2-Step Process to 10x Your Amazon Niche Site Value ($120k Example)

This post may contain affiliate links so I earn a commission. Please read my disclosure for more info.

The value of the site is approximately $120,000.

This post covers the simple, 2-step process that I implemented to increase the value for my niche site by $118,800.

The value of the site went from about $1,200 in 2015 to about $120,000 one year later, assuming a 25x monthly multiple valuation.

I did all of this part-time, outsourced most everything but the strategy, and ranked in Google through White Hat Content marketing, not Gray Hat Private Blog Networks.

Spoiler: Step 1 is content, and Step 2 is link building. I’ll give you all the templates you need to do the same thing for your site. Get the templates here for free.

I don’t do case study updates for my own sites very often. That’s for 2 reasons:

  1. The more I write about it, the more people may get interested in finding my site. It’s sort of unlikely that anything really bad will happen, but negative SEO is real and that makes it a risk that I can’t ignore. Keywords are not all that valuable in my opinion since you still have to execute and do the work.
  2. It’s more interesting to see what other people, like you, are doing. That’s why I publish success stories.

Ah, okay. 3 reasons. The third is: it’s easier NOT to write an update and simply do the work on the site instead.

If you have concerns about the valuation I listed above, I’d love to hear them in the comments. Valuations are interesting and dynamic so I’m sure some people disagree.

Executive Summary…What’s the Lowdown?

I took this site from:

  • Making about $450 in 2015 to over $20,488 in 2016 through November. blank
  • 24,285 visitors and 37,001 pageviews in 2015 to about 124,000 visitors and 193,233 pageviews in 2016 through November.blankblank
  • Who knows what December will bring.blank

Rankings are up across the board, but the important metrics are revenue and traffic.

“Is this a fluke?”

No. I’m working on another project that’s more impressive – using the exact same 2-step process. I can’t wait to tell you more about this project! But for now I can tell you that income is trending like this:

  • September 2016: $10,450blank
  • October 2016: $14,670blank
  • November 2016: $19,208blank

Content is the Key

blankI published a bunch of content – a staggering amount – over 200 new posts. That cost some money since I outsourced 99.9% of it. The ballpark amount is $4,000 where $3,200 was the content and $800 was for editing and content management. Most all of the content gets some traffic and I didn’t build links to the 200+ new articles.

Adding all that content wasn’t easy, and I needed a lot of help. If you want to learn about how I published all that content and get access to the templates, watch the video on this post.

  1. What the team looks like. {org chart template}
  2. How I hire people from Upwork.
  3. The job posting {template} so you can use it.
  4. What to do if it doesn’t work out {template}.
  5. What my content manager does, i.e. the roles and responsibilities. {template}, for the rate of about $8 – $10 per hour.
  6. The content management tracking sheet {template}.
  7. Get the templates here. Just enter your email address and you’ll get access. **If you’re on the Niche Site Project email list already, go check your email because you should have a link to the templates already.

Some Backlinks Are Required

blankAnd, I went out and got White Hat links to the site through guest posting but only for a few key posts that cover competitive topics.

I did a lot of outreach and guest posting myself, especially at first. But I have a small team of outreach specialists that help me out now.

I know…you want to hear that you can go out and buy cheap backlinks from some random person in a Facebook group. You want to hear that you can just go to a specific guy or gal on Fiverr and get a shitload of social shares along with a “Link Pyramid” and rank #1 in 5 days. Maybe you can, but I don’t know how to do that…So if you’re looking for something that will rank your site “fast,” then you’re gonna be pissed off if you read this whole post.

The Origin of This Niche Site

The site has been around for awhile – I bought the domain in late 2014. That was after a bunch of my sites had been penalized, probably for using Private Blog Networks. (Spencer Haws and Jon Haver got mixed up in it in 2014, and Matt Allen in 2015.) But I really didn’t do too much with the site until the fall of 2015. I began adding more content to the site and tried to figure out why the posts weren’t ranking like they used to.

The BIG Secrets

If you want to know the secrets to niche sites and entrepreneurship, it’s simple. I’ll save you the time and you don’t have to read this whole post. It’s exactly the thing that most people don’t want to hear.

  1. Stamina
  2. Patience
  3. Adaptability

blankIf you’re reading this thinking, “Hey, what’s the tactic that will shoot my site to the top of the search results – FAST” or “I need to make money FAST because [fill-in-your-reason],” then you should get a job and save up.

Do valuable work and get stable. Sorry to be the one to tell you that, but trust me. You don’t necessarily need a great deal of cash to get started on an online business, especially an Amazon Associate Niche Site, but if you need money quickly to pay bills or pay off debt, then a job is the right path.

