Ep 247: How To Structure The Perfect Content Creation Team with Alex Horsman

Is creating valuable content and using the right words enough to propel your content website? It could be the case, but most of the time, it is not.

In this special episode, Jaryd Krause invited Alex Horsman to share his thoughts about SEO and content creation team that could potentially grow your business. 

Alex is an SEO specialist who has been working in the industry for over seven years. He has mastered the art of building and scaling in-house content marketing teams. He started out learning how to link build with nothing but a spreadsheet and his own drive for success. He now creates winning link-building pitches with minimal effort that are uniquely curated for each recipient. He helps companies and global brands scale their marketing efforts, improve on existing content strategies, and rapidly meet their projected traffic goals.

They had a great conversation about the following topics: Who should be the first person you hire when building a content team? Why do you need writer’s guidelines and what should those guidelines look like and be? And how do you properly train your writers, editors, and team (without just sending them an SOP)?

They also talked about AI content and volume versus human-optimized content. And which is the better approach for more traffic? What do great affiliate articles that earn high revenue look like compared to ones that flop? What tools can you use to manage your team and create killer content? When should you start backlink building and at what stages should your site start to put more of its resources into link building?

If you want to improve your content marketing strategy and your site’s performance, you shouldn’t miss this episode. Click the ‘Play button’ and let’s dive into it!

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Episode Highlights

04:57 How do I start making high-quality content?

14:20 Specific niche writers vs. Generalist writers

22:32 What’s a good ratio in terms of scaling content vs. updating?

30:21 Essential project management tools for smooth execution 

39:20 Should you focus more on content or building links?

42:03 Why stock images are not scroll stoppers (which is bad!)

Courses & Training

Courses & Training

Key Takeaways

➥ Alex emphasizes the importance of not only providing guidelines but also investing time and effort in training and communication with writers to help them produce high-quality content that aligns with your website’s goals and standards.

Actively involve team members in decision-making and ask for their opinions. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and encourages team members to make decisions that enhance content quality.

Collaboration between editors and writers should focus on making content better for human readers, not just for SEO or algorithms. This includes improving readability and providing valuable information beyond basic SEO.

About The Guest

Alex Horsman has been working in the SEO industry for over seven years now and in the meantime, he’s mastered the art of building and scaling in-house content marketing teams. He started out learning how to link build with nothing but a spreadsheet and his own drive for success, which at the time was paid for on a per-link basis. 

He now creates winning link-building pitches with minimal effort that are uniquely curated for each recipient. And this eventually led him to the world of SEO.

A friend of his, who was building and flipping websites in the six-figure range, started letting him build links for a few of his sites. In exchange, he taught him about keyword research, how to structure a well-written article, search intent, and more. This decision was one of the best he’s ever made and propelled him to create his own wildly successful affiliate site.

He helps companies and global brands (some in the eight-figure range even) scale their marketing efforts, improve on existing content strategies, and rapidly meet their projected traffic goals.

Connect with Alex Horsman

Transcription:

Jaryd Krause:

Do you know the different stages at which you should start building links for your content website? Also, what about the percentage of resources you should allocate to building links at each of those different stages?

Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause. I'm the host of the Buying Online Businesses Podcast. And today, I'm speaking with Alex Horsman, who has been working in the SEO industry for over seven years now and in the meantime, he’s mastered the art of building and scaling in-house content marketing teams.

He started out learning how to link build with nothing but a spreadsheet and his own drive for success, which at the time was basically paid for on a per link basis. He now creates winning link building pitches with minimal effort that are uniquely curated for each recipient.

And this eventually led him into the world of SEO, where his friend, who was building and flipping six-figure sites, started letting him build links for his sites. And in exchange, he was able to learn and be taught keyword research, how to structure well-written articles, search intent and much more.

And through this decision, he believes this is one of the best decisions he was able to make, and it propelled him forward to creating his own wildly successful affiliate site. And now he helps companies and global brands, some even in the eight-figure range, scale their marketing habits, improve on existing content strategies and rapidly meet their projected traffic goals.

In this podcast episode, Alex and I talk about who should be the first person you hire when you're building out your content team and why. Who's the next person? Where's the bottleneck in your team and when should you start scaling the team? We also talk about why you must have writer guidelines and what those guidelines look like in terms of what they should be and how to implement them.

