Part 1 of the #RankandBank case study is live, and I have a lot of goodies prepared for you.
First, I am going to walk through the three essential phases of building a successful Amazon affiliate site.
The 3 phases are:
- Niche Research (3-Step Niche Formula)
- Keyword Research
- Domain Name Registration
Then I will show you a live affiliate site that we’ve launched a month and a half ago.
I will not be revealing my client’s keywords or URL to protect his website and niche.
However, I will be revealing his rankings + earning report.
Niche research is the biggest hurdle that beginners stumble upon.
You might have the same problem.
You might ask questions, like what niche am I going to target as an affiliate marketer?
Which niche is worthwhile enough to make enough money off?
Is this niche saturated or not?
These are the questions that go through an affiliate marketer’s head.
And rightfully so!
Cause if you’re going to spend time and money on a project, you want to make sure that you’re targeting the right niche, right?
The sad part is, most beginners target oversaturated niches with low commission payouts.
When I launched my first affiliate site in 2014, I targeted the WORST niche you could ever imagine.
It was targeting Amazon’s streaming services, and it was promoting Game of Thrones episodes. These episodes cost like 3 dollars each. So the commission was almost nothing.
And I’ve seen some lousy niche choices happen.
That’s why I created a simple formula that will ensure you’re targeting a niche that WILL make you money…faster and with fewer links.
It’s called the 3-Step Niche Formula.
Let me break it down for you.
Step 1: This step is all about targeting a niche that is not overly competitive or saturated. It’s a pretty easy step, but it takes some practicing to get it right.
You want to target a sub-niche (a niche within a niche)
For example, say you want to promote a site in the automotive niche.
We can dig deeper like find auto parts or accessories.
So, we start with Auto -> Top 10 Car Models -> BMW -> BMW Upgrades -> M Package
Let’s do a few more!
Health -> Weight Loss -> Weight Loss for Women Over 35
Sports -> Basketball -> Best Basketball Hoops -> In Ground Basketball Hoop Installation
You get the point!
The deeper you go, the less competition your niche will have.
A lot of it goes through simply searching on Google for keywords, like “top 10 + keyword, types of + keyword or keyword + alternatives.
You’ll be able to get new ideas to go deeper into the niche.
Step 2: Always promote products that convert well + have a lot of good reviews. This simple step makes sure that what you’re promoting is quality. Why? Because the product you’re promoting has been proven to work through reviews, testimonials and people’s results.
How do you check that the product is converting well?
Well, you can quickly check via Amazon how many reviews the product is getting. The more 4 / 5-star ratings it gets, the better it will sell.
You can also search for real product reviews on Google and decide if the product is solid enough.
Aside from Amazon, there are platforms like Commission Junction or Clickbank that show the conversion performance in their networks. Clickbank calls it the Gravity Score.
Products with gravity scores between 20 and 100 are the most appropriate to be promoted. Make sure that the products you’re promoting, provide value to customers (a low refund rate).
Step 3: Promote expensive products that have a high commission payout. You should aim for commission rates that start from $20 to $30+ per sale. By merely targeting costly products, you’re able to make your ROI quicker, and it’s more fun.
Nothing is more frustrating that generating $5 per sale via Amazon while you’re spending 1000s of dollars per month on SEO. Don’t make it harder for yourself.
Simply promote highly-priced products that convert well!
For example, the In-Ground Basketball Hoop Installation typically costs between $500 and $1000+ for a solid hoop. Your commission rates would range between 25 and 50 on Amazon.
Ahh, keyword research.
Now the fun part starts!
Keyword Research is like mining for Gold. There are millions of keywords available online.
And your job is to find keywords with low to moderate competition.
I use a tool called SEMrush that makes it possible to find a lot of keywords without doing hours of research.
There are multiple ways to do keyword research.
I’m going to break down which methods I use to find golden gems in the video below:
Domain Name Registration
There are four strategies you can go for when it comes to domain name registration. Not all of them are recommended so play close attention!
Strategy #1. Go Brandable!
Registering a brandable domain without any related keyword in the URL might be great for the long term, but you’re going to have a harder time ranking your site.
Because Google can’t figure the niche relevancy of your site by looking at your brand name unless you make your content relevant.
For example, let’s say you’re in the Health Niche.
And you register a brandable domain name like www.dexicon.com
The domain isn’t telling Google that it’s about health, so it’s going to take a lot more SEO work to get it relevant for health-related terms. Therefore, this isn’t the most recommended method if you want to rank quicker with your site. However, it’s good for the long-term.
Strategy #2: Go Exact Match
Registering a domain name with your exact keyword in the URL is a common SEO practice.
Why? Because exact match domains tend to work well for micro-niche sites.
However, it’s VERY easy to catch a Google penalty because of overoptimization.
Think about it.
If you use an exact keyword in your URL, then chances are, you are trying to rank that site for that specific keyword.
Example: You want to rank for “Buy Dog Collars”, and your domain name is www.buydogdollars.com.
Now on top of this, you’re also optimizing your title, meta, and H1 for buy dog dollars.
And you’re sending keyword-related backlinks to your site as well.
Guess what happens?
Penguin or Panda beat you up!
And trust me, it’s pretty embarrassing to get your ass kicked by a penguin.