Can you cite examples of fast rankings and fast revenue? Sure, but those are outliers and exceptions so that’s not very useful. Niche sites take a while to get started, and while all the concepts are simple, there is a learning curve to deal with.

Okay, ready? Let’s get to it…

Publishing More Content

Get all the templates that I used to expand the site here.

In late 2015, I started developing, researching, and testing what is now called the Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR). I credit Lewis Ogden, Quinton Hamp, Shawna Newman, and Rob Atkinson for helping me come up with some of the concepts for the KGR. The KGR is a keystone concept for the Five Figure Niche Site course and it works extremely well. Here is a video of me explaining the Keyword Golden Ratio and how to use it.

Before the KGR, the site consisted of product reviews that targeted keywords that had search volumes of 2,000, up to about 10,000, searches per month. The KGR targets keywords that have a lower search volume and significantly less competition. It’s data driven, not intuition. Using the KGR in December of 2015, I published about 20 articles that averaged about 1,000 words each.

blankThe articles targeted a specific keyword – deliberately – and after a few weeks almost all the articles were receiving 1 – 2 visitors per day. After a couple months, 1 – 2 of the articles were getting about 10-20 visitors per day. That’s a big win if you consider that some of those terms were reported by the Google Keyword Planner as getting 0 searches per month. That’s right. Zero. I assume that some or most of the visitors were actually searching for an obscure long tail keyword.

The takeaway is that keyword research is very important and you can’t believe the Google Keyword Planner or any keyword research tool at face value.

After I tested the initial set of keywords and published the 20 articles, I knew I was onto something that worked. It’s funny because the KGR has origins in the old school keyword research methods where you looked for how many pages existed on the web for a topic to gauge the competition. That concept still works even when you have fancy keyword research tools at your fingertips.

It took a while for me to start publishing more content, though. I was really busy on some other projects and additional education. Once I got organized, I started adding more content to the site in June of 2016. Wow! I can’t believe it took me that long to actually get my ass in gear.

(As an aside: I wish I would have focused sooner. It’s a bad trait of mine where I try to work on too many projects at one time. Many entrepreneurs do it and we fool ourselves into thinking that it works.)

It worked though. I hired writers, a few editors, content managers, and cycled through the poor performers so that I had a good team in place. The result was that I was able to publish a LOT of content very quickly and it only took about 4 hours per week. You got it – a 4-Hour Work Week. My team looks like this in case you want to create your own content team that’s pretty much hands off.

Content Management Templates Niche Site Project

If you look at the traffic graph, you can see that it takes a little time for the traffic to start coming in for new content. But if you publish KGR compliant content, then you’ll get traffic.

The big takeaway is that sometimes you have to invest in the face of uncertainty. Any experienced entrepreneur will say, “Duh. No Shit, Doug. Entrepreneurship is about uncertainty…it’s not part of the game. It is the game.” I was so used to bootstrapping certain areas and waiting. It’s silly in retrospect since I know the systems work. I’ve seen them work again and again. I hesitated to spend the cash.

What Was The Content Like?

People are very interested in the details of the content.  I’ll need to come back to that later when I have time to crunch the data. The content did follow most of the best practices for on page SEO listed here in Charles Floate’s tutorial.

  • All of the 200 posts have a length of about 600 to 1,000 words.
  • The writers were new freelancers on Upwork.
  • I paid about $10 to $15 for each article.
  • The jobs were a flat rate price, usually based on the word count.
  • Some writers wrote just one article, others wrote several.
  • I hired editors to make sure the content was good.
  • I pay editors about $8 to $10.
  • A single new piece of content costs about $20 to $25 total – that’s ignoring my admin time.

If you’re thinking, “Hey Doug, that sounds expensive. My budget won’t cover those costs. I’d like to hire some writers on Fiverr. Do you think that will work?

Maybe but probably not. I like to pay people well when they do a great job and add value.

That’s how I want to be treated when I work for someone.

I ran a guest posting service and people want to pay a fraction of the value of my work. It was stressful and a bit offensive to devalue my work and treat it like a commodity. The point is that you’re going to get bad content if you pay really low rates. The writer is going to rush through the work as fast as possible.

So if you think you can pay bottom dollar for content and then go make top dollar on that same crappy content, go for it. Let me know if it works.

Obtaining More Links Through Guest Posting

blankGet all the templates I use for guest posting here.