We also talk about how to train your writers, editors and team without just sending them an SOP, why training is super essential and what sort of training and handholding you should be doing versus not doing.

We also talk about AI content and volume versus human-optimized content. It's a juicy topic for the world these days and which approach is actually better for more traffic? We also talk about what a great affiliate article looks like. We stack up a great affiliate article next to an affiliate article that's a flop and show you why a great affiliate article earns far more revenue compared to the one that flops.

We also talk about the tools that Alex recommends using to manage your team and create killer content. And we also talk about backlink building. When to start backlink building? At what stages should your site start doing backlinks and at what different stages or points in the business evolution should you start putting more of its resources towards link building? So it's such a fascinating thing to think about. Now, we talk so much about content creation in this podcast episode. If you own a content website, this is the one for you.

Have you been lied to about how to increase organic traffic and grow your website? I too used to think that all you needed to do was add more content and gain backlinks, but this just doesn't work. More content and more links alone are not the answer. Nor do you need to butcher your website with generic SEO changes you picked up on some crummy online tutorial, leaving you with a Frankenstein website that's slow and clunky.

And because I got sick of seeing great people with great websites struggle to grow them, I decided to do something about it. I created an SEO service, which is not just about publishing content and getting links. Sure, we offer that. But first, we give you quick wins, which are SEO tweaks. We can make you a website that actually boosts your rankings. And then we lay out a killer SEO strategy to acquire more traffic and revenue that outranks your competitors with less content and fewer links.

We've thoroughly tested this service on many websites before launching it and have achieved incredible results, which you'll see on our landing page, which I'm about to share with you. Now, you can finally buy a business and give it to us to grow it for you. To check out our SEO service, head to buyingonlinebusinesses.com/seo-services and book a call to chat with us to see what the best growth strategy is for you and your website. That's buyingonlinebusinesses.com/seo-services. And a link will be in the description too.

Alex, welcome to the pod.

Alex Horsman:

Hey, thanks for having me on, Jaryd. I appreciate it.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. I look forward to chatting about all things content, SEO, blogging, and hiring. We've already discussed a few things before hitting the record buttons. But a lot of people here listening are buying content sites, and they want to grow them.

So say someone's just bought a content website; they're looking for a website to sell and they want to build their own team in-house, own team of content writers. Where should they start? If somebody's coming to you with a blog and they're like, “Hey, I want to build an in-house team of content writers that is like next level good,” what's the first step typically?

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. The very first step is making sure that you have general writing guidelines in place. That's going to be the number one thing. And then, on top of that, I'm going to have templates for each of your types of articles. So for affiliate marketers and content website owners, that's going to be your roundup reviews, your A versus B, single-product reviews. Making sure that you have all those templates and those general writing guidelines is going to go a long way.

I can't tell you how many writers we've onboarded, and they've just been like, “Holy crap, you have this prepared for us. I know what tone to use. I know what voice to use. I know if it's like American English versus British English.” Or just small things like that is going to be the number one thing to get set up.

Now, I think if you wanted to take this year, I'm kind of just going on a tangent, but it also depends if you're hiring niche expert writers or if you're hiring generalist writers. So if you're an expert in the niche and you're going to be reviewing all the articles, then I think it's safe to hire those generalist writers who are going to be a little bit cheaper, four cents a word to six cents a word.

However, if you don't know anything about your niche, then you might want to hire a niche specific person who actually knows what they're talking about. But that's going to be eight to 12 cents a word, if not more, depending on the niche that you're in.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. So to somebody that knows their niche, say, if I've got a blog on surfing and I'm prepared to do the editing, I can hire somebody who's a general writer, not a surfer first, but a writer first, and it gets cheaper content that way or cheaper writing that way.

And if I'm prepared to edit it, I advocate for a lot of people who buy businesses to not write the content themselves because their goal is to earn an income online and not work as much. And when you do—I mean, it depends. Everybody's at a different level. Sometimes people are starting a bit smaller and can't afford to go down that route.

You mentioned a few of them in terms of writer tone, what language you speak from, native US or UK. Maybe there are two sorts of writing guidelines. What else goes into writer guidelines? Since you're saying it's the first step and it's so helpful with onboarding, what do people need to know about those guidelines? What do they look like? And what else can you help us with on this onboarding experience?

