It’s day 4 of the 30 days to make a sale case study and we’re at the point where we wrap up everything we learnt and completed during the first 3 days and finish it off with some good old fashioned competitor analysis.
Really, today is about taking the techniques that you learnt in day 2 and day 3 and putting them in to action using a slightly different approach, digging slightly deeper in to other metrics which we previously didn’t discuss.
So, in todays post we will be looking at how to analyse the competition, we want to learn how to rip them apart, piece by piece and then take all of those pieces and put them in to our own website but with an additional layer of awesomeness.
Before we start, lets recap what you should have so far:
a handful of goals – personal, business, financial…
a chosen market to enter.
a variety of keywords to dominate.
These three ingredients are vital to launching an affiliate website, if you are not completely sure about the market you have chosen, the keywords you have chosen or if you have yet to make a decision, don’t worry. Honestly, the last thing you want to do is rush this part of the process. Take your time, research carefully and make sure you do the due diligence necessary to make the right choice.
So now lets look at who is keeping your seat warm in the SERPs.
Check out the video below which covers all aspects of competitor analysis (at least what I do).
If you are still following along then so far you should have created clear goals for the website you are planning on launching. Secondly, after yesterdays post and video you should have a few ideas for potential markets to enter and hopefully validated those markets to ensure that they would be lucrative if you were to enter them.
Today is all about taking a deeper look in to your market research to uncover low competition, high buyer intent keywords which are absolutely perfect for Amazon Associate websites. I am sure right now you are wondering what exactly are low competition, high buyer intent keywords – so let’s get in to it!
Think you’re brave? Check out my video below! Warning: Northern Accent.
What are high buyer intent keywords?
81% of consumers conduct online research before purchasing a product.
Yes, that is correct and more importantly 60% of these consumers use search engines for their initial product research. This is exactly what we are after, these consumers who are in the active evaluation phase of the consumer decision journey. These are the consumers with the highest buyer intent.
But how do we find these consumers?
Simple. By pre-empting the queries they will use when using search engines for their research.
But wait Will, how the heck do we know what they type?
Through data, lovely, big, fat data!
We know from historical data that the type of queries these consumers use in their search for information include keywords such as ‘best’ & ‘review’ as well as ‘comparison’, ‘compare’ and a handful of others. This should also correlate with the market research you’ve been completing using SEM Rush. Those competitors in the markets you have been investigating are probably ranking for multiple queries which include the keyword ‘best’ & ‘review’.
Just think back to the video, I mentioned ConsumerSearch.com as being a great place to start, they have structured their entire website based off knowing that these consumers type this type of query and they have spent years optimising and tailoring their content towards this consumer.
Just check out this snapshot to the right, this is just a handful of keywords that this website targets and ranks for.
Best Water Filter Pitcher
Coffee Grinder Reviews
My Pillow Reviews
Hot Tub Reviews
Best Canned Cat Food
Best Pressure Cooker
And there are over 450,000 other queries just like this.
If you are serious about making money from your new Amazon affiliate website you will want to target these keywords.
These are the types of keywords which will convert, guaranteed.
What are low competition keywords?
OK so now you know what type of keywords you want to be looking out for, next you need to understand what low competition keywords are.
First, allow me to explain what I mean by low competition.
A low competition keyword is a keyword which is relatively easy for you to rank in Google for. Now, at this point I am slightly concerned that ‘ranking’ and ‘competition’ in this context is going to go completely over some peoples heads, so if you don’t know what SEO is (which is quite OK, I wasn’t born knowing what it was, it was is a huge learning curve) then head over here and read Moz’s beginners guide.
To find out what a keywords ‘competitive score’ is we can use various tools however my preference has always been to use Moz Pro’s keyword difficulty tool and Long Tail Pro. Both of these tools calculate a keywords competitive score by collecting data behind which websites are ranking for the keyword, including data such as the domains authority, page authority, links to the website and much more. By collecting all of this data and using a formula which has been tried and tested for years, the end result is that we are able to use these scores as an estimate of how competitive a keyword might be which is a great indication as to whether or not we should attempt to rank for that keyword.
For those who use this tool, for a brand new website I would look for a score of 30 or below. For an aged site with 12-18 months worth of data and a domain authority of 25 or above you could go up to a score of 40. For scores passed 40 I’d consider them carefully as many will take quite a significant amount of time and links.
