The Transition From Niche Site Nerd To Authority Site Publisher

Authority Site Publisher

I've recently had an identity crisis. 
You see, I've been happy calling myself an SEO and a marketer for a while.
But recently, I've found myself leaning more and more towards the “serving an audience” side of things.
You see, I stopped looking at keyword volume long ago. At least after I've done the initial research and confirmed the niche has people looking to buy stuff that is.
I've proved why here.
So today, I want to talk about why a subtle change in mindset could be, right now, the best possible thing that could happen to your website business.
Imagine if you could get a lot of traffic to your site and you didn't have to worry about getting it from Google?
Wouldn't that be nice?
Or what if you DID still get it from Google, but you changed the types of keywords you went after, so you didn't spend months competing for the same terms as everyone else.
Lots to cover.
Let's dig in.

What Listening To A Different Crowd Can Do For Your Business

We've been hanging out a lot in the MediaVine Facebook Group recently.
Mediavine is a display ads network which pays a lot better than Google Adsense.
The vast majority of people inside the group are food bloggers, diet bloggers, or otherwise lifestyle bloggers.
And you know what?
Most of them have below average SEO knowledge.
But that’s ok, because they get most of their traffic from Pinterest, Instagram and their own Facebook Groups.

They just create good content…
Share it…
And grow their followers on social media by making themselves visible to their target audience.
To qualify for Mediavine, you need to have 30,000 visits to your site per month and most of your traffic has to come from the US.Many of the people inside the group get a lot more than that.
So while others are driving themselves crazy trying to master SEO so that they can maybe get some traffic from Google, these “mom bloggers” are quietly crushing it on Pinterest earning four, five figures per month and just focusing on publishing their content.
But why though, what are we keyword nerds missing?And why do I, as an “SEO” still suggest content as the nº1 avenue for growth 90% of the time whenever an investor brings his or her assets to us to manage and grow them?Because deeply I know.

What The Website Business Industry Actually Is About

It isn't about the keywords.
It isn't about the search volume, the anchor text ratio, who you get your links from, the KD or any of those things we SEOs love to nerd about.
It's about serving a particular group of people in the best way possible and help them get from where they are to where they want to go.
And content is the best vehicle.

All the other things above are the finer details that make the vehicle function better on more channels, but it's all in serving an audience.

A Word From Bryon

When I ran a shaving site a long time ago, I told myself I needed to learn more about the niche and people's needs, so I committed to reading a popular shaving forum for at least 1 hour a week.

I read things like the popular posts, the “beginners read here” section, and various other sections.

I can't say that I found obvious things to blog about immediately, but I did notice the kinds of questions beginners had, so when I wrote my content, I knew which things to explain.

I also knew what kind of content beginners might want to read.

If I was writing a review of a particular straight razor and I wanted to talk about how it wasn't easy to keep sharp, I also knew that I needed to link to an article about razor maintenance and the different blade width's etc, because I knew beginners didn't know this stuff.

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking.

“Alejandro, you're confusing me. I thought you guys sold niche sites about products or something like that?  Why are you talking about authority publishing now what's even that, and why are you talking about audiences”
Ok, I promise it will all make sense very soon. If you've ever read any of my blog posts before you know I like to talk about mindset, vision, and focus, this post is no different, even though it (will) tie up in a very practical approach.

Let's see how Bryon's story continues…

Years later, I got heavily into crypto, and I noticed that whenever I was trying to research a particular coin, I always had to read Reddit or Medium, or FB posts.

I wished there were an actual content website which talked about it instead… so I decided to start one.

I also knew that people wanted to talk about trading strategies and similar things, so I started blogging about those too. I wasn't an expert in those subjects, but I knew people wanted to read them, so it was easy for me to say “Hey I want to talk about these things too, let's discuss them”.

With this niche site, we had people actually tweeting to us and saying “Your content is amazing, I've shared it with my friends”, and we hit 30,000 page views per month in our third month. (Purely from organic and referral traffic from sites linking to our content)

We also were getting a lot of email subscribers.