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. I actually kind of address this as another issue that I see with people who hire writers. It's like you need to do proper training with them because it is so important. So these writer guidelines and these SOPs that you hand out are great, good practices. But having solid one-on-one time with the writer is going to go far and beyond what those SOPs and those guidelines say.

So whenever you have someone on board, you should probably be sending every article back for the first 30 days, in my experience. And it's not that you’re being a dick. It's just like, “Hey, this is how it is.” And a lot of the time they don't know, like affiliate marketing. So Kevin Meng has a Web Copy Masterclass, I believe it is. So we put all of our writers through that for proper training.

And then, in terms of, I guess, the checklists that we do, those are more like SEO related. So a couple of things here are like keyword in H1, keyword in the first 100 words, keyword in the last 100 words, word count within 20%, include E-E-A-T in the introduction, integrate personal experiences, add export quotes where necessary, and then answer all H2s or FAQs in LP format and repeat it back.

So those are some examples. But again, you will go so far if you just spend a lot of time with them when you bring someone on board. Everybody we bring on board, their manager has 10-minute huddles with them every single day.

And it's not necessarily to micromanage them. After 30 days, those stop happening and they become a weekly thing. But it just really helps a writer, editor, publisher, or whoever gets them up to speed. And you just make that 10 minutes for them, like, ask me any question that you receive.

So I can give you SOPs all day long that are super helpful. But I think the most helpful thing is actually just spending quality time with them, giving insanely detailed feedback and having good communication so that they understand that feedback. Just saying, “This sucks,” that's not helpful, right? Why is it not up to par with your standards?

Jaryd Krause:

Yes. Spot on. I like that. Like you said, with the training, spending time with them is so valuable, but sending those articles back for the first 30 or 100—however many you want—there's no limit. But not just sending back, like, “This sucks. Do it again.”

But I do this with people when we're doing outreach for podcast guests. When we're doing anything, I'll give a reason why this is good or why this is not good, what I want you to do better next time or differently next time or how you could make this even more valuable. And the more I do that start, down the track, they're just trained up to be this complete A-star team worker and they're a gun.

So that's what you want, right? You want to put in the time and invest in it early to build them up and train them to be self-sufficient in producing the best quality content without having to rely on it. But I think a lot of people want the quick and easy route.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. Yeah. As SEOs and affiliate marketers, a lot of people get into it because they don't want to work a lot or because they can work online. But you have to view it as a business, and you have to train people and work with people and management is a thing.

If you're really trying to grow content sites at scale, you've got to be a good manager, and you've got to learn how to train people. And SOPs—I'm a fanatic about them, right? That's my thing—operations. But I've just realized that nothing beats training, talking and teaching someone.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Because those SOPs can change over time, and then you can have your team change those SOPs the more you communicate them. It's easier for us to get on a call and say, “This is good. This is not so good.

Can we agree on that and then not agree on this? And then can we change this in the SOP?” And they go away and change it. They understand it. And it continues going on like that. It's less transactional.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah, 100%. Yeah. And it makes it more of a collaboration where the writer gets more buy-in as opposed to “I'm the boss. Here's what to do. You have to stick to this to a T.” And it's like, no. Especially when you're hiring niche experts, let them shine. You'll be amazed at what they can come up with if you get your SOP out of the equation sometimes.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Spot on. Spot on. Every time I ask somebody to do something, I ask them, “What do you think about that? Do you think it's good? Do you think we could make it different, better? And if so, how?” and ask those questions of, “What would you do differently?

Or how would you do it differently?” and sort of set them up to start thinking on their own to not need to come to you too regularly. But also for them to just, like you said, have buy-in and make executive decisions on it being more awesome without even needing to ask you.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think when you look at Authority Hacker, I'm a part of Authority Hacker Pro. That's kind of how I learned everything. And they provide a ton of SOPs and templates. And I mean, now you can spot somebody who's been through Authority Hacker a mile away. As soon as you click on an article, you're like, “Yep. Same outline and same format as every other affiliate site.”

And it's very helpful to get those writers who are not SEOs and somebody who really understands the target demographic and target audience. And I think with formulaic sites like that, you can make good money, but it'll only get you so far. Every SERP is different. Every keyword is different. You've got to think outside the box.

