AMA Case Study: Amazon Affiliate Website From $267 to $21,853 per Month in 19 Months



The Summary of Discussion 2: Amazon Affiliate Website From $0 Until $8K a Month in 11 Months!
u/jamesackerman1234

Amazon Affiliate Website from $0 to $7,786/month in 11 months!

EDIT: You can always drop me a direct message for help as I just realized that for some reason this post has been archived and no comments can be posted
Hey, so! I have been learning a lot from you guys! So, I thought I should share my experience of **how I went from scratch to creating 6 different Amazon Affiliate Websites that make anywhere from $1000 to $8000 USD per month "**EACH!"
Moreover, each site can be sold for approximately 30x its monthly profit. For example, I sold a site for $77,000 in 18 months once it was making $3000 a month.
So, I will try to make the process as brief as possible but since there was a lot of work involved, there is a lot of information that needs to be communicated! :)
So, still tight while I try to explain how I did it!
Idea: Create a high quality, high traffic, niche, review website that provides helpful information to the readers, as well as recommends products to them while making money through Amazon affiliate program.
HOW TO DO IT?
Following steps are involved:
β€’ **Niche selection (you identify an area which is good to work with)**Criteria:- Has products to promote on Amazon (these products have reviews and ratings). Note that, there is a whole criteria to select products on Amazon- Has a lot of rankable keywords (modifiers: best, review, reviews, etc.)- You can beat the competition (competition analysis)
β€’ Keyword ResearchYou make a list of keywords- with the modifiers: best, review, reviews, comparison, vs. etc.- note their search volume (anything above 500 in US)- note their competition (using Ahrefs )- create the article outline (we have devised an outline that yields over 50% Click Through Rate (CTR) to Amazon and ranks the article pretty well)- Assign them to different categories (based on grouping)
β€’ Plan for Link BuildingIdentify articles in your niche which have high number of backlinks. Note them down (these are content ideas), write a better article and then reach out to the backlinks and ask them for links. This is called Skyscraper shotgun method and it has worked out pretty well for us. We get links with a conversion of 5%. For example: we reach out to 1000 prospects, we will get 50 high quality, super relevant, white hat links to our website.
β€’ Planning the whole SiteIn this portion, we combine the keyword research plan and plan for link building to have a mind map of our site that consists of:- money making keywords grouped into 2 – 4 categories properly- a list of content ideas, lists of their backlinks and their outline to get links
β€’ Content Strategy and OutsourceHere you finalize the outlines for all the articles. The outlines are dependent on how to get the articles ranked (onsite) and also to provide value to the readers. You have to fulfill the user intent as Brian Dean says! Give them what they need. And do it quick! (This is one of the recent developments in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), well, not so recent :P). After that, you outsource the content via finding writers on Upwork mostly. For me, I have a personal team of writers who work on my 6 ventures and that has worked out pretty well for me. They also write content for my clients as well.
β€’ Website Development and Uploading ContentI use WordPress for projects like these and based on the site structure we defined in the aforementioned steps, we make the website. The theme I use is basic ASTRA and the plugin for website building is Elementor. We usually use the premium version. Initially, we were using Thrive but it's not good now and I won't recommend it due to issues.The important pages that need to be added to the website are: Homepage, About Us, Privacy Policy and don't forget to add cookies disclaimer. Also, for Amazon Associates program it is important that you add an Affiliate Disclaimer to make sure Amazon approves your site and Amazon account. While uploading content, focus A LOT ON ONSITE SEO AND I CANNOT STRESS MORE ON HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!
β€’ Actually building linksAs I mentioned, we use Skyscraper method to build links and it works for us!
β€’ **MONITORING AND STAYING CONSISTENT!**Note that, the process of adding content, building links and optimizing current content is CRUCIAL. Do not stop and keep your site growing! Google likes sites that keep adding fresh content. So, be likable to Google! Keep monitoring the progress and modify whenever required.
β€’ EXITSell the site or keep growing it. It depends on you. Usually the site sells for 25x to 30x depending on how you did it.
For me, I am at a point, where my goal is to make each site make around at least 10,000 USD per month. Alongside of that, I will keep making more and more sites to add to my portfolio.
Getting here took me time and I had to learn from a lot of resources. I am not quite there yet but I am trying. But, those of you who are just starting out or most importantly people who want to invest in a lucrative, long term, internet business that you can later sell – I would love to help!
ASK ME ANYTHING! AMA
Cheers! :)
306 πŸ’¬πŸ—¨

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CryptoTrendzApp
How much traffic do you get to your site daily?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
For a site making $2000 per month, the traffic is approximately, 50,000. I have figured out that to make $1000, you need around 25,000 traffic.

CryptoTrendzApp
Is that per day you mean?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
No it's per month. ☺️
If a site that follows my model has 25,000 traffic per month. It makes around 1000 USD.
It's an approximation to give you an idea. ☺️

eatmyshorts21
Do you only monetize using Amazon?
Specifically, do you use:
a) Adsense
b Other Affiliate Programs

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Yes, I just use Amazon affiliate program. I use Amazon ads too but only on a few articles. I don't like ads on my site.



