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Low Competition Amazon Niches in 2017 – Is It Too Crowded For a Beginner?

With all of the people that are getting into Amazon affiliate, are there really low competition niches where you can make money without doing hardcore SEO or owning your own private blog network?

Yes, there most definitely are.

Of course, it’s getting harder and harder to find them, and you won’t be able to make millions from untapped niches, but you can build a steady income that you can reinvest into creating larger authority sites.

My Story

Here’s my proof:

I created a site in the beginning of February and published 4 articles on it.

1 was a big pillar article. 1 was a vs post, and the rest were simple supporting articles to increase relevancy in Google.

I was planning on adding more content to it later, but I haven’t gotten around to it.

The site currently has no links (in Google Webmaster tools or Ahrefs), and here are the rankings for 2 keywords I’m targeting:

 

QuickRankings

I’m very close to cracking the top 10, for a keyword with more than 1,000 monthly searches, with no backlinks whatsoever and only a 4 page site.

Both of my keywords started around the 40th position in Google right after publishing (which is amazing in itself), but now the rankings were nearly halved with no effort on my part. (Other than having a solid pillar post that is more detailed than any other posts I’ve seen on this topic.) 

Here’s what my first keyword looked like:Keyword 1

As you can see, there’s been a couple rankings bumps, and the most recent one bumped me straight to page 2!

Interestingly enough, this pattern resembles something that most people call the Google Sandbox.

That’s basically the idea that Google doesn’t rank new sites until a couple weeks/months, and from what I’ve seen myself and read online this seems to happen on a case-by-case basis.

Either way, these rankings are amazing for a new site!

The second keyword had an interesting spike back in April, and now the rankings seem to be stabilized right in the middle of the 2nd page.Keyword2

What’s next?

After seeing this site’s potential, I’m going to start growing it out this summer and post more updates on my site in regards to how the other keywords are doing and how much I’m making from the site.

Let me know if there’s anything else you would be interested in seeing! 🙂

Amazon Associates Plugin Unavailable

Is Amazon Changing Their Commission Structure? February 2017 Updates

Imagine going from $8,500/month to $5,000/month within days.

This is the possibility that some people are facing with the new (rumored) Amazon affiliate commission structure.

I already wrote a different post about a change that affected deal sites and price tracking sites, but this possible new update looks like it will affect everyone.

In this post you will learn:

  • Where these rumors are coming from
  • What the changes are
  • What proof I have that these rumors are probably true
  • How this will affect you
  • And what I’m going to do.

Where are these rumors coming from?

The original info is coming from this thread on Warrior Forum, but people are also talking about it on reddit, and other websites like One Man’s Brand.

What are the changes?

Amazon Affiliate Volume Based Commission StructureAccording to the WF thread, Amazon might be fully moving towards a category based instead of a volume based structure.

Most Amazon products are volume based, which means the more total items you sell, the more money you make.

So if you sell 6 items for a total of $1000, you earn $40, but if you sell one more item for a total of $1000.50, you will now earn $60.

Amazon Affiliate Category Based Commission StructureThis motivated people to sell as many items as possible without caring about their price that much as the goal was to get to the 8.5% commission rate.

The interesting thing is that some products are already category based and for many of them the % that you get is much smaller than 8.5%.

This is great for Amazon, but not so great for most affiliates. In fact, most people I know stay away from the fixed commission products as they know they’ll earn more with volume based products.

However, other countries (for example UK) have a commission system that is entirely category based, which is what Amazon.com might be shifting towards.

My possible proof for the truth of these rumors

New Category Based Commisions Amazon AffiliateI have two reasons for believing that something is happening.

1. The detailed reports section now contains an “Advertising-Fee Rate” section that wasn’t there before. 

As you can see on the right, it still shows the volume based % for the volume based categories, but that might change soon. (I’m at 7.5% this month which is why it’s showing 7.5% for Books, Sports & Outdoors, etc…)

The category based percentages are also already embedded as you can see based on the Industrial & Scientific and Electronics categories.

There is no reason to have this new % column unless the percentages are going to change even more.

2. The Amazon Publisher Studio Plugin login is unavailable citing that they are “making some improvements to [their] service.”

While this by itself isn’t necessarily suspicious, I’ve never seen this message pop-up (and I’m a compulsive earnings checker) so the fact that this message has been up for nearly 24 hours means the update that they’re implementing must be big.

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How will this affect you?

It depends on where you’re at in your affiliate journey.

If you’re just starting out, you’ll get to enjoy higher earnings right away without having to increase your volume sold, but it will also limit how much you can earn with Amazon as the only way to increase earnings will be to sell more products at the same rate.

If you’re still on the low end of the volume-based chart, you might also experience higher current commissions with lower potential commissions down the road.