Jaryd Krause:

Are you saying and possibly agreeing with me that it's better to hire people who are niche specific writers who are already in the niche?

Alex Horsman:

I prefer that. Yeah. We do have sites where we have generalist writers. But what we're doing now is kind of a combination of E-E-A-T and getting just the fact checker in there.

And someone just sent an article back today and ripped it apart. And we would have never known any of these facts because these generalist writers don't know anything about the product or the niche. And they're going off of—guess what—other generalist writers who are all just copying themselves.

Jaryd Krause:

Meaning the same content, which is so dangerous.

Alex Horsman:

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. I think, especially with how everything is going, if you don't want a revolving door, an affiliate site is what I call it, right? You Google something, you click on an article, you go buy a product, and you never return to the site that recommends the product.

If you don't want that, you need to hire niche writers or niche experts to basically fact check your stuff, in my opinion. Otherwise, I mean, you can make money by having a revolving door of affiliate sites, but I think those are slowly going to die.

Jaryd Krause:

Yes. It's only a matter of time. So if you all want to build out a team of in-house writers and content creators for all your content marketing, who do you hire first and why? And then, how does it go? What's the progression through building out a team of five to 10 more?

Alex Horsman:

So I can tell you based on my mistakes. I think it's a very good situation, right? So for my first affiliate site, I knew SEO; I was working for a big e-commerce brand. Hated writing. I didn't think I was good at it and didn't want to do it.

So that was my very first hire, right? I'm doing all the SEO and keyword research, and I'm handing it over to a writer. And then I'm kind of editing it, but it was really the writer doing both of those. And then I was uploading the content as well.

But again, if you enjoy writing or if you don't have the budget, maybe you hire a publisher first. Because a publisher is going to be a bit cheaper. Most VAs can play that role. It's a pretty low skill. So I think it's a you situation who that very first hire is.

But I would typically recommend either a writer if you don't like to do it or a publisher. I personally kept all the SEO stuff. That was the last thing I outsourced, because that's what I was good at. That's what I knew. But if you're a kick-ass writer, then maybe that's the last thing you outsource.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes maybe somebody is like, “Well, I'm not an SEO, but I need some keyword research done.” Maybe they go get an SEO to do some keyword research and build out a content traffic acquisition plan that they can go away and then use to hire a writer.

And then once you've got a writer or a publisher and you have your keywords, your sort of brief and all that sort of stuff set up, who would you hire next? Would it be an editor? Would you suggest an editor?

Alex Horsman:

Yep. Yep, 100%. Yeah. So that was a big mistake I made where we just didn't have an editor, and nobody was fact-checking to see if those writer guidelines were being followed. And that's a huge step, right?

I would kind of half-do it and go through the article once it was published, but I wasn't going through the actual checklist. I didn't care about readability or grammar. How did this look? The writer just threw it through Grammarly, and I was like, “Okay, cool. Call it good.”

But that's someone who's essential at that. I think spending a lot of time with your editor is probably—it's like I was saying with writers. If you spend a ton of time with your editor, then they get to pass that knowledge down to the writers. And now you don't have to spend so much time when you bring on more writers.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Basically, when you hire, this is what I've noticed. The more time we spend training the person directly beneath you, the more that training will filter down to everyone else. Alex Horsman:

100%.

Jaryd Krause:

The hierarchy of the team is because the writer is always referring to the editor, and the editor is like the gatekeeper of what needs to be done. Same with every single person in the chain. And with the editor being trained up, you're sort of teaching them, I guess, what's acceptable and the standard that we want to use on our site to be published, right?

And then if you have a call with them once a week or twice a week or however many times, you can continue to ask them, “How do we make this better? How do we make this more valuable for the person, the human being, not just the algorithm, not just SEO, but how do we make this better?

If we're reviewing an affiliate product, what could we do to make this better? Could we get the writers to do a different type of research? Could we get them to find videos, images, and different things? What sort of videos and what sort of images make the content so much more superior? "

You can also even maybe get your editor—this is what I typically tell people to do under me. It’s like, “Go away and do this work. Do this R&D. Go away and look at all your competitors. Get me a list of 10 and work out what they're doing really well and what they're not doing so well.

