list and between selling them something. You will find out that a certain proportion of your list come from countries that don’t have much money to buy online. Other are there only for “fun”.
    Also most people in your list are there because they want to get information and they will leave if you sell too much.

    Selling to my list is something that I am trying to perfect now but I can tell you that getting emails is easy but selling is hard.

    If you know anyone who can help – let me know. I will pay for advice.

    One other tip – when you make your great content – put as many links there. Your content will get copied and many times it will get copied with the internal links in it.

    It would be great to have some podcasts on how to sell to your list.

    Keep on with more posts around authority site -this is great content !

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Glad you enjoyed the podcast! Thanks for sharing your thoughts based on your own experience as well.

    • Mark Webster

      Mark Webster

      Hi Jack

      Glad you liked the podcast. Actually Taboola requires 500k impressions per month. We’re a little short of that, but with our current growth on Health Ambition, it won’t be too long till we reach that level.

      I totally agree with your point about having a list and making money from it. While we are fortunate that the vast majority are US/Western subscribers, we haven’t done such a great job so far of engaging them and selling to them. This is largely because it wasn’t a focus until recently. If I could go back and start it all over again, I would definitely make email engagement a priority from day #1.

      There is a great product on email marketing called Autoresponder Madness. I’d highly recommend it. Maybe we’ll do a review of it on Authority Hacker some time soon. Just need to implement it to test the results some more 🙂

      Thanks
      Mark

      • Perrin

        Perrin

        FYI, Mark is one of the other folks behind AH.

        Thanks for chiming in!

  6. Jasom Dotnet

    Jasom Dotnet

    Recently I have read great article on Pat’s Smartpassiveincome.com which is perfect “supplement” to this podcast episode. It’s called “THE Backlinking Strategy That Works – 2014 and Beyond Edition”.

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Yep. There’s also a great article on Backlinko with similar tactics and a great case study. I definitely recommend it. 🙂

  7. John

    John

    now this one is harder to imitate

    but i’m glad to expand my niche site earlier, dont know what its called for now cause its still to far from what we call authority site but at least the niche i chose is expandable

  8. Oloyede Jamiu

    Oloyede Jamiu

    Hey Spenser and Gael,

    Thank you for writing this.

    I was able to read through the page to know the real fact behind the article.

    The system is using Backlinko’s skyscrapers technique to find, create and get backlinks for a better written content.

    I am using the same technique for my new blog.

    I will share this on twitter.

    Regards,
    Oloyede Jamiu

    • Gael

      Gael

      Looking forward to see it ;).

  9. Hieu Luong

    Hieu Luong

    Content is King. That is always right now and future. I also read wonderful article on Pat SmartPassiveIncome.com. Concentratin on quality content and nature links will come.

    I like your opinions about authority site. Please keep your great world and sharing more value experiences.

    THANK YOU!

  10. Dave

    Dave

    Great timing for this interview! I just launched my first case study, which hopefully turns into a successful authority site. These guys are covering everything I’m trying to learn!

  11. Chloe

    Chloe

    Thanks so much for great information as always!

    I bookmarked this page to use it as a reference for creating content in the future. I will definitely take advantage of the techniques mentioned here.

    Thanks again! 🙂

  12. Lee

    Lee

    Thanks for this Spencer,

    Getting away from PBNs and grey hat seo was tough for me to swallow. I’ve been following you and Gael for a little while now and it’s convinced me to move onto long term authority sites. I think I’ll sleep a little better at night knowing I’m at less of a risk of getting de-indexed.

    Any chance you and Perrin will reveal your authority site in the future?

    -Lee

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Lee! There is a chance…but not now. Perhaps in a few months.

  13. Matt

    Matt

    Authority websites are the way to go. Who here wants to constantly out-guess Google for the rest of their lives. Not me. I have a few ideas for a long-term authority site – just need to get it done.

  14. james

    james

    Gael,
    All your info is very actionable which is why I’m going to support you and follow you. This is the first podcast I’ve heard on nichepursuits that actually had worthwhile actionable content thanks to you Gael.

