How I Made 5 Figures this Shopping Season On Amazon (and lessons learned)

by RayW
47 replies
I started building sites promoting Amazon products that are popular during the shopping season in late July-early August. I had only built 3 sites but when I started making sales in October and realized this could really work, I built a lot more.

All were targeting keywords that receive the bulk of their searches during the holiday season and had local monthly average searches of anywhere from 200-2,000.

This may not seem like a lot, but since the keywords receive the bulk of the searches during November and December (holiday season), they receive about 2,400-24,000 searches during these months since the number that the google keyword tool displays is the monthly average.

The reason I only wanted to promote products that were popular during this time of the year was because a lot of the people who click over to your affiliate links to Amazon usually buy more than just what they were looking for.

I sold many products that I wasn't promoting such as ipods, ipads, jewelry, TVs, cookware, etc. Amazon's cookies have a duration of 24 hours so whatever people buy within 24 hours of clicking through your links, you get a commission for and during shopping season, people tend to buy a lot within those 24 hours!

Almost all of my sites were ranking in the top 10 for their keywords and some related keywords. They were all EMDs and had about 2-3 articles targeting the primary keyword and related keywords. I did on-page SEO myself and I did off-page SEO using Fiverr, the sites were fairly easy to rank. I think the most I spent on ranking one site was about $50.


I Only Used Free Tools

I have used Market Samurai and Micro Niche Finder before but honestly, I don't find either of them to be much more useful than the free tools. I only use Google Keyword Tool (for keyword research) and SEOQuake to analyze competition.


Lessons Learned:

Amazon's banners SUCK:

I had amazon's black friday deals banner up on my site on black friday and their cyber monday deals banner on cyber monday, and a "holiday deals" banner on all other days - all had just over 0.5% CTR and below-average conversions. Instead of using Amazon's banners, you're better off using banners promoting affiliate offers for other sites.

Although the banners had low CTR, the basic product links I used had a CTR of 99.33%. This is how I structured them:

I made a table with 4 rows and 1 column. In the first row I had the affiliate link with the anchor text of the product name. In the second row, I had an image affiliate link of the product.

In the third row, I had another text affiliate link with the anchor text "Click Here for Best Price". I had tried others before like "click Here for More Details", "Click here to Buy Now", "Click Here to Order", etc but I found that "Click Here for Best Price" works the best not only for CTR but also for conversions. I really think making this change strongly helped boost my CTR

In the 4th row, I wrote a short review listing pros and cons of the product. I usually made about 3-4 of these tables, one for the main product I was promoting and others for related products.

Look at Search Trends

I wouldn't have been able to achieve this if I didn't focus on search trends. Don't count out a keyword just because it get less than 500 average searches/month. Those searches might all be coming on a specific month or season where you could get a lot of traffic and profit handsomely.

Don't rely on Past Data

A few of my sites received much less traffic than I was expecting. This was because Google Keyword Tool shows the data for the past year and sometimes, those numbers will be much different than the current year.

One of the keywords I was targeting had a local average monthly search volume of 720 (with about 95% of them coming during November & December), which meant the keyword should have received about 8,640 searches during the holiday season.

However, the traffic for the site was much, much lower than what I expected based on those numbers. This was because the product was a lot less popular this shopping season than it was last year. Most products aren't big sellers every shopping season so keep that in mind when you do keyword research.

Anyways, I think that's about it. Hope you enjoyed reading about my little venture in the world of micro-niche sites.

My specialties are mainly offline marketing and Fiverr but I think I've found my next favorite hobby. Next year, I will be creating a lot more sites like these now that I know their potential.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reply.
#amazon #figures #learned #lessons #made #season #shopping
  • Profile picture of the author Hostpany
    "Don't rely on Past Data" That is so true, they always show us old data so you can never rely on them, sometime you can if its still being search, but you pretty much have to guess/assume if its going to still be popular.
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  • Profile picture of the author lstoops
    Congrats on your success! That's awesome...especially since your main focus is offline and Fiverr.
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  • Profile picture of the author cooler1
    Well done. When you said you did off-page SEO using fiverr, what type of gigs did you order? i.e. blog commenting, social bookmarking, etc..
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    • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
      Cool - a couple of questions for you:

      1. Did you use any specific WP template?

      2. How many blog posts did you do and how frequently?

      3. Had the same question around Fivrr gigs - but will wait for your answer to previous post on this one

      4. How long did it take to have your site ranking near the top for your chosen keywords

      5. Did all 3 sites generate about the same commission or was one a clear winner over the others?

      Thanks,

      Jeff
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      • Profile picture of the author RayW
        Originally Posted by jbsmith View Post

        Cool - a couple of questions for you:

        1. Did you use any specific WP template?

        2. How many blog posts did you do and how frequently?

        3. Had the same question around Fivrr gigs - but will wait for your answer to previous post on this one

        4. How long did it take to have your site ranking near the top for your chosen keywords

        5. Did all 3 sites generate about the same commission or was one a clear winner over the others?

        Thanks,

        Jeff
        1. I stick to using really simple ones. I don't use any specific one but a couple I often use are 'Enterprise' and 'Contempt'.

        2. No more than 3 blog posts on any site - 1 initially, another in the next week, and another the week after. Each were at least 300 words and contained keywords I was targeting.

        3. I mostly ordered gigs for article submissions and edu links.

        4. After the first week, the sites were usually ranking on page 2-4 (without any off-page seo). Afterwards, it took about a few weeks to get them ranking on page 1. A couple never made it past page 2 though (I underestimated their competition). One of them was ranking #3 but one day just disappeared off the SERPs...

        5. The sites that were ranked higher and/or were targeting higher search volume keywords earned more commissions (obviously).
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by Ray Wynn View Post

          All were targeting keywords that receive the bulk of their searches during the holiday season and had local monthly average searches of anywhere from 200-2,000.

          This may not seem like a lot, but since the keywords receive the bulk of the searches during November and December (holiday season), they receive about 2,400-24,000 searches during these months since the number that the google keyword tool displays is the monthly average.
          This is the kind of insight that a) you won't find in any KW tool and b) gives you the edge over folks that are slaves to mathematical rules.

          Well done!
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          • Profile picture of the author PLRExpress
            Congrats!

            I think the fact that you managed to do so well with a low budget and free tools is extremely commendable and it just goes to show that you don't always need all the "essential" tools to make money.

            I agree with what you say about keyword tools giving info based on past data. I have has sites at number 1 in G and still not see the levels of search-based traffic that G KW tool suggests.

            On the other hand, I've got a site that's at number 1 but gets almost double what G KW tool would suggest for that same KW.

            Thanks for sharing your success.
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        • Profile picture of the author cooler1
          Originally Posted by Ray Wynn View Post

          3. I mostly ordered gigs for article submissions and edu links.
          There was a thread on here recently saying that edu links have no value over regular backlinks. Is this correct?

          I have a question regarding the use of your targetted keyword. When you put your product keyword sprinkled throughout your review to achieve a good keyword density, do you put the entire keyword in or just a shortened version of it?

          If you use the entire product keyword throughout the review, it can look a bit odd especially if its a lengthy product name, but is it better for SEO purposes?
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          • Profile picture of the author RayW
            Originally Posted by cooler1 View Post

            There was a thread on here recently saying that edu links have no value over regular backlinks. Is this correct?
            I don't know, they seem to work fine for me. The key to building backlinks is getting them indexed, which is something most people don't focus on. I make sure that the fiverr gigs I order also offer to get the links indexed.

            Originally Posted by cooler1 View Post

            I have a question regarding the use of your targetted keyword. When you put your product keyword sprinkled throughout your review to achieve a good keyword density, do you put the entire keyword in or just a shortened version of it?

            If you use the entire product keyword throughout the review, it can look a bit odd especially if its a lengthy product name, but is it better for SEO purposes?
            I put the entire keyword in.

            I didn't really have that problem because I was never targeting those kinds of keywords. I was targeting keywords like "[generic product name] for kids/for sale" "[name of video game] for wii", etc. I wasn't really targeting long product names with model numbers. I only used the keyword about once every 100 words. I don't think it looked spammy, IMO.
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        • Profile picture of the author humbledmarket
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Ray Wynn View Post

          1. I stick to using really simple ones. I don't use any specific one but a couple I often use are 'Enterprise' and 'Contempt'.

