Ask The Plumber – Site Analysis

by on April 16, 2011

I received this comment the other day from Jeremy looking for advice on his Amazon affiliate site.

Wondering what you think of this site

Do not spare my feelings (as I’m sure you won’t!). I started this site with google adsense in mind, basically by targeting keywords, going for longtail related keywords, and backlinking like crazy. I decided to switch to Amazon Associates b/c I felt like the adsense ads popping up were a bit off (example: a disposable diaper ad). I read what I thought was a decent post on creating an affiliate site.

I have made a few dollars, but nothing substantial. Last month I had a conversion rate of 1.55% (258 clicks and 4 items shipped). Clearly, I need the site to age to compete in google (most of my traffic is coming from the sites I have guestposted for backlinks).

I feel like the issues have to do with my layout and call to action (if any). I wonder if I need to just change it up…make more review pages with stronger push toward products, rather than just information articles.

Also, I wonder if I should consider a niche site that has higher end products, so that when clicks do convert, I make more money.


First off Jeremy, you are 100% on the right track here.  You’ve created an attractive site with original content around a single subject.  That’s good!

You have picked a somewhat hard niche.  There is a decent amount of competition for what is likely not a ton of sales.  I wouldn’t recommend that niche to someone starting out, but don’t let that stop you!  That site is about 5 months old as far as I can tell, which is a good start and the traffic you get is pretty good for a five month old site.   Some minor targeting fixes and your search traffic will grow.

Too Many Misdirected Links On Your Homepage

First off, you have too many junk links on your homepage.  That’s bad.  Lose those widgets that are just a list of links to Amazon pages.  You are giving up too much of your link power for very little return.   Lose the tags widget, same problem.  You want to LASER target the links off your home page to your best articles.  Make a “Most Popular Links” widget instead with your 5 articles that get the most search traffic.

Figure out how to get rid those tag links and Comparison links that are under each article stub on your homepage.  Same as above, you are wasting your home page link power by linking to tag pages and the like that Google won’t even index.  It’s probably a setting in your theme.  Consider switching themes if you can’t figure out how to remove them.

Lose all the categories and that Compensation Disclosure link at the top!  Those are the first thing Google sees about your homepage, and that’s what it thinks your pages are about.

Target Your Homepage

You need to make a 200-300 word sticky post at the top of your front page about cloth diapers that Google can then latch onto.  Do a search for “cloth diapers” in Google, then look down the left hand side of the results.  You should see some selections there for “Wonder Wheel” and/or “Related Searches” to find what other terms Google thinks are most closely related to your search terms.  Try to naturally fit as many of those into your 200-300 word article as possible without it sounding unnatural.

Misleading Call To Action

Your call to action at the top is misleading.  You don’t sell diapers!  Either get rid of it, or replace it with something more honest that grabs your interest.  “Click here to see the best rated cloth diaper on the planet!”

Link Your Post Images To Amazon

You have images in your posts sometimes that don’t link anywhere.  Make those images smaller and link them to the Amazon page for that product with your affiliate tag in it!  People will click on it to make the image bigger and be brought to the Amazon page (which will have the image bigger).

Better Article Targeting

I went to the Google Adwords Keyword tool and looked up Exact match searches for “cloth diapers” and sorted by relevance, I picked these out of the top 50:
[cloth diaper covers]
[cloth diaper service]
[cloth diapering]
[cloth diapers reviews]
[all in one cloth diapers]
[cloth diapers free shipping]
[cleaning cloth diapers]
[baby cloth diapers]
[discount cloth diapers]
[prefold cloth diapers]
[cloth diaper packages]
[cloth diaper reviews]
[cloth diaper sale]
[cloth diaper liners]
[how to use cloth diapers]
[washing cloth diapers]
[best cloth diapers]
[cloth diaper pail]
[how to make cloth diapers]
[cloth diapers vs disposables]
[making cloth diapers]
[using cloth diapers]
[cloth diaper package]
[cloth diaper wholesale]
[where to buy cloth diapers]
[velcro cloth diapers]
[newborn cloth diapers]
[cheap cloth diapers]

Write one article about each of those, using THOSE KEYWORDS IN THE TITLE!  You can throw one or two other words in there to make it sound more natural without really killing your keyword targeting.   So write “Cloth Diapering 101″, and “All In One Cloth Diapers”, and “Cloth Diapers With Free Shipping”.  Then make sure you sprinkle some of the other keywords into each article, since Google sees them as relevant to each other.

