This is a guest post by Doug Cunnington. Doug is the founder of Niche Site Project where he writes about using project management on Amazon Affiliate sites. He’s been quoted and mentioned on sites like NeilPatel.com, Social Triggers, Backlinko, and Ahrefs.
There are plenty of reasons to increase the revenue for an Amazon Affiliate Site.
- If you are preparing to sell your site on a marketplace, like FE International or Empire Flippers, increasing the profits will boost your selling price.
- If you just purchased a site, you have the opportunity to make changes to increase the income.
- Amazon recently changed the commission rates for the affiliates in the Amazon Associate Program in the US. For established affiliates, it generally means the commissions that Amazon pays out will be reduced. For some affiliates, it can be in the range of a 25% to 36% reduction.
And, who doesn’t want to earn more money with websites?
There are two main ways to increase revenue for your site:
- Get more traffic.
- Increase conversions for existing traffic.
This post will cover 17 strategies to boost the conversion rate for Amazon Affiliate niche and authority sites.
Many of the tips apply to any kind of affiliate site, but it just happens that my focus is Amazon Associate websites.
Remember that each niche and each site can react differently based on a variety of reasons, so be sure to test the strategies to see what works best for your site.
You can get the 1-Page Checklist for auditing your affiliate site here. It’s free – you need to provide your name and email address and it’ll be sent to you.
Get the Right Kind of Traffic With Buyer’s Keywords
Most niche and authority sites are built on a foundation of free, organic traffic from Google or other search engines. The key is to have a visitor that’s actually interested in buying.
I like to say:
“It’s your job to intercept a visitor that’s on the way to Amazon, ready to buy something.”
You need to target keywords that “would-be” buyers would actually use. These are referred to as buyer’s keywords, and most of the time they come in a form that looks like this:
- [product-name] review
- Best [product-name]
- What kind of [product-name] should I get
Let’s look at a real example. If the product was “kitchen faucet,” some good keywords to start from would be:
- kitchen faucet review
- Best kitchen faucet
- What kind of kitchen faucet should I get
You could use those 3 keyword phrases in your keyword research tool of choice and end up with a few hundred keywords to work with. Choosing the “right” buyer’s keywords still takes some work.
One great way to find keywords that will convert well is by targeting very long tail keywords.
Target Long Tail, Low Competition Traffic
Long tail keywords are the holy grail of buyer’s keywords. Luckily, I have a data-driven way to find these keywords, and it’s called the Keyword Golden Ratio.
Before I share the formula and method, let’s clear up a common misconception about what “long tail” means.
Basically, you should think of long tail keywords as low search volume keywords. They don’t get searched for often, but there are a seemingly endless number of them.
Most people assume that long tail means long phrases, i.e. more words = long tail. That’s incorrect even though there is a strong correlation between the length of the keyword phrase and if it’s a long tail keyword.
Long tail is a mathematical term that refers to the small part a graph. It’s easy to see in this graph that’s from the book, “The Long Tail.” (It’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it.)
Image Credit: The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
The Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR) is your ticket to find keywords that no one else is targeting in a data-driven way.
The formula is this:
Keyword Golden Ratio = (# of “allintitle” results) / (Local Monthly Searches)
* where the Local Monthly Searches is less than 250
Here is how you would find the (# of “allintitle” results), and be sure not to use quotes.
The side effect of targeting keywords that other people ignore is that your newly published post will most likely rank in the top 20 for Google in 1 day, sometimes in the top 10.
It takes practice to find KGR compliant keywords, but it’s easy to find dozens of them once you find a few.
Use International Amazon Associates Programs
There are 14 Amazon storefronts across the world, 12 of them have an Amazon Associates program.
In most cases, your website will have some international traffic, and it’s a simple matter of getting those visitors to the right Amazon store. Generally, there are 7 storefronts that you’ll be interested in while the other 5 Amazon Associates programs have quirks.
Here are the 7:
- United States
- United Kingdom
China, Japan, India, Brazil, and Mexico have regulations and restrictions that make it more difficult to set up, namely you need to have a bank account in the respective country. That’s prohibitive unless your site gets a lot of traffic from those countries so let’s just look at the rest.