          2. No more than 3 blog posts on any site - 1 initially, another in the next week, and another the week after. Each were at least 300 words and contained keywords I was targeting.

          3. I mostly ordered gigs for article submissions and edu links.

          4. After the first week, the sites were usually ranking on page 2-4 (without any off-page seo). Afterwards, it took about a few weeks to get them ranking on page 1. A couple never made it past page 2 though (I underestimated their competition). One of them was ranking #3 but one day just disappeared off the SERPs...

          5. The sites that were ranked higher and/or were targeting higher search volume keywords earned more commissions (obviously).
          Thanks for sharing. ALL FANTASTIC TIPs. I couldn't decide on how many blog post per site and went with 5-10...boy did that cost a lot (300*10*5/article) lol

          If only I saw this post preivously.

          Your layout on the ad is also very very smart; definitely makes sense. Enjoy your big pay day man and Merry Christmas
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  • Profile picture of the author Big Al
    Cool case study and great example of thinking ahead. I'm sure you'll continue to 'coin it in' over 2012 as well.

    Did you use a link tracking service or simply use Amazon's tracking ID to watch your conversions?

    I used Contempt on quite a few product specific sites (ie. only one product on the entire site) and they worked really well plus they were easy to create simple headers for too.

    I'm going to play with Pilcrow for my next few and look at hacking it to suit my site.
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    • Profile picture of the author RayW
      Originally Posted by Big Al View Post

      Did you use a link tracking service or simply use Amazon's tracking ID to watch your conversions?
      I just used tracking IDs; I had two specific IDs for 2 sites and used one generic one for the rest. Come to think of it, that was quite silly of me, I should've used a specific ID for each site to track conversions better. Oh well...
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  • Profile picture of the author Timothy Wright
    Good stuff Ray. I especially liked your "Click Here for Best Price" method for getting a clickthru; have to give that one a try.
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  • Profile picture of the author Austin357
    Ray,

    Great success story and nice job on focusing on the holiday search traffic!
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  • Profile picture of the author Keeslover
    Congratulations! That is amazing, and I hope your success continues.
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  • Profile picture of the author SoEasyMoney
    Are all of your posts product review or do you include general content articles as well?
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  • Profile picture of the author DarrenHaynes
    That is AWESOME Ray - thanks for sharing this with us. You method is so simple - yet is a kind of genius. As the saying goes "any old fool can make something complicated, but it takes a genius to make it simple".

    I am definitely going to replicate your advice here, and get some sites going in the new year!

    I got a question about the tables and review writing -

    1) Was MOST of the on page writing within the 4th row of the table? Or did you have some writing outside of the table, as in a regular blog post?

    2) What did you do to write your reviews? Study amazon comments? Did you do the reviews in the first person, or just in an informational style? Something else?
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    • Profile picture of the author RayW
      Originally Posted by DarrenHaynes View Post

      That is AWESOME Ray - thanks for sharing this with us. You method is so simple - yet is a kind of genius. As the saying goes "any old fool can make something complicated, but it takes a genius to make it simple".

      I am definitely going to replicate your advice here, and get some sites going in the new year!

      I got a question about the tables and review writing -

      1) Was MOST of the on page writing within the 4th row of the table? Or did you have some writing outside of the table, as in a regular blog post?

      2) What did you do to write your reviews? Study amazon comments? Did you do the reviews in the first person, or just in an informational style? Something else?
      1) No, in fact very little of it was. Most of the writing was in the articles/regular blog posts. In the 4th rows of the tables, I just wrote a few sentences in bullet points detailing the pros and cons of the product.

      2) Regular informational style. For my first few sites, I wrote them myself using content from amazon reviews/product descriptions and ezinearticles, later on I outsourced them.
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      • Profile picture of the author dshipman
        Great thread. It's interesting, but makes sense that the "best price" buttons worked better than the "buy now" buttons. I guess everyone likes to think they're getting a deal.