  15. jake

    jake

    Hi Spencer,
    Great information here!
    I am going to get stuck into my own authority site that i have been growing over the past few months.

    Many Thanks
    Jake

  16. Ash

    Ash

    This podcast was so helpful! I believe more and more than turning from small niche site (with PBNs) to Authority site is the best thing to do from now on. Thanks Spencer and Gael

  17. Henry

    Henry

    I think times have really changed. A lot! People are more visual now. Almost every content needs images or anything that would help readers visualize what the content is all about. Technology is really helping people achieve that. This is also the reason for the sudden rise of Pinterest. Authority sites that are making use of this trend will surely find success to be easier and more reachable.

  18. John

    John

    I loved the podcast. Very helpful info on what an authority site is (last week under another post I had asked about this).

    One thing I would add is that in addition to Pinterest, Google Plus is still a good option. If you build group community) using their community tool that is specific for your niche, it can really help with increasing trustable traffic. You can even plug your sites URL into the community (free branding!) Plus, it’s Google’s own Social media platform so that has to count for something. We have one and have many members. Lastly, join Google Plus communities that relate to your niche. Another way to pick up natural, related backlinks…the kind you want.

    On a related note with Pinterest… It really is a traffic driver! You would never think at first glance a counseling firm might benefit from a visual platform but I’ll tell ya, we’ve done really well by using it and get lots of local and non- local traffic this way.

    Really helpful post and podcast guys. Thanks!!

  19. Guet

    Guet

    Has anyone taken a look at the sites backlink profile? Looks like there might be some PBN’s at work here. Do authority sites still utilize PBN’s?

    • Gael

      Gael

      No PBN work from us. There’s so low quality sites linking to us but we didn’t necessarily do anything for it. It’s just the way it works when you grow.

  20. Roy

    Roy

    They claimed they have created healthambition on 2013. But if you see seo quake it is showing the Age as March 26 2004. Was it created on an expired domain or I am missing something?

    • Gael

      Gael

      It’s possible the domain had a life before but it had no links. We bought it out of go daddy as a fresh domain so it was dropped for a while at least.

  21. Stevie

    Stevie

    What I don’t get about reviews on niche sites is do they actually do reviews or sort of just “make them up?”

    • Gael

      Gael

      We actually get our hands on everything we review.

  22. Gabriel

    Gabriel

    I love the theme you are using on http://www.healthambition.com. May I know is it a custom theme or what?

    Do you really thing it’s better to build the authority site on a fresh new domain rather on aged niche related domain?

    And one more question. Do you really haven’t build any back link in purpose in to that website beside the social shares?

    Thanks for the very inspiring story.

    • Syed

      Syed

      I am also want to know about this.

      At first, when you try to index your post.

      Are you still using any grey hat approach.

      Or just totally wait for natural links grow day by day?

    • Pratik Unadkat

      Pratik Unadkat

      I liked that theme too and found it familiar since I knew I saw it on Search Engine Journal or some website like that.

      I tried to search for it and found its Performag – http://thrivethemes.com/new-theme-performag/

      Seems Thrivethemes also has quite a few nice themes as well. 🙂

      Btw, listened to the podcast on the same day it came out. Excellent value Spencer and Gael! Keep it up.

      -Pratik

  23. Gabriel

    Gabriel

    May I also know how much you spend on writing the contents?

  24. Floyd

    Floyd

    Great article!! Inspiring. Thanks Gael and Spencer!!

    I signed up for the SEO course (entered my email) and received an activation email, but no link to the course, just a link to tools I can use. Where can I find the free course?

    Thanks again! 🙂

  25. Benjamin Price

    Benjamin Price

    A great podcast. I just found the NP website recently and read through all the history of Niche Site Project 2. Was a great read and inspirational. Looking forward to future podcasts – lots of good information.

  26. Andrew

    Andrew

    HI everybody!
    Great job guys with Healthambitions!

    I have a brand related question.

    I’ve got a problem with one of my site, comparing to you I didn’t thought to much when I picked my domain, so I got a very niche related one, keyword reach. (healthcare niche)
    Now, the site is getting traction. and I’m thinking on changing to a more brand-able domain, so I can cover more topics.

