Amazon affiliate sites used to be extremely popular. After all, how nice would it be to set up a product review website, write up some articles, and then sit back and collect nearly passive income from search engine traffic? It was great, and many people capitalized on this opportunity to do exactly that. Recently however, many of these sites started disappearing, and fewer and fewer have been starting up. What happened? Can you actually still make money off of Amazon product review sites? Do product review sites still work?
The answer is yes, absolutely. Starting up product review sites are still a great way to rake in a ton of extra cash each month. But if they still work, why aren’t they as popular as they used to be? There’s two reasons, really.
1. Low Quality Spam No Longer Works
A very large portion of Amazon product review sites were useless. The content within each review article was extremely thin, often only a few hundred words (usually just a spun product description from Amazon) – and was flooded with an excessive amount of affiliate links pointing to Amazon.com. These sites focused on the quantity of the reviews rather than the quality of the reviews, which made sense. After all, you used to be able to get away with poorly-made review pages like that one.
Today, that doesn’t fly. Today, reviews have to be descriptive and informative in order to stand a chance of ranking in search engines. In other words, you have to provide value to the reader if you want Google to provide traffic to your website. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to own the product you’re reviewing, but it should mean that you put in enough research to write a fully in-depth article that provides everything the reader would want to know about the product.
2. Google Values Authority
Today, the best review websites do not only offer product reviews, they try to become one of the greatest resources for people interested in the subject. This means writing informational articles alongside your product reviews. While they may not make as much money themselves, the added authority will do wonders in terms of your other articles ranking. It also dramatically increases the likelihood that other people will link to your website, pushing it up the search engine results pages even further.
I have an example of this on my latest website for digital piano reviews. While the site is mainly aiming to make money from the review articles that people land on from search engines, there’s also an information section that has informational articles as well. I plan to have a minimum of 10 informational articles on the website before I consider it near its completion, and I have plans to add even more when deemed necessary. These informational articles also work well for future customers, who will remember your site as a valuable resource and be more likely to check your website specifically for reviews before their next purchase. Of course, you can’t usually see the direct impact of this, but believe me, it happens more than you’d think.
3. Fewer Sites Are Better
5 years ago, an average review site would look like this: the webmaster would choose a profitable group of products. They’d write a bunch of junk articles on them, until he covered the majority of the products in that niche. Then they’d abandon it, and start working towards their next product review site. They’d rinse and repeat this process as often as they’d like, slowly building up more and more sites and making more and more money.
Today, this model doesn’t work as well as it used to. You most certainly can build multiple sites and do quite well with them, but it’s much harder. Because Google emphasizes quality so much more than it used to, this model takes so much more effort. The best sites are updated semi-often. If not, they’re evergreen and don’t need to be. Even then, it’s hard to stay up because other review sites that do update often will arise and eventually outrank you. With so many sites under your control, it’s hard to keep up on all of them.
For this reason, it’s now better to focus on only a few sites that you’re actually interested in. When you’re interested in the topic of your website, you’re much more likely to want to return and work on building the site back up again. You’re less likely to leave it to die, or get outranked by someone better. The great thing is, more and more products will always be coming out. This means you can still grow your income, even when only focusing on a few sites or niches. Best of all, when you specialize, you get the opportunity to really ensure you stay at the top. This is what myself along with many other product reviewers are doing, and it’s working wonders.
Create a high value, authority website in a profitable niche and you can still rake in a ton from Amazon. Try it – you’ll thank me later.