        Congrats on your great results
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  • Profile picture of the author DarrenHaynes
    1) No, in fact very little of it was. Most of the writing was in the articles/regular blog posts. In the 4th rows of the tables, I just wrote a few sentences in bullet points detailing the pros and cons of the product.

    2) Regular informational style. For my first few sites, I wrote them myself using content from amazon reviews/product descriptions and ezinearticles, later on I outsourced them.
    Thanks for that :-)

    Got another question for you :-)

    How much did you pay for each of the articles that you were outsourcing, and how many words per article did you use on average? Main reason for asking is I tend to overdo things, so I just want to get an idea of the level of article writing you are buying.
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    • Profile picture of the author RayW
      Originally Posted by DarrenHaynes View Post

      Thanks for that :-)

      Got another question for you :-)

      How much did you pay for each of the articles that you were outsourcing, and how many words per article did you use on average? Main reason for asking is I tend to overdo things, so I just want to get an idea of the level of article writing you are buying.
      All articles were at least 300 words, I outsourced them on Fiverr and Odesk. I think I probably paid about $2-$3 per article.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gaz Cooper
      Hey Ray

      Congratulations

      Its like I am always saying anyone can make money with Amazon its not rocket science if you follow the basic principle the hardest part is putting the work in and sticking at it without jumping from one thing to the next.

      What seperates those that make money and those that don't is consistent action and sticking with it,

      Great job I will be working on my 2012 Christmas sites in february like I did this year. it certainly paid off to think ahead.

      Have a great Christmas

      Kickin it on Amazon

      Gaz Cooper
      Amz Training Academy
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      Beginners get Started with AMAZON, we will give you a FREE custom made Amazon Site when you purchase hosting through us contact us at http://authorityzonesupport.com/

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  • Profile picture of the author DarrenHaynes
    All articles were at least 300 words, I outsourced them on Fiverr and Odesk. I think I probably paid about $2-$3 per article.
    Thanks again - I am a total brain picker when I see a method that works! One last question :-) Do you host all the sites on seperate IP address, or do you have no problem in hosting them all on the same IP address (which is cheaper!) I ask because, I put the tin-foil hat on every now and then!
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    • Profile picture of the author RayW
      Originally Posted by DarrenHaynes View Post

      Thanks again - I am a total brain picker when I see a method that works! One last question :-) Do you host all the sites on seperate IP address, or do you have no problem in hosting them all on the same IP address (which is cheaper!) I ask because, I put the tin-foil hat on every now and then!
      Same IP address; haven't had any problems so far...
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  • Profile picture of the author DarrenHaynes
    Same IP address; haven't had any problems so far...
    Excellent - well this really is a cheap yet REALLY effective gig to set up!
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  • Profile picture of the author HarrisonJ
    Thanks for this post. Some people sure do well with seo sniper sites targeting amazon products.

    "I found that "Click Here for Best Price" works the best not only for CTR but also for conversions" That is a great tip. It amazes me how a change of one or two words can effect things so much.
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  • Profile picture of the author BoltAds
    May I ask you this next question: How do you work with SEOQuake when it isn't working properly (Yahoo links, for instance)?

    Inspite of that doubt, good post indeed!
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    • Profile picture of the author RayW
      Originally Posted by BoltAds View Post

      May I ask you this next question: How do you work with SEOQuake when it isn't working properly (Yahoo links, for instance)?

      Inspite of that doubt, good post indeed!
      After yahoo site exporer was shut down, I have started using backlinkwatch.com to check for backlinks to a site. It works well, the only thing I don't like about it is that the site is so littered with ads. The number one indicator I use to analyze competition is to see if there are pages like free blogspot/wordpress blogs or articles from article directories ranking on the first page. I then check their backlinks, which are usually very low for pages like these, and that's when I know can easily rank for a keyword.
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      • Profile picture of the author 3genter
        Originally Posted by Ray Wynn View Post

        After yahoo site exporer was shut down, I have started using backlinkwatch.com to check for backlinks to a site. It works well, the only thing I don't like about it is that the site is so littered with ads. The number one indicator I use to analyze competition is to see if there are pages like free blogspot/wordpress blogs or articles from article directories ranking on the first page. I then check their backlinks, which are usually very low for pages like these, and that's when I know can easily rank for a keyword.
        This has been an eye opening thread - thanks RAY!!!
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      • Profile picture of the author chemo38
        Great post, Ray,

