6 Steps to Creating a Profitable Amazon Review Site

I Want You to Succeed

6 Steps to Creating a Profitable Amazon Review Site

I Want You to Succeed

by Ken
Whether you use me or not, I want you to succeed at this. I really do. I know what it’s like to toil for years and not have anything to show for it. The fact is, though, that every failure is a huge, huge win. The more you fail the more you learn. The more you miss the mark the more you can adjust fire next time.

But, here is one last shot to choose me to build your sites for you.  If not…then get ready for about a gazillion words of “How to Create an Amazon Review Site”

Note: Before rebranding and relaunching I originally had this content spread out over several blog posts.  Heck with that!  Here it is all in one spot.

Step 1: Niche Selection and Keyword Research

Picking a niche is always a “touchy” subject with me.  I really, really, really want to tell you that you should pick a niche in something that you like or that you’re passionate about, something that you know a lot about or that you have an interest in knowing a lot about.  However, I also want to tell you to follow the money; do your market research, find out what people need and are buying, then provide the knowledge and reviews of those products.

There isn’t a right or wrong answer here. However, I will say this:  I started making money with Amazon affiliate niche sites when I started a review site in a niche that was already a hobby of mine. It was something that I loved to do, write about, had passion for, and already knew a little bit about.   This is something that I call the “know, passion, need to know” equation, and it helps tremendously when you’re just starting out, trying to find your groove and what works best.  It was just easier for me to crank out content (99% I write myself) and to experiment with calls to action, tables, lists, long reviews/short reviews, etc, etc.  In the end, niche selection is really important.  (more below)

In the end, my final advice would be this:  It’s easier to stick with something that you’re passionate about and that you know about.  However, that’s not necessarily where the money might be.  For your first Amazon review site, though,  I would highly recommend choosing a topic that covers some (if not most) of the know, passion, need to know equation.

How to Find Your Niche Based on Your Passion and Interests

Write them down!  It’s amazing to me how many people don’t write stuff down!

We all have interests.  We all have knowledge of things that we do everyday, we just don’t realize it is something that someone else could use some help in.  The thing that stops many people from choosing their interests and passions as their niche is the company they keep.  Seriously.  Many people hang out with people with the same interests.  That’s normal.  However, many of us will feel something like “everyone knows what I know about <insert topic/niche>”.  In all actuality, it’s only the people that you know who know what you know that really know, you know?  LOL.  In other words, not everyone knows the shit that you do, but many would like to.  Don’t gauge your level of expertise and what you can offer others based upon the people that you hang out with, admire, read, or aspire to be like.  You’re just handcuffing yourself if you do that.

Here’s a great way to get started:  Write down 25 things that interest you.  You can do it, trust me.  Here.  I’ll do it in a minute or two:

World of Warcraft, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, shore fishing, kayak fishing, snorkeling, SCUBA, hiking, being a good boyfriend, Game of Thrones, Marvel characters, Iron Man, the Avengers, birds, parrots, medium-sized parrots, zombies, the New England Patriots, the NFL, Tom Brady, hydroflasks, wine, scotch, Nissan Xterras, the U.S. Army, recruiting, Amazon review sites, making money online….

That was actually 28 things that I like to do, love to do, know about, or would like to know about in about, done in 3.5 minutes.  Now, some of you might be saying “Well, a lot of those things are the same thing (the Pats and the NFL, kayaking and kayak fishing, etc). You’re wrong, though.  They’re not the same thing.  There are plenty of people out there that are interested in the NFL, but don’t give a shit about the New England Patriots. Those that are interested in kayaking down white water may not be interested in kayak fishing… See my point?  For every topic or niche there is an even smaller sub-niche.  We obviously want to find niches that are profitable (the ones people are searching online to buy from,) and which have enough of a search volume to keep us putting dinner on the table when we’re building our Amazon review sites.

So, how do you do that?

Finding Profitable Niches with Low Competition and Adequate Search Volume

This is how I do it:

First, during the niche selection process I do what I just asked you to do above.  Actually, I do it about 4 times a year, and then, after doing a little more research, I pick maybe 1 to 3 interests that I am going to make a serious effort into building into a niche site. From there I just see where it goes.  If it starts getting decent traffic and some money inbound… I’ll build it out more and wait and see again.  If it doesn’t make money and the traffic just isn’t getting better after 6 months then I scrap it.

And, I use  Long Tail Pro.

Do you need Long Tail Pro to find keywords for the niche you’re thinking about? No. However, using Long Tail Pro helps you pick better keywords and gives your brand new idea and  niche site much more of a fighting chance.  Long Tails Pro costs money, but like some asshole said along the way:  “You gotta’ spend money to make money.”  (Actually, lots of assholes have said that, I’m just the latest one.)

