The Authority Site Rage, White Is The New Black?

I’ve been hanging around a bit lately and I’ve noticed a trend on a lot of BH forums. That is that their members are now beginning to create far more ‘authority sites’ than they had in the past.

I personally think this is a great move and there are several reasons for that.

blackhats go whiteFirst of all – as I noted back in my hummingbird analysis post, question/answer posts have really seem to fall in favor with Google’s synonym engine and the conversational search dynamic that mobile devices have since created (since queries are often spoken and not typed at a user terminal.)

Authority sites and question/answer posts go together like peanut butter and jelly. The fact is that posts which answer queries are exactly what an authority site should have – if it really is trying to be an authority in a niche.

While this is great for the user (and therefore Google would claim it is what they are looking for), it can also be great for the marketer.

The Marketer’s Edge

When someone comes to your site through a question-based query, you already know exactly what they are looking for. You might not know their exact motivation but you will probably be reasonably able to guess at it.

That puts you in a unique position of control…

This is a huge opportunity to key into someone’s problem or query and deliver a message – YOUR MESSAGE.

I’m not saying that it’s right to be a sleazy salesman. Just the opposite actually. I think it’s an opportunity to present yourself and an expert or authority on a topic and provide them with just what they were looking for.

By doing something good for them, you will be creating a transactional-relationship. That is to say that you are giving something to them and they will want to give you something back. It’s almost an obligation that the may feel… and then you can strike right then, when the iron is hot.

You’ve Got Your Hooks In

Think about it…

Someone comes to your with a question. They may have ‘asked’ the same question to a few other websites that failed to provide a fulfilling answer. If you can be ‘that one authority’ who provided not just the right answer, but the right answer in an engaging and intriguing way then you are giving them something valuable. Not just information but an experience as well.

value meaningYour goal should be to make them feel fulfillment, maybe even relief that they have what the wanted and the way they wanted it. You want those reward centers of the brain firing for them… think of your content like a piece of chocolate that provides them joy in the middle of uncertainty.

At the peak of this pleasure you need to ask them for something. I’m not saying that you should ask them to buy something… In fact that may be a horrible idea since it may erode the trust you just earned. Instead, get an email address…

I know, I know – it’s not like I’m breaking new ground here. Hell – you don’t even see an email subscription box on my blog. (I do that for a reason at this point.)

I’m just trying to walk you through the emotional process with them so that you know exactly what kind of content you should be delivering on your authority site if you are going to build one, that’s all.

So What About The Money

Well, this is where things fall apart unfortunately. While this new generation of so called “Black hats” has got a great thing going for them, they aren’t actually thinking like a marketer for the most part. They are thinking like publisher more or less, and that’s fine if you just love to write… I happen to like making money though.

Take this thread on BHW and you will see that the original posters intention is to make $75,000 a year from Adsense ads. He mentions that he has one other monetization method in mind but goes to no great length to define what exactly that may be.

not jsut adsense

Not everyone will click on adsense ads…

Well, that’s all well and good – but as others have pointed out – what happens when Google decides they don’t like his website anymore, or his backlinks or his ad position. He’s screwed, that’s what happens.

Now, I’m not knocking the guy and in fact I hope he has awesome success. What I am doing is drawing a line in the sand for you.

If you want to make an authority site, figure out why you want to do it first. Do you want to do it because you love writing articles and being a publisher or do you want to do it to make money?

If you’re goal, and I mean your REAL goal, is to make money then you need to tackle the monetization methodology upfront. None of this hope and pray that Adsense doesn’t ban you stuff… That doesn’t work in my book. In fact, it’s a complete newbie move.

If you are reading this page, then you are on GODOVERYOU.COM and that means that you don’t have the right to be a newbie anymore, got it?

So figure out the money side of it first.

Are These People Really Blackhat’s Anymore?

no black hat fun hatNot really.

Unless they are going to be using link spam and blog networks to rank their authority sites – they have basically become white hats. I’m fine with that, but let’s just keep our eyes on what things really are here…

So… Is there room for Blackhat’s in the authority site model?

YES!

I’ll probably be developing more on this later but in short, building large domains centered around a niche is nothing new. We just have to automate some of it and there are tools that do just that.

You see, internal links are still links. So, if you can create solid content upfront there’s nothing stopping you from autogenerating a category of not-so-hot video/comment posts that act as link donors towards your other priority pages for example. :)

I do this with Content Foundry on several domains and it has worked out really well. I scrape a bunch of videos with it, auto generate a few hundred words and guess what – there’s a new post.

Now, I don’t ‘Feature’ these posts of course. They just sit in some rarely visited category that would otherwise be tough to find on the site. But they do contribute links to other internal pages that improves the chances of those other pages to rank for their intended terms.

In Conclusion

black hat money

Just kidding, there’s actually a ton of money in this for the smart blackhat. The only question is if they have the tools for the job.

I think this new move towards authority sites is a good one. It’s a shame that you only see it being discussed on BH boards for the most part, but it is what it is.

There’s still room for BH on these otherwise well intentioned authority sites – it’s just a matter of getting in there and doing it. Of course, at that point – why not just autogenerate the whole thing and cloak it? Oh, wait… yeah, we do that… and it works.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.