#49 – Ask Us Anything #2: Content Audits, Full Width Pages and more…

What you will learn

  • How to produce recipe content?
  • How to pay income tax as an affiliate marketer?
  • What steps to take in a content audit?
  • Why we do the things we do?
  • Should you use a copy protection plugin?
  • Is there any advantage to using full width pages?
  • And much more.

In this Episode, Gael and Mark answer listener questions about online marketing, business and even personal things.

Questions this time include topics such as content audits, paying taxes, full width pages, copyright protection and personal motivation. Get your question answered by submitting it here:


Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Full Transcript

Mark: Hey guys, welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast, I am Mark and today I am here with Gael.

Gael: Hey guys, how is it going?

Mark: And today we are going to be doing another ”ask me anything” style podcast, where you guys have basically submitted questions over the past few weeks, few months, and we are just going to go through a bunch of them and answer them as openly and honestly as possible. If you have a question you want to ask us, go to authorityhacker.com/ask and you can submit your question there, we will be doing these kind of episodes probably about every two or three months and we are also going to be answering some of these questions at the end of regular episodes where they are relevant. The url again is authorityhacker.com/ask. Let’s get into the first question shall we?

Gael: Alright.

Mark: The first question comes from Ahmed and it’s about how to produce recipe content. Basically he has found a good niche, and he need to produce content based on recipes but he says in his own words, “I am an internet marketer, not a recipe maker, so how can you get the recipes, ingredients, directions, pictures etc, is it okay to steal them”, he asks and how do we deal with that. What are your thoughts on that one Gael?

Gael: If you don’t want to create original recipes, you are going to have to cook at some point. It’s just the way it is, there is no way around it, however, what you can do to get started is you can do roundup posts and essentially do content curation, so instead of actually creating recipes, you kind of like do a roundup which we do a lot of Health Ambition, the best like slow cooker recipes, for example, and what we do is we essentially link out to 20 or 30 recipes from food bloggers that actually do that stuff and usually the way we promote these roundup posts which is quite successful is we take an image from the recipe and we link to the source so we give a backlink to the original, but then we pin that image on Pinterest and Pinterest generates a lot of traffic for us and, if you write some content around, the post can be pretty long, if you need it to be longer just add more list items and essentially that also creates a post that could be optimized for keyword for SEO, so together you can get some traffic that is relevant to your niche without creating anything, but, if you really want a recipe on your site then you are going to have to probably cook yourself etc, now, it’s also interesting to know that recipe content is actually, you cannot copyright it, you can copyright the words but you cannot copyright the recipe itself. You could essentially rewrite the recipe and that wouldn’t be a problem.

Mark: You couldn’t use their pictures though.

Gael: Yeah, the pictures definitely need to link back and ask them if it’s cool, even when you do this roundup posts.

Mark: And the thing with recipes is it’s quite difficult to use and any kind of stick images, because they just tend not, unless it’s chicken recipes something super basic, they tend not to exist. Just one thing I wanted to mention is when you are doing these kind of roundup recipe posts most people are pretty happy, they are getting backlinks and they are getting featured and bit of promotion, that’s nice; we did have one situation where someone got really mad that we- she called it “stealing” but we told her it was roundup kind of promotion, but, she got really mad that and sort of threaten to sue us and do all these kind of things.

Gael: She must be really busy if does that for everyone talking an image from their site, but yeah, sure.

Mark: Yeah, so I mean, it’s not a big deal, we just simply took hers down and put another one in the place and that was that. So, yeah, just be aware.

Gael: But that is why it’s also a good idea to when you do this kind of things to actually reach out to the original source, and what you can do is you can actually ask for the social share, you can say hey if you like it can you share it around.

Mark: Yeah, I think we did that and that is how she found out, and she was like, oh no.

Gael: Yeah, it happens, but also a bunch of people share it and they are like oh thank you for linking to my site, etc, especially if we are like yeah we are going to be emailing it to our email list and sharing it around, so that should generate some traffic to your site, get people excited a little bit, you are not really wasting your time asking for permission only because it’s also a promotion tactic to get some shares and promotion for your site.