If, however, you’re a big fish that gets to the 8.5% tier every month, you will lose out on a lot of money.

It’s not all bad news though! If Amazon does end up implementing this change, less people might start building up Amazon sites, and you might be able to snatch up a couple Amazon affiliate sites at lower prices as people panic sell on Flippa or maybe even EmpireFlippers.

How I’m Going to Act

I’m not going to change anything for now. I’ll just keep building out my current sites with quality content, getting quality links, and hopefully earning more money.

Of course, I will probably be hurt by the lower commissions, but if I build out a couple successful sites, that can outweigh the loss and maybe even benefit me more in the long run because of decreased competition.

This also makes me realize that I need to expand into other areas of earning as if Amazon affiliate shuts down I’ll be left with only $500/month in earnings.

So for me the plan is this: keep expanding and building new Amazon affiliate sites while looking for ways to diversify my income.

What are you going to do?

Amazon Affiliate Decreasing Commissions?

I’m not sure if you heard, but Amazon affiliate has been decreasing commissions for some affiliates.

If you haven’t been hit, you should still know about this because you could be next.

In this post you will learn:

  • Who got hit with the commission cuts
  • How you can deal with it if it happened to you
  • And what the future holds for Amazon affiliate marketing

Quick heads up: this didn’t happen to me. I read about it on reddit and researched it more. Most of the info in this post comes from reddit and Amazon Forums.

What happened?

Some affiliates had their commission rate cut to 2-4%.

This decreased their commissions by nearly 1/4.

Imagine making a full-time income from Amazon and then waking up tomorrow and finding out that you can’t support yourself and your family anymore because you went from making $10,000 per month to $2,500 per month.

That. Would. Suck.

The worst thing is that it hits your entire Amazon affiliate account, not just the commissions from the “bad” site.

So far it hasn’t happened to a ton of people, and it seems that it mostly hit the following:

  • Amazon deal sites
  • Amazon price tracking sites
  • Low priced item sites (Only a few of them though.)

Why did it happen?

It seems that Amazon is paying less to affiliates who aren’t helping them become more profitable.

One hypothesis is that they’re getting rid of the people who send traffic that would’ve bought something on Amazon without the affiliate.

If you have a “best Amazon laptop deals” site it’s likely that the person you send to Amazon was already planning on purchasing a laptop there. You’re just getting a commission because you created a simple list.

You don’t bring them new customers so they pay you less.

For the lower-priced items they cite profitability reasons also, but no one can know for sure.

How can you deal with it?

There are a couple things you can do if you’ve been hit:

  • Create a different Amazon affiliate account and move your other sites there
  • Look for other affiliate programs
  • Or sell off and go into a different niche/business

Since the penalty hits your entire account at once, you can just create a new account and change the affiliate codes for your other sites.

You would miss out on the extra items from the penalized site, but going from 8% to 7% is better than going from 8% to 2%.

You can also check and see if there are other affiliate programs in your niche.

Amazon affiliate is great as everyone knows about Amazon so it’s really easy to make the sale, but other programs have higher commissions.

If you do look for other programs, look at specialized shops instead of big retailers like Walmart or Target, as the specialized shops usually have a higher commission percentage.

You can always sell off your site (although you will probably get a smaller commission because of the percent decrease), but it might be worth doing in order to remove it from your account.

What does the future hold?

Eventually Amazon will either decrease affiliate commissions or cut the program completely.

However, that likely won’t happen for at least a couple years as they’re still focused on growing their site and capturing as large of a customer base as they can.

However, there are always other affiliate programs available, and most if this is pure speculation so just use your brain and try to stay ahead of the competition. 😉

What will I do?

I’m planning on selling my BAB site if I can get $30,000+ for it this May.

I want to cash in on the high months of January-April for that site and then sell it off as I want money to grow my sites that are focused on other affiliate programs and higher-ticket Amazon items.

30k would be enough for me to live at least for a year or maybe a year and a half (as a college student), and invest $15,000 or so in my other online endeavors.

Obviously there’s still taxes and stuff, but it’s still a nice round number.

Were you hit by this commission decrease? If so, are you planning on doing anything about it?

Amazon-Affiliate-Basics

Understanding The Amazon Affiliate Program- Complete Beginner’s Guide

Amazon-Affiliate-BasicsWhen I set out to create my first Amazon Affiliate site I was overloaded with information.

You should create a small niche site.

Wait. That’s wrong.

You should create a huge authority site because small sites are dying out.

Wait. Amazon Affiliate sites are too popular now, so you won’t make any money with this.

I read hundreds of guides and journeys, but it took me over 2 months to actually start working on my first site.

I was confused, scared to fail, and I didn’t know what was true and what was just guru BS.