Spending money, to me, means cash or time.  My time is money.  If I’m wasting my time, then I’m pissed off.  LTP is the tool to get if you’re serious about finding profitable niches, ones that have decent volume keywords and competition at a level that you can still rank for.  It gives you the goods! Also, don’t be like me.  I held out on LTP for as long as possible.  I can’t even imagine the effort that would have been saved and the money that could have been made in the past had I been using it all along. SMH.

After you’ve used LTP for your keyword research based upon that article, then you’re ready to move on to the next step of creating your Amazon affiliate niche site.

Step 2: Domain and Hosting

Personally, I don’t put a major amount of time into domains and hosting. I have my personal likes and dislikes and I go from there.  I’m really only looking for two things at this point:  A brandable domain that makes sense for my niche AND reliable hosting that is affordable.  Let’s get started…

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission of varying amount.

Domain choosing has gotten a lot more difficult in recent years.  First, the “exact match domain” is not a good thing in Google’s eyes anymore and many of the best domains are already gone… Forever.  The train of thought I go with (and have read about in many places) is to find a domain name that is brandable, as short as you can make it, and still makes sense.

Example:  I have a site that is centering on the keyword/phrase:  “best custom mouse pads for dads”.  (Not really, this is a fictional site)

Exact Match Domain (EMD) bestcustommousepadsfordads.com/.net/.org/info etc is not good for SEO, but it also just looks stupid in the browser. I’d be pissed if someone actually made me type it.  It just doesn’t make sense to use if it has zero SEO benefit, right?

Something brandable would be better, in my opinion.  And short, too.  You’d have to use your own research and thinking on it depending on your niche and keyword selection.  Just remember that your keyword doesn’t have to be in the domain of the site.

Along those same lines, a site that reviews mouse pads for dads that has a domain name of “WaikikiWelder.com” is not going to cut it either.

If it was me, I’d use a domain finder tool and find the one that best suits me.

My personal choice for domain buying is GoDaddy or BlueHost, but I have used HostNine and Namecheap as well.  Each of them have constant deals that run on domain purchases and you can usually find a pretty decent deal with a little shopping around.

Short, Brandable, and not an exact match is my domain preference

Another Domain Example

If I were to start an Amazon review site on fishing kayaks, then I would want it to be something that refers to, or at least brings about the thought of, fishing or kayaking. Preferably both like kayakfisher.com, kayakfisha.com, fishingyaks.com, etc. ( I don’t know if any of those are available or not… I’m just spitting stuff out.)

Alternately, you can use a prefix or a suffix such as “mykayakfishing.com” or even “kayakfishingHQ.com”.  You’ll be targeting words like “best fishing kayak” and “kayaks for fishing reviews,”  and so as long as your domain makes sense, you’ll be fine.  Of the ones that I’ve listed here, I think that “kayakfisha.com” or .net is the most brandable… So I just went and bought them.  🙂

You could also get “cute” if you wanted to.  However, it’s important to consider your customer demographic.  Domains like “yakkingitup.com” (available?) or “yakcity.com”  are also options.  I’m just not sure if a kayak fishing guy or gal would find it appealing or cute… Maybe.

Whatever you decide to do when it comes to choosing a domain just make sure that you can build a site around it, and that it makes sense.

Choosing Hosting

Unless you’re brand new at the online game, then you probably have a favorite host in mind already.  If not, and you are brand new, that’s okay. There are plenty of us out here in the webernet to help you get started.

Make no mistake about it:  reliable hosting is a necessity to make money on Amazon through your review site.  Why?  Well, if your site is down, it isn’t making money.  If your site is slow, people get discouraged and leave, then the site just won’t do well in Google.  When all of this happens, you end up spending more time on a live chat with your hosting company trying to figure why your site is down again (or dogging them out on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve done that,) and less time working on your site by adding content, reviews, doing outreach, etc.

Reliable Hosting is a Necessity.  Expensive Hosting is not.

I’m not going to bullshit you and let you to think that “this” hosting is exponentially better than “that” hosting.  The only thing I will tell you is that not all cheap hosting is bad hosting, but bad hosting is really, really bad.  Make sense?

Look, if you’re looking for free hosting then you’re in for a little bit of a challenge. Free hosting is usually done by reseller accounts where people who offer a service will let you host with them for free, usually 6 months to a year. I don’t get down with that kind of hosting.  I want to be able to hold someone accountable. The guy who, say, makes my logo and offers free 6 month hosting as a perk is not going to be held accountable when my site goes down.  He doesn’t really give a shit, and he has no control over it anyway.

