12 Month Amazon Affiliate Site Case Study – Exact Steps Revealed
Interested in following this strategy? Pickup a pre-built turnkey Amazon Affiliate site HERE (limited quantity and often sold-out but you can get on the wait list!)
This case study is hopefully the most actionable 12 month affiliate site case study ever published. The goal is to break down what was done over 52 weeks to show you exactly how we grew a website to over 11,000 unique visitors per month (revealing all the numbers down to the # of posts and blog posts made!).
Monetization Comment – This business was started with the intent of creating an Amazon Affiliate site to then push the sales of a physical product we would source. With my Amazon Associate account getting suspended it hurt this sites earnings A LOT! So definitely the earnings are not very impressive but the traffic results are.
Why drop a case study as ONE big post… one of the issues with case studies is that sometimes keeping the pace moving on the case study is difficult by keeping this quiet until I was ready to publish an entire years worth of updates with data it should be a useful complete read.
The story of this site is summed up in the one graph below… great traffic growth but with the Amazon Associate account getting suspended it was hard to repeat the $/visitor we did with Amazon.
4 Main Methods Used on the Site
During the process of building out the site, we focused on 4 particular methods that helped to steer the site in the right direction. The idea with this case study was to do something a little different and stick to only a handful of tactics and document every single little step then only reveal the results once I was ready to publish a BIG case study post like this!
Great Keyword Research, Niche Research, and Solid Initial Site
Starting out with a great site was very important. Both the sitemap, initial content and site creation is important for our strategy.
- Resource – Turnkey Affiliate Sites (often sold out) or Custom Affiliate Sites
- Resource – How to build an Amazon affiliate site
Each week we try to do 5+ blog comments. This is simply going to articles that are relevant to the niche/topic and leaving a comment on their site. The key is, when you leave a good useful comment, you also leave your URL which will be linked to your name once published. Although these are nofollow links, we still believe they hold some value. If you are interested in learning more about blog commenting you should read this article.
- Resource – Blog comment and guest post campaign procedure to follow (we never ended up doing any guest posting)
Each week I try to keep the site fresh by adding an article. Each article I create follows the ContentRefined process to ensure quality. If you are interested in learning more about the ContentRefined process you can go here.
- Resource – How to systematically create great content! (the ultimate guide to content creation at NichePursuits.com)
- Resource – Done for You Content Marketing at ContentRefined.com
Use My PBN Links
At the start of building the site I worked on getting 1-2 links per week for our Use My PBN service, but after a few months I wanted to dial it down a bit and do 1 every other week. Use My PBN is a service I created where I built up a large network of PBN sites that have on average DA25 and PA30. I have seen good improvements with our sites as well as our clients sites when using these links. If you are interested in learning more about this service you can do so here.
- Resource – How to build a PBN
- Resource – Use My PBN
Before starting this site, we had not used the editorial link building root, so we decided we wanted to try it out a few times. This is the process of getting backlinks from sites such as lifehack.org, huffingtonpost.com (now nofollow links), engadget.com etc. These links hold a lot of power as they come from some of the best sites on the internet, and when you have a link from it to your money site, Google really likes it. If you are interested in learning more about our editorial links you can find out more here.
- Resource – Sometimes getting Videos Created can help make the site look better and allow more editorial links to be published – Buy links on major editorial sites here
Month by Month Update – In the section below I will a month by month update showing eactly what we did to built the site.
Last March, my project manager came up to me and asked if we could build a site around a niche that she had been doing keyword research around. After taking a look at the niche, the competition and the keywords I decided it would be a worthwhile venture to take on with the intent of growing the affiliate site and then turning it into an Amazon FBA business. During this month we dug into keyword research more and found a handle of keywords that were low competition. We then took a few of those keywords and created 20 articles around them. We knew that the niche was going to involve a few silos so we planned to get 5 articles created per silo.
|Use My PBN||0|
|Keywords under 20||0|
|Keywords under 35||0|
In April, we started to plan out how we were going to build and structure the site. We picked out a theme (Luxe – from Thrive Themes) and worked on getting it up and running. We then added the 20 articles (5 articles per each silo) to the side and gave it the proper category tag. For the menu, we added each category tag as its own. For the homepage, we added a monster post on the main keyword we wanted to rank for with internal links to the main pages for each silo.
After 2 weeks of the site being up, we started to do some off page as well as adding more content. For off page we were able to get 37 blog comments made.