SEO Case Study for Affiliate or AdSense Pub: How I Increase Organic Traffic by 900% in 6 Months

The Summary of Discussion 1: AMA Case Study: Amazon Affiliate Website From $267 to $21,853 per Month in 19 Months
u/jamesackerman1234

Affiliate Website from $267/m to $21,853/m in 19 months (CASE STUDY – Amazon?) [Ask Me Anything (AMA)]

Hello Everyone,
After getting an amazing response on two case studies posted earlier, I decided to share another one of my projects that grew from $267/m to $21,853/m in 19 months.
In this post, will try my best to cover each and everything so that you can replicate the same process on your sites as well.
Quick Overview of Site's Valuation
β€’ When we started: ~ $13,350
β€’ Current: ~ $1,092,650
I will explain later in this case study why this multiple is higher (50x) than the industry standard of 30x (which applies mostly Amazon affiliate sites and other kinds of online businesses).
Previous Case Studies
β€’ Amazon Affiliate Website from $0 to $7,786/month in 11 months!
β€’ Amazon Affiliate Site from $118/m to $3,103/m in 8 MONTHS (SOLD it for $62,000+)
In this post, I will take a highly data-driven approach so you know EXACTLY: what, why, how, when of all the steps taken.
For example…
β€’ How the research and planning was done?
β€’ What was the number of articles and why?
β€’ Content writing guidelines
β€’ Uploading, formatting, onsite SEO instructions
β€’ Outreach, backlinks and Public Relations (PR)
β€’ Conversion rate optimizations (A/B testing)
However, if you still have ANY questions, feel free to ask. I would answer EACH one of you.
This is an AMA. :)
So, let's dive right in…
Background of the Website
β€’ Broad Niche: Technology (software mostly)
β€’ About: Work from Home (WFH) [We got lucky because of COVID, the search traffic is increasing with time]
β€’ Type of content: WFH guides, product reviews, success stories of entrepreneurs (viral) etc.
β€’ Physical products promoted: work stations, chairs, accessories related to WFH etc.
β€’ Digital products promoted: Virtual team/project management tools, Software as a Service (SaaS) subs etc. (most money from here)
Note: Can't share more information about the site because of the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). I am very thankful to the client for giving permission to share this case study.
Quick Overview of Stats (the month we made $21,853)
β€’ Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR): 56
β€’ Traffic: 499,383/m (Jan. 2021)
β€’ RPM: $43.76 (earning per thousand visits) – this is combined for affiliate and display ads
β€’ Countries targeted: United States (primarily), EU, Canada
β€’ Primary source of traffic: Search Engines but we are working to create proper emailing lists too
Summary of what we did to get here…
Metric Before After Difference/Increase
DR 44 56 12
Articles/Posts 31 1261 +1230
Backlinks (RDs) 323 (content-dofollow) 496 (content-dofollow) +173
Traffic 13,827 499,383 +485,556 (3512% )
RPM (earnings/1000) ~ $19.31 ~ $43.76 +$24.45 (127% )
Revenue/m $267/m $21,853/m +$21,586 (8085% )
A/B Testing No Yes Applied
Month July 2019 Jan. 2021 19 months
Note that the RPM is combined for affiliate and display revenue.
Research and Planning
β€’ Combined search volume of all keywords: ~ 750,000
β€’ Average search volume per keyword: ~ 610
β€’ Total keywords: ~ 1230
β€’ Total traffic achieved (in 19 months): 485,556 (this represents the increase and ignores the already existing traffic)
β€’ Success rate of traffic achieved (in 19 months): 64.74%. This basically means that based on our keyword research plan, the combined search volume of all keywords was 750,000 and we hit a success rate of 64.74% in 19 months which is a traffic increase of 485,556
Note: The success rate of traffic will increase a lot and is expected to cross even 100% because the search volume of WFH related keywords has risen significantly due to COVID. Moreover, our rankings are improving due to an increase in Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR), aging of content and social shares)
Approach:
β€’ Choose broad keywords based on the brand of the site
β€’ Use Ahrefs to scrape all the "having similar terms" and "questions" list of words
β€’ Filter the lists to remove cannibalization, irrelevant keywords, duplicate content and anything that doesn't make sense
β€’ Group similar words together (Tip: If you have doubt about two similar keywords whether they should be targeted in one article or different articles, you should see if there are 3 or more results on the 1st page of Google that are ranking for both these words. If the answer is yes, then you can also rank for both these words in the same article. However, if you can't find 3 or more same results for two different queries then you should also make unique pages for each one of these keywords)
β€’ Organize the keywords into proper silos and categories
Note: We didn't really pay a lot of attention to the keyword difficulty. Our approach was and still is to completely dominate each and every registered query related to a certain topic. We went big on the content part, we knew it would work and we were right. This approach was different from my previous case studies where we just wanted to make money and didn't really care about being the biggest guys out there. However, most of our keywords still have a Keyword Difficulty (KD) of less than 4 (we produced this content at the earliest phase of content production).
Content
β€’ Articles before: 31
β€’ Articles added: 1230
β€’ Articles after: 1261
β€’ Average words per article: 1349
β€’ Total words produced: 1,701,089
Approach:
β€’ H1, URL, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Title must include: main keyword and other important keywords based on keyword research
β€’ At least one image with proper ALT text
β€’ Table of content for jump links
β€’ Proper use of headings