Guest posting is hard. At least, it was super hard when I first started trying to guest post. I saw the case studies, I saw the templates, and I knew it was going to be harder than anyone made it sound. I got so many rejections that it was so discouraging. I felt like Forrest Gump and everyone was telling me, “Seat’s Taken.”

Actually, they would respond more like this, “Do you really read my blog?” Or, “I write all my own content and want to keep it that way.” I felt like they were saying, “Screw you, Doug. You certainly can’t guest post here!”

And the most popular response was no response at all.

The BIGGEST Mistake In Your Guest Posting Campaign

I read all the blogs (Brian Dean and Neil Patel in particular) on guest posting and listened to people talk about it. I knew it could work. But I kept getting rejected. It turns out there was a super simple mistake that I didn’t realize I was making. It was all around pitching and emailing bloggers that don’t blog anymore.

So if you use the normal advanced search strings that everyone uses, then you’re not going to find many great blogs to guest post on. Instead, you’ll find one of two things:

  1. A blog that gets pitched all the time. You found them with a generic search string, and that means dozens of other people found them too.
  2. A blog that’s inactive. So you send them an email and the blogger hasn’t published anything since 2014. What are the odds they’ll even read your email? You’re better off buying some Powerball tickets and hoping for the best.

Once I figured that out, things got better. (Here a case study example at Ninja Outreach.)

After more rejections than I got in my high school dating career, things got better. I persevered, kept trying, and adjusted. I changed up the pitch in my emails and tested different kinds of blogs. You have to remember that an “exceptional” guest post campaign has 90 rejections and 10 guest posts as a result. I just wasn’t used to being rejected so much, so quickly, in a way that feels so personal. But it wasn’t personal.

I figured out a system that works well for me and the simplified version is this:

  1. Comment on a blog post published in the last 90 days
  2. Email the blogger and ask for a guest post.
  3. Write the guest post.

Using those 3 steps, a few dozen guest posts were published on blogs. You want to comment on the blog to develop a relationship with the blogger. People are more likely to say yes to people they like. You care about when the article was published because the blog must be active in order for a guest post to be accepted.

A ninja tactic for emailing the blogger is to sign up for the email list. Then, you gain more trust since you’re a subscriber to their list. It proves that you like them and the blog. You can simply reply to one of their emails and it’s almost guaranteed to be opened.

The impact of the guest posts takes longer than a Private Blog Network link. That’s because a PBN link will normally be on the homepage of a site, where the Page Authority is very high. Basically, more link juice gets passed to your site sooner. A guest post takes a while to work, but the upside is that it’s a safer link and you have a far smaller chance of being penalized.

Why Don’t You Use Private Blog Network Backlinks?

Look, I know PBNs work well and I’ve documented it in success stories published on Niche Site Project and in my course Five Figure Niche site. 3 things come into play for me:

  1. I don’t have the stomach to deal with the risk of a private blog network. You only have to wake up, check your analytics, and see a 90% drop in traffic one time to feel the pain that will change your link building strategy forever.
  2. I have time to build a site with White Hat links to ensure longevity. Using PBNs would be faster, definitely faster than White Hat guest posting. But what’s the goal here…
  3. My goal for this site is long term cash flow on a monthly basis, not flipping a site.

Eventually, the guest posts on strong domains started to pay off in the form of higher rankings. That led to more traffic and, of course, more Amazon sales and profits.

What’s Next?

I’m continuing with more guest posting. The site obviously has plenty of content with well over 200 posts and pages so there is lots of room for improving the backlink profile. That can lead to a boost in rankings across the board and that will definitely pull in more traffic leading to more revenue.

The content that’s doing well but not great needs to be improved. I’m outsourcing the content and the team does a pretty good job overall, however, there’s plenty of room for improvement. The content can be edited to help the reader even more – many times that means lengthening the content, making it more detailed.

“What about creating some new sites?” you may be thinking.

Or, “You need a portfolio of niche sites, Doug. Better get started, buddy!”

A portfolio is a terrible idea (for me right now). And yep, I know there are plenty of examples of people that crush it with a portfolio of sites. Most of the time people make the majority of their income from 1 or 2 sites – Pareto’s Distribution is in play (i.e. the 80/20 Rule) – and the other 8 or 10 sites are barely making any money. It’s a matter of understanding correlation and causality.

What Do YOU Think?

Leave me a comment below:

  1. Tell me if you think I’m making the right moves with my sites.
  2. Why or why not?

About the Author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

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Niche Website Builders help their customers build and grow more profitable content sites. They offer a fully hands-off approach for all the services that they offer.