Mark: Yeah, so, as you said, the first step is probably doing these kind of round up posts, I would say if you do want to get into creating your own recipes and you are not a chef or you don’t really know what you are doing in the kitchen, as it sounds like, then, you can probably hire a writer, on Upwork, or Problogger Jobs Board, something like that, who is a sort of professional chef or semi professional chef in some way and perhaps someone who has a camera as well, and he or she can sort of take photos as they go, it’s probably going to be a fair bit more expensive than your standard blog post content, but, that is I guess the only option really if you don’t know what you are doing there unless you want to sort of get into learning cooking.

Gael: Yeah, but it’s going to be hard to make the photos look amazing and so on. It is definitely something you probably need to practice for several years before you get on the level of the best sites out there.

Mark: Yeah, for sure. Okay, cool. Let’s move on then. The next question comes from Alex, who I think is based in Greece; he asks, it’s basically a question about income tax from affiliate marketing.

Gael: That’s for you.

Mark: Yeah. He says so you do affiliate marketing with Amazon USA and earn an amount in dollars. He said, “you live in Hungary”, Gael and I live in Hungary at the moment, “so I guess you do your income statement there. Where do you get taxed and how does that work?” And he is asking if he needs to get US tax ID or something like that. When it comes to taxes, there is two things to consider, there is where you physically live, that is called your residency, which country that is in, and there is where your company, if you have one is based. Our company is based in the UK, so our company pays taxes in the UK. Gael and I live in Hungary, we are residents here so we pay taxes in Hungary, here. We don’t pay taxes to the US-

Gael: And there goes the tax control. They are going to be auditing us now.

Mark: It’s fine, it’s super squeaky clean. But, yeah, you don’t need to worry about getting a US tax ID for that purpose, there is- I am not going to go into it, but there is a situation where you are being companies do need to get a US Tax ID but it’s nothing to do with the receiving payments from Amazon. You can just do that, the second part of the question comes around I think he lives in Greece but he is saying countries like Greece and India where they have capital controls, weak currency, unstable politics. How do you keep money outside of your country, how do you do this easily and what implications does this have on your income tax statement.

Gael: That is getting slightly out of scope.

Mark: I am going to answer it, he asked it. There is two things to consider, when you say keeping money out of your country, you can, for example, I have a bank account in the UK that is out of my country, but I still pay tax in Hungary on the income I earn from our company when it goes in there. Just where the money is located isn’t a factor so much on where you pay the tax on it, of course you can cheat the system by having banks in the Cayman Islands or wherever else but I wouldn’t recommend that and if you get caught there is probably some pretty serious penalties, especially if you live in Greece. Avoid that. And you also mentioned about the fact that you are earning about 500 dollars a month right now, so what is the best sort of way to do it to avoid converting to your domestic currency. If you are making money on Amazon US, what you can do is you can apply for a Payoneer card, payoneer.com, it’s a pre-paid Master Card, I think it costs 30 dollars a year, and with that, you can actually setup a US bank account number, it doesn’t give you US bank account it just gives you a bank account number and then you can receive payments with that so you can plug Amazon into paying you that way, it charges you about 1% commission but yeah, it works really well, and then you have a card you can use to pay your hosting or writers on Upwork, whatever else in US dollars. That’s probably the best way to go about Bootstraping it, I definitely do recommend paying your taxes and keeping everything above board.

One of the things as well, if you are outside of the EU or you are somewhere like India, I believe in Estonia they have this new thing called digital citizenship where you don’t actually have to live there but you can create an Estonian company from abroad you just need to go to their embassy in your own country to submit your ID and stuff and they will set you up an EU bank account and a bunch of stuff like that, so there is few other options in some other countries as well I think, but I haven’t really looked into it.

Gael: Yeah, if you are looking for where to pay VAT that is a good idea. [laugh]

Mark: Yeah, so you can check that as well, I’ll put links in the description of this episode for that. The next question I guess is one for you, Garry asks that in your podcast Gael, the one you did with Perrin on automation, you discussed doing a content audit, he asks, “what steps are taken to do a good content audit”.

