What you will learn
In this Undercover Success Series we are interviewing AH Pro members who are sharing their journey to success.
These people don’t have anything to promote so you get to hear the real journey with no fluff and no spin.
In the first episode, Gael is joined by Mauricio Preuß.
Mauricio is a 30 year old internet marketer/ authority site owner.
He now lives in Malta with his business partner and husband, having moved there from Berlin earlier this year for the sun, sea and the nice weather.
Together, the own and operate a number of sites in both German and English. These are mostly review sites. The German sites focus on physical products and is monetized through Amazon. Whereas, the English sites are focused on promoting software and services.
This diversifies the revenue meaning that they are not solely reliant on Amazon.
How Did You Get Into Authority Sites?
After high school, Mauricio started working with pokerstrategy.com as an Online Community Manager. Poker Strategy had an affiliate relationship with one of the major poker sites that gave them a revenue share on any sign-ups.
Mauricio had control over budget and was creating content from a very early age. He was creating content and got an understanding of what types of content drove sign-ups and what content didn’t work.
After two and a half years, Mauricio realized that he could do it himself. He started a few sites and dabbled in different niches – including hosting.
In 2011, he was buying services from Black Hat World. These were the days that you could have a site ranking and making money in a few weeks or months. The sites we growing and Mauricio had read the 4-hour work week. It was time to build a team.
Things were going great, until… penguin.
In 2012, Google’s penguin update hit. All of a sudden it was all gone. Mauricio had already quit his job to work full-time on his sites. He found himself in a situation where he couldn’t afford to keep paying his team.
After penguin, he decided to go white hat.
In early 2013, he launched a small niche site focused on one piece of software. It started to do well but he realized he had boxed himself into a corner.
He had a vision that he wanted to add more categories and, further down the line, add products. So, after a rebrand that allowed him to niche up, he ended up with one of his current, most successful sites.
After that, Mauricio slowly launched the other sites until he ended up in his current position of having his 3 main sites all making 5 figures.
When Starting Out, Would You Recommend Starting Out Broad Or Narrow?
The answer is kind of both. Think of the end goal. You want to choose a domain name and brand in a way that allows you to grow out into a large, authoritative site that will be a real asset.
However, when you get started, you really want to focus in on one category and do it well.
We sometimes start sites with selling info products in mind.
In this case, it makes sense to really brand around the sub-niche you are selling the info product in.
You Were One Of The First AH Pro Members, What Interested You In Authority Hacker?
Mauricio was in a place with his business where he was managing his team but he was the knowledge holder. He knew how to do things himself but he didn’t have processes, especially not written processes.
He found himself in a situation where he was telling people what to do verbally. He was saying the same thing over and over again to different people and it was really eating into his time.
He liked that things were organized, there were written blueprints, SOPs and processes. This allowed him to remove himself from the nitty gritty, documented the knowledge and transferred it to the team.
This gave Mauricio time to focus on strategic decisions and growth.
Are The Ah Pro Courses Simply The Blog Rehashed?
As Mauricio pointed out, of course it is the same people writing both so there is obviously some overlap but, in his opinion, if he had the blueprints earlier, Mauricio’s best would have been in the position it is now, years ago.
The blueprints are just that, blueprints. If you can take them, build upon them, optimize them and tailor them to your team, you can be very successful.
The blueprints literally show you how to run a site that allows you to reinvest your profit in tactics that allow you to take your site to the next level.
What Was The Most Challenging Part Of Scaling?
For Mauricio, it was a mindset thing.
Coming up and reading the other marketing blogs, the mindset was always to get content cheaply as possible. It was the shotgun approach of publishing as much content as possible and hoping that some hits the mark.
He was paying 3 cents per word to Indian writers, editing the content himself and posting it. The problem was that the content wasn’t great. It took Mauricio a lot of time and effort to edit the content so that it was good enough to be published.
Authority Hacker taught him to be more strategic about content and the way things were done. It actually made sense to spend more on content (6-8 cents per word) to get a better article that takes less time for him or his editor to get ready to go live.
When launching a new authority site, Mauricio actually spent the first year writing all of the content himself. This was in the region of 200 articles.
This made a big difference. It gave him the understanding of what it takes to create good content in that niche. It also allows him to tell which writers care. Who is putting in the effort and who isn’t.
That is why we are not launching new sites at the moment as quickly as we would like to.
When we launch a site, we link to dive into the niche, buy products, learn all about it and write the first 50 or so articles ourself.
After Being Involved In Online Marketing For Almost 10 Years, How Have Things Changed?
According to Mauricio, the basics haven’t changed.
When you start a site, there are two main components:
- You need to create content
- You need to build links
Obviously you need content, otherwise Google doesn’t know what your site is about and can’t rank you.
If you focus on building good, authoritative content, it becomes easier to build links. So the two things go hand in hand. Good content and a good link profile will always work.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that click through rates from organic search are declining. This makes alternative traffic sources important. Whether that is social traffic from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest, it is important not to depend upon Google 100%.
What Works Well For You Right Now?
At the moment, YouTube is working well for Mauricio.
On one YouTube channel, they have 6-7k subscribers and can make 4 figures from YouTube alone by placing affiliate links in the video description.
Also, when they strategically embed a video, Mauricio is finding that the time on page is increasing which translates to the rankings also increasing.
Other than that, it’s about getting the basics right. Mauricio has taken the skyscraper blueprint from AH Pro and adapted it to his businesses. It’s still doing a great job at bringing in links on a consistent basis.
Really building authority sites is all about doing the basics well and consistently. It’s more of a marathon than a sprint.
If You Were Starting Again, What Would You Do Differently?
Not take shortcuts.
From Mauricio’s point of view, it’s all about doing the basics and doing them well. There are no shortcuts to success. It’s hard work, follow the processes and do them well.
The biggest piece of advice Mauricio has is “just fucking start”.
It can take time to start making money so you should just get started.
What Would You Say To Someone Who Is Making 3 Figures And Can’t Get To 4?
That’s difficult to answer without knowing specifics.
Once you start making even $100 per month, it is an indication that there is a level of interest there and people are willing to buy.
You need to look and see if the content is good enough. Are there enough articles with buying intent keywords, maybe they have been too focused on informational content.
Sometimes it just takes time, one of Mauricio’s sites took 14 months before it really began to start generating revenue.
What Are Your Biggest Challenges In Scaling?
The main challenge for Mauricio is finding and keeping good writers.
There is a lot of churn, This means training new writers, new editors and content uploaders. Writers often end up getting burned out by writing so much content.
As you grow, the percentage of time spent maintaining what you have just becomes more and more.
What Are The Plans For The Future?
The websites are all running well. So, for Mauricio, the future is simply scaling these sites.
For the most part, he and his partner have manage to remove themselves from the day to day grind which allows them to focus on more strategic tasks.
They have recently bought an aged domain with a good backlink profile and have launched another review site there. Although it is a new site, the aged domain has allowed it to grow quickly so that it is already generating revenue.
They are looking to apply the lessons learned to the new site and continue to grow the existing sites.