I’ll make this Step 2 in the Amazon Money-Making “Do These Things” a pretty simple one:  there are really only a handful of hosting companies out there that you need to look into.  I’m an affiliate of some and not of others…

Bluehost

I’ve only had a problem with Bluehost once when one my sites would consistently go down between the same hour every damn day.  I got mad.  They got mad back.  It’s fixed.

  • Customer Service:  Okay to Good
  • Up Time:  Good
  • Cost: Okay

Namecheap

I’ve never had an issue with up-time from Namecheap, but I have had one with their customer service.  I tried getting basic information that wasn’t covered on the site and the live chat operator kept trying to send me to a page on the site.  It was frustrating.  I blew them up on Twitter until they helped me.

  • Customer Service:  Okay
  • Up Time:  Good to Great
  • Cost:  Good

HostNine

I’m pretty new to HostNine, but so far so good.  I bought a re-seller account from them where I host various sites for specific reasons.  They are known as the PBN, or Private Blog Network, host to many people mainly because of their diverse server locations and affordable re-seller account package.

  • Customer Service:  Good
  • Up Time: Great
  • Cost: Good

WP Engine

Meh…   I like the idea of WPEngine, but not what I hear about them once you sign on.  Read this for a horrible story about their hosting.  The “idea” of WPEngine is awesome hosting for a specific purpose: WordPress.  The reality is that they’re a little shady and a little aggressive.  Personally, I spoke to a customer service agent online about going the WPEngine way where told him I would do the free migration (great, btw) later. When I didn’t he tried to contact me several times over email and then tried to connect with me on LinkedIn.  *CREEPER*

  • Customer Service:  Overly aggressive
  • Up Time:  Great
  • Cost:  Okay

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is another host that I don’t completely trust.  Sure, they have great deals and low prices but I’ve heard horror stories of people hanging out on GoDaddy, watching domains get registered, and then offering shady link-building or black hat SEO services. Afterwards, they extort new owners by threatening to notify Google.  No thanks.

  • Customer Service: Good
  • Up Time: Good
  • Cost:  Good
  • Clientele:  Horrible (Plus, Danica does NOTHING for me.  IJS)

As you can see, I have had issue with all of my favorite hosting options.  However, don’t take the fact that I’m being truthful dissuade you from choosing one.  They are the best.  I think if, right now, I had to rank them in the order of which I would choose as a host today, it would be:

  1. Bluehost
  2. HostNine
  3. Namecheap
  4. WP Engine
  5. GoDaddy

Each hosting provider has their pros and cons.  Each one will go down from time to time.  But most will have a very high up-time and offer adequate customer service.

In order to get your site off the ground, you need a domain name and some hosting.  It’s as simple as that.  Good luck and you if you have any specific questions, then please hit me up in the comments below or send an email to [email protected]

Step 3: Website Structure

This is something else that I do that is a little different from what many of the Amazon review sites that people create, earn with, or sell do.

I don’t like static page sites.  I like blog looking sites.  That’s not to say that I don’t create “money pages” with nice Amazon links, images, and tables, because I do.

I do it a little differently, though.

Basic Amazon Niche Review Site Set Up

The legal pages:  Privacy, About and Contact

  • A Privacy Page is a must.  There are plenty of free tools online to get a Privacy Policy page done for you just by plugging in some basic information.  If you need help… Just hit me up.
  • The About Page just adds some human element to the entire mini-business that you’re setting up with your Amazon niche sites.  This is the “who we are and this what we do” page.  If you can add a “why” we do the reviews or “why” we care so much in to your about page, then all the better.  People will trust an emotional attachment.
  • Contact Pages add legitimacy because people will know that they can get a hold of you.  PLEASE do not add a fake phone contact on there to look more legit.  When people call and it is fake then you’ll look like a scam artist.

Reviews

I like to start a site off with 5 product reviews ranging from 500 to 1000 words.

Examples: Ball Point Pen Review Site

  • “The Roller Awesome 5000 Review”
  • “The Best Ball Point Pen from Roller Awesome:  The 5000”

or, simply:

  • “The Roller Awesome 5000 Pros and Cons”

This is where I differ greatly from the static pages.  Many people will build a static “money” page as their front page with about 4k words and review about 5 to 8 different products on one page, usually in a ranking manner, i.e.  “The 5 Best Ball Point Pens”.  They’ll also throw in a table.  I don’t like to do this, not initially, anyway. I like to add more content and pages initially.  I think that Google likes pages with some meat on them, yes.  However, I think that they like bigger sites more so than bigger pages.