That’s why I put together a complete guide to understanding all the important basics of the Amazon Affiliate program.

You can either read the whole thing, or jump down to the TL;DR section for a quick overview of the most important points.

P.S.- This guide doesn’t include any website creation tips or mistake.

What is the Amazon Affiliate Program?

The Amazon Affiliate (Amazon Associate) program is a way for bloggers to make money by promoting Amazon products.

If a visitor to your site buys something from Amazon within 24 hours of clicking on your affiliate link, you will get a commission.

Let’s say I own a popular camera blog and I link to different cameras on Amazon from time to time.

If I’m a member of the Amazon Associate program I will make money every time someone clicks on one of my links and purchases anything from Amazon. (The link is active for 24 hours.)

That anything part is very important.

You don’t just get commissions for the items that you promote.

You get commissions for every single item they buy. (Which can result in some pretty interesting orders. I’ve had people order adult items using a kid toys link.)

The commissions that you get depend on the items sold and the number of items bought through your link during the current month.

Some items get you 4% commission, while some items can give you up to 10%.

I’ll talk more about the commission system later on, but now lets talk about why you should use Amazon Affiliate to monetize your site!

[thrive_2step id=’823′]

BONUS: Click here to get 13 must-have tips for your Amazon affiliate success!

[/thrive_2step]

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Month-6

$50 to $600 Per Month Using Amazon Affiliate Month 6 (Experiment)

Month-6This is month 5 of my challenge. Here are my other posts:

CLICK HERE to go to the TL;DR section for a quick summary of this month.

Here are all of my websites:

  • Best Track SpikesThis is the site found in this post. I’m showing everything I can with this site.
  • BABI created this site back in May and it’s been fairly successful up to this point. The products are fairly low value, but it’s my biggest site right now and it increases my Amazon percentages a lot.
  • MPC I also created this site back in May and it’s also been fairly successful. The products are even cheaper than on BAB, but I sell at least 30-40 per month.
  • BFSTThis is one of the 3 smaller sites that I created about a month ago. Fairly cheap/average products.
  • BFSCAnother smaller site that I created a month ago. Fairly cheap products.
  • BBCAnd yet another smaller site that I created a month ago. The products on this site are the most expensive so I’ll focus on getting this site higher in the SERPs soon.
  • BNTThis site has the most expensive products by far. $500-$5,000+ I just created it last month so I don’t expect any sales until December or February, but when the sales do come I’ll get huge commissions!
  • Tester ReviewsThis is a community review site that anyone can submit their reviews to with their Amazon link in the review. You can check it out here if you’re interested!
  • BRMA small website I started in the middle of November in a very low competition niche. Focuses on $30-$100 products.
  • BWTI started this site on November 24th. It will be fairly large and will focus on products in the $30-$250 range.
  • WHQ– A new site I started in December. Very large niche. I’ll be outsourcing at least half of the content in order to grow the site quickly.

If you don’t want the day-by-day updates click here to go to the TL;DR section.

Before

After

Income

Amazon-Income

Best Track Spikes

Best-Track-Spikes-Month-5

Best-Track-Spikes-Month-6

BAB

BAB-Month-5

BAB-Month-6

MPC

MPC-Month-5

MPC-Month-6

BFST

BFST-Month-5

BFST-Month-6

BFSC

BFSC-Month-5

BFSC-Month-6

BBC

BBC-Month-5

BBC-Month-6

BNT

BNT-Month-5

BNT-Month-6

BRM

BRM-Month-5

BRM-Month-6

Daily Updates

Some of these posts are quite long so you can CLICK HERE to jump to the TL;DR section.

January 2nd

I realized that all of my sites had unoptimized logos and favicons.

Most of my logos were around 100kb while I can get them down to 5-10kb with no noticeable loss in quality.

That’s a 95kb difference!

I’m not sure how much this affected my rankings, but I re-optimized those images on all of my sites.

We’ll see how it changes things.

[thrive_2step id=’823′]

BONUS: Click here to get 13 must-have tips for your Amazon affiliate success!

[/thrive_2step]

January 3rd

The writer that I found on Upwork is a goldmine.

The article was well-written, had supporting evidence, and was overall great.

I asked her if she’d be interested in doing 2 articles or so per week for my WHQ site, and if she agrees then I’m pretty much set.

I’ll just have to do a couple hours of keyword research a month, edit each of the articles a bit (it took me about 5-10 minutes to edit the 1,000 word article. In comparison, it would probably take me 30 minutes-1 hour to write that same article), but this would mean around 8,000 guaranteed words of content would go up on WHQ every month.

If I target long-tails, this would be absolutely amazing for increasing traffic!

