Is Amazon Affiliate Income Dead?

A few years ago, a number of Amazon affiliate marketers were making killer— and I mean KILLER money making simple micro-niche sites and promoting Amazon products. It was so easy to make a killing with this method that you could work just a few hours a week and make a full-time income EASILY.

Unfortunately, those days are gone.

Don’t get me wrong! It’s still VERY possible to make a great income promoting Amazon products as an Amazon affiliate, but it’s not as simple as writing a handful of short articles or reviews and throwing them up on a simple blog with a keyword-rich domain name and getting mass back links. It just doesn’t work that way anymore.

See, Google finally realized that all those sites had very little actual value to visitors. They were created with no purpose other than to rank in Google and send traffic immediately off to Amazon via an affiliate link. This didn’t make for a very good user experience, and Google started penalizing such sites harshly.

These days, Google likes to rank sites that have a lot of high quality content, and by high quality content, they seem to believe the longer the content, the better. Most successful sites seem to have articles that are 1,000 words or longer, and some SEO guides are now suggesting up to 3,000 words! That’s ten times as long as articles used to be, on average!

Additionally, backlinking isn’t nearly as effective as it once was, making it very difficult for a relatively new website to rank.

These days, it requires a much different approach. It takes a bit more effort, but you’ll learn that it really isn’t much more work than the old micro niche method. In fact, you may realize you like this new method better than the old one! (And it’s actually cheaper, too.)

A lot has changed, sure, but the fact is, there’s still plenty of money to be made promoting products on Amazon. You just have to understand the new system, and how to make the most of it.

In this article, you’re going to learn how to use this new method to promote Amazon affiliate products, and how you can still make big, big money with it!

The New Amazon Affiliate Strategy

These days, the strategy is considerably different, and it does take a bit longer than it used to. Instead of building dozens, or even hundreds of tiny niche sites, you must focus on building one larger site, or perhaps a few.

The quality of your content must be much higher. Your articles must be much longer. You have to spend time actively promoting your sites instead of just getting a bunch of backlinks and then counting on Google to send you traffic.

It's really not much more work than the old method. Instead of writing 5 articles per site, spread out over 500 sites, you just write 500 articles per site, spread out over 5 sites. Instead of spending hours getting links to your sites, you spend that time on social media promoting your sites. As you can see, the work is pretty much the same either way, but you have a lot fewer sites to keep track of.

Best of all, you only need to pay for a handful of domain renewals each year instead of hundreds!

The only real difference is that articles need to be a lot longer than they used to be. It’s generally thought that you should aim for a minimum of 1,000-1,500 words per article, and some SEO experts claim 3,000 is a better target. Don’t let it freak you out. Most people can write at least 500 words per hour, and some can write a couple thousand words in that time. It shouldn’t take you more than 2-3 hours to write a long article, or you could outsource each one for a few bucks.

Remember, though, these need to be QUALITY articles. It’s no longer possible to rank well with spun crap, or articles written by non-native English speakers, because Google actually checks things like spelling and grammar. Articles don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be relatively error free.

Of course, Google isn’t the be-all and end-all of traffic! These days, social media is actually a lot more important for the average website!

Next we’re going to talk about choosing a niche, and why it’s so much different than it used to be. Niche selection may be different, but it’s still absolutely vital!

Choosing A Niche For Amazon Affiliate Marketing

In the old days of Amazon affiliate marketing, one typically chose a very small niche, such as French press coffee makers, or even a very specific brand or model. They bought a domain name that contained an important keyword phrase, put up a small website with 5-10 articles, got some back links, and then just waited for Google to do its thing. A few weeks, or maybe months in some cases, later… money!

It’s unfortunate that it no longer works this way, but some unethical marketers just put up spun PLR that made no sense to visitors and ruined Google’s user experience, and Google had no choice but to react to save the integrity of their search engine.

The result is a much better user experience, but a much harder time ranking.

Choosing a niche these days is much different. These days, it isn’t about getting quick traffic to send straight off to affiliate links. It just doesn’t work that way, anymore.

Now it’s important to choose a broader niche, with wide appeal, so you can use social media to get traffic while you wait for Google to start sending you traffic. And it takes a lot longer to rank well in Google than it used to.

Let’s look at the example of French press coffee makers. This used to be a niche you might choose for a micro niche site. You might have even focused on one particular brand or type of French press. But these days, that niche is just too narrow.

Instead, you’d focus on the broader niche of coffee, or maybe even on cooking and food in general. This gives you a much larger base of potential articles, and will get you a lot more traffic overall.

Remember how we mentioned you’d save money? Well, if you had 500 domain names back in the old days, it would have cost you about $5,000 per year in domain renewals at $10 each. (More if you used one of the more expensive registrars!) Now? Just 1-5 domain names is plenty! You can focus on just 1-5 broad niches and make as much money as you could with 500 of those micro niche sites, perhaps more!