The Review Structure

Make sure to use your keyword, “best ball point pen,” at least once, staying within a 3% to 5% keyword density in relation to your post size.  When you do that then the rest of the review, with words and phrases like “quality ink”, “smooth roller”, “comfortable grip,” all become contextually relevant to your keyword and BOOM! You start to get rankings on the long tail stuff that people actually type into search engines, like “does the Roller Awesome 5000 feel comfortable” and “how does the Roller Awesome 5000 write”

Just write a review, either based off your own knowledge or your own research.

100 word intro

(link to Amazon from the name of your product:  “The Roller Awesome 5000”)

200-400 words on features and benefits

(link twice to Amazon with the anchor text being key features and benefits:  “2x more ink” or something like that)

50 word conclusion

(link to Amazon in a call to action:  “Buy from Amazon,”  “Get more information,” or use the product name in the call to action:  “Buy the Roller Awesome 5000”)

The above is where plugins like EasyAzon 4 and Fresh Bundle Master really come in handy. You can actually have images of the product in your reviews and blog posts that are linkable to Amazon.  EasyAzon 4 even has a pop-up feature where if the reader hovers over the image or the link that was created with Easy Azon, then it shows a small snippet of the Amazon product page.

I like to build the reviews first, separately as different posts.  Each has 3 to 6 links to Amazon with my associate tag.  Then after I write, say, 5 reviews on the best ball point pens, I’ll create a table of the top 3 or 5 ball point pens.  The advantage of doing this is that I can then link to my full review from the table to get the person to stay on my site and see even more Amazon links with, quite frankly, a reason to go to Amazon. Such as a good review.

I seek out my product on Amazon and I sort it by reviews.  I want to review, on my website, those items that already have a great reputation and have been bought in high numbers.  Make no mistake about it, most people who leave your review site and go to Amazon will still look at the number of reviews and the comments about the product.  Often times this is more important than the price.

Informational Articles

5 to 8, 400 to 800 word articles

You need to write articles that have everything to do with your topic, niche, and products, but that have zero intent to sell or get a click over to Amazon. In fact, these articles should be linked out only to authoritative, niche-related, non-competing sites.  And don’t just use Wikipedia or something like that, people don’t respect it.  Use an actual website that has to do with your niche.

For instance, if you wrote an informational article about the “Quality of Ink in Ball Point Pens and How it Impacts Your Penmanship” then you could link to a penmanship site, an ink manufacturer site, etc.

These articles must be as well written as your reviews, but realistically, probably better written.  These articles are the ones that are going to get a lot of keyword traffic from Google and make the rest of your site (particularly your reviews) worth an index in Google’s eyes.

The Rest of Your Site

A Search Box:  You want people to be able to search your site when they arrive and put their eyes, and clicking fingers, on your content with links.

Review Widget:  I’m a big believer in using a WP review plugin which allows me to put stars or numbers in my reviews. Then, by placing a widget in the side bar, I can list the top 5 or 10 reviews I’ve done in a particular category.  To me, a review plugin and widget is a must for a review site.

Banners:  Yes, use Amazon banners.  Most people won’t click on them because their guard is up and they don’t want to buy just yet.  They want to read something on your pages that says something good about the product and reinforces their want to buy, and only then will they click.  Banners are great for getting people to actually FOCUS on your product because they are putting effort into ignoring the ad.  Seems weird, right?  But it works…

Lead Form:  You need to make a decision whether you’re going to start building your list.  There are different takes on all of this from many people.  Mike over at NicheSiteAzon actually doesn’t want to put banners or lead forms on his Amazon sites. He wants all attention on the reviews and doesn’t want to distract at all from that.  It really doesn’t matter.  If you think you can gather email leads and use them later to sell other products… Then go ahead.  There are some niches and review sites that this just doesn’t work for.

  • Example:  Book reviews leads can be captured and can then be emailed monthly with the Top Selling Books in particular genres.
  • Example: A snorkel site may not be the best to email market with UNLESS you’re using it as a re-targeting type of thing and getting people to come back.  Once you buy snorkel gear, there really is no next purchase aside from small accessories or more snorkel gear down the line.

Amazon aStore:  Do I use them?: Yes.  Do they work?:  Nope.  99% of my Amazon earnings this year have come from text links or “buy from Amazon” buttons right smack dab in the middle or a the end of my reviews.  I put the aStore on each site, though.  Why?  Because it’s just another way to get a sale.  It’s another option for that impatient shopper who, in their mind, is just saying “just get me to an effin’ checkout page, please!”