And then come to me with three different solutions on how we can improve our content on our posts that they're kind of doing, but we can do superior than them.” And then what you're doing is they're going away and doing the R&D. They think they're doing it all for you and for the site. What you're really doing is you're training them, right?

Alex Horsman:

Yep. Yep. Yep, 100%. And I think what you're saying is that having an editor do that is actually very valuable because it gets the SEO out of it. Because I would go to a website and be like, “Oh, they're doing these internal links,” and it's like, “No, like focus on the content.”

And I think if we just look at the personalities of SEOs, a lot of the time they’re very system oriented, process driven, and structured. And it's very, very helpful to get a writer who's typically creative, right? And getting their viewpoint, not as an SEO, will bring a ton of light.

And having an editor do that, again, is a great way to kind of get that creative looking at stuff versus me, who I'm going to look at, “Okay. How did they structure this?” I'm not too good at analyzing the content myself and relying on people who are stronger at that is a huge, huge lever that you can pull.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, spot on. So let's talk about once you've got a good writer and a good editor and they’re trained up and you want to scale, does it then become that you have three writers and one editor? And then what ratio of writers to editors do you want to go with the more content you want to create?

For example, a writer might max out at writing 10 articles a month or something like that, or 20 articles a month. And you might want to double that. Have you found a good ratio in terms of scaling?

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. So I'm just trying to think through some of our projects right now. One of them has one editor and then three writers. And all three of those writers have full-time jobs and they're just doing this part-time, they're niche experts. They care a ton about the hobby that they're writing in.

Jaryd Krause:

Awesome.

Alex Horsman:

And so I think they're only writing one article a week, right? So then that gets you to 12 articles per month, not a huge amount of content publishing. But then, on the other side, we have some sites where we're using AI and we have two writers, but we're busting out 10 articles a day. And we've realized that the editor is well backlogged.

So I think it depends on how you structure it. And I hate being that typical SEO who always says, “It depends.” But, yeah, it depends if you're doing the AI game or if you're doing the super granular detail content game. And for us, it's a mixture of the two. You kind of have more riskier ones in your portfolio and then more white-hat ones. So I hate to give a direct answer there, but—

Jaryd Krause:

Because it's going to be dependent on what—the editor is basically the bottleneck, right?

Alex Horsman:

Yep, yep. So the most we got were six writers and two editors. So it seems like, on average, there are three writers for one editor. And that's doing pretty dang granular articles. Now, if you're doing the whole AI thing and you have that templated out, a lot of that stuff doesn't even take much for the editor. It takes them 15 minutes. So yeah, I wish I could give a more concrete answer.

Jaryd Krause:

No, it's great for people to think about. Because people want to think linearly, like, “All right. So if I hire three writers, after I get more, I'm not going to need another editor.” Just setting people up to sort of understand what a team looks like and how to nurture it for the next buyers.

So you touched on less content, more granular, probably more valuable pieces of content than, say, AI written and edited by a human being or AI-written, constructed with a writer as well as edited. What are you an advocate for and why? Between those two, what would you know?

Alex Horsman:

I would say I'm more of an advocate for helping the internet become a better place and not producing crap with AI.

Jaryd Krause:

Yes. Awesome. Thank you.

Alex Horsman:

That said, I think a lot of content, question posts, and how-to posts are very basic. I don't think there's an issue with using AI with it. But especially when you're talking about purchasing decisions, roundup reviews, and A versus B product reviews, I just don't have a good conscience and just send crap out the door. I use the internet for research. I just got some barefoot shoes that I did a lot of research on and I skipped over a ton of affiliate sites.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Like the 10 Best Barefoot Shoes of—yeah.

Alex Horsman:

2023.

Jaryd Krause:

2023, yeah. Like, okay, this is just a list without any value.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. So I think there's a balance to be had there. I also think AI can be interesting for optimization. After you write the article, I think Steve Toth had a couple of prompts that he shared where it's just like, “Hey, Google, go read the helpful content update guidelines and then tell me how I can update it.” And that is very helpful. I think that's the best way to use AI right now.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Spot on agree. When you think about it, I probably shared this example before, but if you've got somebody that wants to buy a fishing rod and you've got an affiliate site, that's got the 10 best fishing rods for under $200. And then you've got another affiliate site, which has the two best fishing rods under $200.

