After latest Google updates people questioned whether it’s still possible to earn money with an affiliate website that is dedicated to promoting a single product using exact match domain names (EMDs).
As you know Google made an update a few month back that was supposed to target sites using EMDs to reduce their ranking power. I know about few cases where rankings dropped for the owner after that update, but does it mean this strategy doesn’t work anymore? Well, you will be surprised how well it still works.
I don’t know about you but I like to hang out at Flippa.com to research other people’s sites. It’s a great way to find profitable keywords by the way that no tool will give you. People share everything on there to make a sale which is good for you if you want to copy what they are doing 😉
So the other day I was browsing around looking at all kinds of stuff and checking out people’s screenshots, traffic stats, rankings, what products they promote etc. and found this auction that ended at $14,000 for the seller. I guess not bad for a simple (some people might say low value) affiliate site that sells only 1 product in the health niche.
If you want to check it out you will need to login to Flippa, but the traffic and sales were legit because the owner of MoreNiche actually made a comment on there…so I am guessing it was verified.
After looking at the whole site and content you can quickly tell how easy it would be for anyone to reverse engineer the entire project and make a site like that to flip it later for a cool few thousand dollars. This auction actually ended only a month ago so the Google EMD update didn’t hurt it.
The site had only about 16 real pages and sold for $14k! As you can see it’s definitely possible to make some quick money with these sites.
I took a closer look at it and it seems like they let the site sit for a while before getting links built to it. I plugged in their domain name into Majestic SEO tool and got this graph:
It could be that those links were part of a Negative SEO campaign against them and maybe that’s why they were selling but I don’t think so.
So basically you can still build a 10-20 page site dedicated to one affiliate product and pocket some nice chunk of money.
I wrote a post about how to go about doing this before but things changed since then a little bit as far as link building goes.
The key is to find a popular product that generates a decent amount of brand searches. I wouldn’t try to copy the exact example I just showed you because after that auction there are probably a lot of affiliates targeting that particular product name.
The best way to find out if a product is popular or not is to check their traffic stats through Alexa.com or Quantcast.com.
Join a few affiliate networks and check homepage of each product on Alexa.com. If their rank is below 100k it usually means that there is a decent number of affiliates promoting it and making money. Of course you also want to ask your affiliate manager which products are high converting and do significant volume.
Volume is important. I would rather promote a product that gets 2 EPC and generates a lot of brand searches than an offer with $3-4 EPC but barely any monthly traffic volume…get my point?
The process of creating a site that promotes one affiliate product is quite simple.
Step 1 – Register a domain name with the product name in it
Step 2 – Order about 5-10 relevant articles to post on it
Step 3 – Get a hosting account and deploy WordPress
Step 4 – Let it sit for 2-3 weeks before adding more content (optional)
Step 5 – Start adding your reviews and pages targeting branded keywords
Step 6 – Go to town with link building 😉 (or should I say spamming?)
Anyway, this not only proves that you can make money with these sites even after all the recent Google algo changes, but also that working on a site that you really care about and don’t want to risk losing is getting a lot harder.
For example, you might want to go totally white hat and build a nice review site for many different products. You don’t engage in link building much because you want to follow Google guidelines so you hope that natural links will just appear out of thin air and catapult your website to the top.
Weeks or months go by and you are still not on top of Google results but you see these small thin sites ranked all over the place using $5 content from India.
Now what? Well you try to reverse engineer what they did and try to boost your site too using the same techniques. Guess what happens next? You get penalized lol
They might get penalized too, but since their investment is really small they can just create another similar site and start spamming again. Within a month or so they are back on top while you enjoy your penalty that might last a year or so. You probably invested thousands of dollars in quality content that is now useless and nobody will ever read.
It’s sad to say it but if you want to make some quick cash just create small single product affiliate sites and then flip them as soon as you get them ranked and making money. It seems like a good business model and it’s all because of the fear that Google injected into the search ecosystem by allowing external links to hurt your rankings.
Just make sure to sell it before it gets nuked 😉