Warning: This is going to be a long article!
A really, really huge one (Read in Trump’s voice)
I am writing this article for everyone. From those who know nothing about Amazon Affiliate Marketing to those who are swimming the ocean right now, this article will help everyone (i promise). So even if it takes time, i suggest that you read the whole thing.
You will be able to start your own affiliate marketing journey after you finish reading this masterpiece (Yeah, i said it).
What is Amazon Affiliate Marketing?
The eCommerce giant Amazon has an interesting affiliate marketing policy that they call Amazon Associates Program. Here’s what happens:
- Amazon has millions of products in their website
- You as an affiliate will create your own website to talk about specific products/niches of Amazon and you will redirect people to Amazon
- When people go to Amazon from your website and buy something, you get a commission
Yes, it is that simple…
How Much Can I Earn doing Amazon Affiliate Marketing?
Amazon went to a fixed payment structure from tiered commission structure in March, 2017. Currently, their commissions look like this:
So, how much can you actually earn from their affiliate program? What most people do not realize is that this is a zillion $ industry and there are huge amounts to be made with Amazon Affiliate Marketing.
Let me calculate the numbers for you….
So you have a site that does bicycle reviews…You talk about bicycles, their models, their reviews and everything else on your site and you redirect people to Amazon from your website.
Every time someone goes to Amazon from your website and buy something (doesn’t have to be any specific product), you get a commission.
Your website gets around 1000 visits a month!
Now, 100 people amongst those 1000 (10% conversion) might visit Amazon and buy $50 worth of product each and the sales number will end up at $5000.
On an average 6% commission, you will end up making: $300
What if you have 2000 visits a month? It can easily double to $600 and the number continues to grow.
One of My Small Sites Sold For $12k
Recently, on June 10th, 2016, I sold a site for $12000 to a Canadian person via Flippa (which is a popular marketplace to sell Affiliate Websites).
This particular site was earning around $400 per month when i sold it.
I started working on this site on December, 2015 and continued working on it till April, 2016.
This was one of my first sold sites in an international marketplace.
When I started affiliate marketing back in 2015, the industry was way smaller and the prices that we used to get was next to nothing.
Things have dramatically improved in recent years.
Here’s a screenshot of the current listed affiliate sites on Empire Flippers.
The lowest priced site I could find on a September, 2018 day was $34k.
This tells you that the market is growing and that is awesome.
Anyway, now that I have established that the industry works and you can make a full living out of this, let’s go through the steps.
Step 1: Keyword Research
So, the first step of your affiliate marketing journey starts with a great keyword research. The idea behind keyword research is to find a niche/industry that has low competition on Google so that you can end up ranking your website for key ‘search terms’ AKA keywords.
There are different strategies that marketers follow when it comes to keyword research. I will tell you mine but this is not the only one (in fact, even I follow different strategies from time to time).
Understand the difference between a buying intent keyword and a regular keyword
Never forget your goal.
Your goal is to send people to Amazon so that they end up purchasing something. That’s when you get your commission.
However, there’s a catch.
If people come to your website typing cats, they might not be interested in going to Amazon because they might simply be interested in cat photos, right?
That’s why you need to focus on ‘buying intent keywords’.
A buying intent keyword is a keyword that people search when they are interested in buying something.
Instead of trying to rank for cats, you will try to rank for best cat food, cat toy reviews & etc.
You get the idea, right?
Now, if you go to Google Keyword Planner and do a search typing Best Football, keeping the location USA, you will see that the monthly search volume for this particular keyword is 1300/month.
Note: You might not see the same display as Google changed their layout since I wrote this article. Let me know in the comments if you need any assistance.
Is this number good enough?
Surprisingly, the answer is YES! This number is more than good enough when you are targeting people to buy things from Amazon.
And you will not rank for one keyword only when you rank a site. You will rank for best cat food, you will also rank for best cat toys, purina cat food review & etc.
The opportunities are limitless.
I have seen from my personal experience that keywords which have around 1-2,000 monthly search in USA are the easiest ones to ranks. This obviously vary but you can always go as low as 800 per month or sometimes even lower depending on your situation. If you are a beginner, the lower should always result in something better for you.
How do i find keywords via Amazon?
Now, obviously, you have to select something that is available in plenty on Amazon because at the end of the day, we want people to buy things from Amazon.
Let’s go to Amazon and start searching for products. It can be literally anything. Stop for a moment and think about the things that you have used or seen in last week. It can be a blender, can be a lawn mower or can be a bicycle. Try to dig deep because the items that i am mentioning are common ones with high competition.
After you find the main topic, it is time to add the variables to the topic to make it a buying keyword. So let’s assume, your topic is blender. The buying keywords in this case would be:
- best blender
- blender reviews
- best blender 2016
- top blenders
- And so on…..
Do a search for each of these on Google keyword planner keeping the country USA. I did the first one for you and the result is around 18,100 per month which is huge. Obviously, the competition is high too so this is not recommended for a newbie. Keep on digging. There are millions of products on Amazon. Find something that is less competitive. It can be literally anything from Knife to generators.
Once you have a product, you will have a category too.
There you go. You now have a topic for your website.
How to Understand the Competition?
There are a few ways to find competition of the keyword that you are planning to work with.
I recommend Keywordrevealer. They have a free plan that you can use or you can buy the $10/month deal.
They are easy to use and you can easily figure out everything that you need to know within two clicks.
I won’t go to the details of Keyword Revealer as that is super easy to manage. Simply type your keyword (in this case, best blender for example) and evaluate the results.