Pages:  I like to create pages for my sites that are purely for money-making purposes or for “guides”.  Depending on your niche, think “The Guide to (insert niche) Safely”  or “The Complete Guide to (insert niche),” something like that.  Besides your reviews and posts, these are your best opportunities for making money. They also serve as link bait-type pages to have your site linked to somewhere else rather than the homepage.

Example:  “The 100 Best Home Security Products of the Year”

Each year you can update it a bit to keep it fresh.  Make sure it is attractive and has plenty of links to either review pages on your website or Amazon product pages.

That’s it for Step 3 in Creating Amazon Niche Sites that Earn!

Steps 4 through 7 are soon to follow!

Stay Tuned,

-The Masshole

Step 4: Content Creation and Reviews

Having a blog-style Amazon review site allows us to actually enjoy this site and grow it the way we want. It will not just stand stagnant and wait for more and more links to grow.  You’ll be able to add articles and more reviews as time goes on, and see what pages and keywords are going to actually work.

The reviews, the content, and how those are written for your sites are really, really important to your success.  Sure, the linking, niche, and keyword selection can get you to the first page of Google, but if your content and reviews are crap (or worse, fake looking) then you’re not gonna hit a quarter of what your potential could be.

Let’s jump right in, shall we…

WordPress Plugins that I Prefer for Reviews and Amazon Sites:  EasyAzon 4 Pro and WP Product Review

Note to EasyAzon Developers: (Sarcastically) Thanks again for taking so long getting my affiliate info to me.  You keep taking your time and I’ll keep giving you absolutely FREE links with no return.

Okay, here we go:

The reason I like those two plugins together is that the EasyAzon code works inside of the WP Product Review plugin.  In other words, I can insert a text link from EasyAzon within the WP Product Review builder and the link will be trackable. When hovered over, it actually pulls up an Amazon product info box (this is optional within EasyAzon).  Lastly, WP Product Review allows me to rate my products and look legit as a review site.  There are others out there, some maybe even better, but WP Product Review works great for me even using the free version, which you can easily download from the WP plugin database.  Just search for it from the “add new” plugin screen.  EasyAzon, however, you’ll have to pay for the Pro version for it to be worth salt.  The basic plugin on WP doesn’t allow important options such as images.

Your content reviews should all be about the same length and structured exactly the same way for each review you do of the same type of product.  That means if you review electric scooters, then make each electric scooter product review that you do look same so that readers know what to expect.  This means the same spots for call to actions, the same places for buttons, the same “pro” and “con” section, etc.

Personally, I feel that 500 to 700 words is the perfect lenght.  Too much and readers may lose interest.  Too  little and they’ll see right through your attempt to bullshit your way through a stupid review.  Will every review be earth shattering?  No.  There’s only so much stuff you can say about 5 different electric scooters that will be different from the others.  However, you’ll need to pick the 5 best and then rank them for your reviews to be legit and to actually show that you know what you’re talking about.  You’ll also need bench marks for why they’re the best or why they’re not.  It might be because of a certain metal that the scooters are made of, the durability of the wheels, safety, etc.  Whatever you choose to measure them against to each other, be consistent.

DO NOT just rate the highest priced product as “the best” solely for the size of the commission.  Unless it is the best.  Read reviews on Amazon.  Don’t rate a product as the best when 75% of the reviews says that it sucks.  You’ll look like a fool.

Here’s the format that I use for my reviews.  500 to 700 words apiece.

(WP Review Box with Product Image and Call to Action Button)

Intro:

Maybe 100 words.  Just bringing the product to the forefront and explaining why it’s worth a review in the first place

Features of the Product – 100-200 words

Pros – 100 words

Cons – 75-ish words

Final Analysis/Ranking – 100 words

Call to Action

Unless you’re giving the product a negative review, then it should NOT have more cons then pros.  If you’re giving the product a negative review it will add legitimacy to your reviews; however, so don’t be shy about giving some products a crap rating.  Just realize that people won’t buy it and that page is not going to convert.  Ultimately, you have to choose WINNERS and LOSERS if you’re going to be an AMAZON REVIEW SITE.

Headlines and Titles

Individual Products:  “The SRX 100 Electric Scooter from Widgetville REVIEW”

Not everyone is going to type “Best electric scooters” or “electric scooters review” into Amazon.  And we don’t want that anyway.  Remember, we’re going for long tail, low competition keywords.  Some people already have an idea in mind on what exact product they’re looking for, so they type things into search engines like the above.