    Is it a good idea when I’m getting 8000 uniques/month already?
    Will I loose my rankings?
    What are the risks?
    I know Spencer you did it with your knife site, but you and no choose..
    Thanks guys!
    Andrew

    • Gael

      Gael

      It really depends on how you do it. If you do it right with proper redirects etc you should be fine with a bit of a traffic drop for a month, if you mess it up it can go horribly wrong. So be careful.

  27. Yaro

    Yaro

    Great podcast Gael and Spencer!
    I think the best way to make your brand popular to start small and then go broad.
    Take even Tesla brand. They started with electrical sport car, now luxury sedan, tomorrow d class car and sky is the limit.

    • Gael

      Gael

      That’s exactly right!

  28. Mark

    Mark

    Just waiting for the hundreds of “health authority sites” ending in “ambitions” to start popping up all over the place… lol .. Got to love those copycats!

    • Gael

      Gael

      Heh, it takes so much time and effort to get there that I’m not too worried :).

  29. Roger Davidson

    Roger Davidson

    Hi All, I do totally agree with the comments about natural link building, it is the way forward for any long term business project.

    With this said, people have to be aware that a brand new domain with fresh content could take months and months to even be noticed by Google. This is even with great content.

    Gael is not in this position – his domain has great authority.

    The simple fact is that domain authority counts for a heck of a bonus when ranking new content.

    If you have lots of followers then clearly you stand a good chance of building natural links. But.. most of us don’t so to start from scratch is going to require lots and lots of effort.

    PBN in the way Rank Hero did it is finished. So where does that leave people? Most of us wanted to use PBN perhaps to give us a start – to get a customer base. Everybody would really want to rank the natural way but you’d go bankrupt waiting.

    That leaves paid traffic. I am knowledgeable enough with Adwords but when compared to organic, the results are very poor indeed.

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Health Ambition was started from scratch and took one full year to start making money.

      Like we’ve been saying, doing SEO is playing the long-game. It’s incredibly profitable, but it takes a while.

      The upside, of course, is that the margins are ridiculous when it starts working.

  30. Amir

    Amir

    Hi Gael,
    I loved your podcast and learned allot from it.
    In the podcast you said:
    “For example, you can put someone elses blog post in your email blast and tag that in Google Analytics with a message. ”
    What exactly does it mean? i know that i can tag certain things on Analytics for me to see.
    Is there an option to tag someone elses post and that he will see it in HIS Analytics?
    Can you please refer me to an article on the subject?
    Thanks,
    Amir.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      So, he’s saying link to someone elses blog post in your email blast. So, they will see all the traffic coming to their blog post, and you can tag it with a message in Google analytics.

      • Amir

        Amir

        Sorry Spencer, i don’t understand.
        I know you can put messages to yourself and reminders on Analytics.
        But can you tag something in Analytics and have someone else see it in his Analytics?
        Did i get it wrong or just never heard of it?
        If it’s true, can you point me to an article on the subject please?
        Thanks again,
        Amir.

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          I’ve never done this, but yes…according to Gael you can tag something so that someone else will see it in their Analytics.

  31. Chutima

    Chutima

    Many thanks Spencer for this podcast. It’s great!

    Hi Gael,

    Great website! Questions for you. I can see from your website the contents were published with the authors/writers’ name plus they also answered all the audience’s questions/comments. So all your writers will need to have access to your website, right?

    If I can’t afford to hire specialists as a writers, what can I do if I wanted to outsource contents from anonymous writers e.g. from textbroker? Using Textbroker, there will be no author’s name to publish and no one to answer all the questions? What option do we have to manage this? Thanks.

    Chutima

  32. Philip

    Philip

    After reading this, I have revised how I do my content, but I have stayed in the same niche because its rewarding, this time, I will cut down on the number of posts to 150, but each will be developed in an advanced way, Google has got smarter, but it rewards when you do nice content.

    Thanks for the post Spencer.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Philip…and good luck!

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