β€’ How to articles with guides that include images as screenshots with red arrows or circles to indicate steps/process worked really well
β€’ At least 1 internal link per 250-300 words with proper anchor text (DO NOT OVER OPTIMIZE) to a relevant article
β€’ Recommended SEO plugin: SEOPress
There are a lot other things that we took into consideration and there could be a separate post on onsite SEO alone. But, for the sake of keeping it short, let's just focus on this for now.
Outreach, Public Relations (PR) and Backlinks
β€’ Prospects outreached: 7500
β€’ Conversion rate: 2.3%
β€’ Total links got: 173
β€’ Links before: 323
β€’ Links added: 173
β€’ Links after: 496
β€’ Change in DR: 12
β€’ Final Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR): 56
Approach (Outreach)
β€’ Find highly linked content pieces using Ahrefs (Use content explorer feature and sort from higher to lower Keyword Difficulty (KD). High KD indicates that this keyword is being linked a lot)
β€’ Write amazing pieces of content (better than the competitors)
β€’ Scrape the list of sites that have linked to your competitors ( Ahrefs )
β€’ Find their contact details (Hunter is a good tool)
β€’ Manually check to filter out the bad contacts
β€’ Use Mailshake to outreach (tip: send 2 followups with a gap or 1 week each)
β€’ Reply fast to increase conversion rate
β€’ Tue, Wed and Thursday are the best days to send emails and expect responses and conversions
Note: We also adopted other methods like guest posts, Press Release (PR) and community engagement to drive traffic and build meaningful links.
While building links, we ensured that the site is:
β€’ Either niche relevant or has high Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) (80+) – we got nice DR 11+ links through targeted outreach
β€’ Has proper search traffic
β€’ The DR is greater than 20
β€’ Niche edits work the best because they don't incur additional costs like content writing in case of guest posts and manual labor like in the case of targeted outreach. It's the best method to build links at scale
Conversion rate optimization (A/B Tests)
β€’ RPM from: $19.31 (this was just affiliate and no display ads were applied then)
β€’ RPM to: $43.76 (this is affiliate + display)
Approach:
β€’ Relevant content that ranked and converted well
β€’ AB testing on top 30% of the pages (we have added highly converting call to actions, Call to Actions (CTA)s in the right places with the right copy which are giving amazing returns)
β€’ We also added a display advertising network
β€’ Coordinated with our affiliate manager to increase the payout commission
As the traffic increases and we collect more and more data, our RPM and conversion would improve even further. Our goal is to increase the RPM to at least $50/1000 visits. This is considered a very good RPM.
Note that, usually the RPM on our sites is from $25 – $40 (affiliate + display combined). So, this definitely an exception. I am referring to other sites in our portfolio (we have currently 16 content based brands).
An overview of the important numbers, stats, Return of Investment (RoI) and more…
Metric Before Current Projected (Jun. 2021)
Revenue/m $267 $21,853 $30,000
Valuation (50x) $13,350 $1,092,650 $1,500,000
Revenue/y ~ $3,204 ~ $262,236 ~ $360,000
The multiple of 50x is applied because our brand is uniquely positioned to be strategically acquired by 3 major competitors promoting similar products in the home productivity space.
They are heavily funded and based on our discussions with them, they seemed more than interested to acquire our media venture.
We won't go through a traditional route of selling via online business brokering spaces. However, we would directly sell to one of the major players whose products we are promoting.
It is to be noted that, we don't plan to sell the venture till it hits at least 30,000 USD per month. We believe we can hit that without further investment and just optimizing the site for better conversion rate optimization.
What's next…
In essence, content marketing regardless of how it's done is the backbone to grow all kinds of online businesses. Whether it's writing an amazing copy to promote ads or producing content in bulk to drive relevant, highly targeted and converting traffic.
This goes without saying that the times of making money through content websites by writing a handful of pages and building spammy links are gone.
Now, you need to plan properly, create content that not only ranks but also helps the user and then deploying the right strategies to promote it is the way to go.
But, even with those conditions, the kind of Return of Investment (RoI) that these kind of online businesses offer is much higher as compared to traditional modes of investment like stocks, index funds, real estate etc.
The passive way of making money especially around 30K USD a month through a site definitely requires a lot of resources but it's not impossible.
The communities (like this one) where people help each other are becoming more and more common and it's becoming easier to make money. However, it's also increasing the competition and the kind of resources required to reach certain level of passive income and possible exit.
Anyway, I wish you luck in all your endeavors.
And yes, if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know. I understand that I couldn't cover everything in just one post. That's why I am available to answer your queries.
ASK ME ANYTHING AMA!
Regards
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piernut
Is it still a passive income when you write 1230 articles at over 1300 words per article in 19 months and reach out to 7500 people where you write even more content for them? That sounds like a full-time job for at least 2 people or a significant outsourcing investment,
The Return of Investment (RoI) may be greater than stocks, index funds, and real estate but you have invested a significant amount of time and money into it