But niche selection is vital. You want to choose something that follows the following formula:

1. The niche must be big enough to have plenty of Amazon affiliate products to promote and plenty of traffic to go around.

2. The products must sell for enough money to make it worth your while to promote them. At least $10 per product, but not so expensive that it will be a hard sell.

3. It must be something that people would be likely to like and share on social media. (Most niches fit this just fine, but there may be occasional niches that just don’t get that much social activity.)

If you’re in doubt about how much social media interest there is in a particular niche, just search Pinterest for some keywords in that niche and see how many re-pins each post is getting, on average. 1-10 is not very good. 11-20 is decent. Anything over 100 is a pretty good indication there’s interest on social media.

As for competition? You no longer have to worry much about it, because you won’t be getting much of your traffic from Google. Most of it, at least at first, will come from social media. And competition doesn’t really matter much on social media, because there’s so many users to go around and they consume a lot of content each.

Once you’ve chosen a niche (or a few niches), it’s time to choose a few products to promote. Next, we are going to look at the criteria to look for when deciding on a product to promote, because choosing the right products can make or break your campaigns!

Choosing An Amazon Product To Promote

Alright, thus far we’ve learned what doesn’t work anymore— namely micro niche sites. We’ve also covered the importance of writing longer, higher-quality content, and why it’s so important to use social media to promote your sites.

But now it’s time to talk about choosing products to promote, and it may not always be the obvious choices that make the most money.

One of the best types of products to promote is the one that is weird or shocking, but still something people would want to buy.

Let’s say your website and social media are all in the recipe niche, and you find a really cool kitchen gadget that can peel, core, and dice an apple with the press of a button in three seconds. (Doesn’t exist that I’m aware of, but that would be cool.)

This product is shocking and exciting. It’s something people would be quite interested in, and they would probably tend to share it, because holy moly, who wouldn’t want to see a a gadget that can make apple cubes like George Jetson?

Another type of product that works very well is the extremely useful one. Take the LifeStraw water filter. When it first came out, people were absolutely amazed. (Frankly, I still am.)

It’s like a really large straw with a water filter built in, and you can literally put one end into dirty water and suck the other end to get perfectly healthy, clean drinking water.

Genius, right?

It almost sounds too good to be true, but no, the darned thing actually does work, or so they say.

At one point, this thing was exploding all over social media, and it seemed like everyone was talking about how cool this thing was.

This was the perfect type of product to promote to all sorts of markets—housewives with families to protect, survivalists, camping and backpacking enthusiasts, preppers… the market for this product is quite substantial.

Now, it doesn’t exactly have to be such an amazing product. The odds of finding these really useful products, or really wild and crazy products, is slim. But finding products that are useful that not everyone knows about is not particularly difficult at all.

The main reason you want to promote products like this is so your content will be shared. When people visit your site to read about the product, you can write a snappy article about the product and add a link to it

Only about 10% of your content should focus on selling the product, and next you’re going to find out how to create killer content to promote all those great products you found to promote!

Content is one of the most important elements of this strategy, so read on to find out how to make the type of content that gets shared!

Creating Great Content

Content is a much more important element than it was in the days of micro niche sites. Back then, content written by overseas outsourcers and then spun with software was common, and articles were only 100-300 words. That won’t fly these days, because Google won’t rank it, and social media won’t share it.

In the past, keyword research was the main element of content creation. Now keywords really don’t matter as much, since Google isn’t the king of traffic anymore.

Creating great content requires a little research. You need to visit other sites in your niche to get an idea of the type of content people are currently looking for.

Content should be between 1,000 and 3,000 words, and also have some other forms of media, such as pictures (which are especially important for sharing on Pinterest, Facebook, and other sites), and videos. You can even use other people’s content by embedding YouTube videos onto your own pages and writing commentary to go along with them.

This content should be mostly free of spelling and grammatical mistakes, and thoroughly researched and written. This is not only to please Google, but, most importantly, to please visitors.

Remember, the old amazon affiliate method simply wanted to please Google by using keywords in the domain name, several times in the articles, and in back links. The content didn’t matter, because you actually just wanted visitors to leave your site through your affiliate link as quickly as possible.

But now that you aren’t going to be so worried about attracting Google traffic, you need to focus on making visitors happy. This, in turn, will please Google, because Google measures bounce rate (how long visitors stay on your site, and whether they read any other articles while they are there).

This means the longer and more interesting your articles, the better you’ll likely rank in Google, AND the more likely your content is to be shared on social media, which is where most of your traffic will come from.

There are easy ways to write content quickly, such as roundup posts. For example, you can gather 10-20 links to other people’s content, write a small description of each one, and provide a link at the end of each description.

Don’t worry about losing traffic to those other sites. Just set your links to open in a new window so the user stays on your site to read the rest of the content after viewing the other site.

Another bonus is that Google loves to see sites that link OUT to quality sites. In the old days, it was mostly links IN that counted for ranking, but now the links you send OUT matter, too.

The bottom line:

Make great content.