(Amazon Australia and The Netherlands are digital only stores and don’t have affiliate programs.)
Look at your traffic on Google Analytics to see how many international visitors go to your site:
In the screenshot, you can see 3 countries with Amazon Associates programs bring in a significant amount of traffic. In fact, it’s over 2,300 visitors – 57% of the US traffic. By adding 3 international programs, this site might see up to a 57% increase in revenue, assuming a similar conversion rate as the US traffic.
It’s a no-brainer to use Genius Link to easily take care of your international visitors and route them to the proper Amazon Storefront based on their location.
Call-To-Action Above The Fold
You want visitors to have a fast way to get over to Amazon to make a purchase. Remember, if you target the right kind of keywords, these are very eager visitors that want to buy something. Help them buy something!
Check out what The Wire Cutter does:
In the first paragraph, they give the visitor a way to get to Amazon and skip the rest of the post.
Here is an example of Outdoor Gear Lab giving visitors three ways to purchase through an affiliate program, all above-the-fold.
Test Different Calls-To-Action
People are drawn to different parts of a website. It might be due to the site design, theme, color scheme, niche, or just about anything.
It’s worth it to try different ways to entice the visitor to click over to Amazon. Buttons have an eye-catching quality and can jump out on a webpage by using contrasting or bright colors.
A potential buyer wants to see the actual product to help him or her imagine owning it. Take advantage of that desire by placing a link to Amazon on the image of the product.
The Wire Cutter uses affiliate links on both the image and the button.
You should also test a text version, using a contrasting color and larger font size.
Use Text Links Throughout the Content
In my experience, text links within the body of the content convert the best – better than images, better than buttons.
I have a limited set of data, but my conversion rates as reported on Amazon are in the 10% to 12% range most of the year and go higher during the retail season.
Going back to The Wire Cutter, check out the use of affiliate links on the names of specific models:
Use Comparison Tables
Tables are a great way to present detailed information in a concise way, in a small space. In other words, tables are the best way to compare products, and when you’re trying to provide a buying guide, they’re perfect.
If you want a lesson in conversions, there’s no better place to look than Amazon. Check out their comparison table for GoPro Heros.
If you need any inspiration for the content of your tables, check out Amazon’s product pages and the manufacturer’s website. They will usually have well thought out comparison tables.
I’ve been able to consolidate information to create tables that are clearly superior to both Amazon’s and the manufacturer’s tables. Be creative and don’t be afraid to develop your own comparisons.
Recommend Related Products
Another thing we can learn from Amazon is other products that customers are browsing and buying. On your product review pages, you can mention and link to related products.
Sometimes it’s obvious, like microSD cards for a GoPro, but there are normally lots of related products and the best place to get ideas is Amazon. They’ve done all the work for you so it’s easy to research.
Amazon is the master of getting conversions and upsells, but there’s no reason not to use their market analysis to develop content on your site.
Use High-Quality Header Images
The best websites tend to have high-quality images and graphics. Further, websites that have low credibility and poor reviews usually don’t have great looking images.
If your site showcases great images, then you can be seen in the high-quality tier. Check out this example of a diaper bag from Baby Gear Lab:
If you have the ability to take your own pictures, that’s an even better way to stand out. Your site will have images that no one else will have, further securing its spot as a credible review site.
Don’t Offer Too Many Choices
Sometimes it’s stressful to have too many options. In fact, that’s one of the reasons a person might end up on your Amazon Affiliate niche site where you review products. Your site is serving as a filter for that visitor so they can figure out what to buy from Amazon.
So, it can be smart to offer just a few choices for a type of product. Baby Gear Lab just shows you 5 options per page by default. You can “View All” products if you like, but they keep the choices to a minimum.
Going back to The Wire Cutter, we see they only review 4 models of “Cheap Projectors.” They do a good job of outlining why they chose those specific 4.
Provide Accurate Reviews
Not all products are great, so keep that in mind for your reviews. You should state when a product has issues or seems inferior or cheap. It adds credibility and trust.
One of the best ways to do that is with a “Pros and Cons” section for each product. You can explain the features that are lacking or shortcomings for a given product.
It’s counterintuitive to write negative things about a product that you’re hoping a prospective buyer will eventually buy. However, honesty about the product will trump the negative qualities most of the time.