After a few months, we launched a paid membership, because our audience had pretty much told us it was what they wanted.

We made $7,000 that first month that it launched

We hardly did any keyword research because most keyword tools didn't have much data on the cryptocurrency niche anyway since it was so new.

Plus, we knew what people wanted to read, so we just wrote about that and worried about monetization later”.

Ok, I think it's time for an insert here to explain where I come from with this ramble.

What Working With Investors Has Taught Me

You see, we've partnered with over 10 sites in the last couple of months.
You bring the assets, we grow them kind of thing.
While some of the owners are site builders, DIYers like you and me, most are investors.
They look at things from a COMPLETELY different view.
Risk management, cashflow, potential for growth, ROI. True passive income.
They don't care about keywords.
I thought there was a lesson to be learnt there. And another lesson from the success of those lifestyle bloggers we talked about. And the success of our “serving an audience” thinking, in terms of keywords, from our Cryptocurrency business.

Thinking Like a Publisher

Recently, one of our richer friends bought a cryptocurrency affiliate blog.
This site is what many people would call an affiliate site or an info site. Basically, it shares information related to various crypto currencies.
When our friend bought the site, he announced that he’d bought ‘A crypto currency publishing business’, which seemed like an odd description at first, because this site just gets a lot of visitors every month, and then monetizes via paid ads and sponsored posts.

But then it hit us… this description was perfect.

What is a publishing business if it’s not something that creates content and monetizes it via ads?
This is what traditional print media has always done.
The difference now is, it takes place online. It’s a lot cheaper and you can carve out your own niche.
When you think of a website just as something where you publish content that people want to read and monetize those visitors via paid ads…  Suddenly everything seems a lot simpler.

Pros of Non-Keyword Oriented Niche Selection

The other important thing about choosing a niche this way, is that you can make different traffic methods work. 
If you’re addressing people’s needs, you’ll be able to make social media traffic work for you, or forums, or posting on other sites in your niche, or answering questions on Quora, even paying for traffic via ads.

You can still research keywords and try to get traffic from Google, but when you write content this way, you’ll not be limited by trying to be at the top of a competitive keyword set.

A lot of experts out there are over complicating things (the curse of knowledge perhaps) and are making it seem like you need to develop of masterful knowledge of SEO and other marketing skills.
The thing is, those are definitely useful skills to have, but they’re far from essential.

The Modular A​pproach

Right so, after spending the last 1,200 words essentially saying “SEO is Dead” (without actually literally meaning SEO is dead lol), I'm going to go back to keywords BECAUSE I want this article to leave you with an idea to implement INSTEAD of leaving you confused, thinking “oh to hell with this, been doing it wrong with all those review posts…” and wanting to give up in your journey to freedom.

I want you to take everything we've talked so far about (finding an audience that's hungry for information, helping them through content, making money after, creating an asset appealing to investors…) and make sure you get it.

It Doesn't Matter Where You Start, It Matters Where You Go From There

Think of your site right now.

Maybe you bought a site in the “camping” niche.
So your audience is campers, outdoorsy people, maybe family guys and women that like to bring their kids into nature …? You need to think that part through by yourself. 

Say your camping site started off reviewing family tents.
You could mistakingly say that you have a site in the “family tent” niche. That's the wrong way of understanding the final form of your business.
You have a family camping site, and so far, you've covered the tents part of it.

Now, it's time for you to go to those camping forums and magazines and see what else are outdoorsy families into.

Cooking in the wild? Survival tips? Campsites in North Dakota?… 
Then, you'll use those ideas to figure the next sections of your site.  
Here are some examples:

  • Camping Cooking tips and recipes
  • Survival gear for camping: Knives, insect repellant, nets, bear alarms…
  • Campsites: Top 5 per State/County (great link bait pieces by the way!)
  • Water purification while in the wild: How to, tablets, filters, identifying water sources…
  • Family insurance for outdoors and adventure sports
  • Camping essentials: Tents, backpacks, camping gaz, rain tarps, sleeping bags…

And then decide what are the most important (read, searched for by your audience), fun, and share-worthy content pieces you can create.
Only then, you start digging for keywords to match your ideas with (because you still want your content to be SEO optimized to get search engine traffic of course).

