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Niche Site Case Study: Income Increasing


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This month, I saw some good improvements in my search rankings and my income for my affiliate sites. I am seeing sales everyday. The total amount of income is still much lower than I would like but everything is still moving upwards and I am making nearly three times as much as a month ago! More details below.

Niche Site Case Study(1)

This is my sixth update in my case study about building three Amazon affiliate sites. You can also read my last update about how my sites were progressing.

PBN and Link Building

My PBN is going well. I did spend a day last week updating each of them with some new content and ensuring they look as legit as possible. We have also been spending time moving over the sites I bought from the done for you PBN on Authority Website Income. I continued to have problems with this service, so it seemed better to just take them over myself. This is disappointing as the whole point was to try and avoid more work and to lessen my footprint.

I have not done much link building in the last month. I used the final site that I got from the service mentioned above and a PBN site of my own that I hadn’t used to link from yet, and I did a link exchange. I am hoping I don’t need all that many more links and my rankings will improve with a bit more time rather than links. I have more links than my main competitors now.

Site 1

In the last month, I have added one link and one article.

My rankings over the last month:

  • 758 queries with 25,650 impressions (these are just for web searches moved from 572 queries with 26,274 impressions last month)
  • Main keywords average positions are 8.6 and 9.2 (down from 13 and 25 last month)*.
  • Secondary keywords: 4.2 (9.2), 2.1 (4.0), 5.0 (9.2), 13, 11 (21)*

I am ranking quite well for this site with many search terms on the front page. I am still concerned that my earlier fears were correct and that I started with bad keywords. I listened to the wrong advice when I did the keyword research for this site and picked keywords where eCommerce sites dominate. I have certainly proven that I can still rank well even with eCommerce keywords. However, they are not the best buying keywords and I am not making much money from this site. The search volume of my best ranking keywords are also not much so there is not much traffic to take.

I worry that I will just not be able to make enough money from this site because there is just not enough search volume.

Page Views: 2214 (up from 1564)
Earnings: $61 (up from $53)

Site 3

I have been adding an article or review a week to this site as well as optimising an existing article a week to add more keywords. I have only added a couple of links to this site.

My rankings over the last month:

  • 1,357 queries with 16,109 impressions on web search (up from 811 queries with 10,348 impressions last month) and 242 queries and 3,484 impressions on mobile search.
  • Main keyword average position is 17 (up from 23)*.
  • All my main secondary keywords are now ranking between 26 – 40 (last month was 29 – 50)*.
  • Some of the longtail keywords I have targeted in articles are ranking at 7.4 (14), 6.3 (11 ), 9.0 (19), 7.5 (35), 30 (31), 17(13) and 39*.

Page Views: 1,542 (up from 1,067)
Earnings: $98 (up from $9)

I am very happy with the income boost this month, although I find it interesting (and slightly worrying) that my earnings have risen 1000% whereas my page views have only risen about 50%. I find this worrying as quite a lot of the products bought this month were not related to the niche so maybe the reader just happened to shop on Amazon while the cookie was still there. Being Christmas time, I may have seen the increase because of this. However, if this was the case shouldn’t I have seen a similar increase in my other niche site? My niche site items themselves are not something I imagine would have a huge rise in sales at Christmas time.

I am especially happy to see so many of my longtails ranking well. These numbers are averages for the last month and some are actually cracking the top 5 now. The vast majority of my link building is to the main keyword page or the home page. This is not much to any other page (and no more than one link to any particular page)

Search Rankings over the Last Three Months

I thought it might also be interesting to show how my sites have been ranking in Google over the last 3 months. At the point that these graphs start, the sites are only 1-2 months old with site 1 being a couple of weeks older than site 3.

Search impressions and clicks in Webmaster tools

Search impressions and clicks in Webmaster tools

Please note that when comparing these charts, that Site 1 is over a shorter time frame and the scale on the vertical axis is different.

They have both progressed quite differently, with Site 1 very up and down (I have read other blogs where people have found this behaviour normal during the Google sandbox period), and Site 3 growing more gradually. I also find it interesting that I get so many more impressions for Site 1 even though Site 3 is much bigger and targets far more keywords. It will be interesting to see how this changes over the coming months.

Next Steps?

I plan on doing very little over the next month as we move to Asia and have a holiday. I have more product reviews scheduled on site 3 for the next month, and I will build a link or two if the opportunity presents itself. However for the moment, I feel I have put enough effort in and I need to see more pay off before taking it further.

You can now read January’s update and more posts on my case studies and niche sites here.

Wondering where site 2 is? Read this update about how it was penalised.

* = All of the rankings that I list are based on the average search ranking over the last month. They are usually all ranking higher than this right now.

About the Author

Sharon Gourlay is passionate about working online and helping others to follow in her footsteps. She left Australia with her young family at the end of 2014 determined to grow an online business. She succeeded and now supports her family of 5 to live their dream lifestyle.

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