Better Calls To Action In Your Articles

Your whole goal with your article is to provide them with the answer they were looking for.  Tell them what the “best cloth diapers” are and why they should buy these over the others, then convince them to click through your link however you can.  Start with the simple “Click Here for more details on the best cloth diapers”, and see what works.

In addition to regular calls to action, I always sprinkle a few juicy tidbit links in my articles like:

CLICK HERE To See The Most Expensive Diaper Bag On The Planet

Seriously, that is one expensive diaper bag.   See, you want to click on it don’t you?  Your main goal here is to CATCH PEOPLE SHOPPING,  then get them to click through to Amazon though your link however you can.  I’d say that only 25% of my Amazon commissions come from stuff I directly link to.  The other 75% are from people buying other stuff once they’re already on Amazon.

Target Your Ads To Your Traffic

You’ve picked a niche where you’ll get two types of traffic.  People looking to BUY cloth diapers, and people looking to save money by learning how to make or clean their own.  Selectively advertise on each post based on what you think of the keyword you are targeting.  So for the “where to buy cloth diapers” keyphrase above, put calls to action for Amazon on that post.  For the “using cloth diapers” or “making cloth diapers”, put Adsense blocks on those instead.

Keep At It!

I know, the above steps sounds like a lot of work.  But I promise you, if you take all these steps and start creating backlinks with anchor text targeting those keyphrases you targeted in your articles, you WILL start getting traffic from Google.  Start now, and you could be looking at making some nice money this Christmas season.  I find that my Amazon and Adsense earnings more than triple over the holidays from inflated click prices and people just buying random stuff at Amazon after they clicked through one of my links.

Eventually you will get bored with that site, or move on to other sites with bigger products.  Get this one right first, and your next one will be MUCH easier to rank and make money with.  But in your next site, don’t put the word “expert” after a plural!  There once was a site called Experts Exchange at  The problem is, besides the human readability issue, how should Google know that the site is about experts exchanging information and not about how to get an expert sex change.  Your site isn’t quite that bad (cloth diaper sex pert), but Rule 34 applies here and Google might look a little funny at your site.

Do you have a question or what your site reviewed?  Use the comment form below!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

HRM April 17, 2011 at 12:04 am

Great analysis. After reading it, I can see a few things I could change.

In the first couple of months the site was ranking for a series of long tailed keywords and making sales. Then I was squashed by a giant panda! (either that or the honeymoon period ended or both) I made a lot of improvements since then. I’m still making improvements while I wait for the rankings to return so I am interested in your thoughts.

One specific question: I noticed you use direct links to Amazon. I am using 302 redirects. Thoughts?

I am closely following your link building experiment. It’s the most thorough experiment of it’s kind I’ve ever seen. Awesome job.

Barb May 17, 2011 at 6:03 am

Hey, thanks for providing me with a great idea (Most Expensive Diaper Bags) for future posts on my Amazon sites. I’ve already written about some bestsellers, but I think people like reading about extremes. Posts like Most Expensive Widgets, Widgets that You will Forever Regret Buying, Widgets that Will Make Your Mother-in-Law Love You, etc. might make good link bait.

Love your site. Bookmarked it.

Silke June 29, 2011 at 11:15 am

Great article and thank you for sharing your insights. I have an affiliate site that’s been up for just over a year. Sexy Shoes Expert, a.k.a. sexy shoe sex pert, yikes! I try to target women shopping for shoes and fashion accessories and have had some minor success. I realize now that the subject is very broad, competition is fierce and the name is all wrong. Over the past year I have written many articles and reviews, a lot of them target keyword specific, changed the layout to make it more user friendly, incorporated social media a.s.o. What is your opinion on the website? Am I only wasting my time because the subject is too broad? Should I consider shutting it down and starting over with a new name and subject matter? Any suggestions you might have for me would be greatly appreciated.

El Plumber (admin) July 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Don’t give up Silke! Since you already have the word “sexy” in your URL, the second one is fine. And a broad subject is good as long as you more closely target the individual posts for less broad keywords. I wrote up an analysis of your site and how I could change it, hope it helps!

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