Gael Breton and Mark Webster have been crushing it with online courses on how to create, market, scale, and rank authority websites, and they are more or less unanimously the best at what they do.
What is an authority site, I hear you asking?
You’ve probably visited quite a few authority sites in your time, whether you realize it or not.
Authority sites provide expert information on a particular niche. These sites almost always have an amazing reputation within a particular community.
Everyone knows that an authority site is the real deal. That it can be trusted.
If you want the latest and most accurate information, you go to the authority site.
The key feature here is that your authority site is both popular and trusted.
Gael and Mark definitely succeeded in making a name for themselves within the community.
They love sharing and helping others, and they run one of the most successful and popular blogs in the industry.
But most importantly, these two guys have successfully created tons of different profitable authority sites.
One of the best examples is Health Ambition – a relatively famous health website.
The good thing about all their courses is that the guys walk the walk and followed the lessons they give you to create their own success.
Given the amount of trust generated through their websites over the years,the duo has been able to enroll more than 6000 students in one of their two flagship courses:
The Authority Site System is their main starter program, where you join the guys as they start building a brand new authority site from scratch.
You just have to find a niche and follow what they do, video after video.
Authority Hacker Pro contains the Authority Site System but also all the other courses created by Gael and Mark, and it includes all of their most advanced tactics for high level, experienced marketers.
Since the first course is included in the second, I will be reviewing the Authority Hacker Pro, giving you a detailed description of what all the different courses have to offer, and believe me, there is something for everyone!
It covers topics like advanced SEO, scaleable link building, email marketing, and deep sales funnels.
It includes 400+ over the shoulder videos, SOPs, Copy & Paste templates, Custom Tools & Plugins, and of course an advanced member community
As you will see, I don't have an affiliate link to Gael and Mark's course.
If you end up buying it, I will not be making a dime, but since I happen to think that AHP is an amazing bundle, I thought I'd give you a course by course review for you guys !
So in the following reviews, I'm going to go into details and be answering the questions that you really want to know the answer to.
No messing around.
But before I start this in-depth review, a bit about me..
Until 2014, like many of you reading, I was working in a corporate job from 9 to 5, making the usual mid five figure income.
Not only was it soul-crushing, but it didn't give me any time to pursue my bigger dreams.
That was until I discovered a method to rank sites organically, generating free leads for my clients.
That website you see above, for the tree care company, I created that site in 2015, and since then I haven't had to touch or update it:
It has gained me a passive income of $2000 a month.
That's more than $100,000 for one site, in 5 years.
That's the magic of the Lead Generation business, it's by far the best model to generate passive income. If you want to know more, just hop over here!
So, you realize, I know a lot about creating sites to rank high and make money off.
But enough about me: time for an in-depth review of Authority Hacker Pro!
Authority Hacker Pro Review
Gael and Mark have taken what actually works, and molded it into step-by-step education that beginners and pros alike use to start, grow and supercharge their online business.
When other people found out about the training they had developed, they wanted it for themselves.
Authority Hacker was born from this idea of sharing the best online marketing knowledge available, in a practical way that was easy for people to follow.
The Authority Hacker Pro bundle contains a whopping 17 units, between courses and blueprints, and some of these, like the Sniper Skyscraper course, have been sold for $997 each in the past!
All go into insane details and would deserve a review of their own, so, in order not to turn this post into the longest piece of writing ever, I'm going to review the 5 courses/blueprints that impacted me the most (in bold) and just list the rest.
For sake of completion, here they are, numbered one by one:
- The Authority Site Blueprint: the course all should begin with.
- Site Speed Blueprint
- Growth Hacks Tips & Tricks
- Editorial System Blueprint
- Building Your Editorial Team Blueprint
- Keyword Research Blueprint
Link Building Blueprints
- The Guest Posting Blueprint
- Editorial Links with HARO Blueprint
- The Shotgun Skyscraper Blueprint
- Evergreen Funnels Blueprint
- Creating Information Products Blueprint
- Website Sale Blueprint
- Affiliate Marketing Blueprint
- Lead Magnet Creation Blueprint
- Giveaways Blueprint
- Content Promotion Blueprint
- Email Marketing Blueprint
So what are some key aspects of AHP?
1) The Authority Site System
The first module covers the basics.
This is definitely the most beginner-friendly section of the entire course and you should learn everything you need to get your authority site started.
Firstly, you’ll start to understand what authority sites are, and how the business model operates at its core.