During the last week 2 weeks of the month we started ranking and getting organic traffic to the site. By the end of the month we were able to get 42 organic searches to the site while ranking for 15 keywords.
|Use My PBN||0||0||0|
|Keywords under 20||0||0||0|
|Keywords under 35||0||1||2|
In May, we wanted to continue on April’s upwards momentum so we did more content, backlinks and blog commenting. During this month we saw a great increase in the amount of keywords we were ranking for. We went from 42 organic traffic last month to a total of 171 this month. This month we added in an editorial link and 4 links from the Use My PBN service which had a great impact on our keywords and their rankings. We also were able to work on the internal linking structure of the site as we didn’t have to many in place during the previous months.
|Use My PBN||0||0||2||2|
|Keywords under 20||0||0||0||0|
|Keywords under 35||12||28||45||70|
This month we had some great breakthroughs with our keywords and having some of them jumping to the top 20. One of the main keywords we are trying to rank went from 28th to 11th this month. Near the tail end of the month we started making our first few dollars with the site. This month we also were able to reach 356 organic searches which is just about double of last month.
|Use My PBN||1||1||1||1|
|Keywords under 20||0||20||35||41|
|Keywords under 35||112||164||176||228|
This month we had a few down weeks put near the end of the month it started picking back up and improving again. This month we saw that a lot of our traffic was landing on a particular article and was getting click throughs to amazon on a specific product so we decided to think about getting our own similar product created. Again this month we saw a doubling of organic searches from last month, going from 356 to 725. Another one of our keywords had a good ranking increase over the month going from 32nd to 15th position.
|Use My PBN||1||1||0||1||1|
|Keywords under 20||37||38||38||41||81|
|Keywords under 35||251||256||256||281||426|
In the month of August we had a few positives to touch on. We had good growth with monetization from Amazon. Our rankings also had a positive uptick by increasing the number of keywords we are ranking by over 200.
We also started to look at outsourcing our product and looked on Alibaba. When looking at the best way to go about getting a company and your product created, we followed Scott Voelker’s and his article on how to find and source private label products. If you haven’t read it and are looking at getting into the FBA business it would be a great resource.
|Use My PBN||1||1||0||1|
|Keywords under 20||87||90||92||101|
|Keywords under 35||445||450||450||501|
6 Month Update (March 2016 – August 2016)
|Total over last 6 months|
|Use My PBN||14|
|Keywords under 20||101|
|Keywords under 35||501|
This month had a few negatives and a few positives. This month we made progress with our product outsourcing. We got 4 quotes back from suppliers and we created a weighted matrix chart to decide which ones we wanted to get samples from. We even got two samples, however one was a no right away.
We saw good growth this month in terms of monetization, however by the last week of the month our Amazon account got banned and so we lost a good source of revenue that we were hoping to have.
This month we also did a bit of design change on the site. The homepage, which once was a monster blog post is now laid out with videos, images and small descriptions on each of the silos our site talks about. We also added a call to action button that takes people to the monster post.
|Use My PBN||0||0||0||0|
|Keywords under 20||147||159||247||184|
|Keywords under 35||605||651||914||681|
This month I was able to get an average 156 organic visitors per day. When looking at the metrics for the site, I found that we had made some good progress, Page Authority 36 Domain Authority 25 Citation Flow 26 and Trust Flow 23.
We were having a LOT of issues with sizing for our product, we are still working with the one company to come up with a solution to solve this problem.
|Use My PBN||0||1||0||0||1|
|Keywords under 20||210||248||350||362||380|
|Keywords under 35||780||780||1,069||1,115||1,127|
One of our main keywords went from 8th to 3rd this month.
Monetization for the month also hit a new high at $164.04 (despite loosing Amazon Associates account!). This month we found a solution to the sizing issues on our outsourced product. I also hired a graphic designer to create the packaging design for the product.
|Use My PBN||0||1||0||1|
|Keywords under 20||400||434||461||515|
|Keywords under 35||1,250||1,187||1,222||1,313|
Almost increased the keywords I was ranking for by 1,000 in one week. As expected from a December month the monetization had some good weeks.