For example, their content creation service includes their proprietary keyword research process, articles are written by in-house native English speakers, formatted using review templates that are proven to convert and uploaded to WordPress with affiliate links added so that all you need to do is review and click publish.

This makes their service perfect for both beginners wondering where to start, through to experienced portfolio owners looking to scale their operations

They also offer ‘done for you’ site builds and link building services.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • This great guide and great aspiration for amazon niche lover , i have mentioned you Guide in my blog post in my bonus area , here is the link if u dont mind
    http://www.emarketinghacks.com/affiliates-marketing-guidescase-studies-income-reports-courses-and-ebooks/

  • Daniel

    Hi Doug,
    Thank for the informative and inspiring guide!

    How did you search upwork for a content manager who would also be a “quality control” editor, and for such a low price?

    If I understand correctly, you paid around $16 per 1000 words for the writing, and $4 for editing?
    (If you’ve ordered about 200 new posts, let’s say they were each 1000 words on average, where “$3,200 was the content and $800 was for editing and content management.”

    btw you mentioned “editors” – did you work with several content managers simultaneosuly?

    • Hey Daniel, thanks for the comment.

      How did you search upwork for a content manager who would also be a “quality control” editor, and for such a low price?
      I hired a writer and then promoted them. If you look for an editor or content manager by role, then it maybe more expensive.

      If I understand correctly, you paid around $16 per 1000 words for the writing, and $4 for editing?
      (If you’ve ordered about 200 new posts, let’s say they were each 1000 words on average, where “$3,200 was the content and $800 was for editing and content management.”

      Yes, roughly. Sometimes it was more or less depending on the article. The content was bought by the word, fixed price, and the editing/content mgmt was hourly.

      btw you mentioned “editors” – did you work with several content managers simultaneosuly?
      Yes, and I still do. I can get a lot more done with people working in parallel, plus it guards against attrition.

  • Craig Rinde

    This is really impressive! I’m sure you killed it that last half of December. I am thinking of doing a large content push targeting low competition keywords.

    Was there absolutely no traffic (LMS) requirement?

    Could you share an average of what those 200 articles LMS is?

    Im a little scared to put a huge time and money investment into a bunch of 10 LMS keywords. I am guessing there are a million of these, and you mentioned even targeting a keyword with 0 LMS!

    Any insight is helpful for 2017.

  • Simple yet few people do this, publish quality post and do outreach, though outreach needs you to be genuine in terms of building a relationship and not just an easy way to leave a link to your website.

    #bingereading

  • Brian

    Excellent article, Doug! Would you ever recommend outsourcing the guest posting to a service? I’m not talking about a $5 Fiverr package, but I can get 30 Guest Posts in a month for $650. This is obviously still cheap. How do I assess the risk/return on this type of service?

    • Brian, thanks!
      If it’s a good service, go for it.

      So, 30 GPs in a month for that price is not a real guest post. I charged about $650 for 2-3 guest posts when I had a service.

      I can confidently say that those links are garbage!

      If it’s cheap like that, then it’s probably not going to be effective and may actually be a liability.

  • Adam Smith

    Hey Doug,

    Great article as always. I have just started implementing KGR and have a list of KW’s, but I am getting a little confused. Say I have found these keywords (not my niche) but they all meet the KGR ratio:

    [product] macys 
    [product] sears 
    [product] for sale 
    [product] in cold weather 
    best small [product] 
    best [product] on the market 

    1. Would you write a 600-1,000 word article for them all?
    2. Would you only bother writting an article if you could monetize it with something from Amazon.

    Aside from that, keep posting great content – my niche site is currently doing between $600 and $800 a month and using the KGR I plan on pumping out a load of content and going for the moon 🙂

  • I had this site built by one of your “competitors” last year. This was way before I heard of you. I was told that the niche for my site was a very good niche to choose and since I am an athlete it was also something that I had a lot of interest and experience. I have had very little traffic to the site and no sales.
    After coming across your information on the internet I have done a lot of KGR research (I have actually gone through over 700 keywords, some given to me by the developer of the site and some that I actually found myself). Out of all of these keywords I was able to find only “2” keywords that fit the KGR criteria. Obviously I was very disappointed in not finding more. So, now I am at a cross roads. I have some questions that I hope you can help me answer.
    1. Is the niche that I have too competitive and not actually a “NIche”?
    2. Should I forget about the site and niche and find a new niche?
    3. If you think the site can be monetized (and is a niche site) then what approach should I take since the KGR method appears to be something that may not work due to lack of KGR keywords to write articles?