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
I really like this comment.
A couple of things to consider:
β€’ This is done via a team and of course you have to invest time managing them but it's much less once you have the proper processes in place
β€’ Once you have this much content and links up then you can bulk write 52 articles, schedule them for 1 article / week and hire an affordable Virtual Assistant (VA) to do some social media and community engagement work just to keep things "alive" – you would still be making the same or even more amount of money. And at that stage it gets truly passive. Definitely not before that
Now for the best part about stocks. They usually return a 5% yearly return (index funds).
Here, we have invested around 175K but starting June we would start making 30k per month. it means 360,000 USD per year. This is an Return of Investment (RoI) of 100% approximately. Moreover, the selling of this asset means the proceeds of $1.5M USD.
Of course it takes time, but if you are looking at it from an investor's perspective then you can find companies who run these digital media ventures in exchange of equity. Empire flippers recently launched their program too and we do this too.

koffamoto

Here, we have invested around 175K but starting June we would start making 30k per month

Can you share how those 175k were spent?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Of course:
Content
β€’ Total words: ~ 1,701,089
β€’ Cost/word: $0.08
β€’ Total: $136,087
Backlinks:
β€’ Consultation charges: $2500
β€’ Outreach charges: $7500
β€’ Total payment for links: $14,186
β€’ Tools (approximately): $500
β€’ Total: $24,686
Planning and Admin
β€’ Total: $28,500 ($1500/m)
Total: $136,087 + $24,686 + $28,500 = $189,273
koffamoto
Thanks a lot!!!
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
You're welcome. Happy to help.
themoneychecklist
Do you think it's realistic for one person to do something similar in a 5 year period without paying for writers?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Yes. Definitely. Here is the response to someone who wanted to know if it's possible to reach a $2k/m. I am copying and pasting the exact same one:
I think it can be done but in steps. Like you achieve a $500 mark and then start reinvesting that every month to grow to $2K/m.
Here are the calculations (this is just an example):
β€’ RPM (earnings per 1000): $30
β€’ You need 66,666 traffic per month to make $2000
β€’ Based on keyword research if the combined search volume of all keyword is 80,000 and it ends up bringing 66,666 traffic then you can make $2000
β€’ Now, if the average search volume of each keyword is 200, then you would need 400 articles to hit a combined search volume of 80,000 to get 66,666 traffic and make $2000/m
β€’ If each article has 1500 words, you would need to produce: 600,000 words in total
β€’ If you produce 50,000 words per month then you can hit that in one year.
While doing that, you can keep the socials active and keep active in the communities to promote content for the first year. And then after one year, you can focus on building links to keywords ranking on second page and increase the revenue.
Hope this helps.
themoneychecklist
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer. This is a big help.
One other question: How important is a Facebook page and/or Facebook marketing? I recently deleted my personal account and can't make a new one just to host my company page. Its a common problem with people being locked out of Facebook for good.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Not really. Unless social media is a comprehensive part of your strategy – you don't need it. Not for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at least. However, what I would suggest is to have a Facebook page, schedule all the posts on your site and forget about it. It's good for the brand since there are SEO scores if your site is connected to your social media accounts.
dadara1
Hey James, can you say what do you mean with the combined search volume of all keywords? Are those only your money keywords (best, review, etc.) and do you filter your list to get them? Also, how do you calculate how much traffic you'll get from your keywords, you mentioned 66,666 from 80,000 traffic. That would mean you aim for 83% Search Engine Result Page (SERP) Click Through Rate (CTR). Is this just an example and when you actually do it, you aim for much larger combined search volume for your keyword universe, or did I miss something?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Here are your answers:
Combined keyword search volume
Take an example.
– best gaming headphones (SV: 300)
– best headphones for music (SV: 200)
In the above case, there are two keywords with a combined search volume of 500. And yes, these are money-making keywords.
I do filter my lists to get them.
How to calculate how much traffic you get from combined search volume?
So, for a particular combined search volume. Say, 50,000. It basically means, "this many people search for this keyword on monthly basis in your selected region over the span of past X months."
Now, when you publish articles for ALL these keywords, you won't have ALL the people searching for those keywords come to your site. There are numerous reasons for that. Some of them are:
β€’ All keywords won't rank
β€’ Even if they rank on top position, a fraction of people who searched would click your link
β€’ Due to seasonality, the number of people searching that keyword might increase or decrease
β€’ Once a page ranks, you don't get traffic not just for the main targeted keyword in that but also related keywords
β€’ Others
That's why rather than expecting the exact traffic equal to the combined search volume you expect you will have approximately half of it. Say, for 50,000 combined search volume, 50% is 25,000. In the case of 80,000 yielding 66,666 – I randomly took 83% success rate of traffic.
Hope this helps.
butter14
And you don't think that outside meta-factors like COVID had an impact on your niche? Considering it was an at-home tech website?
Imagine if you went all-in on a niche about movies or restaurants :0
Don't get me wrong here, I like your post and you obviously worked your butt off to get to where you were at. But I think there's still a lot of risk associated with this strategy.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
I couldn't agree more. There was huge impact of COVID when it comes to an increase in earnings. However, we didn't know that the pandemic was coming. Although we worked hard, but yes – external conditions (COVID) also helped us. To be honest, we didn't even know that it going to come so there was no way to incorporate that in the strategy. And you are right, if we targeted restaurants or movies – we could have held back as well and it would have gone down. I completely agree.
butter14
Well I'm stoked that it worked out for you and I'm glad you've been open about your experience.
For me the tl;dr is that the mantra "content is king" – mixed with smart keyword strategies and competitive analysis is what works.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
No problem. :)

F5_Studio
This is further evidence that link building and "content marketing" are low-ROI tasks.
On the other hand these guys did a lot of things which makes sense. So, they will get a good revenue.

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Thank you for sharing your opinion. Appreciate it. We are heavily investing in digital media assets for passive income because it's Return of Investment (RoI) is much higher than other forms of investments like real estate, index funds, etc. And moving forward, we will continue to do so. Of course, we do reinvest our proceeds into much safer options once we make money but while in the growth phase, it's better to reinvest.
F5_Studio
Thank you for sharing your experience. It's worth a lot of money, but you did it for free. Our SEO team knows how many you've done.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
You're welcome. Means a lot. :)

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bradwbowman
What's the message / email you send for the link outreach?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
It depends. For
β€’ Skyscraper: We tell them that we found you previously linked to this piece of content and that we have written another more updated piece and we think that your audience would benefit if you share it.
β€’ Sponsored: Directly ask if they are placing links on the existing pages on their sites or accepting guest posts
β€’ Targeted outreach: It is quite subjective in nature
I hope this helps

Mazing7
Great post!
Were the links you generated for your client pointing to the post or the domain?
You created 1230 articles but only 173 links so did you only generate links for a few post and work to rank those or did you have the links point to the homepage

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
So, this is an important question.
We had proper structures in the form of silos (categories), hubs (sub-categories) and spokes (posts).
Here's what it looked like:
β€’ Categories showed all the spokes articles properly sorted and displayed within their respective hubs
We build links mostly to hubs because it transferred the link juice to smaller supporting articles (Spokes). Most of the links were built to hub pages. We built approximately NO link to the homepage as there were already there. However, we did use the site's name in anchor text to avoid over optimization while linking to the hub or spokes pages.
I hope this helps.