Long Tail Pro – Keyword Competition Score
For those who use this tool, for a brand new website I would look for a score of 35 or below, more preferably 25 or below. Anything under 20 is pretty easy to rank for, between 20-30 is doable and under 35 is doable but expect it to take a bit of time. For anything above 35 I’d again consider it carefully as this would potentially take a significant amount of time and links.
The next step of validating a low competition keyword is to analyse the top 10 SERP results.
How to validate the top 10 SERP results?
Again, this depends on the tools you are using, however if we take the two tools we have discussed so far, then this is how you can validate the SERPs of a keyword with Moz Pro Keyword Difficulty Tool & Long Tail Pro.
Within Moz Pro, simply take the keywords you are analysing and copy and paste them in to the keyword difficult tool. Unfortunately, you can only copy and paste 20 per go, so it means having to repeat the process 50-60 times per day (don’t worry you will soon get used to it).
Once you have done this, you will begin to see the data being generated and appearing on the page such as:
The main thing to pay attention to is the keyword difficulty column which is from 1-100. A score of 1% the easiest, where as a score of 100% is basically impossible (I’ve yet to see a score of 100). The following is a range that I like to look out for, based on my experience:
1% – 20% is easy (3 months maximum to rank)
20% – 30% pretty good (6 months maximum to rank)
30% – 35% a bit tougher (6-9 months)
35% – 40% and a bit more (9-12 months)
45%+ a tough little cookie (12+ months)
To be honest I’ve only tried ranking a 40%+ with one website for a handful of keywords and so far it’s taken 11 months and I am mid first page. However, I am also not the best at SEO. This is just my guide for you, it’s definitely not set in stone and there are so many variables that would affect how long this would take you, but just be wary.
My suggest is to simply start by targeting keywords with a keyword difficulty score of 1% – 25% as there are more than enough there, you don’t need to target keywords that are more competitive than that.
The next step of the SERP validation is to actually look at each individual keywords top 10 results, which you can do simply by clicking view (on the right hand side of the image above). This will load a new screen with the top 10 results and an array of useful, interesting data as you can see below.
The image above is a graph which shows the domain authority and page authority of each website ranking in then top 10 results for the individual keyword you are analysing. The image below is beneath the image above when the screen has loaded and shows a more in depth analysis in to each page that is ranking from the first result to the tenth result.
The most important metrics to focus on are:
Domain Authority – the strength of the overall website.
Page Authority – the strength of the page that is ranking in the SERPs.
By focusing on these two you are expecting to see at least 2 to 3 websites which have a domain authority in the low 20s and even better in the single digits or low teens.
Long Tail Pro – SERP Validation
The process of SERP validation on Long Tail Pro is a relatively similar approach to the above, the largest difference is the interface and layout of the data.
Once you have calculated the keyword competition of the keywords within LTP, simply click on the keyword you want to investigate further (left hand side of the keyword, you should see an arrow, click to expand). This is an example of what you should see:
The above snapshot shows you the top 10 results in the SERPs for the chose keyword you are analysing, in our case ‘best toddler carrier’. You will notice that each domain has a separate keyword competitiveness score, this score is calculated for each website individually which is a nice added feature.
Similarly to Moz Pro, you should initially be focusing your attention towards the following columns:
As these are the two most important stats when validating the SERPs for an opportunity. What you want to see is multiple websites with a low domain authority (below 25), even better if they are below 15! In our example above we can see one website with a domain authority of 21 which is a great start.
BIG NOTE: OK, I’ve once again realised there is so much to cover in this daily update that I am missing some absolutely crucial parts in my write up, so I strong advise you to watch the video.
BIG TIP: When focusing on high buyer intent related keywords such as ‘best’ & ‘review’ when doing the SERP validation. If E-commerce websites appear do not get scared it is OK. I’ve seen this a lot and to be honest the majority of times they are only appearing because they have really strong domain authority and there are not better choices. However, when your website comes along Google will hopefully love it and love you and place yours above the E-commerce website.
Because generally speaking, E-commerce websites have no place in the SERPs for queries such as ‘best carrier for toddlers’ as I mentioned above consumers who are using this query in the search engine are looking to absorb information and recommendations and most retailers do very little to actually educate and advise consumers of what they should purchase. However, you will do that!