Gael: Okay, to be honest, that one could be a 10 thousand word blog post, so for the sake of everyone’s time I am going to make it short but it’s probably going to be incomplete because of that. The truth is, I don’t think there is one process for content audit, because it really depend on how you’ve been building your site before, but usually what we try to do first is to identify the low hanging fruits so we use, if we want to get immediate results we find the content that is ranking between number 5 and number 20 on Google, and for large keywords essentially, and we try to push these pages up so that can be reoptimizing the contents on the page for the keyword or adding some internal linking to these pages, also, another thing that we like to do is identifying the content that gets a lot of traffic but doesn’t generate a lot of money, so on Health Ambition for example, we have a lot of info content and some of them are weird, we have one that is like, “what are the health benefits of the peanut butter”, but I think if you google peanut butter on page one, really big keyword, lots of traffic, it’s hard to monetize that kind of content because of the amount of traffic it gets, several thousands per day, for that one page, you can still create couple of hundred dollars per month at least by doing small tweaks to the page because of the amount of traffic, so we’ve added things like Amazon native ads that link to recommended organic peanut butter, on top of the ads and maybe also use this page to internally link to pages that are more monetized to send traffic to these, I can’t remember what I did but I think I linked to one or two reviews, from that page. I am just going to stop there actually, I am going to just give these two things that are two things that we do.

Now, all the stuff about removing content and stuff like that, I think removing content most of the time is not very important, I mean you can remove content from the index without removing it from your site, so if you feel some contents really dead weight, it’s kind of the only case I would do that is when it’s diluting kind of the focus of the websites, so if on Health Ambition we had something about, something that is really unrelated, maybe something about politics or whatever that is, for some reason at the time we thought it was a good idea and in the end it tends to be a terrible idea, then maybe I would remove it but otherwise if you are not sure about content and you feel it may help, may not, it’s kind of dead weight, you can just no index it with your SEO. Before you remove any kind of content no index it, and yeah, just after that find the pages that are getting good traffic and not making enough money and reoptimize them. That’s basically all we do. After that we just refocus on new content for our content audits but I think we can definitely develop a more structured process and that maybe a blueprint on Authority Hacker Pro, that may be a blog post at some point, but the truth is right now we are kind of based on what we need, we jump on it, we don’t have a set process for it.

Mark: I think it also varies from site to site depending on the niche, and just, that’s the way we’ve set up Health Ambition at the start especially it wasn’t particularly structured, so if you are following our sort of system it’s going to be different what we are doing for that, from our sites, but yeah, low hanging fruits.

Gael: A lot of people are going to learn a lot of new stuff in that program, because a lot of stuff is very different from what Health Ambition is like.

Mark: Okay, cool. 10 thousand word blog post coming soon on that.

Gael: Soon, not sure, but it will come.

Mark: [laugh] Alright, so, let’s move on to the next question; this is really interesting, so Koen asked, “what is your WHY (why do you choose to do the things you do)?” And when he sent this question in, I actually had to reply back to hi, asking him to clarify the question. It’s not a marketing question, it’s a why are you running authority sites, why are you in this line of work, why are you doing this, why are you spending your life doing this basically. And, actually I found it a very difficult question to answer in my head, I guess, I mean, why am I doing it right now, is because all of the things in my life led up to doing this.

Gael: Because the weather outside is really horrible right now.

Mark: It’s pretty bad, actually, yeah. I used to have a 9 to 5 sort of corporate job, I hated that, I always been quite entrepreneurial, I didn’t like working for other people, at one point I quit my job and went travelling and sort of tried to figure stuff out, and yeah, I was working online on Upwork actually, or ODesk back then, and, in online marketing, building websites that kind of stuff and, when I met Gael he was doing something not too dissimilar, he run SEO. I didn’t really plan to evolve it this way, I don’t think, it just kind of happened really, why do we keep doing it, because it’s fun, and I don’t know about you, I quite enjoy figuring stuff out and building these processes and little spreadsheets and systems and stuff like that.

Gael: For me, it’s just another video game I am playing.

Mark: What do you mean?

Gael: It’s the same thing, from my computer playing a game there is a score, either PayPal account, and my goal is to get a high score, and i just enjoy that game, I’ve always been that kind of guy, I just get stuck into something very specific. When I play a game I learn everything about every item, every character, everything.