Mazing7
It does a ton.
I have a few clients right now we recently signed with that we are deploying content strategies for and this is the approach we're going to take
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Perfect! Best of luck. :)
alimxy
Makes sense to build links to hubs!
What do you think of creating long form hubs/categories (broad keywords) that link out to spokes instead of the default WordPress sorting
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Yes, that's what we do. We use Elementor Pro to custom create category and hub pages.
The category page displays ALL spokes articles well sorted under their respective hubs section.
While hub page is a content page that has various headings linking to spokes. Sometimes if there are a lot of spokes then we include lists pointing to the spokes articles.
LittleJames17
Do you have an example of a website laid out like this I can see? (Not your website)
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
I won't share URLs here. If you can PM I can maybe share.
LittleJames17
Sorry can you explain further about hubs?
I have a website I have been building and Its laid out like this. Homepage > categories in the menus top of homepage > then categories (silo) > then in the category page I have all the articles on that topic.
How would I backlink these? Send them to the category page? Them the juice flows to the articles?
Also, how would you recommend i interlink these pages?
I currently do the following.
Money articles in a silo will link to homepage, 2 more money articles on same subject but different price. Info articles in that silo will point at money articles. I hit info articles with links to pass juice to money pages. This is what I do when there is many money pages in that silo.
In a silo with 1 money page. I will link the money page to every single info page in that silo and money page to homepage. All the info articles in that silo then point to the money page and to other info pages.
Sorry for such a long winded question.
Congrats on your success you have murdered it.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Just follow this:
β€’ Homepage [/]
β€’ > Different categories under it (we call them silos) – Say Bicycles [/bicycles]
β€’ >> Different subcategories under each category (we call them hubs) – Say mountain bicycles, folding bicycles etc. [/bicycles/mountain or /bicycles/folding]
β€’ >>> Under each hub there would be articles in the form of posts (Spokes). Say, best folding bicycle for men, best folding bicycle under $400 [/best-folding-bicycle-men]
Now, for internal linking
β€’ Spokes link to: other articles in the same hub, hub, category
β€’ Hub article links to: all the spoke articles under it, category
β€’ Category links to: all hubs under it, all spokes under all the hubs
I hope it helps
LittleJames17
So an article links to other articles in that silo and also the silo category page yeah? Not the homepage.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Every once in a while but not every time.

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snoopysikh
First article in SEO subreddit which i liked…may i know the name of the website?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
In affiliate marketing, we don't usually share URL because of various reasons such as the ease of reverse engineering, vulnerability for negative SEO and Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) contracts. In all my case studies and anyone who is in affiliate marketing, the site URLs are seldom shared. Hope you understand. Thanks.

GrdnGekko
How big is the team? How many content wroters do you have that focused on this project?
How do you hire good writers?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
I have an in-house team of around 67 people. A major portion is content writers.
For this project, we had 5 writers producing around 30,000 words each every month. This totalled up to 150,000 words per month. We produced around 1,800,000 (there were other thing to write too) in around 1 year.
We hired writers from Upwork and from personal network.
Here's how the team structure of the whole company looks:
67 people: They work on 16+ of our own brands and around 11 of investor/client consultation and services projects. Our team looks like this: virtual assistants, writers, brand managers, graphic designers, web developers (WordPress), outreach managers, quality assurance executives and general managers. I hire them mostly based on my network or Upwork.
Tip: Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) and train him to do a certain job like outreach. It'll save you a lot of costs

GrdnGekko
Your answers are invaluable. Thank you!
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
You're welcome. Happy to help.
alimxy
For those who were from upwork, do you usually pay them per hour? Or by words?
Is there a particular strategy you use to sieve out good writers?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Always per word.
To find good writers, I pay attention to a few things:
β€’ cover letter
β€’ relevant samples
β€’ quality of writing
β€’ level of cooperation
β€’ desire to work long term
β€’ most importantly response time
And during test, I see:
β€’ quality of work
β€’ response time
β€’ ability to learn
β€’ extent to which the instructions were followed
Moreover, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want a good content writing team:
β€’ Properly test them before assigning work
β€’ Spend sometime explaining the task, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)s and process thoroughly (I personally have a recorded video that I share)
β€’ Be VERY detailed when it comes to SOPs and guidelines
β€’ Have a list of checkpoints that the writer must check before delivering
β€’ If you have these kinds of systems in place then it would become easy to produce good quality content at scale.
β€’ Moreover, once you find good writers – ask them to refer more. In my experience, this has worked really well.
Hope this helps
LittleJames17
Are all your writers English natives speakers?
Would you consider them experts on the topics?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
We produce native level English content that:
β€’ ranks
β€’ converts (with a Click Through Rate (CTR) of over 50%)
β€’ engages the users as shown by low bounce rate and increased engagement
So, when you are achieving that then it doesn't matter whether they are native or experts on the topics. They should be good at research, writing, following guidelines and delivering. That's it.

πŸ“°πŸ‘ˆ

VID_VID
Isn't a 50x valuation too high for an affiliate website? You rely on Google's mood.
Anyway, it's really impressive but can you tell us more about how you've started? Most of us can't afford even a single Virtual Assistant (VA).

