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

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.
  • 24,285 visitors and 37,001 pageviews in 2015 to about 124,000 visitors and 193,233 pageviews in 2016 through November.
  • Who knows what December will bring.

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

Content is the Key

I 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 for free. 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

And, 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

If 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 the templates here for free.

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.

The 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

Get the templates here for free.

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.