I am not saying ignore E-commerce sites completely, just don’t get scared of by the site of them. Secondly, Youtube videos obviously will show a huge DA, again don’t be scared – click through to the Youtube video, see what the channel is and see if it’s actually an affiliate who is ranking their Youtube video (it often is).
When doing my research, whilst I hate competing with other affiliates it does give you a bit of motivation when you see other affiliates ranking in the top 10 because you know if they can, you can. Also, I know from experience affiliates are lazy, so you just have to be less lazy than they are, more hungry than they are and you will win!
What other statistics should you focus on?
Page Links – we will cover this in greater detail tomorrow, but if you think you have found a great keyword start digging through the links to the page.
Site Age – it’s not of massive importance, but it is awesome to see domains which are very young such as less than 1 year.
To give you an example of a great looking keyword, check this out:
The above is just one example of a strong buyer intent keyword with good search volume and very low competition, just look at those domain authorities!
Hopefully you have already taken a look at our first day’s post for the 30 days to make a sale case study. If not, check it out right here!
Today we’re going to delve in to the deep and dark abyss that is ‘market research’ we will cover a variety of things including:
My #1 most important tip for choosing your first market.
Why it’s not essential that you be interested in the market you will enter.
How to find a market to even consider investigating.
How to validate a market from both a revenue & competition point of view.
Using SEM Rush to own your market research.
So, let’s begin!
My #1 most important tip for choosing your first market.
First of let me start by saying this tip is aimed at beginners. Those of you who have been struggling to make your first sale online or to make consistent sales weekly or monthly. I’d recommend you follow this advice.
My Tip: When choosing a market, always go for a market where the product’s price range is at least $100 and if possible $400-$500 per product.
Let me tell you a little secret…
When promoting products on Amazon, selling a $50 and selling a $500 product is no different – it’s not harder, it’s not more competitive, it’s not more time consuming…nada, nothing…it’s exactly the same. Except for…
…the commission of course. $2 vs $20 which would you rather take?
OK Will, you have my attention…now please explain to me how this is no different?
Well, we’re talking about Amazon here – your not pushing fat loss ebooks or acai berries.
There are over 200 million products on Amazon and there are thousands which are over $500 and sold every single day, we’re not even talking niche here, normal consumer products, everyday goods. Such as this or this or this and of course this.
Now if you are thinking, well what about the organic competition, again it’s no different. Organic competition isn’t determined by the price of a product obviously, so you have just as much chance of stumbling across a group of keywords targeting products in the $500 price range as you do with finding a group of keywords targeting products in the $50 bracket. It doesn’t take any more time and well the time you do spend is put to better use.
You see, once you do pop your cherry and start generating consistent sales you will be seeing commissions of $20+ per unit and to hit a $500 monthly revenue goal that’s only 25 sales (not even one per day). If you use my Amazon market forecast tool thingy that I mentioned in yesterdays post, you can have some fun and predict the profit of a market right now.
To summarise this first point – don’t choose a market with a low product price range.
Note: I will be writing a post in the next few days which discusses the positives and negatives of choosing products in both price brackets, so stick around or bookmark me and come back to check it out.
Why it’s not essential that you be interested in the market you will enter.
A lot of people will tell you that you should look for markets which you are interested in, hobbies of yours, passions and so on. Whilst I don’t disagree with this, I simply don’t want people to feel restricted when doing market research thinking that they have to be interested in the market, because you really, really don’t.
Now, the reason people usually advise to choose a niche which you are interested in is for a few reasons:
So you don’t get bored.
So you have some actual experience and knowledge of the market which will help you with writing, structuring and growing the website.
So you actually have some initial ideas in the first place.
And, I completely agree with these reasons. However, I still don’t think you should restrict yourselves.
First of, if you get bored then you will get bored no matter what – the market won’t make a difference, if your not passionate about making money online, the topic you choose to start with will make no difference. Your attention and focus will fade away eventually.
Secondly, if you are looking to grow this in to a substantial business there will come a time when you begin to outsource content creation and at this point you can stop researching about survival knives or rice cookers or pressure washers or how to train a dog to pee or whatever else we crazy affiliate marketeers create websites about and instead you will focus the time you have on more growth focused activities.
Thirdly, if we restricted ourselves to only considering a hobby or interest that we had, we’d be missing out on a huge range of opportunities – remember 200 million products on Amazon!