Mark: It’s interesting, you said that because I mean, I also came from a pretty interesting online gaming background as well, so I know what you mean but are you saying that it doesn’t really matter what you are doing, it’s just the process of grinding out that you enjoy?

Gael: Figuring out the best combination, figuring stuff out, mostly is what is interesting. That’s why I get bold when we have to scale stuff up, when I have to order a 100 pieces of content, I’m like ooooh, please. But, figuring out new stuff, and that’s why I like doing these blueprints as well, etc, like they false me to structure a lot of stuff, so that people can do the repetitive stuff for us after.

Mark: I’ve also certainly felt like, a couple of years ago, for anyone who is new to the show, Gael and I used to run a digital marketing agency and to be honest, towards the end of that we both kind of ended up hating it, kind of working for clients that kind of thing, I’ve definitely felt like a big shift since we’ve moved towards building our own websites, own properties, own authority sites, and it feels much more rewarding even doing the tasks I don’t particularly enjoy, it’s building something which is, it’s not going to disappear tomorrow. At least I hope it’s not.

Gael: I don’t sound really really excited right now, because I just received 20 emails of tax broker refusing all my [17:24 inaudible] so I need to rebrief everything, so that is a good example of grind I am not definitely looking forward to.

Mark: Maybe you should reply asking tax broker what is their why.

Gael: They actually approved the exact same brief, literally, two days ago, so I have no idea, but anyway, for me it’s like just that video game and it’s fun and it’s figuring stuff out is fun. managing processes, I am actually managing a lot now, I am actually building, we work a lot on Asana, now I am working with the people, scoping stuff out, preparing everything, etc, that is fine, that is also why I don’t write the blog as much, because I work a lot on the content with Perrin, I edit for as much time as he writes, literally, sometimes more. But, I try to eliminate the grind which is what annoys me and focus on the high level tasks and what we do can have a lot of high level tasks which makes it more fun.

Mark: Alright. Hopefully that explains why we’re doing this going. Shall we move on?

Gael: Okay.

Mark: The next question comes from Marc, and he is asking about using a copy protection plugin for WordPress to prevent images, text, and right clicking on his site. I actually replied to him immediately when he asked this question, on authorityhacker.com/ask, but I also wanted to answer the question on this show, just to let other people know as well, but my opinion is there is no point in using these plugins, for anyone who doesn’t know there is a bunch of these things out there, basically, they stop you from right clicking on the website, so you can’t sort of right click and copy an image, say, it makes it difficult to select text so you people can’t copy paste it, but, anyone who knows what they are doing, knows that these things are very easy to get around, for example in Chrome, just press control U and it is going to view the source, you can copy all the text directly from there, you can find the image urls there, and just copy them that way, you can even screenshot images, it’s really quite straightforward to do this, and I think it diminishes the user experience massively, not being able to right click, for example oftentimes if there is like an internal link I’ll right click and then click on open in new tab, in Chrome, and these plugin stop you from doing that.

Gael: You can do shift click actually, it works as well. It just annoys me, it’s like if someone does this, I will remember, it doesn’t make me want to engage with his site as much.

Mark: It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a site that has done this, maybe six years, five six years, definitely sort of pre Panda, I think now that there is this duplicate content penalty that Google has in their SEO algorithm sites aren’t just as keen to just directly copy things, articles anymore, or if they do they just scrape the whole page automatically or something like that, so, yeah. we definitely avoid using these plugins. Anything else you want to add to that?

Gael: No, I mean it’s okay to add things that can be annoying on your site like an opt in pop up, or call to actions, or whatever, you will need to add some of these things to make money so like otherwise, you might as well just put a blank WordPress theme and nothing on it and make it look like medium.com but the truth is, you better have sizable donations if you do that, because you are going to make no money, however, in that case, it is annoying, and it literally adds zero value to your site, so when you add an annoying element to your site, which you will have to, make sure it brings a lot of benefits to you in exchange, because that is going to cost you some growth percentages, less people will engage with your site, less people will link to it, less people will do that kind of stuff, and, it also happens when we put adds on the site for example, but in exchange, we get money that pays for the content that comes up and generates more growth back, so it kind of like rebalances, same with the email stuff etc, in that case, in every level, it slows you down without any kind of counterpart, so not worth it.