Round-ups : “The Safest Electric Scooters for Kids in Middle School”

I still believe greatly in round-up reviews where you list things like “the safest electric scooters” and give a short review of 5 to 10 of them.  This does a couple of things: it adds affiliate links and long tail possibilities to this kind of content that you couldn’t get on individual product reviews.  Within these types of articles you can either link to your individual product reviews, if you already have them, or straight to Amazon. If you link within your own site this could help SEO as people interact with your site and go deeper into it than just the page they land on.  You can also use these types of “review” roundups a type of hybrid content between reviews and informational articles.

Informational Articles

Your informational articles that we’ll talk about SHOULD NOT BE ALL THE SAME length.  In fact, they should purposely be different.  Longer articles of 800 to 1000 words.  These articles are important for readers and Google alike.  Search engines like Google like a lot of content.  These also make the site look more natural.  Don’t forget to link to authority sites around the (non-competing) keywords within your articles.  If you can find a study by a brand name or university that has hard numbers on the safety of electric scooters, then bonus. Some examples of these types of articles are:

  • Electric Scooter Safety Tips for Parents
  • Keeping Your Child Protected on Electric Scooters
  • History of Electric Scooters
  • What are the Different Types of Electric Scooters?
  • What Electric Scooter Brand is the BEST?
  • How to Ride an Electric Scooter for the First Time

…and so on.

Summary

I most definitely do have a specific way that I write content and layout my reviews sites.  I like the site to look natural and for all content to lead into and link to other pieces of content on my sites.  I think this is good for SEO as well as looks good, too.

Bonus Content

On each of my Amazon review sites I like to have a separate page in the navigation bar that says something like “The 5 Best Electric Scooters “.  I then use my highest rated products for this page and build an interactive table on that page that has the image (linked to Amazon), the product name (linked to Amazon), description, and then ANOTHER call to action or button that links to Amazon.  This is an easy way for prospective consumers to compare products and click right to Amazon from your site.  I’ll be posting a table making post on this site at some point.  For now, though, know that if you buy one of my custom Amazon sites then it is included in the site.

Step 5: Initial Links and Getting Some Momentum

In my opinion, this is the most difficult step in the whole process.  Why?  Well, if you’re going white hat then you really have no control over how much people like your content, how many links, how much traffic, and how many sales you get on your site.  This is the step that really spells d-o-o-m for most websites and also crushes the hopes and dreams of people who want to start making money online in this manner.

It’s a mo-fo, so let’s jump right in.

First, let’s address the very large, very appealing, very confusing, very time consuming, and very costly elephant in the room….

…To PBN or NOT to PBN

Do I have PBN links?

I like PBN links.  They work.  I use them. However, they’re mine.  I don’t like to talk much about them, and neither should you. If you make a decision to purchase PBN domains, build a PBN, outsource the building of a PBN, or buy PBN links, you should most definitely keep that shit to yourself.  People blog about their PBN’s (I mean they get really fucking specific) and then wonder why they receive extra attention from Google’s manual review team.

Here’s what I don’t understand: People who sell links from their own PBNs.  WTF!? I mean you have to send a report with proof of links afterward, right?  You’re giving away your network that other people have paid you to link on and you’re just giving up the goodies and risking your network, other clients sites, and a whole business model.  Again, WTF!  That’s like coating yourself in fresh t-bone steaks, walking into the lion’s den, and expecting not to be the center of attention.  It’s moronic, actually.  The good news is that there ARE PLENTY of sites that you can go to right now that will tell you exactly how to set up your PBN.

What’s important is that you build back links in the most consistent and natural way that you can.  And that comes with hard work, outreach, and determination.

I want to make this very clear:

I have no problems with people who offer PBN services or who use them.  Quite the contrary, actually. Shit, I use a few here and there and will be offering a PBN domain deal in the future.  My issue is plainly aimed at the people who have them, blog about them, construct them sloppily, and then complain when Google hammers them.  That’s why a service and a site like PBN HQ is so important…they don’t just sell domains, they have articles to help you set up your domains and get them indexed smartly and quickly.

If Not to PBN… Then What Is the Answer?

Here’s an idea: put some elbow grease into your business and get fucking dirty. Or, at least mix it up between a 5 to 8 manageable PBN sites, then go legit.

Get out of the mindset that because you’re working online then you really don’t ever have to talk, interact, or network with another human being ever again. Rubbish.  

There are slower, less effective, but totally legit ways of linking. Then there are some not so legit ways. 😉

Not So Legit

The Hoth

(Note:  This isn’t a Hoth Review but I like the service and has worked great for my sites.  The links in this section of this post are affiliate links.  If you order, I make some money.)