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
That's an excellent question. It seems high but it's not. Here's why:
β€’ We would sell to a strategic partner whose product we are promoting. There are three main big players in that space and whoever acquires our site can significantly increase their yearly revenue
β€’ We are not going to sell via brokers
β€’ We are diversifying traffic and increasing our email subscribers list so that we don't have to rely on Google. In this regard, we are also working on social media, community engagement etc.
β€’ Launching 3 products of our own to further make this venture a safe asset to acquire.
Most of all, I mentioned 50x to be on the safe side. I am very confident that we would be able to hit close to 60x. But, let's see.
About myself, I have an engineering background. But, I started as a content writer. Developed my agency that produced 500,000 words of content every month and then transitioned to content website.
For someone who is starting out, I would recommend to sell your services digitally and scale that by leading a proper team. This would groom your leadership, team building and management skills. Once the revenue improves, you can play around with various internet businesses.
This is how it worked for me. But, if you have a job and want to skip the middle step then you can just dive right in as well. Maybe start with a small team and then grow it.
The truth is, every person's condition is different so you have to think accordingly.

rointer
Did you pay for the niche edits? How much was the average cost?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
The average payment per link came out to be around $82. This doesn't include other costs like outreaching to the prospects etc. If you factor in other costs as well, then the average cost per link came out to be $136 – $154

rointer
Thanks for answering. Did you start the website on a completely new domain or you used an auction domain with links? How old is the domain name?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Domain was registered in 2011. There was some content but the owner hadn't paid too much attention to it. The time we started, the site was already 8 years old and the Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) was 44. It had links too and we just added properly planned content and built links in a strategic and result oriented manner

alphawave2000
Fascinating take on the business of increasing revenue. It seems to be all about content and traffic.
You make me feel better as I have a $34 RPM from 71k pageviews per month and you go for $25 to $40. My display ads are only $9 RPM. Do you have any advice on increasing display ad revenue? Or would you consider $9 RPM ok?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Your RPM is amazing! Keep crushing it.
For the display one, if your site is related to a home niche, you can go for Media Vine. They give pretty good RPMs. On the other hand, you can increase your traffic to 100K/m and apply for AdThrive. They are really good. But, you will need to give it time as the RPM increases with time.
Do NOT go for Ezoic as it would slow down your site and you would have issues migrating once you decide to sell. Hope this helps.

-Catherine
Why, in your opinion, would migrating away from Ezoic be any more difficult than migrating from any other ad network?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
It's actually not that difficult. Just remove Ezoic script from your site and disable it from the Ezoic dashboard. You are good to go.
Also, AdThrive takes care of everything for you. Amazing experience. Highly recommended.
-Catherine
Thanks for the reply! I understand the "how" of migrating. You had said "Do NOT go for Ezoic as it would slow down your site and you would have issues migrating once you decide to sell." so I was wondering why you think that it's an issue to migrate in that case? I didn't understand what you meant by that because it is so easy to do the migration work.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Oh right. I understand. So, for one of the smaller projects we did. We sold it for around 60K USD. You can find the case study on my profile.
While we were selling it we had to transfer the "matured and high RPM" to the buyer. In Ezoic, you know that it takes time to optimise the RPM and we wanted the buyer to have the exact same RMP so he doesn't have to restart with bad RPM on his own.
The support was really bad and it took a lot of time to do that.
We didn't have a good experience.
-Catherine
Ah this makes sense! Thank you for the information! I'll definitely keep this in mind.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
You're welcome. Best of luck!

πŸ“°πŸ‘ˆ

toxicapps
Despite all the low key hate going on in the comments, I actually think this write up is amazing! Great work. Thanks for sharing.
My question to you is, can I hire you and your team?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Hey, thanks so much.
Yes, of course. If I think I can help you then we can definitely collaborate. You can direct message me your contact details like Skype or email address.
I look forward to it.

Herr_LawMensch
How much do your content writers costs? Do you do it per word?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
The cost was around $0.08/word and this includes: content research, content writing (using SurferSEO), uploading, formatting, onsite SEO, publishing/scheduling.

HumbleBrothers
Have you found that your upwork writers are equal to hiring someone from indeed, LinkedIn etc?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
I haven't tried both of these platforms to be honest.
Ill-Quail-3218

SurferSEO

Newbie here, thanks again for sharing the case study. First time hearing SurferSEO, do you know how this tool helps with Content writing? Thanks :)
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
This helps you write content that is optimised in terms of keywords and their densities to rank on page one. The tool reverse engineers the top ranking pages and gives guidelines to sort of mimic what they did. There's more to it but that's the easiest way to understand.
Ill-Quail-3218
Wow, thank you so much James! This tool seems really handy, gonna try it out on my first SEO+affiliate venture!
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
You're welcome. Best of luck!

[deleted]
Do you prefer physical silos or virtual silos?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
It depends on the site. Usually, we don't want to complicate things too much by making too many folders. So, if this is the case then we would go for virtual silos. However, if the site is simple with less complications then hard silos work better.

thundermachine
Basing your business solely off of affiliate revenue from a third party business, such as Amazon, is incredibly stupid. They can shut you down at any given moment and they don't have to tell you why.

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Yes, I completely agree. That's why we plan to diversify the sources of revenues. Right now we have affiliate (Amazon and non Amazon) and display. We are planning to launch our products as well. Moreover, we are going to diversify the sources of traffic as well.

landofcheeseandhoney
Love the post and thank you for sharing, especially the breakdown of numbers. If someone had $5k to start with, where would you recommend focus? Content? Or just save the $5k and write yourself?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
I would do this:
β€’ Site research and plan: myself
β€’ Site branding: outsource to Fiverr (around 50 bucks)
β€’ Site development: Free Astra theme (Elementor Pro for one site as site builder): myself
β€’ Create very specific content guidelines for writers: myself
β€’ Content writing: writers
β€’ Uploading, formatting, onsite SEO: myself
β€’ Community engagement and social: myself
β€’ Link building (just targeted outreach): manually myself slowly and meaningfully
Hope this helps

landofcheeseandhoney
Thanks!
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
You're welcome.