This includes things like keyword research, as well as finding the best niche out there.
Also covered are the paid programs you will have to subscribe to, that will give you a boost when you're just getting started.. $675 is quite an initial investment!
It’s worth pointing out that this entire structure is an extremely results-based approach. This course isn’t really interested in exploring vague, theoretical ideas and concepts.
The main focus here to deliver results, period.
This can be regarded as a fantastic system, and it also encourages you to move through the various lessons and modules very quickly.
After all, you can’t argue with the results. And once you’ve achieved them, you know that you’re ready to move on to the next stage.
The second main module of this course is a collection of very insightful case studies.
These case studies provide an excellent opportunity to follow along with real examples that put everything into context.
The great thing about Authority Hacker is that it’s run by two extremely experienced entrepreneurs in the world of authority sites.
These guys have built several highly profitable, functioning authority sites.
There’s no shortage of examples that these founders can provide, and it’s definitely helpful to have these educational assets.
Not only do you get to peek at their various authority sites, but you also get to checkout several successful authority sites built by students of the Authority Hacker system!
This not only provides you with education, but it’s also really inspiring to see what you can achieve once you’re finished with these courses.
It’s just another reminder that this system really works, and there are plenty of success stories to check out.
You get to see what works and what doesn’t. When you see that a certain method is extremely profitable, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try that for yourself.
The third module is all about finding out your niche, choosing it and going for it through site planning.
The attention to details by Gael and Mark is staggering, and the parameters for the choice of the niche are so many, that once you've gone through all of them you'll know for sure if you have a winner.
- Market researching big sites, to see how tough your competition in the long run will be.
- Market researching small sites, to see if there is interest enough in the niche.
- Checking out whether there are products you can sell via affiliate marketing related to your niche or not.
- Checking if your niche is seasonal, if it has easy keywords, and other minor aspects.
The guys provide you with an excel sheet (seen above) and choosing a niche won't seem like the impossible task you thought it was.
After the choice of the niche, it is time to program your site: you can't just go and buy a domain and build your blog, there is a lot of planning to do.
- This will include things like:
- Your informational content
- Your commercial content
- Your “About me” page
A well structured site is important so that users can navigate and find the content they want, but also to help Google to analyze the information on your site correctly and use it in its search results.
As your site grows, so will the amount of content on it. In order for you to keep track of everything, you’ll need to pay close attention to site structure.
Site structure is not as important or complicated as some people make it out to be, however, you’ll need to ensure it follows a basic logical layout for best results.
The guys suggest you use Dynalist to keep track of what content goes where, but the basic premise is that your site should have at least the basic pages all sites do.
For the structure, apart from the classic pages all sites have, you simply split your content into 2 sections: Informational (Reviews etc) and Commercial (Recommended Gear).
The informational hub will contain all of your info content which is used for link building.
The commercial hub will contain all the different commercial keyword categories.
This is a simple, basic layout for your site.
It does, however, make navigating a little trickier since all your various commercial categories are lumped together in one place.
Module 4 is the most practical of all modules so far, and is all about setting up your site, including:
- Picking a Domain Name.
- WordPress Hosting Set Up.
- Picking a WordPress Theme.
- Establishing Basic Branding.
- SEO Set Up.
- Misc. Plug-ins Set Up.
- Home Page Building.
- Custom Category Page Set Up.
Every video in this module is packed with great tips and advice:
For example, when building the home page, Gael & Mark suggest that you'll:
'want to highlight your least commercial content. You don't want people to think you're just here to make money from them (even if you are!)'.
Since you’ll have lots of nice informational articles ready for link building, you could use these to your advantage.
You can use your home page to make a big scene about all the free info you are giving to the people coming to your site.
Module 5 is all about content and the guys go to great lengths to explain why top quality content is important and how good it can be for both traffic and affiliate sales.
This module will teach you:
- How to research and write your own content.
- All about content templates.
- How to deal with Amazon Associates and stay compliant.
- How to get content up on your site and looking pretty.
- And (if you want to) how to outsource content.
High quality content is the thing that will set you apart from others.
Your entire site will revolve around this.
High quality info content means more links and high quality commercial content means more affiliate commission.
You can have the most beautiful site in the world but that won’t mean anything unless you have good content to back it up!
Module 6 and the last module of The Authority Site System has to do with the ever important concept of link building.