The Hoth is something that’s great for initial linking and getting some juice flowing to your site from blogs and web 2.0s.  They construct your links in a tier so that the initial tier links to your money site are from “safe” sites with high authority like Tumblr, Blogspot, WordPress, RebelMouse, etc. They then hit those properties with another tier of links from web 2.0, then hit that tier with a third tier of  sites of more questionable authority, and finally they drip feed links from their private network of sites. It’s pretty cool.  It’s thorough.  And it’s affordable.  Packages start at $60 for the mini (and this is what I usually do for my Amazon Review money sites that I’m going to keep or eventually sell.

I love the fact that The Hoth gives a full report of every link they built after it’s all said and done as well as the emails and usernames used to build those properties.  That way I can go in and change anchor text or actually build out those first tiered properties and make a quality site that links to my money site!

Be advised, though, that if you’re using The Hoth then it is still against Google’s ToS as you are BUILDING LINKS for the PURPOSE OF EFFECTING RANKINGS and SERPS.  Just saying…  Is it safe?  I’ve never had a problem with these, and they’ve been MORE THAN GREAT.  It’s still a small risk, though.

hoth initial links for amazon review sites

Pretty Legit

(This is only “pretty legit” because you’re still asking or requesting a link in exchange for something in the hopes of getting better rankings.  It’s harder to prove and track because people who have good sites see that you add value, allowing you to publish on their platform.)

Guest Blogging is STILL the Best Approach:  Don’t join guest blogging network sites and start exchanging guest posts for money or link juice.  That’s exactly what Google doesn’t want.

Instead, actually follow a few blogs and sites in your niche and read them.  Find a few (NON-COMPETING) sites that you like and send the webmaster or owner an email explaining that you have a site as well.  You enjoy their content.  You think you have something to contribute. Ask if they could look something over and consider publishing it.  If they say no, then end it professionally with something like “Aww schucks… Well maybe in the future then.  Good luck”.

If the say yes, though, then do your best to send over a great post that will actually add value.  This will get you trusted and possibly invited back.  Good content will actually get some clickthroughs to your site as well.  Remember to vary your anchor text.  Most people should allow you AT LEAST an anchor text link in a bio at the bottom or top of the post but I know that many also allow a contextual link in the body of the guest post, and that’s what we want.

Blog Commenting, Forum Commenting, and Forum Signatures

These are all still pretty effective.  Blog comments should add value to what you’ve just read and about what the post is actually about.  Forum commenting should be done with the intent of asking, answering, or teaching, and it’s okay to link back to a page in you site if it does one of those things.

A Thing About Anchor Text and Contextual Linking

Forum signatures are a nice little link because they’re contextual.  Something like

“Ken Muise – Want an Amazon Review Site Earns?  Visit Me!”

To me, that is optimal for forum signatures.  I guess I could have anchored the “amazon review sites” but why? It’s going to be read by Google bot in a contextual manner.  The link is a right next to the words “amazon review sites that earn” and links to a website that is all about that very thing.  That’s what we want.  Not every link has to be anchored to text that is a direct SEO keyword.  In fact, if you do this, Google will kill you and your site.  Errr… At least your site.

I mean, sure, exact match anchor text still helps and works, but it has to be done so sparingly.  We’re way beyond that these days.  I love anchoring my naked domains and site name.  It works great.

For the keywords I like to rank for, I can really get decent initial rankings and start climbing the SERPS with 5 guests, some blog comments, ezine links, and THE HOTH right off the bat.  If you were to couple that with 5 to 10 PBN links for low competition keywords and 15 to 20 PBN links for medium competition keywords, I think you’d be on a great path to getting some organic traffic and earning some money.  We start small and we grow.  We don’t just create a site, throw 5 pages on it, slam on some affiliate links and then throw 25 PBN links at some pages. That’s not how we do here! And remember, niche sites are not necessarily small or tiny sites. They are focused sites.

Email List Building:

There are some people who do great when it comes to building an email list from niche sites and getting return traffic and product sales from their emails.  Doug over at NSP and his Amazon Affiliate Site guide talks about this. To me, it all depends on the niche and whether it’s worth putting energy into building an email list.  If it’s a niche that calls for accessories and return customers, then so be it, but how many times does a person need to buy an espresso machine? Again, it matters on the niche.  Some of my sites have a list that I’m building while some don’t.