I also order 600 units of the product FINALLY! The product will take about a month to complete. We also incorporated the new business and signed up on Amazon Seller. In order to get the barcodes for the product I had to buy GTINS from GS1. The product is being shipped to a third party company in the US where they will be labelled with their barcodes and sent to Amazon.
|Use My PBN||0||1||0||0|
|Keywords under 20||540||552||664||767|
|Keywords under 35||1,364||1,377||1,686||1,896|
Every day this month the site had received over 250 organic visitors. The site now reached over 6,000 keywords that it is ranking for, 845 of which are below 20.
The site has not been collecting any email addresses so for next month I decided to make that a priority, especially with our product being released soon.
Our product landed in USA and we asked for 3 units to be sent to us so that I can get pictures done and the listing created. I also got the shipping labels created and mailed to the company so that they can send the boxes with the units to Amazon.
|Use My PBN||0||1||0||1||0|
|Keywords under 20||786||786||792||822||845|
|Keywords under 35||1,936||1,936||1,948||2,012||2,041|
This month we were focusing on Amazon and getting everything setup. We ran into some issues with the shipping labels not being correct as the product was over the weight limit that the shipping label said.
The email list has been going well, the site now has an email list of 145 people. Later down the road we will be doing a free giveaway promotion with the audience and the email list.
|Use My PBN||0||1||0||1|
|Keywords under 20||882||907||907||964|
|Keywords under 35||2,112||2,138||2,167||2,222|
12 Month Update
Overall in the last 12 months the site has been doing well. Not so much in terms of monetization as the site took a hit when my account was banned from Amazon.
However the traffic is growing and the amount of keywords the site is ranking for grows each week. Hopefully once the product goes live on Amazon there will be some traction and a few sales.
|Total over last 6 months|
|Use My PBN||23|
|Keywords under 20||964|
|Keywords under 35||2,222|
Traffic over the last 12 months:
We will do more updates in the future on this site and how the FBA part of it is going. This site should continue to grow with the continued weekly effort of editorial links, Use My PBN links, blog commenting and content plan by following the ContentRefined structure.
If you have any questions on anything in this case study please let me know!
Frustrating with the Azon account ban. But solid performance, otherwise. Love it. Love all of the deets. people should be able to take this study and implement it right away.
How come your Amazon account was banned?
Very helpful case study and to compare to my own sites.
Are all the blog comments pointed at the homepage?
How do you go about anchor text (all same name/ different variations of same name/ different names)?
Do you over put links in the comment box?
Why did it get banned and how did you get out of it?
Hi Celise it was unfortunately due to a partner on another business that spread to my business. I wrote about what happened and why it was suspended… https://websiteincome.com/amazon-associate-account-suspended/ and https://websiteincome.com/amazon-associate-account-closed/.
Takes a lot of patience to wait for a whole year to publish such a complete case study, but i think it shows a complete picture of how a website is grown from scratch. Too bad about the Amazon stuff, and with the lower fees nowadays, perhaps FBA is the future of niche sites.
I found this very useful in terms of what number of articles/links etc. it takes but I feel this is an incomplete case study without a view on expenses (excluding FBA stuff) and time spent. I imagine you have made a loss on the website to date so surely this would have to be viewed as a failure. I get you may turn it around with the FBA angle as you have good traffic, but this is an affiliate case stud not an FBA one.
I also get there is the unknown variable of the amazon account being banned so I feel to make this a better case study you should at least try an estimate what that loss equated to financially and then with the expenses you could determine the profitability of the site.
Hi Oliver in terms of earnings I am definitely at a loss in terms of cashflow but ahead in terms of if I liquidated it I would more then cover my costs. Your points are valid but I chose to use concrete numbers and some people will choose to do a bunch themselves and outsource other parts of it so that was my reason for leaving it off. Appreciate the comments!
Hi John, detailed information and easy to understand the way you build a steady income. I am new to this market and interested in learning techniques. Please let me know that, end of 12 months, how many articles were posted? and how you regain your azon account?
Thanks for the reply.
It could happen to anyone, including a PRO like Jon, Ben. Especially if you’re testing new, different things, Amazon would be ideal in this case. Amazon works with you, unlike other programs that ban you forever with little to no chance of appeal. Having a strong basket as income first and having Amazon, Adsense or any long term investment (401k, TSP, stocks) is ideal in my opinion.
A useful post. What did the Amazon account got banned for?
Apologies, comments didn’t load originally so I missed your explanation above, thanks.
Where were the majority of these links pointed towards? And how did you decided on whether to point them towards the homepage or inner pages (and how did you decided which inner page?)