To explain what link building is in layman terms, the guys write:
'Imagine this was real life for a minute - how do you generally trust someone? For many people, trust comes from recommendations. For example, if multiple people told you that a certain doctor was their favorite, you'd start to believe them and trust that doctor'.
And I think it's a good analogy, links build trust within Google, who has the responsibility of putting your website in front of thousands of potential readers.
If lots of people are linking to a certain website, Google is going to start to trust that website -after all, if all these people are linking to it, it would make sense to direct other people there in the search results too, right?
Of course, when it comes to link building, Gael and Mark are strictly white hat, meaning that all their tactics to obtain links will be aimed to a long term slow growth.
It also means that everything is done in compliance to Google, and that in the long run these tactics will be slower, but will generate more organic traffic.
Therefore the course teaches 3 white hat tactics to use in order to build the number of your links:
- Guest Posting
In this method, you'll be reaching out to website owners asking them if they would like you to write a piece of content for their site.
The reason for this is that when you write that article, you're going to include a link to your website into it.
This is a great way to get high quality links, however, it's a little expensive/time consuming, as you'll need to consider the actual content being written, but for some niches it's a goldmine!
HARO is a platform where you can connect directly with reporters and send them information on your niche in return for a link.
It takes a little time and effort to do this and will require quite a lot of thought, however, once you master it you can get links for highly reputable sites like American Express, Huffington Post, Business Insider and other giants.
This is a great, free, high quality link building method. The only downside is that it's a very slow method so it'll take some time to get any type of momentum with this.
- Shotgun Skyscraper
This is what the guys consider to be the bread and butter of link building. You'll be able to build white hat links at scale and the process can be carried on for years if you follow through with it.
I'll be reviewing these methods below, so keep on reading!
2) Guest Posting Blueprint
As many of you guys will already know, the practice of guest-posting is that of offering your services to a blog bigger than yours so that you get to link your site and the kudos, and the bigger blogger has one less post to write.
In 2014, Matt Cutts from Google wrote:
'Okay, I'm calling it: if you're using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.
Why? Because over time it's become a more and more spammy practice, and if you're doing a lot of guest blogging then you're hanging out with really bad company'.
So the trick is not to get spammy, and really collaborate with sites that are going to give you something and not just for the sake of it: the latter is going to be counter-productive in the long run.
So, if done well, what can you really expect to gain from guest blogging? According to Gael and Mark:
- It moves the needle.
- It Raises your Authority.
- You can push specific (i.e Money making) pages.
- It's easy to provide value for frictionless negotiation.
- Conversion Rate doesn't matter - it's more about creating effective links. It's the end result that really matters.
Make no mistake, though: guest blogging is really hard to master.
There are so many complexities to this.
In the ideal world, you will be able to reach out, write a message, and get a link.
There's a lot more to it, though.
Find the right opportunities, set the right subjects, and so on.
The reasons to guest-blog are countless and there is no reason you should not be giving it your best shot even when you start out.
According to Search Engine Journal there are 11 major benefits to guest-blog for the newbie blogger:
The fact that only benefiting from two or three of these points would be reason enough to start this practice: with 11 bonuses you'd be crazy not to!
3)Editorial Links with HARO Blueprint
HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out.
It's a way to link journalists directly to the source (i.e. you!) and provide them with a forum for adding details to their posts.
So why is that important? Well, if they decide to use you as a source, there's a fair chance that means you're going to get a link in the process.
Universally speaking, reporters who sign up and use HARO come from high-quality , high-ranking DR sites which make the use of HARO for link building a highly lucrative operation.
Compared to the other methods, the numbers are good... very good:
- Average Success Rate: 16-20% (Successful % of links per pitches sent) .
- Average DR: 60+.
- Average days from pitch to live link: 16 days.
I mean, if you have this course in your AHP bundle, you're going to want to use it:
The results are incredible.
But... there is always a but!
There is a hard cap on how far you can scale this.
Since you are limited by the number of questions being asked a day, there's not much you can do beyond ensuring you answer every possible opportunity.
This is how it works:
A journalist posts a question or a case study request on HARO, and if you're in that niche, then you're golden and chances are that your site is going to be linked if your reply is used.
Unfortunately, you're building an authority site, so the chances of a journalist asking questions pertaining to your niche everyday is close to zero, or it wouldn't be a niche!
Therefore, while being super good for reputation because you get journalists from national papers and massive blogs asking questions, the other methods are going to get you more results in the long run.
