Here’s the fourth-month report of 2012 for this coffee niche site case study for the Amazon Associate program. A little history with regards to this case-study, the site started as a trial site that I set up when I first started being an Amazon affiliate last July-Aug (2011) and I’ve chosen this site as a case study for other Amazon affiliates to learn from, not only on what to do, but what NOT to do as well.
If you haven’t done so, check out the main case study page to track the progress and earnings of this Amazon niche site case study.
This site started out with quite a lot of newbie mistakes from keyword research, content design, site structure, SEO and such. As a result, I’m spending quite a bit of time tweaking and correcting those mistakes to get it back up to par.
And A Penguin Hits….
No SEO and internet marketing site can go through April without mentioning the Google algorithm update that occurred on April 23rd dubbed “Penguin”.
Frankly, they should lay off the cute, innocent animal names and just start using names like “rodent”, “serpent”, “locust”, “cockroach”, or something as the impact to most websites and businesses are nothing short of dreadful.
If you’ve peeked into our March report, this site was hovering between 30-50 unique visitors a day and accumulates close to 10 clicks to Amazon daily.
Panda struck and knocked this site silly as you can see from the traffic stat chart below:
That’s a big drop in weekly traffic for a site that’s relying purely on organic traffic, which goes to show that a small product niche can be kind of risky to get all your traffic from one search engine.
Let’s take a look at the daily numbers right after the black and white flightless bird pooped all over the web.
Over 50% drop in traffic compared to the following week – ouch.
As I’ve mentioned last month, I’ve switched the site to use Elegant Themes’ InReview theme. The theme looks great on the site with very clear format to ‘feature’ the products reviewed and clear call-to-action. It also made the site look more professional, like a brand’s website, rather than a typical Amazon review site.
The new theme was implemented around the 15th of April. After implementation, I saw a slightly better bounce rate than before, but since about 1/3 of my traffic comes from the inner pages and not the home page, the figures don’t reflect the benefits of the new home page layout.
I’ve also noticed a slight increase in Adsense clicks, 7 total for April, but Adsense is totally wrong for this niche and I’ve decided to remove all Adsense ads completely by the end of April.
With high hopes of improved earnings from better traffic and refreshed content in March, the new algorithm change really flushed everything down the drain with the traffic drop.
The clicks dropped by 24% compared to March but the site was still able to earn 52% more in earnings than March because the site sold more expensive items in April, compared to last March’s low-value items.
The earnings increased may probably be due to better content and persuasive writing for the review posts.
April Summary and May To-Do
Needless to say, relatively thin sites like this one, which contains around 20 articles and reviews combined get whipped around whenever there’s a ‘quality and spam’ oriented search engine changes as it doesn’t have sufficient content and natural backlinks pointing at it as a site of authority.
Some thin sites may luck out and get bumped up during such updates, but these are mostly temporary gains that will not hold their spots unless more off-page effort is put in.
Since I’ve decided a couple of months ago to no longer spend any money on this site, I’ll no longer build any links towards the site unless it’s free or easy to do.
Content-wise, unless I see more keywords popping out that are profitable and can obtain more traffic, I won’t be adding more content either.
I’m starting to see a flat-line development in terms of traffic for this site if it doesn’t move up the rankings and the 5-10 orders per month threshold seems to be its limit until search engine ranking improves.
The site still has a lot of earning potential, like 20-40 orders per month if it’s sitting on first page for several of its inner pages, but as of the moment, 4 of my product review pages sit between 5th to 30th on Google, and only two info-based articles are on page one.
If I can somehow get all 10 product review pages on the first page, without added costs, that’ll be dandy.
Several of my other Amazon niche sites (not revealed) are fine however, one of the sites jumped up in ranking quite a bit and my photography blog started to get its keywords back in the SERPs after 2 months of Panda beating.
For May-June, I’ll try to go back to the old backlinking model and create some Web 2.0 properties to see if it helps the review pages move up the ranking.
Stay tuned for more updates.