See how those ideas make everything easier?

From creating FB groups (awesome engagement and a great way of growing an audience) to YouTube videos, to seed ideas for your Pinterest Boards… and even a subscription business for the true hardcore campers!

I'm sure if you get to know your audience that deeply, you'll find what they will be happy to pay a monthly fee for 😉

That's how you create an authority site.
That's how you become a publisher with a solid business.
That's when investors will be happy to pay well above 30x multiples to acquire your business.

8 thoughts on “The Transition From Niche Site Nerd To Authority Site Publisher”

  1. Good timing as this is exactly what I’m going through right now. My contract creators are good at keyword research and writing, but when I read my website it feels like it’s not helping people who are interested in the niche so much. So we are working to rebalance that.

  2. I totally agree – great article. I do both keyword research and I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook.
    When I first started my site, I spent a lot of time in a very specific FB group dedicated to my niche. By reading everyone’s posts in the Facebook Group, I could quite quickly identify 3 very big pain points for this group of people. I then knew that my first posts needed to be about those pain points. I think it is important to know what your audience is experiencing or else your site seems clinical and just a typical affiliate site. I then wrote posts reviewing products that solve those pain points and mixed in a good amount of info articles as well. My thinking is that if I can produce a website where visitors can find answers to there questions then I am giving Google exactly what it wants. High quality content with answers is a must. I do try with some of the posts to use researched keywords for SEO so that I have the best of both worlds.

  3. “If you’re addressing people’s needs, you’ll be able to make social media traffic work for you” – Okay… but isn’t keyword research the best way to find those needs to address? How else are we supposed to figure out people’s needs – other than spending hours and hours on social media and in forums…?
    As you know – keyword research tells us exactly what people are actually searching for. Surely, those same people are also on social media and in forums… so, keyword focused content SHOULD also do well on social media. It all ties together.

    1. The issue with keyword research is that it doesn’t give you the whole picture (Read, search volumes are inaccurate, and software keyword tools don’t pick 100% of the long tail) and that it is a lot of data to process as well. I remember I mentioned on the SEO roundtable in Berlin that when I research a competitor, I may pull a list of 40,000 keywords… there’s no way I’m going one by one to see what’s good to use.
      So I filter. And I have a set of filters that I like and give me good keywords, but it’s “one shape“. For alternative shapes or styles of content, we need to use a different approach.
      So the thing with forums and social media (groups mostly) is that they show the hot, funny, controversial topics.. and then if you can tie that with keywords that’s great, but if you can’t you already know it is something people in your niche care for so it’s already validated. Yes, it’s time consuming, but it’s time well spent imo.
      Now the other thing you said, well yes some keyword-focused content will do well on social media, but some won’t. “The Best glue for repairing boots” isn’t a piece anyone would really share, but “10 Amazing vintage boots that came back to life” will be very share worthy to people into vintage clothing… who maybe are DIYers and like to repair old shoes from thrift shops?
      I’m still are a keywords first kind of guy, it makes 80% of my content… but then the other 20% Is what I see nowadays makes the glue that holds a site together and makes the difference from an “affiliate site” to an “online magazine”.

    1. Thanks Nancy!
      I still think keywords are super useful, but when you really know the content your target audience wants to read… then they get into a 2nd place in the scale of importance, and that’s a powerful thing.
      Issue I see is most people dgaf about their audience.
      Here’s the keyword, here are the products, hey you writer go put some s**t together, slap it into wordpress, throw links, bank, sell, end.
      I see it on my niches the whole time. I am a heavy consumer and trained by profession inside the niches. I read my competitors and they make me want to throw honestly. Zero research.

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