    I am willing to do the work and invest the time on the site but do not want to waste time, resources and energy on a site that will never be monetized.
    I realize I am asking a lot from you but since I have found you I have read and listen to much of your advice so I trust your judgement.
    I certainly hope that you are able to assist me with this issue.
    Thanks, Jerry

  • Colin Marshall

    Hi Doug as always a great article. You mention the 80/20 rule with regard to which sites do well and those that do not. Any tips on choosing the good ones
    All the best

  • Excellent post, Doug. I exclusively follow your KGR method for creating posts. Using this I could rank 12 keywords in top 30 with 7 of them in the top 10 and 3 of them in top 3. I did this without any backlinking. Without your method, this wouldn’t have been possible for a person like me who is brand new to the blogging world. Thank you for sharing this technique with us.

    I’m yet to do Guest Posting pitch. Since my site is less than 6 months old, I’m currently focusing on building the content database. What I love about your methods are, they are simple to follow, to the point and easy to implement.

  • Mel

    What is the benefit of having all that content in terms of increasing affiliate sales. Does it make your overall site rank better, so your affiliate posts do better? Do each of your 200+ posts have affiliate links in them? I am a little frustrated with my niche sites right now, but have been focusing on link building. Wondering if a bunch of new content will really make a difference. Thanks!

    • Mel, more content that can rank will bring more traffic to your site. So yes, you’d sell more.

      A blend of link building and content seems the most effective in my experience — but you have some issue that needs to be fixed. Like on page SEO for example…and if it’s not addressed no amount of links will help.

  • Shamim Hasan

    Hi Doug, I found KGR is really effective by reading your blog. I am a happy reader. Keep sharing the secrets with us.

  • ismail blogger

    Hey Doug.
    one of the best piece of content that motivated me to more focus on my goal. recently i applied your technique KGR with my own recipe on a blog and it blew everything. regular posts on a blog for 34 days gives me 345 keywords on 1st 2nd and 3rd pages .. 2 sales and DR 24 UR 12 and DA PA 12 and 11 respictively.
    in my upcoming course KGR is the main topic that will be discussed with main credit toward you and your website.
    thanks and best wishes
    regards
    ismailblogger

    • Nice work! KGR course – tell me more about that.
      I have a free masterclass on the topic already. 🙂

  • Really useful information ♥ thanks

  • Dan

    Hey Doug, I know this article is old, but how many of the 200 posts were informational/commercial?

  • Ehab

    Excellent post. I love reading articles like this

  • Muhammad Naveed

    Crazy Dough
    All of the 200 posts have a length of about 600 to 1,000 words.
    Really,
    increase the value for my niche site by $118,800…
    Oh.
    I just start testing KGR. watched all of your videos its super easy to find the keyword which fit in KGR.
    is it ok to work with KGR on diverse niche e.g laptop, games, health, outdoor on single site.
    or should i have to create a multiple sites on each niche and start using KGR technique for every niche site.
    What you suggest..

  • sara fathy

    wow useful information

  • Hello, an interesting and very informative article you have built here.
    I have my Amazon affiliate website since 2017. However, some reviews, comments, and articles about the danger of being banned from the Amazon program, even for violations you did not commit, made me quit working on it. I could not invest time and money, an then all of sudden, see the work of years to disappear.
    Your blog posts gave me second thoughts to start upgrading my website.
    Any reviews on Amazon affiliate? suggestions about alternatives in electronic and musical instruments department?
    Thank you.

    • Thanks for checking it out.
      Sure, I hear what you’re saying. Just go to the big vendors out there and see about an affiliate program – B&H Photo or Sweetwater Music, for example.

      But, Dimitrios, basically any side hustle or business model is not immune from this:

      I could not invest time and money, an then all of sudden, see the work of years to disappear.

      Name a business model and I’m sure we can identify several potential risks. Amazon Associates isn’t for everyone and I don’t suggest that. But don’t think that you can escape risk by using another affiliate program.

  • Rob

    Hi Doug,
    Thanks for the great content. I am 1.5 months into a new site so am very much in the Content Building stage still. Im not able to buy any content yet but was interested that in your template you ask them to provide sources so you can cite them. Can you give an example of how you cite them in your blog posts? It feels as though I am just admitting I have no authority as I am citing lots of competitor’s knowledge?

    Thanks,
    Rob

  • Rob

    Hi Doug,
    I have signed up numerous times but never receive an e-mail from you with the templates?
    Any chance you can forward them to me directly?
    Thanks

    • Rob, Not sure what the issue was, but I added you manually. 🙂 Enjoy! All the links are in the first email you receive.