webmaster_z
Great job guys! But what about Google updates? Did you foresaw the risk of updates will hurt your site? I make the same job in gambling, but have a much smaller team :)

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Well, Google updates are always a risk. But, what we have found is, if you do the right things then it drastically reduces the odds of being affected. We are not in controversial niches to start with like health, finance etc. And then we do things "right"
Our content genuinely offers value to the readers, the links are built in the right way (or close to the right way) and we try as hard as we can to keep things natural and meaningful.
This doesn't remove the chances of being hit by Google but it definitely reduces the odds. And even if we do get hit, then recovering is rather easy.
We don't use Private Blog Networks (PBN)s or any methods like that.
Moreover, we are diversifying our sources of traffic as well to make this digital asset much more safe.

doganonymous
Thanks for the breakdown! How would you go about choosing a niche?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Niche research is a highly research intensive and data driven process. So, it's pretty hard to explain it all here. However, just an overview is that we look for around 15 to 16 different criteria points. This involves qualitative and quantitative analysis and then finalise the niche.
One way is other niche sites. I believe this is as simple as I can get right now.
Hope this helps :)

Coolarooni
This is really interesting thank you so much for sharing!
Quick question about how you promote products. How obvious do you make it that it's an affiliate link – Do you have product boxes inline? links to products via text? or even dedicated product pages?
I've started using plugins like AAWP but can't decide if that product box look spammy or overly sponsored to my users.

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
We usually do the following:
β€’ Buttons
β€’ Pop ups or banners
β€’ Images
β€’ Sometimes text
Make it USEFUL to the audience and that's all you need to do.

butter14
I've found that finding quality writers is very difficult. Do you have any advice on content writing?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
So, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want a good content writing team:
β€’ Properly test them before assigning work
β€’ Spend sometime explaining the task, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)s and process thoroughly (I personally have a recorded video that I share)
β€’ Be VERY detailed when it comes to SOPs and guidelines
β€’ Have a list of checkpoints that the writer must check before delivering
If you have these kinds of systems in place then it would become easy to produce good quality content at scale.
Moreover, once you find good writers – ask them to refer more. In my experience, this has worked really well.
Hope this helps

πŸ“°πŸ‘ˆ

ozzemg
Thanks for sharing.
While the gains are definitely impressive, I think the time and investment ($189k) required to get you to this point is further proof that there are likely better ways to achieve this.
If this is the result of 1230 articles (which I assume are typical review/best X/comparison 'content mill' posts), you could probably achieve the same results with only a few hundred unique, stellar pieces of content. The added benefit would be attracting organic backlinks to your high quality content, reducing your outreach costs (and time/effort).

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Your point is valid but I look at it from a different perspective. I don't see it as owning a $1.1M asset making $20k a month. I see as a platform that has access to 500,000 visitors every month. With smart strategies, the possibilities to monetize that kind of audience are endless. Content publishing platforms and access to audience is the backbone of internet businesses and it puts us in a unique position to branch out and monetize in various ways like our own product launches (like we would do), Software as a Service (SaaS), eCommerce and more.
For the type of content we had, it's a long discussion but we had a mix of different kinds of pieces each purposed for a different objective.
Hope this helps.

tcali11
Keyword Difficulty (KD) < 4 seems impossible. I guess this is what long tail keywords mean. But I think it depends on the industry and there wasn't much content on WFH prior to the pandemic. We are doing small business consulting which is very competitive and broad we even go up to 40 in terms of KD. Great information! Thanks.

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Actually, if the research is done right – it's not impossible. We have done it numerous times. You just need to look closer. Moreover, we prioritised writing and publishing KD < 4 content first. However, we published higher KD keyword articles too.

LittleJames17
KD 4 and under, are these money keywords you are referring too or informational?
In my niche I've never seen a money keyword with such a low difficulty.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Hey, I am referring to all the keywords. Informational and money-making. And the number of KD < 4 keywords depends on the niche. You're right. However, you can either choose a niche that has a lot of such keywords or just pick out a niche and target every single keyword (to dominate).
One thing to add is, most people complain that they can't find KD < 4 keywords. Most of the time, their process is wrong. They follow the wrong approaches. So, you might want to recheck that too.
LittleJames17
I use Ahrefs to find keywords and use the KD score there as my guide.
Is that what you do?
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
It's not as simple as that. There's a complete process. Hard to explain here.

namaste-1111
I have had this idea on my mind and I do want to try it, but, how important do you consider to have a sort of Table of Content (ToC) with jump links, and also when to use it. I've seen cases of post with no ToC in place and others with jump links I'm the same website.

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
I prefer to have TOC containing jump links. For some articles, I am ranking for all the keywords in the headings used in just one article because of the jump links. Whenever a user searches for a query, the relevant URL that directly takes the user to that specific portion of the article is shown. This makes it easier for the user as well as good for us.

namaste-1111
Would you say that is better to have a n old school ToC, with a list displaying the headings, or a stylish with images and links to the headings? I have remove ToC from some of my sites as I've seen most people don't use it, but perhaps it's because the ToC is not appealing.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
You can just use a simple ToC plugin. That helps and it's more than enough.

omazProduction
Where do you find content writers?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Upwork and other online freelance marketplaces. Moreover, Recommendations from existing writers and other employees come in handy too.

MedalofHonour15
Great read! I love niche edits and having bloggers edit their old content to add my links.

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Yes, I agree. These are the most efficient and hassle free way to build links. Especially in comparison to guest posts. Best of luck for your projects.

MedalofHonour15
Exactly! Best of luck to you too.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Thank you.