This is the best way to please both Google AND visitors.

Next, we’re going to talk about promoting your content on social media. Social media doesn’t have to be scary, and you will soon see just how easy it really is!

Social Media Promotion

Social media is THE way to get traffic these days. The traffic is easier to get than Google traffic, and its often a lot more effective in terms of getting the traffic to take action.

Before you decide you don’t want to use social media, just read through this whole article and see what you think. It’s really quite easy to use, and no, you don’t have to spend all day talking to people. Social media really doesn’t work that way.

Look, I’ve heard it all before:

“I hate social media with a passion!”

“I’m not a social person.”

“I tried social media and it didn’t work.”

If you think you hate social media, or you think you have to be a social butterfly to use it, you’re wrong. And if you think social media doesn’t work, you’re definitely wrong, because social traffic is some of the easiest, highest quality traffic the internet has ever seen!

Most people seem to think you have to chat all day to be effective on social media, but that’s not true.

It’s just like any other promotional method. Once you share a post, you really don’t have to interact with anyone if you don’t want to. People may comment on your posts, but you aren’t obligated to respond.

Let’s take a look at one social media site so you can get an idea of how easy it is to use – Pinterest.

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s like a virtual cork board, basically. You create different “boards” and then “pin” content to those boards.

There’s a system in place to let people comment on content and be “social”, but most people don’t really use it much. More likely, users just “re-pin” content, meaning they pin other people’s content to their own boards, which is a great thing. They may also just “like” the content.

Pinterest is a beautiful thing, because all you have to do is create different boards and “pin” your own content and other people’s content to those boards, and as other people see it, they will “re-pin” it to their boards, letting their own followers see it.

The biggest “secret” to using Pinterest is simply making sure each article you write on your site has a fantastic image to represent it on Pinterest.

Ideally, the image should be taller than it is wide, because Pinterest gives more real estate to taller images, thus making it more likely your content will be seen.

Next is Facebook, the behemoth of social media.

Once you build a fan page in your site’s niche, you can spend a little money on Facebook ads to grow the page’s fan base. Once you get a decent number of fans, the page will begin to grow organically.

Using a great image on each article will also benefit you on Facebook, because it will show up when you share your content on Facebook. A great image will make it more likely that people will visit your amazon affiliate site when they see the post on Facebook, and that they will like, comment, and share, which will get your content seen by more people.

Instagram is also another very useful social site.

Instagram is a content sharing site. You post an image or video using hash tags (like keywords, but proceeded with a hash tag symbol, like this: #keyword).

Other people will find your content by either searching for that particular hash tag, or they’ll see it because they have followed you on the site.

Again, you don’t have to be social. Just share your content, and you’re done.

You can’t provide direct links on Instagram, but you can post the URL of your Amazon affiliate site in the description of anything you post, and you can have a link to your site in your profile, too.

Hopefully you see the power of social media, and that it really doesn’t require you to be social. It’s just sharing content. That’s it!

Now we'll talk about ways to make money, including the best ways to promote Amazon products, and how you can make income in addition to your Amazon links.

Making Money With The New Amazon Strategy

This is the final paragraph on the new Amazon affiliate strategy, and it’s all about the bottom line—MONEY!

No method is going to be profitable unless you’re monetizing it correctly. And I have seen a LOT of sites that aren’t monetizing Amazon correctly—or anything else for that matter.

These days, throwing affiliate links into every post is a formula for disaster. Not only will Google not like this, but your visitors will see right through it.

You should put Amazon affiliate links in only about 1 in 5 or 1 in 10 posts, on average. Yes, that means the rest of your content isn’t theoretically monetized, but that’s okay. You are looking to build a long-term business, NOT just get people to your site to shove them off on an affiliate link as quickly as possible.

You should have an opt-in form on your site to capture leads so you can market to people later.

Don’t let a list intimidate you! A list is just like using social media. You share links and content. That’s it! No big deal, right?

When you choose a product to promote, you’ll want to write an article about the product itself. This will be in its own post, and ideally something people will find interesting enough to share.

You can talk about how useful the product is, and mention different ways it could be used.

Or you could talk about how funny or crazy it is, and make a few jokes about it.

There are many different angles you could take in a post about an Amazon product, and you should be able to figure out which to take based on each specific product.

You may be worried that you won’t make any money by only posting 1 in 5 or 1 in 10 articles with affiliate links, and that is understandable. But you can make money in other ways, too.

For example, you can add AdSense links to your content. This will help you make additional money from your traffic.

You can also create videos for YouTube that will accomplish two things:

1. It will draw people to your site from YouTube.

2. You can make money on YouTube by monetizing the videos you post.

Making videos that show you using the Amazon products you promote are especially effective, because they can show that the product actually IS quality and effective, so if you feel comfortable making videos, they’re the perfect way to get additional traffic AND more sales.

This concludes this article on making money as an Amazon affiliate. Remember, you can’t be successful if you don’t take action, so please use what you’ve learned and go make some money!