New Monthly Records and Reflections...
Started the New Year off with a smile while collecting the numbers for the Dec. 2020 Income Report.
The affiliate websites generated a 5-figure Profit in December!
Exciting times for sure, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop working hard. I know it's going to be a lot more work to continue growing this year.
I expect Q1 numbers to be low. How low is anyone's guess. I just know I'm going to need to continue working diligently to grow the numbers.
It hasn't been an easy path to reach this point. I've put in many, many long hours, especially in the beginning when earnings were non-existent. It can be tiring, depressing, and lonely on the long journey. But I kept plugging along.
When I was still working a regular job, I'd work on affiliate websites at night after the kids went to sleep until 2-3am. I'd then wake up at 6-7am to start the regular job because I had colleagues in Los Angeles (I'm based in Taiwan now).
When I left that job, I still worked long hours, because I knew that if I didn't, the revenue today wouldn't have come.
Work on affiliate websites included creating content and optimizing on-page/off-page SEO, but also education. There was a lot of reading, watching, and listening to others in the space.
There are so many people in the space who share. The trouble was sifting through the noise and finding the useful and actionable information for my affiliate website journey. I wouldn't say I wasted time with the unhelpful noise, but rather I learned what wasn't useful in building affiliate websites for me.
That's why I started the Niche Surfer newsletter. As I find links that I find useful and actionable for my affiliate website journey, I want to do my part and share with others to help their journeys.
SEO Testing: The Secret To Maximize Your Website Traffic and Profits
Search engine optimization (SEO) requires constant testing to be effective. If you don’t understand what changes drive growth (or why visitors respond the way they do), you’ll waste your time guessing at solutions while your competitors leave you in the dust.
Matt Diggity is one of the biggest SEO Testers out there and here he is sharing his SEO Testing process.
Tools and Resources
Google's Question Hub Opens Its Doors
Question Hub previously wasn't open for US-based publishers, but it is now! It started in 2018 in areas where there wasn't enough content that they've found to answer people's questions - India, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
Can you say - Low Competition, Long Tail Keywords
I signed up for it using my Google account. For some reason, my G Suite account wasn't working. It said I needed to allow it for all those in the workspace, but I couldn't figure out how where to turn on Question Hub. So use it with your regular Gmail account if you have trouble signing up.
Anyways, when you sign up for the account, it'll ask you to enter search terms and you can add questions that have been searched and poorly answered according to Google. It'll also ask you to grant access to your Google Search Console, which you'll need when answering questions (more below).
I was able to add 500 questions across a number of topics before they stopped me: Unusual account activity detected. Please check back for new questions tomorrow.
The questions feel very much like if you were on Quora looking for questions to answer.
As I've been going through many of the questions, it seems that roughly 50% could be answered with one sentence. 40% in 2-5 sentences. Those would be good for the FAQ sections for your pages and posts.
The last 10% could end up as a post, but they're mostly "how to" questions. If you do decide to create a post, you'll want to look at the "how to" questions and see if that's content people will want a written article for or will they prefer a video of.
When you find a question that you've already answered in one of your posts, you can click the Answer button and it'll ask for the URL of where the answer is located on your site. Note that you can only submit URL's that you own, meaning sites in your Google Search Console or YouTube.
Seems like a good place to find content ideas for niches. Definitely worth checking out if you're in the US. Use a VPN if you're not in the US.
ahrefs Keyword Grouping in Keywords Explorer
Is it just me or is there more and more of a focus on silos / topic clusters in recent weeks?
I feel like I've shared a good number of articles on topic clusters in the last few weeks, because I've just happened to see more of them.
Topic clusters are nothing new and when doing keyword research, I always group related keywords together as I plan out silos.
Maybe it's because I've had topic clusters on my mind in talking with others, so a version of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is now in effect.
The phenomenon is the idea that you learn of something new and then you start seeing it everywhere. For example, you're researching cars to buy and find one that you like, but you didn't know that car model existed before. The next time you're out on the road, you start seeing it everywhere. It's not that it just popped up out of nowhere, the car just didn't exist in your mind.
Back to ahrefs. They now have filters "to group keywords either by terms or by parent topic" when you're researching keywords.
Definitely very helpful when researching topics, because I do the grouping somewhat manually now.
Be sure to watch the YouTube video too.
For their example in the 2nd half of the video - They might've read my Keyword Research For Affiliate Marketing SEO article first haha.
Get Google To Index Your Website Instantly Using the Indexing API
Rank Math announced an update to allow configuring your site with Bing's new Instant Indexing API.
Bing isn't the first search engine API that Rank Math is connecting to. They actually released an integration for Google's Indexing API in July 2020.
I'm not actually sure how effective these indexing API's are. I haven't tried them, nor have I heard of anyone actually using them. Maybe the steps that're needed to create an API key is a big deterrent.
Here are the links to setup for both search engines:
Google Indexing API Setup Instructions
Bing Indexing API Setup Instructions
If you use either, do let me know. I'd love to hear about it.
Affiliate Marketing on Youtube: Who does it and is it worth it?
This is for the YouTubers out there. I don't do YouTube myself, even though I've considered it. At times I've thought it'd be easier to do videos than write up articles.
More and more affiliate site owners are creating YouTube video content to help drive traffic for their niche sites and generate revenue.
This is a good overview of YouTube Affiliate Marketing if you don't know too much about affiliate marketing on YouTube.
OwnTheYard.com 2020 Report - Spencer Haws Case Study
Spencer Haws published his “annual report” for the Own The Yard site. Lots of great information and insights there for a site that has generated $59,505 since starting in September 2018.
Case studies are one of the best places for information because you're able to get different insights that'll help in building your own niche sites.
Compare and contrast different content creation processes to find out what works best for your site and niche. Many people don't share their niche, which is understandable because I don't either. But there's still a lot to learn without knowing the niche.
On Spencer's YouTube Channel, he's uploaded many Coaching Call videos where he walks people through niche selection, keyword research, branding, content creation, etc. They're 3-4 years old, but still relevant.
Spencer mostly does interviews now with people and discussing how they've grown their own sites and online businesses. Completely the case study structure by understanding and learning how others have succeded and failed.
Google’s Smith Algorithm Outperforms BERT
Google recently published a research paper on a new algorithm called SMITH that it claims outperforms BERT for understanding long queries and long documents. While algorithms like BERT are trained on data sets to predict randomly hidden words are from the context within sentences, the SMITH algorithm is trained to predict what the next block of sentences are.
If you're interested to see where Google is heading with SMITH, this is an interesting read and is interesting to think ahead about how to do content in the future.