Anyway, NOT a recommended way to launch your affiliate site.
Strategy #3: Aged Domains!
Why would you start your SEO from scratch if you can simply buy an aged domain, right?
Theocratically, this is the best solution to get started with your affiliate site.
Using aged domains as your money site URL can be a hit or miss.
Let me explain.
Not all aged domains will perform well because of niche or backlink irrelevance.
For example, You’re promoting affiliate products in the dog niche, but you just picked up an old domain related to goats.
Both are related to animals but not necessarily the same niche.
Therefore, niche or topical irrelevance can hold your rankings back until you build enough backlinks to get it ranked.
Always make sure to do your due diligence on the domain based on previous history, backlinks, and age.
Some aged domains can be penalized, which can hold your rankings back as well. (Pretty obvious)
You don’t want to buy an aged domain that has niche irrelevance or too many keywords related anchor text as well.
Aim to find a brandable domain with a TON of brandable anchor text.
But again, this is a hit or miss strategy.
Proceed with caution.
Strategy #4: The Backbone Redirect
The backbone redirect is my favorite method, simply because it’s working well.
The backbone redirect is a combination of using a partial match keyword + brand name in your newly-registered domain name.
And here’s the fun part.
You use a niche-relevant aged domain as a 301 redirect to your money site.
For example, you’re launching an affiliate website in the basketball niche.
And you want to rank for a keyword like: “buy basketball court.”
I would then register a domain name like bballcourtmasters.com
Now the domain name is instantly relevant to the basketball niche, and it’s going to be easier for you to rank for related terms.
Remember, Google is a supercomputer that reads data, and Google’s reading starts with your domain name.
Now, all you have to do is find a domain related to sports (preferably to basketball but not necessary) to give it the extra boost.
Check out the results we had with the Backbone Redirect with one of our affiliate sites:
Seriously, test out this method and let me know your results in the comments!
The Rank & Bank Case Study
Phew! You made it.
Did you like the strategies above?
Let me know in the comments so that I can teach you more awesome stuff!
So I promised you a real case study.
That’s why I’m going to document the journey of a DFY affiliate that a client of ours, Shawn, bought a few months ago.
The DFY affiliate site is active in the automotive niche.
Obviously, I can’t reveal the keywords or the exact niches to protect the website from spammers or copycats.
This case study will be dissected into multiple blog posts since we’re in the middle of ranking & banking this site already.
So far, we’ve covered how to do niche research, keyword research, registering a domain name and the backbone redirect. This particular site followed the process above to get started.
This website was built via WordPress and is using the Thrive Theme. Thrive theme works pretty well for affiliate sites, and I would suggest checking them out if you’re looking for any reliable themes on the web.
The client, Shawn, decided to build a content-rich website and went for the highest DFY package.
Which has about 15.000 words of SEO-optimized, high-quality content.
Google loves content, YES, we know that. Google also likes a LOT of content.
I love it even more because I’m not thinking about targeting 1 or 2 keywords for my site. No, I’m thinking about ranking for 1000s of keywords a la long tail traffic.
Here’s a traffic report of SEMrush, where it’s indexing for 100s of keywords within WEEKS.
Here’s the content breakdown:
The site is currently promoting 19 different products, so there are 19 review pages of 500 – 750+ words each. Then three main pages provide informational content without any affiliate links. The fun part of having a content-rich site with a lot of pages is, you can play with silo structures.
So, guess what we did?
We connected the dots, baby!
The silo structure is similar to the following screenshot:
Watch the video below to apply the on-page optimization techniques we used for this affiliate site.
We can go a lot of directions when it comes to monetization. The main monetization model for this affiliate site is Amazon. It’s crucial to find Amazon products that are high-priced, convert well and have a lot of positive reviews.
Once the website starts to generate a significant amount of traffic, we will add AdSense and digital products from Clickbank that relate to the auto niche. You should never lay all of your eggs in one basket. Diversification is key to affiliate sites.
Reporting Rankings after 1 Month Without Active Link building
Let me show you something cool.
After working closely on the on-page optimization, keyword research and domain redirect, we’re excited to see a lot of rankings roll in. These are pre-mature rankings, and no active link building is initiated yet.
Check out the rankings in the screenshot below:
Reported earnings so far
Let’s be real!
We just started with this project, and we haven’t done much link building to this website yet. So the Amazon earnings are a bit light. But that’s ok because the before and after picture will be so much sweeter. Also, we haven’t added any AdSense or Clickbank products to the site, which will increase the earnings of this site instantly.
The link building methods we are going to apply are:
– Guest post outreach links for brand link building.
– Powerful PBNs for brand & keyword related link building.
– Social signals to establish authority in the search engines.
– Web 2.0s for brand link building
Obviously, there are many ways to build quality backlinks, but we will cover that in part 2 of the #RankandBank series.
I hope this post got you excited and inspired to launch an affiliate site yourself. If you want to start with an affiliate site today, then check out our premade live affiliate sites here. All sites are built based on the techniques above.
I’m looking to add more case studies, training, and videos but I would like to know if you’re interested in that!
If so, please leave a comment below with your support, feedback or questions.
Until next time!
This post was written by Patrick