There are 5 points I would like to make before moving on to the next course:
- You really can't jump in and collaborate with New York Times or Huffington Post journalists without keeping in mind that this is a huge chance for the growth of your website. Produce the best work!
- Dedicate 45-60 minutes to the HARO process everyday, scouring the questions and requests, contacting the journalists and setting deadlines.
- Alternatively, hire someone who can do this work for you: a VA who can check HARO on a daily basis and alert you immediately if a chance pops up.
- You don't need to be an expert or have any complex knowledge to contribute. Google is your friend, and as long as you have an authority website in that niche, you're golden.
- The method is absolutelt free! These links you will be getting are free, high quality white hat links.
You're not going to be working with HARO everyday of your career, but when you get that high quality link from a respected domain, look for the steady influx of visitors!
4) Shotgun Skyscraper Blueprint
The Shotgun Skyscraper method is such a successful way to get guest posts or build links from other blogs that the very name has been trademarked by Gael & Mark.
In principle, it is the exact opposite of what the Sniper Skyscraper method is supposed to achieve:
The Sniper Skyscraper technique is a link building strategy where you can enhance existing common content and replicate backlinks.
Here's how it works in very simple terms:
- Find a good piece of content with lots of backlinks;
- Create something much better;
- Ask those linking to the original piece to link to your superior content instead.
It was invented by Brian Dean in 2015 and brought a whopping 11% success rate to the table.
So what exactly is the Shotgun Skyscraper, which aims to be the exact opposite to the Sniper one?
Let's try and summarize it like this:
- Build a very good piece of content for the keyword you want to rate. The goal is to make this content bigger and better than anything that already exists on the subject – hence the word "skyscraper."
- For your targeted keyword, find the sites which currently rank in the top 10 on Google. These are the pages that you can aspire to outrank.
- Make a list of all the sites that connect to each of these top 10 sites. These are the pages that you're going to approach to see if you can get them to connect to you instead.
- Find the contact information for each of these target pages. Ideally, you would like to get a real person's name and email address rather than just a generic firstname.lastname@example.org address type.
- Send an outreach email to all of these people asking if they're going to connect to your site (either to, or instead of, the site they're already linked to.
- Repeat step 5 multiple times until you get a definite answer (positive or negative).
Gael and Mark have built more than 4k backlinks just by using this method.
The best thing about this course is that it is completely white hat:
In fact, Gael & Mark have established themselves as the best white hat SEO experts out there, and this has resounded a lot with people who want to do things the honest way.
And they have some custom software that helps automate the link building process even more.
In this course you're going to get:
- SOPs to give to staff when your outsource it.
- Job ads to use to hire the staff you need.
- A software tool that automates a bunch of manual tasks and saves a huge amount of time.
- Pre-built templates and databases to run the process super efficiently.
- 40 videos showing the exact process in our usual over the shoulder step-by-step style.
- 10 advanced videos showing crazy tactics to scale it.
This was sold for one week only at the price of $997 and has only now been put for sale with the Authority Hacker Pro bundle.
It's a steal!
5) Selling Your Site Blueprint
I found this mini-course really engaging.
In a whole bundle dedicated to how to grow your site and increase its worth, it was really interesting to go through these modules, which opened up a world for me I barely knew existed.
So why on earth would you want to sell a website that has taken you blood, sweat and tears to build and months to make profitable? Gael & Alex give some pointers:
- You may want to collect a lot of money right now, for an emergency reason or because you are starting work on another site, or simply because you've grown tired of it.
- Maybe you want to 'realize' your financial gains and lock them in, saving you the stress of seeing your website depreciate in the future.
More important than this, the question is, are there many people actually buying websites?
Turns out that AHP guest teachers Justin Cooke & Joe Magnotti are absolutely positive about it.
FE International, the world's biggest website brokers, have come up with the avatars of three kinds of buyers of authority sites:
- Financial Buyers: these are people looking to flip the site, make a profit from it and likely sell it on later.
- Strategic Buyers: these are guys who are already in the industry and looking to enhance their portfolio or are looking to enter the market.
- Individual Buyers: These are individuals or small companies that want to skip the boring startup phase and want to invest in something with a solid foundation.
In general, a potential buyer will be looking at all potential flaws in the website before making an offer.
He will also be looking at how much money the site makes and how much they can multiply that amount to establish a valuation.
Generally speaking though, you could expect upwards of 32-42x monthly profit.
Selling your website is never such a straightforward thing, and it takes time for you to prepare all the necessary documentation.