Refer to Baby Gear Lab’s diaper bags and you can see they clearly list the cons for each model.
You’re better off providing an accurate description and letting the visitor evaluate what’s best for him or her. The red flag is when a review site claims all of the products are great and recommends them all. It seems unbelievable and lowers the credibility of your site.
Include Videos of Products
People like to see what the products look like, and there’s no better way to show them than with video. Luckily, most YouTube videos can be embedded on other sites. That’s because the default setting allows embedding for each video that’s uploaded to YouTube.
A user has to manually make the change on the video settings to disallow embedding. That makes it really easy to include videos in your content.
Link to Amazon Review Pages
Authentic user reviews are one of the reasons Amazon exploded as a retailer. People are still very interested in hearing from product owners, and after all they’re the most qualified people to provide candid reviews of the products.
So you can link to the reviews page in Amazon. Just link directly to the review page of the product. The real trick is to simply provide a text link that says:
“Click here to see owner reviews on Amazon.”
If someone is interested in a product, then they’ll want to see actual owner reviews on Amazon.
Use “Best of” Lists
If you browse on Amazon, you’ll get some great ideas about marketing, and that’s where this idea came from. I clicked around and ended up on the “Home Decor” department on Amazon.
The Editors at Amazon curated a list of their favorite “Home Decor,” saving me a bunch of time.
I didn’t even know I needed decorative pillows!
You can provide the same service for your visitors. I like to poach the Editor’s Picks because there are normally dozens of items – like there are 112 in the Wall Mirrors section. Then, you can sort by “Avg Customer Review” and pick your personal favorite mirrors.
Create a “Deals” Page
I was at the grocery store yesterday and bought some Tupperware containers that I don’t need just because they were 50% off. People love to get a deal so you can take advantage of that.
On a normal basis, you can click on the “Today’s Deals” section to see the curated list. Then, you can select whatever department applies to your site.
Over the holidays, around November and December, you’ll be able to see even more deals. Check out Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and there are similar links to see those deals.
Conduct A/B Testing Using a Dedicated Tool
As I mentioned before, testing strategies are the best practice since some niches react differently. In fact, sites within the same niche can have varying conversion rates depending on unrelated factors, such as the traffic source.
Therefore, it’s best to test one variable at a time for things like:
- Image versus text links
- Tables versus unordered lists
- Text links versus button links
- Different text and calls-to-action
Visual Site Optimizer and Optimizely are two of the dominant tools to use for A/B testing. Most of the time, you should only move forward with A/B testing if you have enough traffic and revenue to pay for the tools.
A/B testing is moderately expensive since most sites doing such testing have a lot of visitors, i.e. corporations. It also takes a while to do. For example, a page getting nearly 2,000 visitors per day took about 2 weeks to check one variation for a site of mine.
If you do get enough traffic, then it is worthwhile to execute A/B testing to see what converts best.
Increase Trust and Credibility With Your About Page
Imagine you’re a “parent to be” and you land on a niche site that reviews car seats and baby related items.
Would you trust the content more if:
- The site’s founder took the time to write an about page outlining the fact that they have children and know the topic well, or
- The site has a short about page with few details about actual knowledge of the car seats and baby related items?
As a real-life example, look at the about page of Baby Gear Lab versus Car Seat Answers. Baby Gear Lab seems far more credible for a number of reasons and Car Seat Answers seem impersonal.
You can get the 1-Page Checklist for auditing your affiliate site here. It’s free – you need to provide your name and email address and it’ll be sent to you. I also share other resources like Templates For Building a Content Team, The Task List for Creating a Niche Site, and 15,000 Profitable Keywords.
I shared 17 different ways to increase the revenue to your Amazon Affiliate Niche Site. I’ve studied, researched, and reviewed hundreds of niche sites. It’s very rare to see a site that has been truly optimized.
Personally, I know I have more than one site that I’ve just been lazy about improving using the full list of 17. It’s silly when you consider that each small improvement can add to the bottom line.
The best way to approach optimizing your site is to use the checklist to audit your top 10 highest traffic affiliate pages. Check to see what you can improve on each page and slowly make changes.