As an SEO service provider people come to me almost on a daily basis asking me to help them with their Amazon affiliate sites. The quality of these range from huge authority sites to crappy cut and paste jobs that have no hope at ever making sales. What is interesting though is that despite all of the latest Google algorithm changes, there are still so many people building these sites that have no hope at all of ever ranking well, and to be honest it completely blows my mind! If you plan to build Amazon affiliate sites and want to use SEO as your primary driver of traffic, you are going to have to build them to succeed in today’s finicky SEO climate. So here are some tips that I use on my own Amazon affiliate sites that will help you succeed as of today (Aug 13, 2013) if you are interested in building Amazon affiliate sites and plan to drive traffic primarily via search engines.
Write Original Stuff
I think probably the most common mistake that I see when people come to me with their Amazon affiliate sites are that they are just cut and paste jobs. Basically the webmaster will have cut and paste a few dozen reviews and inserted their affiliate links and now wants to dominate the search engines…well it’s not happening buddy! Panda basically destroyed Amazon affiliate sites everywhere when it was rolled out last year, and if your site is purely made up of duplicate content unless you have extraordinarily powerful links (unlikely) your site will struggle to rank from day 1. So if you plan on building an Amazon affiliate site, at least take the time to write or outsource some original content which is vital to success in today’s SEO climate.
Don’t Target Product Keywords
These days when I build Amazon affiliate sites I no longer target the product keywords (say whaaat?!?!) Yes you heard me, I no longer target product keywords. Why? Well these days when it comes to product keywords, Google is all about promoting big brands on page 1. Nowadays when I build my Amazon sites, I will target a related keyword and then stick a related product affiliate link somewhere in the article. For example one of my Amazon affiliate sites that I have is in the wedding/event planning niche. So rather than target keywords like “candy bags” or “centerpieces” (product keywords), I will target a keyword like “wedding ideas” or “best wedding themes” etc. (niche keywords) something that has a good search volume (minimum 1600 exact match) and then somehow weave an amazon affiliate link in there.
So why do it this way? Well again to reiterate if you target direct product keywords themselves, you will be fighting an uphill battle against Google. Remember when people search for things like “candy bags” or “black coffee table”, they don’t want to see your crappy Amazon/Adsense affiliate site, they want to actually see some retailers. Google knows this, and generally for product queries they will want to show big retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, etc., and to be honest I can see their big name bias in the future only getting worse. Just read any internet marketing forum and you’ll see people whining about how Google favors big companies, well it is what it is and probably not changing so get used to it!
That isn’t to say that you can’t crack page 1 for product keywords, however in my opinion the writing is on the wall. For many product keywords, it is actually quite easy to crack the top 10 as many of the sites there will merely be ranking due to the authority of the domain and not the actual page itself. However I have noticed that if you do manage to get to page 1, it is likely that your traffic at best will be short lived as someone may report your site and after a manual review you will be removed. Furthermore Google mentioned a few months ago that it was going to introduce some sort of “Merchant Quality” metric in its algorithm, so to me it seems chasing product keywords is a short-term endeavor at best. So these days I just avoid it all together.
Affiliate Links: Less Is More
If you are going to build an Amazon affiliate site (or any affiliate site), remember that less is more. I sometimes get Amazon sites that have as many as 25 affiliate links per article, that is pure insanity! Aside from being an eye sore, many believe that Google penalizes pages that have too many affiliate links, so again if search engine traffic is your goal it is best to follow the mantra that “less is more”. For me I generally don’t like to include more than 3 affiliate links per page in my Amazon sites, and I think if you follow this rule you’ll see that your sites will actually earn more in the long run. Remember a single properly placed text link within an article goes a long way, and I encourage you to experiment with cutting down the amount of affiliate links you use.
Website Content: More Is More
And finally it should go without saying that the more original content you have on your site the better. These days Google is placing a high premium on content, and in general the more articles you have on your site the more search engine traffic you should get. Furthermore a larger site gives your reader more options to poke around, and with more pageviews come more sales. So rather than build a bunch of mini Amazon affiliate sites, why not focus on building a single monster site? In the long run if search engine traffic is your primary goal, larger sites will probably do better, so build them large and you’ll see your revenues rise as well.
So there you have it folks, the tips I think are the most important when it comes to building Amazon affiliate sites in this crazy 2013 SEO climate. I strongly believe that if you follow the above advice that your search engine rankings will be a lot better and you will hopefully earn more money along the way. So remember build your sites to stay up to date with the latest SEO changes and you too can succeed in building Amazon affiliate sites that flood with search engine traffic. Good luck.