However, it’s a good starting point…
Yes, a starting point – for example if your hobby is boat fishing, don’t just think about boat fishing but think about various types of fishing, as well as other outdoor sports, then go to Amazon and have a look at what they sell in the outdoor sporting arena. Check out the best sellers, which you can do by going here. Take note of products with a significant amount of product reviews (100+ is a good start). But with this strategy you are barely scratching the surface and your approach will be no different from a thousand other people trying to make money from Amazon Associates.
To increase your odds of uncovering a low competition, high opportunity niche you have to differentiate your strategy and begin looking at the bigger picture, using tools such as SEM Rush to analyse thousands of datasets and tools such as Long Tail Pro or Moz Keyword Difficulty tool to help analyse individual keywords.
But where do you start…
How to find a market to even consider investigating.
Well, we just discussed market research for hobbies and interests that have, I expressed my concerns but I didn’t and won’t dismiss this as a starting point. If ineffective at uncovering a potential market, at the very least it will act as an introduction for you to the whole area of ‘market research’ when it comes to building an Amazon affiliate website.
But this won’t do, we need more ideas, more market opportunities, more data to crunch…where can we get this data you ask? From SEM Rush (my favourite tool in the whole wide world).
At this point you might be thinking, but dammit Will, I thought you knew me and the position I am in. I don’t have $69.95 per month to spend on a piece of software. Well, I considered that, so I double and triple checked and then read SEM Rush’s refund policy and you can get a refund with 7 days of signing up (refund policy is here).
I am going to add my affiliate link to SEM Rush, if you feel like signing up and perhaps rewarding me: sign up here.
Honestly, if you are looking to build an Amazon affiliate website, SEM Rush will make everything much easier, as I explain below. I don’t want this to come across as a marketing ploy, if you stick around on the blog long enough you will come to realise there are very few tools or pieces of software that I recommend purchasing, but this is definitely one of them.
What tools I use
How I begin my market research.
How I format my Excel sheets, the functions I use and why.
I delve a bit deeper in to SEM Rush, Moz Pro & Long Tail Pro – all of which are paid accounts, but all of which come with either a free 30 day trial (Moz Pro & Long Tail Pro) or a refund period (7 days for SEM Rush).
Apologies for the length of the video, I tried my best to keep it short and concise but there is just so much to discuss. In the future I will be doing a step by step guide to using SEM Rush and will probably cover Moz Pro & Long Tail Pro in future videos as well.
If you have any questions about any thing I’ve discussed in todays post, just let me know!
Welcome to the first day of the first case study, in the first week of the first month of 2016.
Whew! We have some pretty awesome records.
Today we are going to start by looking at business goals with the majority of the focus being on revenue and how you validate whether a niche can sustainably achieve your revenue goal for the niche website.
If you haven’t already, you can check out the structure of this case study right here.
OK, so let’s get started – I’ve spent a lot of months (this has been in the planning for over a year) on how to structure this case study and how to structure each day and yet here I am still not convinced the approach I will take to trying to put across the information and teach those who are reading will be the most effective. However, it’s got to the point where I need to simply start and I can tailor the layout and structure as we go along and as I receive feedback.
This case study is going to follow along from Spencer, Perrin and Jake’s Niche Site Project 3, there are thousands of people who are following NSP3 and I think it’s perfect timing for me to begin my own case study. For those who are following NSP3 will have come to realise they all have their own style and their own experience and well my style is also different – there are several ways to do each step of the journey and everyone has their preference, it’s up to you to trial them out and find out which you think is most effective and efficient for you.
Just to explain, this case study is the first part in a 3-part series:
12 months to make a full-time income with Amazon Associates
Once the initial 30 days has been completed, we will move on to the 6 month case study. I’ve broken it down this way for a couple of reasons, but mainly because I want to help those who have yet to feel the amazing sensation of making your first dollar online. Secondly, I think it’s easier to comprehend and to take on board when it’s focused around 3 particular goals at different stages of the journey.
Before you begin conducting Market Research (day 2)…
It’s incredibly important to get some things clear before you kickoff and these are your goals.
Whether this is your first niche affiliate website or your tenth, it doesn’t matter – you will still need to have specific goals in mind.
So, ask yourself a couple of questions:
Am I trying to build a brand or simply make some monies?