And the article that has the two best fishing rods has a guy using the fishing rods. He’s been using them for a year, recording videos using them, showing the wear and tear, showing how they stand up against each other, their pros and cons with video and audio, and a big, long post around it. And then you get the 10 best fishing rods under $200. That article has 10 Amazon links with 10 pros and cons, no video, and was not written by a fisherman.

If you're the user, which review are you going to base your facts and information on before you buy a fishing rod? By far, you're going to go with the person who has used the fishing rod and recorded videos and shown the wear and tear, pros and cons, and all that sort of stuff. It's not even a thought process to look at the 10 best fishing rods article.

And then maybe they've got 10 pieces of content with 10 keywords around fishing rods under $200 or whatever it is, and they put it all out there and they're trying to cover every single area. But this one with the two best fishing rods could cover all of those keywords in that one article and is far more impactful and far more dense because you’re optimizing for a human being and helping them make a good purchasing decision. That same amount of money you put into 10 articles versus one—it's night and day. The results are going to be that that person is going to make far more affiliate commissions.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. Yeah. I guess my only pushback there, unfortunately, is looking at data. 80%+ don't make it past the first product review whenever they come to our roundup reviews, which is a good thing, but for most people, they're either converting or not within that first section. They're just like Google keywords; it's like a problem, click on the first link, solution, boom.

But that being said, the 20% or 30% that are actually reading your article will come back if you do exactly what you just talked about. There's going to be a lot of users who just go click around and look at products and they probably check out a couple of different roundup reviews and then go buy the product.

But for those people who are really interested in fishing and getting a fishing rod, if you really give them an in-depth article, they will come back and that is exactly how you differentiate yourself from a revolving door affiliate site to a brand.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Yeah. I wanted to ask about the tools that you recommend people use with their team. It can be SEO tools or writing tools. You mentioned Grammarly before. But what are the most essential things that you highly recommend people use, and why?

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. I'll probably get a little bit of heat for this because everybody likes Asana and Trello, but I am ClickUp all day long.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. ClickUp. Cool. Okay.

Alex Horsman:

Not to toot my own horn, but I'm ClickUp verified, which I think just means I spend a ton of time in there. But anyway, I absolutely love it for project management. We got onto it during COVID, and it absolutely changed the game. I could not believe we were doing everything through email and basically each email thread was a different task and then you had to reply in the thread. And it was very, very confusing. And then Atlassian was our wiki, and it was terrible.

ClickUp absolutely changed the game and those writer guidelines those publishing guidelines and those editing guidelines—you can build them in as subtasks within the pieces of content so that the writers check them off every single time and in your discussions.

Again, as we were talking about collaboration, if each task is an article, your discussion can happen inside that task where everyone's commenting on it, “Hey, here's how I think we can improve it. Here's how I think we can improve it.” So it's super powerful. I absolutely can't believe we worked without project management software for so long. I think ClickUp is pretty intimidating, and it can be a bit robust.

Jaryd Krause:

It can be when you're first opening it up, right? But once you start to learn it—I mean, we started using it through COVID as well. We don't use it so much anymore because we just chat, and things are running pretty smoothly. I don't have a team of writers that I'm managing, and I keep my things pretty condensed. If you've got like four or five people, then why wouldn't you do all these different tasks?

Alex Horsman:

Yeah, 100%. And then I think I'm currently involved in about eight sites. And so we had four people on each site. It gets pretty chaotic pretty quickly. And without project management software, I would lose my mind. Just like an agency. At that point, you're basically running an in-house agency for different brands. So ClickUp is an absolute game changer for us.

And I guess in terms of SEO stuff, I don't have anything probably new to add there. Ahrefs, that's going to be a keyword research competitor gap—or what do they call it? Content gap analysis and then backlink analysis. Clearscope for content optimization. I don't know if there's a difference between Surfer, Clearscope or Muse.

Jaryd Krause:

Have you seen NeuronWriter?

Alex Horsman:

NeuronWriter? Yep. That's another one. We've tested it out. I'm grandfathered in. I joined Clearscope way early. And so I got a pretty good rating over there and I like Bernard a lot. And so that's where we use Google Search Console. Then GA4 sucks. But I guess it's so helpful sometimes.

Jaryd Krause:

It sucks because nobody's used to it yet, right?