January 11th

As you can see I took a break from updating, but my sites didn’t take any breaks from making me money! 😉

My first writer is writing amazing content for me as of right now, and I hired another one so in the hopes of getting another high quality post a week for $5 or so. (I have a payment plan for my writers where they start at $5 per 1,000 and get to $10 per 1,000 words, but I think I might just move my first writer right up to the $10 per 1,000 mark because her content is absolutely amazing!)

Even though WHQ is fairly new I’m already getting 300+ impressions and 30 or so clicks per month, and once my rankings improve this site will be another goldmine.

I’m also targeting super-low search long tails in hopes of increasing my traffic.

Since I don’t have to write the content, it makes it easier for me to create posts for 0-20 searches per month keywords because I just have to pay my writers to do it.

January 13th

I’m at $220 earned in the first 12 days of January, which means that I’m on track for getting to $600 this month, but I doubt that will happen.

I think my large earnings at the beginning of the month are from people using their new Amazon gift-cards that they got for Christmas, and soon this crazy spending will stop.

I ended up hiring 4 total writers in total, but I’ll probably drop 1 or 2 of them after I get their first article.

One of the problems with outsourcing an article is silencing the perfectionist in me who wants to do everything himself, because that’s not the way to grow your income. Right?

WHQ is at 40 clicks this month, but still no sales which is a bit strange.

Once it gets to 100 clicks with no sales I’ll change my links to see if using Amazon’s shortened links is what’s causing the problem.

January 15th

One of the writers I got was a bust, but I only spent $5 so it’s not a problem.

The article wasn’t terrible, but the quality is definitely lower than what I’d like on my “authority” site.

My other two writers are great though, and while one of them just needs a couple of 5 star ratings, the other one doesn’t seem to care about that at all.

I added “Get the product!” buttons to BAB to see if that helps the CTR.

Before I only used images, but I want to compare the CTR for the images, the buttons, and the in-text links.

I’m tracking all of the links separately on a high-traffic page and in a month or so I should have enough data to see what works best.

ABT- Always Be Testing.

January 24th

At around $430 this month right now.

I doubt I’ll get to $600, but it’ll be pretty close.

WHQ is getting some sales, and it’s starting to rank for other lower comp keywords.

One of my writers stopped responding to me though and I haven’t done much keyword research yet so I better get on that.

January 31st

I ended up not reaching my goal of $600 per month.

I’m off by $17.

I’m a bit disappointed, but I’m also happy with getting so close to the goal and I know that my sites will grow even more so I should get there in a couple months.

I’ll post a big “analysis” post sometime in February so keep an eye out for that.

TL;DR

Here’s what happened in January:
Things Done:

  • Made $583 from the sites.
  • Bought my first PBN domains and set up a couple sites.
  • Started outsourcing articles for WHQ and BWT.

Things Realized/Thought About:

  • Reinvesting and outsourcing is a must if I want to grow them.
  • I have to constantly test new things if I want to keep making money online.
  • So far the PBN links don’t seem that effective, but I’m still learning so we’ll see if they become more effective as I learn more things.
  • While Amazon is great I hate only having one income stream. I think I’d be satisfied with 6 different ones adding up to $3,000+ a month, but the more the better.

Thank you for reading!

Please comment below if you have any questions!

Art-of-Amazon-Affiliate-Keyword-Research

The Art of Amazon Affiliate Keyword Research

Art-of-Amazon-Affiliate-Keyword-ResearchWould you like to know the secret to picking profitable Amazon Affiliate keywords?

So would I.

There is no secret.

Too many people get caught up in the “ultimate formula” that would allow them to create a profitable site.

I wish there was a perfect formula that allowed you to find a profitable niche every single time.

But there simply isn’t one.

In this post you will learn:

  • The difference between algorithmic and heuristic work
  • How that applies to Amazon Affiliate keyword research
  • And how you can improve your keyword research skills

Algorithmic vs Heuristic Work

There are two types of work.

There’s algorithmic work and heuristic work.

It’s important to understand the difference between the two as it can be the difference between having a profitable Amazon site, and making $0.

What is Algorithmic Work?

Algorithmic work is work that can be boiled down to a formula or a very specific set of instructions.

Google’s search uses an algorithm to sort the results in order of importance.

You could have a person sitting there sorting through all of the results based on the same rules, but a search engine can do it much faster.

Stapling a large number of things in a row, sealing envelopes, and launching your computer are all examples of algorithmic work.

All of them can be boiled down a very simple set of instructions, and if you wanted to you could build a robot to do it for you.

What is Heuristic Work?

Heuristic work is work that might still have some instructions and steps, but there is a multitude of ways to do it with all of the ways being “right.”

Is there a right way to paint a picture?

There are some guidelines depending on what you want to convey, but you can’t boil the whole process into a one-by-one set of instructions.

Great paintings come from practice and experimentation.

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