        May I suggest you write this up as a WSO?

        chemo38
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        • Profile picture of the author RayW
          Originally Posted by chemo38 View Post

          Great post, Ray,

          May I suggest you write this up as a WSO?

          chemo38
          I appreciate the thought, but I think I'll keep this free
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  • Profile picture of the author feliciayapsl
    Congrats on your 5-figure holiday sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author SoEasyMoney
    Ray....do your sites only have reviews or do they have general content articles as well?
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    • Profile picture of the author RayW
      Originally Posted by SoEasyMoney View Post

      Ray....do your sites only have reviews or do they have general content articles as well?
      Sometimes I make the blog posts reviews, most of the time I make them informational.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zack Sprague
    how should a Newbie try this method?
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    Sincerely,
    Zack Sprague

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    • Profile picture of the author RayW
      Originally Posted by flatbro94 View Post

      how should a Newbie try this method?
      Shopping season is almost over so I'm afraid if you make a site like this now, you probably won't start making many sales until next October. But if you want to get a headstart, here's a blueprint you could follow:

      1. Go to Google Keyword Tool, sign in.
      2. Add these filters: local monthly searches <= 2,000, Competition: Medium or High
      3. Enter a keyword pertaining to toys/video games/electronics.
      4. Sort the results by local monthly searches
      5. Go through the keywords and check their competing pages by typing them in with quotation marks in Google and seeing the number of page results. Or you could put a check by all the keywords you're interested in, select "View as Text" and copy them, download the free version of market Samurai, paste them in and sort them by SEOC.
      6. If you're new, I would suggest picking a keyword that gets less than 500 local searches per month and has SEOC of less than 30,000.
      7. Pick a keyword that's as targeted as possible (example: pick "zumba wii fit game" over "wii fit games")
      8. Also, make sure their is an Exact Match Domain (EMD) available for the keyword (.org, .net, or .com).
      9. If you think you've found a good keyword, type it in Google and look at the top 10 competing pages. Are there free blogspot/wordpress blogs or articles from article directories with a low number of backlinks on the first page? If so, you know you can rank for it.
      10. Create your site using Wordpress (If you're new, I would suggest using Blogger) and do all the on-page SEO (meta tags, H1/H2/H3 tags, etc).
      11. Write the articles yourself or outsource them.
      12. If you're using blogger, you'll probably be ranked within a few days. It may take longer if you're using Wordpress.
      13. Use fiverr for building backlinks. Only buy from top-rated sellers. Article submission + indexing gigs work well, edu links too.

      I think that's about it, I feel like I'm missing something though; if I remember, I'll add it later.
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  • Profile picture of the author RayW
    I've been getting a few PMs about this so I think I'll clarify: I only target keywords that receive a steep rise in search during the holiday season. This is what their trend graphs look like:

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  • Profile picture of the author lasnev
    Thanks for the info. As I am interested in learning more about using Amazon, this is very helful
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  • Profile picture of the author godinu
    are you promoting just 3-4 products per site, or one product / site? (since you mentioned only 3-4 blog posts per site..)

    seems some people do well with massive amazon review sites so it's interesting to see what works for different people
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  • Give this backlink checker a try.

    seocentro.com/tools/search-engines/link-popularity.html

    (sorry for the non-link, my post count isn't yet high enough!)

    And you might consider ramping up for gardening and lawn mowing season.
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    Get Income from Home Tips in your Inbox!

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  • Profile picture of the author Dave Bean
    I have had great success in the past year promoting Amazon products by going against most of the advice of the Amazon Gurus.

    I like Ray Wynn's methods for the most part and congratulate you on your success.

    But there is more than one way to skin a cat with Amazon.

    Yes adding value to the internet and your potential customers shopping experience is the way to go to build a viable internet business.

    But my approach is simple..... and works well for me.

    Just get the click to Amazon and let them do the selling and up-selling.

    I promote only a few highly searched products directly from my websites and blogs.