According to an Inc.com article, these were all the factors that go in determining the price of an authority website for sale:
Selling your website is a complicated affair, much more than I had anticipated, but this blueprint makes the steps to take really clear, and it is something of great value that I'm going to take away from AHP.
And no, this site isn't for sale.
As I have said before, there are many other courses inside the Authority Hacker Pro package, but I figured it would be a good idea to go through some of the the main ones, especially the Authority Site System.
All else is complimentary:
Are you sucking at Growth Hacking? Go to the dedicated blueprint.
Want to learn more about Keyword Research, there's a blueprint for that and it's all included in the amount.
The Verdict: The Good & The Bad
Gael and Mark have claimed that their websites makes them 7 figures a year.
Authority Hacker Pro includes a ton of value within its courses, and if you don't get lost in the sheer quantity of the blueprints, you are going to benefit from every single one.
Being the kings of white hat SEO, nothing happens overnight, and you should extensively research ANY course that requires a time and money investment.
But let's go back and try to answer the main questions we asked ourselves at the beginning of the review:
These should be easy questions to answer, after having been through more than 400 vids on the most different topics.
I think that the only course that comes close to something so complete and professionally done is the Income School Project 24, although their approach to SEO is radically different, and Gael & Mark are much more traditional.
Any other course I've seen recently gets absolutely destroyed.
The bundle that is Authority Hacker Pro overdelivers what it promises:
There are 17 courses in there for the price of one. The Authority Site System is more than enough if you are just starting out:
It's going to take you quite a while to go through it and implement it, but if you're more than just a beginner, then you have 16 more courses to delve into.
I really don't know what more you could ask.
The production value is really high, and you get pdf transcripts for every lesson.
Of course Gael and Mark aren't scams:
They rule the authority website game, and CEOs of huge companies have required their services over and over again.
That should be a guarantee enough.
Even just going through their webinar shows you how incredibly knowledgeable these guys are.
You'll have trouble collecting all those golden nuggets that keep getting dropped.
The price, $1997, is ludicrous for the amount of stuff that you get when you sign up, but here's the catch:
When Gael and Mark talk about scarcity, they really mean it.
They only let a very small number of people in their course so they can be sure they can follow them all the way to success, and this is another proof of how genuine these guys are!
So, to sum up, if you want to start an authority site and market your products, Authority Hacker Pro could be the right one for you.
However, these days I don't really recommend going down the path of building a site like Gael & Mark are teaching.
Lead Generation, where you rank your own website through organic traffic, is a far superior model to monetize your skills.
Let me explain, keep reading...
Why I Don't Waste Time with Authority Sites... Lead Generation Proved to be a Much Better Biz Model, Here's Why...
I run a $50K per month lead generation business but all of my leads are generating through free traffic or SEO.
So it's pretty much passive income, I don’t have to worry about the performance of any ads or guest blog anywhere.
The website I create ranks on the first page of Google, in the so-called map pack, and the leads just start pouring in.
So, you see, it's passive income, I don’t have to worry about the performance of my blog or anything.
Once my site ranks it generally keeps its rank with very little to no maintenance.
Don’t get me wrong you can still make a living creating a niche blog and writing a post a day, but it's a hard route very challenging to do so.
If things go wrong, it's back to tweaking, choosing a new niche, or trying a different approach.
Authority Hacker Pro's bundle is really well executed, everything is there to learn how to create your blog and grow it, and make money from it.
Let me tell you, there are niches that work with this kind of method, but the problem is there are many niches that really struggle too.
Unlike settling for niche blogs, if you know how to generate leads with free traffic, you can go into any niche and create an incredible level of results for clients.
That’s how 90% of my multiple 6 figure income is generated. And I should add that it's passive income: see free traffic never stops.
In 2020, even during Covid-19, I continue to build more lead gen sites and I write at least 1 blog post a day for this site, because I’ve come to realize that these are the high-income producing activities because it directly increases my free traffic every month.
But this site is definitely not niche, and I spend thousands of dollars a month to make sure that every post has backlinks that make them rank number one in Google without the hit and miss approach that Gael & Mark teach.
On my side, my heavily backlinked blog and my lead gen sites are what are making me my multiple six figure income:
It's so much faster than writing 100's of articles on 1 niche topic that may or may not rank.
And it's much, much easier and also very cheap to start!
Click here Learn more about our coaching program that's now coached over 5000 students on how to quit their jobs by ranking simple local websites.