One of my personal crusades in the affiliate marketing space is figuring out what actually works. One piece of advice I received in the past, and assumed was true, was that you should avoid “buy” keywords with the content you publish. In other words, you're wasting your time if you try to rank for something like “buy Nike shoes” or “buy vintage clocks”. Standard advice in affiliate circles is that ecommerce stores would naturally take those places because people who want to buy something aren't looking for additional information.
However, just by accident, I stumbled upon a really good keyword, and it was a “buy” keyword. My article was, at one time, ranking #1 for this result, and it still ranks on page 1. At its peak, this single article was getting over 4,000 page views per month.
Why You Should Target “Buy” Keywords Even Though Everyone Says Not To
4,000 page views per month is quite a bit for a single blog post. In case you can't see the graphic above in detail, people are spending over 3 minutes on this page, meaning its engaging and interesting as well. This is not a one-off fluke where I'll get deranked after Google figures out I'm not an ecommerce site.
Why Did This Particular Blog Post Work?
I think the main reason that “buy” keywords typically don't rank for their intended keyword, regardless of the competition, is that they provide little value to the reader. Why would I click a blog post which just sends me to Amazon, when I could go directly to Amazon?
In this blog post, I was provided a much more interesting opportunity to provide value to the reader. Though the article was basically just a list of places where you could buy the item, I was able to provide additional value to the reader in 3 ways.
- This item is hard to find, and many purchase options are not on Amazon
- I provided some criteria for what you should consider when buying it (like a buyer's guide)
- I included additional information about how to use the item after it's purchased
I think the main point of value here is that the item was hard to find, so the curation of places to buy was why Google had the incentive to rank me. Just a guess though.
Personally, I think this could be repeated for similar types of items.
No, you probably won't rank for “buy slow cookers online”. There's not a whole lot to say about slow cookers, and you can buy pretty much every model there is on Amazon or Walmart. There's no extra value. However, if you wanted to buy a tiny home online, that may be a different story. You probably won't rank for “buy cordless power drills”, but you might rank for something like “buy 110v corded power drills in the UK”.
With the second version, there's some actual research you could do before hand, and plenty of advice to give about using 110 in the UK.
$300 Per Year In Ad Revenue – You Might Be Able To Do Better
So how much is this particular post making? Not that much. With Mediavine it's earned about $150 so far this year, even though it only started ranking in March. So let's just call it $300 for the year. Definitely not a full time income.
Why are there no affiliate earnings, and wouldn't this be perfect for affiliate sales? As I alluded to above, there really isn't a lot of places to buy this particular item, not even on Amazon. Of the places where you can buy it, none have an affiliate program. I suppose there's maybe some way I could funnel traffic into another product or even an email list, but I don't have the time to dedicate to experiement with optimize this post in that way.
For now, I'll settle for the $300/year. The post itself cost me $45 to publish, so that's 600% ROI. Good enough for me!
You see the potential though. $300/year x 100 similar posts is $30k/year from ads.
Side Note: Don't Always Trust Your Keyword Tool
No keyword tool is perfect, so this isn't necessarily an inditement on Ahrefs, but it is just a reminder that a keyword tool is just a guideline. It's a method for discovering ideas, but ultimately, the final decision of what to write will come down to your human-made business plan. Here's what Ahrefs tells me about this particular keyword.
- Medium Difficulty
- 21 backlinks required to rank on page 1
- <40 monthly visits for any related keywords/synonyms
In reality, here's what happened.
- Rank #1 with 0 backlinks
- 100-200 visits per day
How You Should Take Action On This Advice
The lesson here? Go for any keyword you think makes sense and someone might search for. Build your site based on what you want to see and read, not just what metrics or standard advice tells you. You'll make a lot of misses this way, but you'll also enough unexpected wins that no one else is targeting, making your site more unique compared to your competitors, and helping you discover more low-competition areas in your niche to leverage.
I'm not saying that you should do only “buy” keywords on your site (although that would be an interesting niche site idea to experiment with), I'm just saying that next time you run into something like this, don't automatically ignore the opportunity. Think about how you might write an article for this type of keyword and how you could take a unique angle or provide value to the reader that could get you on page 1. You just might end up the only blog style website on page 1 of Google!
Are you building affiliate websites and still not earning a full time income? Here's how I build my sites, and you can also enroll in my recommended affiliate course, which includes coaching from myself as you build out your affiliate business.