Mark: Yeah, that’s a good way of looking at it. Okay, next question comes from Oliver and he is asking, “Is there any advantage to using full width pages like you do on Authority Hacker?” He basically means where we removed the WordPress blog sidebar.

Gael: Is that obvious advantage- not really, it’s more of a design choice I think. It just makes it cleaner, it makes your site looks cleaner, if your site looks cleaner people are more likely to link to it I guess. Once again, I don’t have numbers to back this up but it feels nice, also, in content call to actions just really convert way more than anything on the sidebar anyway, so you might as well remove your sidebar and move call to actions inside the content, between paragraphs and stuff.

Mark: Yeah, it kind of feels like most people sort of put the WordPress sidebar in there with the about me Facebook links, a few ads and maybe an opt in.

Gael: We have that on Health Ambition. But we make money from it because we have cpm ads.

Mark: It feels like people put that in just because they feel like they are supposed to or because their theme setup is that way, but yeah, I think you’re right, it definitely looks cleaner. Did we test the or track any numbers on that?

Gael: No, it’s just like call to actions in content always outperform sidebar by 600% or something. It’s not even funny.

Mark: It’s kind of like add blindness kind of thing going on there.

Gael: Yeah, so you might as well just remove your sidebar and put call to actions in content, especially if you are collecting emails. For ads it depends, if you have ads that pay you per thousand impressions, then it’s worth having a sidebar, because nobody clicks them, but you don’t care, you are paid per thousand impressions, but for clicks, I think we have one adsense on top of the sidebar and one media.net at the bottom that scrolls with you. on Health Ambition, and they make some money, but especially with mobile becoming bigger and bigger anyway, all your mobile traffic literally just doesn’t see your sidebar, so focus on the in content call to action, and removing the sidebar to not make the page overloaded tends to do better.

Mark: Yeah. She next question comes from Andrash and he is asking, so he started new authority site but it’s on the same IP address, spammed old domain, that’s in his own words. And he is asking if that is going to affect his rankings, should he move that site to a new hosting now or just focus on link building.

Gael: Okay, I think all the IP talks, whether people are building PBNs, whether people are whatever, I don’t think it’s very important anymore to google and the reason why is because CDNs. Content Delivery Networks is essentially a system that cashes your website around the globe, essentially people are not accessing the IP of your server anymore, same for Google, they are accessing the CDN’s IP in there, millions of people use the same IP to access your site, essentially it concatenates everyone’s IP into one and it hides the original content site IP so just for your site on Cloud Flare the IP is not a problem anymore.

Mark: That was all the questions we had for today, we actually have one more, it’s not really a question for us, but it’s a question for our audience, so I am going to put this one out to you guys who are listening; This one comes from Bibi and it’s all about, she is basically a stay home mom and she is asking, she had a few questions about that. She says that like we as in most of the online marketing communities tend to be male, and she is saying that she feels she has a different set of problems. And she loves working very hard, hustling in her own words, but she is asking if there is a smart way for stay home moms to work and to operate and to get outside, play with the kids, but still sort of hustle down and get a load of work done without becoming a cave mom, as she says. This is something I have absolutely zero experience with.

Gael: Teach your kids link building.

Mark: Well, yeah, [laugh]

Gael: Okay, that doesn’t work, sorry.

Mark: Basically I am putting this out to our listeners, if there are any stay home moms listening, let us know what are your systems, how do you work, how do you manage your work life balance, and you can actually leave a comment on this show, if you go to authorityhacker.com/askpodcast, that’s the url, you just leave a comment at the bottom and and let Bibi know what your response to that is. And any more insightful thoughts?

Gael: Let’s say I am the furthest thing away from the stay home mom with two kids, so any advice is going to be pretty useless.

Mark: Okay, then I think we’ll leave it there. As always guys, if you have any questions you would like to ask us for our next podcast, we’ll probably do that around about January time, unless we get a lot of questions before then, and we’ll also try and answer some questions during our regular weekly podcast, if you want to ask a question, go to authorityhacker.com/ask. That’s it I guess.

Gael: Alright, cool, well, thanks for joining guys, we’ll see you guys next week.