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. I think the only other thing is probably Domcop. We build on expired domains the majority of the time now. Or if we don't build on it, we at least buy and then 301 into it. And Domcop makes that process bearable as opposed to being in all these different auctions and trying to filter through all this stuff. Domcop is very helpful there.

Jaryd Krause:

Have you bought any blogs, content sites or businesses before?

Alex Horsman:

No, no. I don't know why, to be honest with you. I think it's just because we have really good success with buying expired domains. And if I can find an expired domain where an SEO hasn't touched it, I'm very comfortable.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Good point. Good point.

Alex Horsman:

So that's kind of like throwing it in the wayback machine and we have a whole SOP around verifying these expired domains. And yeah, one of the big things we look for is, has an internet marketer ever touched this site?

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Yeah. Because they can change things. And if you’ve just got, say, again, a fishing blog that a fisherperson has done for three years and they've just written content on fishing and they've gained natural links without link building, then you're like, well, it's a no brainer, right?

Alex Horsman:

Yeah, 100%.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Actually, last night, I was on a call. I was on Ody's panel, the Ody's podcast panel. We're talking about buying and selling businesses, but we're also sort of valuing a domain and talking about how we would grow it and stuff. But have you ever sold any sites as well?

Alex Horsman:

Nope. Everything's hold.

Jaryd Krause:

Okay. Cool.

Alex Horsman:

Or it gets tanked. No, yeah, I am a big fan of cash flow. And so for me, actually, with a couple websites now, we're actually trying to turn them into e-commerce brands, and we sell info products on a couple of them and that's been good, but I find it very interesting to see how we can take this one step further. How can we really build a brand with it?

So I don't know why I've always shied away. I think I'm not opposed to buying a site and flipping it. I really don't know why I've always shied away from it. I guess—I don't know. You can't train an old dog with new tricks.

Jaryd Krause:

Mate, it's a good route. We have people—especially you've got experience. Most of the people that join BOB have zero experience online. Their goal is like, “I just want to make something online.” They have no experience. They don't know what they're doing, right?

And they come in and it's a safe environment. They come out with a business, and they grow it and crush it. They've learned so much through the due diligence process and they basically learn how to grow a business through the due diligence process and what goes into it. And then they buy it and that's without somebody that experienced. Somebody, such as yourself, look out, you know.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. You could sell me on it. You're selling me on it right now.

Jaryd Krause:

I’m not trying to. But even if we never talked again and you probably wouldn't need my help in valuing a site and stuff, yeah, you could do some pretty cool things.

Alex Horsman:

Well, I think actually that might be a drawback and I've looked at buying sites before and I can find a reason not to every single time. This one anchor text from this one referring domain is unnatural. This is clearly a guest post or a bot link. No go. So I think I can't talk myself out of it,

Jaryd Krause:

Okay.

Alex Horsman:

But again, yeah, it would be super interesting to me to go through a proper due diligence process and actually look at buying one.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. So you come from the background of a backlink building. Now, once people are getting their content creation team humming, do you suggest they look at starting some backlink building? And if so, when? What does that process look like?

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. That's funny. You read my website.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. I do it for every guest.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. Yeah. Good stuff. Good stuff, man. Yes. So what I would do now is focus 100%. Until you get 100 articles out the door, don't even worry about links. But that's kind of my number. It depends on whether you're buying expired domains. For us, we don't really have to worry about building links until a lot later on; maybe that's 300 or 500 articles.

But for people just starting out, I would recommend 100 articles. And the power of focus is real. And it really allows you to just focus all of your time and effort on building high-quality content. If you're trying to link build at the same time, it's just hard. It's really freaking hard to do both.

Jaryd Krause:

Link building is a job, man. It's just crazy.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. Yeah. So I'd say 100 articles and then start building links. Again, that varies if you're buying a business or if you are buying expired domains. And then—I did a post about this, which I thought was fairly well put together—I would say so many factors. But let's say you allocate 100% to content creation.

You then switch from 75% of your budget to content creation to 25% to link building. And then once you get 200 or 250 articles out the door, you switch it to 50-50. And then, once you kind of realize what's making you money, you hit the freaking link building hammer hard and you go 75-25.

Jaryd Krause:

Just on those top posts, you just get them going. Yeah.