You will find top 10 competition of yours on this keyword.
KR will also give you an overall rating of how difficult the keyword is. If it is below 40, you can probably go for it but obviously, the lower it is, the better.
Also from the top 10 competitions that you see there, make sure that these criterions are matched:
- Not more than 3 ecommerce sites in top 10
- If Social, Youtube or Forum type sites are there, it is a good sign
- If you see a lot of affiliate sites already in the first page, avoid that keyword (because you will have lots of competitions)
- We already mentioned about the monthly search so keep that in mind too
Take your time.
Keyword research can be a tensed and long process, however, it is an important one so you better not rush.
My suggestion would be to start small with a super simple keyword at the beginning. You can always expand later if you see lights of success.
Step 2: Buying Domain
After you have your keyword, it is time to find the domain. You don’t have to make it a complex process as this is simple (contrary to popular believe)
Only rule: Select a domain name that you can expand later.
What do I mean by this?
If your keyword is “best cat food”, do not buy a domain like bestcatfood.com or catfoodninja.com.
This will restrict you to that one category and you wouldn’t be able to extend the site later.
Instead, buy something like meow.com or catlovers.com as you will be able to include anything from cat food to toys to collars under the website if you decide to do that later on.
I always recommend Namecheap when it comes to buying domains. According to me, they are the best (especially because of their awesome support team). If you know a better company, go with that, no problem at all.
Step 3: Buying Hosting
Next step is hosting. Again, a lot of people confuse this and ask questions like, “how big the hosting size should be”. Think about it.
There’s no point in asking this question as you can always go for a better plan without losing the site with literally any hosting company.
My suggestion: Start with the smallest plan on Siteground. They are the best one at this cost.
Step 4: Content
Now that you have your site ready, it is time for content.
In 2018 and onwards, the website with more quality content will always do better than a site with poor content.
You can get your content from us using our Content Writing Service. As our writers know how to write affiliate content, you won’t have to spoon feed anything.
Alternatively, you can always go for Upwork.
How many words of content should your website have?
You can’t really measure everything by number (though marketers love it). The number will wildly vary but I prefer to start my sites these days with 50,000 words.
Step 5: Doing The Basics
Use a decent theme to make sure that your site looks great. You will find loads of themes on Themeforest. Pick one that has good reviews & that looks good to you.
Do you need to submit XML & Sitemap to Webmaster?
You can do it but I don’t think it is a MUST. If you have quality content, Google and other search engines will automatically come and crawl your website.
Step 6: Installing Important Plugins
Without going into details, let me list the plugins I use on all my affiliate sites:
- Table of Content Plus
- Yoast SEO
- Outbound Link Manager
- Contact Form 7
- A Comparison Table Maker
- 404 Redirection to Homepage
- Header & Footer Injection (to verify webmaster & other similar properties)
- Smush (to keep the images short)
- w3 Cache (to cache pages)
This is pretty much all the plugins I use. I try to keep things simple as the more plugins you use, the heavier your site will become.
Step 7: On Page SEO
On page SEO is 100% more important than off page when it comes to ranking your pages. On PAGE is huge & this Backlinko infographic will make it simple for you.
Simply follow this strategy when you are designing each page and you will be fine.
Step 8: Off Page SEO (The Elephant In the Room)
Your site is now live.
It has content.
You did the on-page properly.
However, you are not still ranking and that’s because you don’t have proper off-page SEO done yet.
We will take care of that here.
The world of off PAGE is so big that it is almost impossible to cover it in great details here. We have two different SEO services, the Monthly SEO & Blogger Outreach Service that you can use to rank yourself but here’s a free SEO guide I prepared that you can read.
That should be more than enough for you to begin with.
Step 9: Applying to Amazon Associates Program
Now that you are ready with everything, it is time to apply for your associate program account. Visit Amazon’s associate central and sign up.
It takes a second or two max.
Make sure that you put your site in the settings and verify that the site is targeted to people over 13 years old.
When you are done with everything, you will start seeing affiliate links when you visit Amazon.com (the top bar). From here onwards, you can create affiliate links for any page you want on Amazon.
Step 10: Social Media
Recently, our friend Kent from Nicheup gave me an interesting insight. According to his findings, massive organic social share is good enough to rank an article to the first page of Google. Whether that is applicable to your situation or not, you have to make sure that you are using social media perfectly for your niche site.
These are the must have social media accounts for you:
- Facebook page
And anything and everything else. No social media is bad to ignore.
Do not only create an account and forget these social medias. Always update them with your site link, news, interesting content and etc. Try to engage your audience with the social media accounts. You will start seeing magic.
Before We Finish
We are formally done with the article. This is the section where i wanted to give you guys some cautions and tips about your Affiliate Marketing career.
- Don’t lose focus. There is always a shiny object out there. You should not go for that. Your niche, your website is the one that you will focus on till you make it.
- Don’t get stressed. Things might get complex at times. Take it easy and continue working hard.
- Don’t do something stupid so that Google catches and kills your website
- Do not do poor link building, do not buy SEO services from cheap sources
- Fail once. Failing is a great method to learn Amazon Affiliate Marketing (I don’t know any Amazon Affiliate Marketer who don’t have one/more failed sites)
- Read, Read & Read a lot about Amazon Affiliate Marketing. There is no alternative of that.
I wish you best of luck in your journey. Hopefully, this big article will be of any help in your career.
Oh, I now have an eBook that teaches you everything around Amazon Affiliate Marketing. It is FREE. You can find it here: Amazon Affiliate Marketing For Dummies
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