There is absolutely no issue with simply trying to make money from the website and giving little regard to building a brand, we’re not all trying to build the next Google, at least not yet. I think this first point comes down to where you are in life from an IM experience perspective as well as financially, career-wise and so on.
Think long and hard about this initial question, build a brand with long-term goals compared to simply trying to hit a certain monthly revenue figure so you have additional revenue streams, or to help you move away from full-time employment, to fund backpacking, what ever it might be get this clear from the get go.
Niche or Authority?
This can be quite confusing, especially since everyone talks about (including myself) building an Amazon affiliate site as generally being a niche website. Yet, a niche website can also be an authority within it’s niche…so yeah, a stupid choice of words I think.
To simplify this let’s just say the following:
Niche site = maximum 100 pages of content
Authority site = maximum (unlimited) generally 500+ pages
The reason I am splitting them by the number of pages, is more based on the size of the market and the amount of pages you can publish on a website should have a pretty direct correlation with the size of the market.
Example: creating a niche website around weight lifting gloves would probably be extremely difficult to expand above 100 pages of content. Where as, building a website around weight lifting could easily surpass 500 pages of content.
How much revenue do I want to make from this website?
I know it might sound like a silly question. But, I am being serious. This is a really, really, really important question to ask your self and it will also be a question you need to recall upon when you are doing the market research.
Experience has taught me that not every niche website is built equally, definitely from a revenue point of view. Therefore, you need to think about how much you want to make from the website per month at 6 months, 12 months and when it’s fully built or at least to the point where it’s established.
Our aim is:
To make at least one sale within the first 30 days (30 days from today).
To make at least $500 per month consistently by month 6.
To make at least $2,000 per month by month 12.
It’s important to consider the above, because if we go back to our example of our niche website about weight lifting gloves compared to our authority website about weight lifting. It could be quite difficult to generate $2,000 per month from a niche website which solely focuses it’s attention towards weight lifting gloves only.
You need to do the math.
Note: I have a couple of Excel templates I’ve used in the past to help with the calculations below, you can check one of them out right here.
How to use the Amazon keyword revenue planner
Product AOV * Amazon Commission Rate = Commission Per Sale
Target Monthly Revenue / Commission Per Sale = Target Number of Sales
Target Number of Sales / 30 (days in the month) = Target Daily Sales
Target Daily Sales * 10% (forecasted conversion rate) = Target Daily Amazon Clicks
Target Daily Amazon Clicks / 30% (forecasted website to Amazon CTR) * 100 = Target Daily Traffic
At this point you need to forecast what the the conversion rate from amazon click to conversion will be – I usually predict between 5% – 10% for this let’s use 10%. Then, once you have the number of daily Amazon clicks you will then need to use a forecasted website to Amazon Click Through Rate (CTR) let’s use 30% (I usually predict between 20% – 40%)
By doing this calculation you can quickly see whether or not a niche will be lucrative to the point of what you are aiming for. For the example above we will need 1,480 unique visitors per day to hit $2,000 per month in revenue and this is based on 30% of these unique visitors clicking through to Amazon and 10% of those users actually purchasing a pair of weight lifting gloves for $20.
Now, when you come to do the keyword research you might look at 1,480 unique visitors per day and think it’s nothing, however I’ve done some extremely quick analysis in to the example niche and on an initial basis I highly doubt by targeting just ‘weight lifting glove’ related keywords only and focusing a website solely on this topic you would be able to achieve this revenue per month.
Note: I said achieve this revenue, not this amount of daily visitors. I don’t want to make this more complex than it already is, but the type of keyword we are discussing for the example above are ‘buyer relayed keywords’ these are keywords where the users intent is to purchase.
The reason I say it will be unlikely is because the market demand for this product doesn’t look large enough to support the 1,480 unique visitors per day (44,000 unique visitors per month).
To conclude our first day of the 30 days to make a sale case study: Be sure the market you are looking at is validated based on the your goals and answers to the three questions above. Brand or Non-Brand, Niche or Authority & Revenue Target.
So before you go on to the next step of researching a market, have a think about what type of website you are looking to build. Whether you are looking to build a website that simply generates revenue or if you are looking to build a website which has the potential to grow in to a reputable, authoritative brand. More importantly, take in to consideration the revenue you would be looking to generate from the website and use this information when you continue on to market research which will help in validating whether or not that niche will be sustainable for hitting your revenue goals.