So that’s month 1 over and done with and I have learned some valuable lessons from this challenge already, all of which I will share below.
To recap on the introduction of this niche site case study, I have set myself the challenge of building out another niche site, however this time I won’t be building backlinks and I will be writing the content myself (for at least the first few months).
The idea is to learn as much as possible on what keywords I can rank for using nothing but on-page SEO and good keyword selection.
What Did I do in July?
The target in July was to write one article per day myself to help with focus and accountability and also show what can be done if you are on a limited budget and have to write all of the content yourself.
So how did I do?
Previous Article Volume – 35
Current Article Volume – 72 (+37)
So as you can see I added a total of 37 articles to the site in July, which is slightly more than the target of 31. However, some of them are a little shorter than they need to be.
I am aiming for a minimum of 1,200 words per article, preferably 2,000 if possible. Some of those I have written are around 750 words, however, I did this for a reason.
You see not all of the keywords I select have my 100% confidence that I can rank for it. No SEO will ever be able to say that they can 100% rank for a keyword, things change every day in this game.
So, for those I was less confident about, I decided to test the water with a shorter article and see where it falls. If it shows promise, then I will improve the length and On-Page SEO of those articles…if not I’ve not wasted too much time.
As you can see I am tracking 69 keywords, most of which are really long tail stuff, with a few 2,000+ search volume keywords thrown in just to see how my site does.
I am pretty happy with the first month in terms of the volume of keywords that are already ranking top 100, which is 81%.
I have 34 in the top 20 (49%) and 7 in the top 10 (10%).
I don’t know about you but I think having 10% of your target keywords ranking in the top 10 in the first month is pretty exciting!
Granted most of them are bottom of the page and I only have 1 keyword in the top 3 which is a branded search for the domain.
I did hit #2 for a single day in July for a long tail phrase that did net me a small commission, which I will discuss in detail below.
Traffic volumes are on the rise, that’s a nice looking upwards trend right there, Despite losing 2 keywords from the top 10. I also had some hosting issues so was migrating to a new host at the end of the month which explains the traffic drop as there was some downtime.
Still, we’ve got 220% more traffic than we had in June, which shows the power of adding content consistently.
Time on site is also up and bounce rate down, which I put down to tweaking the theme a little, changing colors and creating a nicer logo. Previously it looked pretty bland and uninviting.
You will notice that the average number of actions is down and I will tell you why that doesn’t worry me.
Essentially, the aim of this site its to get the visitor OFF my site and onto Amazon.
If this means fewer clicks and pageviews on my site then so be it.
I wasn’t expecting any income from this site for a while, however, we did actually earn our first commission from this site in its first month!
As I mentioned above I did hit #2 for a long tail keyword which sent some nice traffic to my site and inevitably to Amazon.
As for the products that were purchased, what was interesting is that it wasn’t a one-time large purchase as I expected but a number of lower-priced products including books on the topic and also some form of insurance product, which I didn’t even realize you could buy from Amazon.com.
It has actually opened up another set of products for me to add to the site that I would have otherwise not known about.
July-15 – $28.01
As you saw above, by looking at the products sold each month you can find new keywords and products, increase the volume of content and grow your site exponentially, by filling it with products that are proven to sell.
One of the biggest tips to take away from this is to look for product names and specific models.
It really is surprising to see how many people search for a specific model number with the most obscure combination of letters and digits. I’ve found hundreds of those keywords and they tell me that the visitor knows what they want and they are looking for a review or to buy.
This is the kind of traffic we want to our sites.
Products NOT sold
Of all the years I’ve be creating Amazon affiliate sites, I’ve never noticed this feature. It’s not surprising really as it’s very well hidden!
On the reports page select “Orders Report”, and scroll down until you see the section in the image above.
You’re looking for “Items with no orders”.
If you look closely there is a small arrow to the right of the text which is clickable.
If you click this the page will refresh and you will be presented with all of the items that received a click-through from your site but didn’t receive an order.
So how is this useful?
Well, for one it can tell you which page is converting well in terms of sending traffic to Amazon but is failing to convert into a sale.
This could be for a number of reasons, such as poor reviews or a product price increase.
It could also mean that a product is currently unavailable, which in my case was in fact the issue.
I have found a great WordPress plugin solution to this…AzonStockChecker
This tool will scan your posts/pages and provide a report which will tell you if an item you are linking too is out of stock.
This info is priceless as it can help you to pick up on pages that get a lot of traffic but that’s not likely that you will see any conversions do to the items being unavailable.
You can quickly switch out the product for another and continue to earn.
AzonStockChecker is priced at just $19 for an unlimited site license, which is a steal if you ask me and it’s one tool I will be adding to all of my Amazon niche sites.
Plans for August
Add 15 new articles
So I set out to write one article per day for July, which I did achieve. However, I now think it’s time to focus on the existing content and try to push as many pages as possible into the top 10.
If I want to see any earnings in August, this is where my focus should lie. So I will set a target of adding 15 new articles, one every other day.
On Page SEO for existing articles
On those non-content days, I will focus on improving 3 of the existing pages.
The things I will be looking at are:
- Word count
- Product images
- Affiliate link volume & placement
- Title and meta info
- Comparison to top-ranked pages
- Internal linking
No Link Building
I’m still not going to build any links to the site just yet. Perhaps in month 3 I will revisit that, however, for now, I like what I am seeing and I want to know just how powerful On-Page SEO and internal linking can be.
So I will stick to the plan and track the results. It’s actually quite refreshing not doing any link building for a project, however, I am not naive enough to think I won’t have to build some eventually!
My next update will be mid-month and will an ‘over-the-shoulder’ look at how I find my keywords, assess them, and decide which ones to focus on.
Let me know if there is anything else you would like me to cover in this case study.