Sedrip
Awesome write up! What resources/courses would you recommend for replicating something like this in more detail?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Considering that you want to build a content site that drives traffic through search engines and makes money through Amazon Affiliate (the easiest one)… Then, here are the resources to get started…
For Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
β€’ Neil Patel
β€’ Brian Deal
For learning to build, grow and monetize content sites:
β€’ Human Proof Designs
β€’ Niche Pursuits
β€’ Niche site project
I would suggest that you read the case studies first to understand the bigger picture on these websites and then follow the roadmap to proceed step by step.
I hope this helps.

πŸ“°πŸ‘ˆ

SynergyGeneralist
Could you define your outreach strategy for backlinks in a different format? I am understanding the jest of what your trying to say, but implementation of these directions is confusing. Off-site SEO is the hardest for me and your advice would be helpful!
Approach (Outreach)
β€’ Find highly linked content pieces using Ahrefs (Use content explorer feature and sort from higher to lower Keyword Difficulty (KD). High KD indicates that this keyword is being linked a lot)
β€’ Write amazing pieces of content (better than the competitors)
β€’ Scrape the list of sites that have linked to your competitors ( Ahrefs )
β€’ Find their contact details (Hunter is a good tool)
β€’ Manually check to filter out the bad contacts
β€’ Use Mailshake to outreach (tip: send 2 followups with a gap or 1 week each)
β€’ Reply fast to increase conversion rate
β€’ Tue, Wed and Thursday are the best days to send emails and expect responses and conversions

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Sure.
β€’ Highly linked pieces of content mean niche relevant articles that have been linked by a significant number of websites. You will reach out to these sites in later steps to have them link to you too (common sense tells that if they have linked to a certain piece of content in the past, they might link to yours as well)
β€’ Ensure that the content is so good that the outreached sites have no problem linking to it and that they genuinely think it would be beneficial for their readers
β€’ So, using Ahrefs EXPORT feature – you can export the list of sites that have linked to the highly linked articles
β€’ You can use Hunter tool to find contact details of sites mentioned in this list
β€’ There would be some bad contacts, so remove those from the list that Hunter has generated for you
β€’ Now, combine the website names (extracted from Ahrefs ) with the contact details extracted from Hunter in similar rows in an excel file
β€’ Use that excel file for Mailshake to send out emails
β€’ Create outreach email, then follow up 1 and follow up 2 templates
β€’ Set the basic settings
β€’ Ensure that you reply fast to have the link placed
β€’ Best days to sent out emails are: Tue, Wed and Thur
I hope this helps.

SynergyGeneralist
Yes, this process is more clear to me now. Thanks for your help on this! Btw, great post.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
No problem. Happy to help.

Kentemo
When starting from basically scratch, what would your approach be?
Would you start with 1 website and do as much as possible yourself? Or bet on multiple horses and start a bunch of websites?
In short, would you think you could earn more focussing all your time on one website, or spend all your time across 3-4 websites for example.
Any other advice for beginners?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Hey, this is an important and most commonly asked question.
So, the short answer is: it depends.
If you have a lot of budget, resources, skills to manage teams and most importantly the knowledge to do these kinds of projects then I would start with multiple websites at the same time. The reason is, these projects take time to give returns and I would start multiple at the same so I can get maximum return in 1 – 1.5 years.
However, if you are on a budget then I would recommend you just start with one. Not because I am against the idea of starting multiple, but because your available resources would get divided and you wouldn't be able to reach the minimum threshold of work required to make a site successful. As a result, all will fail.
A person asked me in the comments, what to do if you have a budget of $5k and this was my answer.
I would do this:
β€’ Site research and plan: myself
β€’ Site branding: outsource to Fiverr (around 50 bucks)
β€’ Site development: Free Astra theme (Elementor Pro for one site as site builder): myself
β€’ Create very specific content guidelines for writers: myself
β€’ Content writing: writers
β€’ Uploading, formatting, onsite SEO: myself
β€’ Community engagement and social: myself
β€’ Link building (just targeted outreach): manually myself slowly and meaningfully
The advice for beginners is to learn and implement. Spend a lot of time in properly and logically planning everything. The numbers, projection and everything should make sense. You should know what you aim to achieve and what exactly needs to be done to get there in terms of articles, backlinks, etc.
I can share some resources to learn too.
Considering that you want to build a content site that drives traffic through search engines and makes money through Amazon Affiliate (the easiest one)… Then, here are the resources to get started…
For Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
β€’ Neil Patel
β€’ Brian Deal
For learning to build, grow and monetize content sites:
β€’ Human Proof Designs
β€’ Niche Pursuits
β€’ Niche site project
I would suggest that you read the case studies first to understand the bigger picture on these websites and then follow the roadmap to proceed step by step.
I hope this helps.

Kentemo
Very helpful, thanks!
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
You're welcome. Happy to help.

LittleJames17
Do you optimize the articles with tools such as SEO surfer?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Yes. We do. SurferSEO is highly recommended.

LittleJames17
I stupidly had many articles written without this so need to optimize them all. Massive task but should see some positive changes once its done.
jamesackerman1234 ✍️
That's alright. You can always optimize the articles later. No worries.

hedgehogflamingo
Late to this post but just wanted to say this was super inspiring!
What takes the most effort for you in the first 2 months in terms of planning or content ideas? What was your experience before this venture?

jamesackerman1234 ✍️
Hey, thanks for your kind words. Appreciate it.
In the first two months, understanding the market, defining the marketing strategy, niche and keyword research and content guidelines take the most amount of time.
In general, having the content written and building links can be done fairly easily. However, planning and designing the strategy takes the most amount of time. It's the most important part of ANY content-based venture as well.
Hope this helps, If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

πŸ“°πŸ‘ˆ



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