#69 – Ask Us Anything: Link Building, Content Embeds, Google FRED, And More…

What you will learn

  • How we leverage the Skyscraper technique to build links to commercial pages
  • How we handle ‘link removal’ when it comes to guest posting and guestographics
  • How we use tracking ID’s to determine how much revenue our content generates
  • The difference between a niche site and an authority site (and why it matters)
  • Why we never hire “SEO Experts” for link building (and what we do instead)
  • And more questions from our listeners…

In this week’s podcast, we’re doing another ‘Ask Us Anything’ session where we answer questions from some of our loyal listeners.

If you’d like to leave a question to be featured on the podcast, you can do so here.

Let’s get into it!

Question #1

“My question is, since Health Ambition is currently using the Skyscraper technique to build links to your high quality pages, but how do you get your product review pages to rank?

I mean, your big money pages where you’re ranking for Amazon and product review pages, I know it’s hard to build links to those pages because nobody wants to link to it? Are you actively building links to these pages or do you just reply on building strong domain authority?” Anonymous

Until recently, we didn’t build any links to these pages. They ranked pretty well on their own based on our sites domain authority. By building links to our informational content, we were able to effectively rank more commercial content that way.

We have since started building some links to these pages using a Skyscraper follow-up. Whenever we get a link from a Skyscraper campaign, we’ll set a reminder to go back in a month or so and ask for another link. That could be a guest post or some other form of value trade.

It’s important to note, we’re also very focused on targeting low competition commercial keywords, so these pages tend to rank without the need for direct links.

Question #2

“What do you do if a site publishes your guest post or infographic, but removes your link? Keep in mind the link is not to a home page or overly commercial page. It’s to relevant blog post with good information, but for some reason they still deleted. Do you go back and ask them about it, or do you move and forget about it? This has happened to me a few times.”

You should absolutely follow up. Generally, when someone agrees to a guest post, they understand the value trade being offered. It’s a link in return for free content, plain and simple. Some sites do have different policies like a limited number of outbound links, so you need to be careful of that.

Honestly, we’ve only had it happen to use a couple times. It’s very rare. When it does happen, the first step is to simply try and resolve it with editor who published it. Identify the issue and do what you can to remedy it. If they refuse to put the link back, you just have to chalk it off as a loss. Like I said, it’s very rare.

One thing you can do to avoid this situation is to raise your standards. Improve your quality checks during the prospecting phase and take note of whether other guest posts on the site have external, dofollow links.

Question #3

“Hey Mark and Gael, this is Alex from Alabama calling in with a question for the podcast. This is a follow-up question in essence to something that Gael said in a recent podcast about hiring writers. Gael, you said something to the effect of “most people don’t know how much revenue each piece of content is generating”. I’m one of those people, so that motivated me to find out.

So my question is, how do you guys determine how much revenue each piece of affiliate content is generating? I say affiliate content because I monetize with Amazon Associates. The link tracking is poor, so it’s hard to which revenue to attribute to which content. Thanks.” 

We’ve been talking about this a lot recently.

If you sell your own product, it’s a lot easier to track conversion because you control the whole funnel. When you’re an affiliate, you can’t always pass/extract the right data.

Amazon has a pretty good way of solving this problem by adding a unique tracking ID to your affiliate links. Using this system, you can create 1 tracking ID per page (at least). This way, you can see how much money is generated per piece of content, and you can even sort pages by tracking ID in the Amazon report to see which pages are earning the most.

Amazon does limit you to 100 IDs by default, so you can quickly run into a problem if you have a large site. If you do reach your limit, you should be able to have it raised by contacting Amazon support, though.

We recommend getting into the habit of doing adding these tracking ID’s from the start. It only takes a few extra seconds for each post you publish.

Question #4

“Hi, I am thinking about starting an online business, actually inspired by your site and podcast. and like most newbies I have a question. Do small niche sites still work OR do you need an authority site to make $1000+ a month. AND how much bandwidth and web hosting space would I need for website like that (making $1000/m)?” 
Jaffar Hussain

Small niche sites still work, yes, but they are being squeezed out… slowly.

And it’s not necessarily the fact that they’re a small site that makes them less valuable. Ultimately, it’s that most of these small sites don’t have much in the way of good content, and their link building is historically made up of grey hat tactics.

They’re also very limited in terms of growth. Once you’ve reviewed a bunch of products in a very small market, then what? The ceiling is too low.

Authority sites, on the other hand, tend to have higher quality content backed by cleaner marketing efforts. It can be a hard distinction to make if you don’t know what you’re looking for, but it essentially comes down to overall quality and growth potential.

As for hosting, we recommend Siteground. Your bandwidth isn’t limited and 20GB should be plenty. Really though, any hosting will do for a site that’s making $1,000 a month. Besides, you can always move it later.

Question #5

“Hey guys! My name is Minh. I have found an uncompetitive niche and want to hire an SEO freelancer to build some backlinks so I could focus on other things. My question is, should I do it? I’m scared it might lead to more competition. Thanks.”
Minh D

You have to be extremely careful with hiring an SEO freelancer. If you try to hire someone from popular freelance platforms like Upwork or… gulp… Fiverr, the links will have very little value. If anything, you could end up being penalized by Google.

The people we hire to build links for us have zero SEO experience, and we’re intentional with that because too many “SEO’s” have bad habits that are hard to overcome. We much prefer working with a blank slate and that approach has turned out very well for us so far.

Overall, be careful of anyone calling themselves an “SEO expert”, and in either case, don’t worry about competition. Uncompetitive niches, in general, aren’t very good. The reason they’re uncompetitive is because there’s little money to be made.

Question #6

“Hi Guys. Love the podcast. It’s top of my listening list.

I am wanting to embed links to Youtube and Pinterest on my site. What are the legalities to embedding (specifically) these 2 types of links on my sites? So far I have just embedded youtube links on my sites without any attribution but I’m unsure about Pinterest. Thanks a heap.”
Greg Budgen

This is a pretty straightforward answer.

We are not lawyers, but these sites are set up so that anyone can embed content on their sites, and you don’t need to manually add attribution or anything like that (like you might do with Create Commons media).

Anyone who uploads their material has to agree to those terms. No need to worry.

Question #7

“How can we re-structure an already existing site with tons of content into a silo structure without causing too much interruption to the current site?”
Fernando Labastida

It depends on the URL structure. If you have your permalinks set up without having the category in the URL, then you can freely move content between categories. No problem.

However, if you do have categories in the URL, then moving content from one category to another will force WordPress to create a new URL. Even though it will automatically create a 301 redirect from the old URL, this will likely have some negative impact on your rankings.

As an alternative, you can use “category Schema Markup” to offer Google that information, regardless of whether or not it’s in the URL.

(We also recommend checking out our detailed post on silo structure).

Question #8

“I have a successful site that I purchased about 2 years ago. The original owner purchased a link package to help the site rank when he first built the site. The site has never been hit with any penalties until Google’s “Fred” Update that took place in February.I have been seeing a steady decline in traffic since the update. I’ve done a back link audit and disavowed about 35 links. Do you have any other suggestions?”
Stacy Stone

It’s hard to give advice about this kind of thing without seeing the site, but we’ll do our best here.

The first thing we would suggest is checking out our recent podcast on the Google FRED update, which you can find here.

In case you’re worried about links, the recent penguin update means that bad links are now ignored so it’s unlikely that your drop in rankings has anything to do with that. The one thing we know from Google in regards to this update, is that the answer is inside the webmaster guidelines for site layout.

That means it’s likely your site is suffering from some on-page issues that Google is now taking very seriously. Again, without seeing your site, it’s hard to go any deeper than that.