    Nothing over $30

    High volume health related products and a few sex related.... yet the majority of my sales from Amazon are books, toys, sports memorabilia, electronics, garden products ... you name it.

    And not just because it's the Christmas buying season right now... this is year round.

    Amazon is the MASTER of cross-sales, up-sales, and hell I'm here now so I might as well spend enough to qualify for free shipping.

    My Amazon affiliate technique is super simple.

    VOLUME is everything... get the search... then get the click to Amazon.

    I'm sure I'll get slammed by some Warriors for not producing VALUE and not building a list and so on but....

    All Amazon wants is more customers.

    The way I see it is my job as an Amazon affiliate is to send white-hat traffic to their site... period.

    Send them as many customers as you can no matter what keywords or products they were searching for originally and you'll make good money one or two dollars at a time with Amazon.

    It's all about VOLUME and clicks to Amazon... and then let them do the selling for you.

    Disclaimer - This is just my approach, your results may vary.

    Happy Holidays everyone.... I hope you have a great 2012!

    Dave
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    • Profile picture of the author SoEasyMoney
      Dave: So you mass produce "thin" content sites? How do you get your traffic? Not bashing, just curious :-)

      Merry Christmas to you!


      Originally Posted by Dave Bean View Post

      I have had great success in the past year promoting Amazon products by going against most of the advice of the Amazon Gurus.

      I like Ray Wynn's methods for the most part and congratulate you on your success.

      But there is more than one way to skin a cat with Amazon.

      Yes adding value to the internet and your potential customers shopping experience is the way to go to build a viable internet business.

      But my approach is simple..... and works well for me.

      Just get the click to Amazon and let them do the selling and up-selling.

      I promote only a few highly searched products directly from my websites and blogs.

      Nothing over $30

      High volume health related products and a few sex related.... yet the majority of my sales from Amazon are books, toys, sports memorabilia, electronics, garden products ... you name it.

      And not just because it's the Christmas buying season right now... this is year round.

      Amazon is the MASTER of cross-sales, up-sales, and hell I'm here now so I might as well spend enough to qualify for free shipping.

      My Amazon affiliate technique is super simple.

      VOLUME is everything... get the search... then get the click to Amazon.

      I'm sure I'll get slammed by some Warriors for not producing VALUE and not building a list and so on but....

      All Amazon wants is more customers.

      The way I see it is my job as an Amazon affiliate is to send white-hat traffic to their site... period.

      Send them as many customers as you can no matter what keywords or products they were searching for originally and you'll make good money one or two dollars at a time with Amazon.

      It's all about VOLUME and clicks to Amazon... and then let them do the selling for you.

      Disclaimer - This is just my approach, your results may vary.

      Happy Holidays everyone.... I hope you have a great 2012!

      Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author kolbywhite28
    Ray, don't mind me asking, how many sites did you build altogether?
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  • Profile picture of the author RayW
    @godinu: I usually promote one main product per site and a few related products. For example, if I'm targeting the keyword "zumba for wii", I would promote the zumba video game for the wii, and 2-3 other related items like the wii fit.

    @Dave Bean: I completely agree with you that one's primary target should be to get people to click through over to Amazon, and let Amazon do what it does best.

    @kolbywhite28: I had 23 sites which were ranking on the first page for their main keywords.
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  • Profile picture of the author spen
    Congratulations
    May I ask these?
    1. What is EMDs?
    2. Are your sites products reviews sites? Are you outsourcing of reviews writing?
    3. How many products on per site? only three products?
    4. How do you find out a product that you promoting it? What is low competition of keyword? How many backling is low competition?
    5. I have one site, I bulit it for about a month ago, but it only had a one click and no sale.
    How to rank your sites? Can you about it carefully?
    what is on-page SEO? How to do off-page SEO using Fiverr?
    you said"I think the most I spent on ranking one site was about $50"
    How to spent $50 on ranking one site? please Explanation it careflly.
    Merry Christmas!
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  • Profile picture of the author mywebwork
    I'd say that you gave everyone here a very nice Christmas present by sharing this information. No doubt a few of us will be following your strategies for the next holiday season.

    Happy holidays to you Ray!

    Bill
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