A Final Word:

Do not trust your back linking to $5 gigs and the like.  It may work out, but more than likely it’ll kill you and your site.  Like I said, legit links are the best and no matter what kind of links you’re building (PBNs, guest posts, blogs, Hoth, etc) at least you know that you or someone you’re paying is putting more than $5 worth of effort into it.  This is still the same ol’ world we live in… You gotta pay or sweat to make it.  It’s no different working behind a screen and a keyboard than it is selling cars on a lot or coffees behind a counter.

Step 6: Monitor Rankings and Decide

Now here you are.  You have a great-looking, well-written, well-linked Amazon Review Site, and you’re adding more content, doing some outreach for guest posts, and getting some social media traction, right?  Well, if you’re not, then you should be.  The only thing besides adding new content and guest posts for links that I would recommend at this point is the social media portion.  Make sure that you at least have social media accounts created for your money site on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  At the very least.  Try doing some profile building on Know’em for more branding.

It’s also time to monitor our sites for keyword rankings, traffic, and earnings.

A Word of Advice:  At this point, traffic is more important than earnings. If you have traffic then you can make money off of these Amazon review sites as long as you did your keyword research and you looked into whether people were actually buying the products that you’re reviewing from Amazon.  As long as you have traffic then, in most cases, it’s just a minor tweak with links, ads, or even the brand of product until we’re making money.  Again, traffic is more important at this point than sales.

In order to monitor their site’s health, traffic and backlinks, you’ll see that many website builders and SEO gurus will use Majestic and Ahrefs.  They’re both great tools that I use pretty often.  Ahrefs and Majestic seem to be, now-a-days, the places to go in order to gauge the metrics of sites with domain authority, page authority, trust flow, and citation flow.  (You can read more about those things on Moz and Ahrefs.)

Again, I use both of those tools.  However, my preferred method to monitor my site is a place aptly called “Monitor Backlinks”.

download

To me, Monitor Backlinks is the EASIEST and CLEANEST way to view all of my metrics and link profiles.  And that includes competitor metrics, too. As a matter of fact, plainly said and straight from the Monitor Backlinks site:

How can Monitor Backlinks help your business (remember, we said that all niche money sites should be looked as a mini-business)monitor-backlinks

The objective of monitorbacklinks.com is to offer easy to use tools that help anyone who is present online (SEOs, freelancers, entrepreneurs and marketeers) to get good rankings in search engines (example: Google) at really affordable prices and even for free. (You can try it FREE for 30 days and then, if you like it as much as I do, you can get a premium account for one domain for less than $25 per month.  This includes:  1 domain monitoring, 2 competitors domain monitoring, 500 referring domains tracking, and 50 keywords)

There are a lots of companies that are not aware that they pay a great amount of money toward building incoming links (backlinks) that are not really useful to their business, (don’t worry, this won’t be us!) because the links are either not relevant, nofollow, broken, or they get removed.

Monitor Backlink checks and sends a notification to the user if it finds any problems with the user links, various SEO metrics, and reports, making it a friendly place to manage all backlinks.

I’m sorry if you feel that this last step of monitoring how our new site is doing is more of a push for Monitor Backlinks.  The fact is that I love the tool and this is probably as hard as I’ll push a service like this one.  It helps.  Especially for newbies because it’s simpler to use and everything is laid out in front of you.  There’s no searching and very little sorting and deciphering.

Check out the Video! Seriously, Sign Up FREE for Monitor Backlinks Today

[video_page_section type=”youtube” position=”default” image=”http://www.contentken.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/monitor-backlinks-frontpage.jpg” btn=”light” heading=”Check out the Video” subheading=”It really IS Easy with these guys.” cta=”” video_width=”1080″ hide_related=”true” hide_logo=”false” hide_controls=”false” hide_title=”false” hide_fullscreen=”false”]https://youtu.be/hnHU0Sonrc0[/video_page_section]

But what do you do if you’re site isn’t doing anything?  Just a trickle of traffic and just doesn’t want to move up in SERPs at all?

Here’s what I would do:

First, I’d continue to add content (at least 2x per month for the first 6 months) and add links via PBNs or guest blogging.

Second, make sure that your on-page SEO is good. GO BACK and check your keywords.  (You’d be surprise how many people drift away from targeting keywords!)

Lastly, if you’ve done it all and you just can’t get the site to move AND you’ve waited 6 months…then kill the bastard. Try to sell it on Flippa if it’s making any money.  Some people will buy it for the link profile or content as long as you’ve done both with some integrity and didn’t SPAM this shit out of them. If you can’t, or don’t feel comfortable selling the site then you can just let it bake.  Maybe someday you’ll come back to it.  Kill your darlings.

Or…buy one of my sites and I’ll get ya’ earning in no time as long as you follow my plan!

Good luck.

-The Masshole

Top