Alex Horsman:

Yep, 100%.

Jaryd Krause:

And obviously, track those posts and update them. How regularly, you know, what goes into tracking for you guys? Your top articles and updates—what does that look like for you, guys?

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. So we have a SOP that basically says that once a week for our top 20 pages, we’re reviewing the rankings on them and we're saying if we're moving up or down, up or down. It really doesn't take much. I mean, it takes somebody an hour a week to get put together. And most of the time, not much is changing.

But for instance, I just logged in and we had a very valuable page of ours going to position 26. And it was number two. And I went and I searched and it's because the page got moved to draft. I don't know why.

Jaryd Krause:

Wow.

Alex Horsman:

I don't know why someone did that. But because of that check, we were able to basically figure that out.

So, yeah, we do that once a week. And then we'll do a quarterly audit, which is kind of everything, and take into account even the posts that we don't care about as much. And then, when it comes to updating the posts themselves, that's kind of a checklist. Are we using proper H2? Are we targeting the correct keyword? How can we expand on this?

A big thing for us is images. How can we add more images to the photo? If you look at hot jar images or scroll stoppers, they may help. Your stock photos do not help, and they are not scroll stoppers. I'm sorry. But if you can create a really custom image that helps enhance the article, that's a scroll stopper.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Images that emphasize points that you're talking about in your piece, right?

Alex Horsman:

Yep. 100%. So it's a mixture of things. I wouldn't say it's anything. There's no silver bullet. You can just Google the content update checklist and we're probably doing that to be honest with you.

But I would say the one thing we like to do—I guess that might be a little different—is we'll throw the URL into Google Search Console and then filter for a specific page, filtering the keywords three through 20, I believe. And then see what keywords we can add in where we're getting high impressions but low clicks.

And a lot of the time, it's like you're not even using that keyword on the page. Just go throw it in there somewhere. And you'll be amazed at how much it can help drive it. And then, a lot of the time, they'll give you good H2s that you should add, or they'll give you good FAQs that you should add.

Jaryd Krause:

And you do that through the Search Console, right?

Alex Horsman:

Yep. Through the search console.

Jaryd Krause:

Cool. Love it. I absolutely love it. Yeah. Alex, this has been such a great chat. Thanks for coming on. Where can we send people to check out more about what you guys are doing?

Alex Horsman:

alexhorsman.com. I think the only thing is that there is no E in Horsman. H-O-R-S-M-A-N.

Jaryd Krause:

I got that wrong a couple of times when I was looking for an E in our email thread. Yeah.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah. Jaryd, I appreciate you having me on, man. It was great.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, it's good fun. Thanks so much. And yeah, I look forward to chatting again soon.

Alex Horsman:

Yeah, that sounds good. See you.

Jaryd Krause

: See you. Everybody who's listening, thank you for listening. Please do us a massive favor and share this podcast episode out there for anybody that has a blog that wants to build a content team, because there's so much value in here that we talked about. Everything from starting to scaling and then updating posts and everything So please share this off and I'll speak to you in the next one.

Hey, YouTube watchers, if you thought that video was good, you should check out this video here on 2 Types of Websites Beginners Should Buy. Or check out my playlist on How I Made My First $100k Buying Websites and how to do due diligence. Check it out. It's an awesome playlist. You'll enjoy it.

Want to have more financial and time freedom?

We help people buy established profit generating online businesses so the can replace their income and spend more time doing what they love with the people they love.

Host:

Jaryd Krause is a serial entrepreneur who helps people buy online businesses so they can spend more time doing what they love with who they love. He’s helped people buy and scale sites all the way up to 8 figures – from eCommerce to content websites. He spends his time surfing and traveling, and his biggest goals are around making a real tangible impact on people’s lives. 

Resource Links:

➥ BOB SEO service – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com/seo-services/

➥ Buying Online Businesses Website – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com

➥ Download the Due Diligence Framework – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com/freeresources/

➥ Link Whisperer (SEO tool for internal linking on websites) – https://bit.ly/3l7K7Ld

➥ Content Scale AI (AI Content Detector) https://bit.ly/3LlxRBV

Semrush (SEO tool) – https://bit.ly/3lINGaV

 

*This post may contain affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site/posts at no additional cost to you

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