Below I outline 6 down and dirty strategies for finding products to promote through the Amazon Associates affiliate program.
These strategies can work for any affiliate program- helping you find low-competition/buyer-intention keywords you can rank for with my 1,500-word content formula.
This is the process I've used to build and scale a 6-figure profit passive-income website.
As an internet-marketing obsessive, it's safe to say that I really enjoy keyword research.
I've spent countless nights hunched over my keyboard, Googling keyword research strategies, filtering through LongTailPro keyword lists, learning everything I could, and then feverishly applying it with my own creative takes on the process.
I'm a true-bred digital-marketer, in many senses.
Niche site publishing, in particular, is a bottomless pit for research and creative expression. And at the end of it, you're making money!
What could be better than that?
How I Do It
The bread and butter of my online income has come from buyer keyword research. Specifically, it relies on finding obscure products on Amazon and generating 1,500+ word content around them for as cheap as possible.
After all, I was essentially unemployed when I first began my general product review site. I didn't have a ton of cash to throw around- especially considering the cost of living in New York City.
I've gone through a variety of different keyword research strategies. Below I outline some of my favorites.
Keyword Research Strategies
It's an incredibly thorough and dependable keyword research tool that pulls keyword data directly from Google's Keyword Planner. The way it works is you input a seed keyword like "sneakers" and it will reproduce a comprehensive list of all the related, long-tail keywords.
Then, you can calculate how competitive these keywords are to rank using their proprietary Keyword Competitiveness algorithm. Check out their 7-day free trial if you're interested in experimenting with it.
(Matthew Woodward, one of my favorite internet marketers, provides a thorough run-through of LongTailPro's capabilities below.)
This tool was a game-changer for me when I was first starting out in keyword research. The competitiveness data helped me spot difficulty patterns in the keywords so I could begin to intuitively understand which niches made sense to target.
I also liked how easy it was to 'filter' the keywords.
For example, if I wanted to see "sneaker" keywords that included the keyword "asics" or "nike", the LongTailPro desktop app lets you quickly filter your list of keywords down to show only those long-tail keywords.
You can also sort all your "sneaker" keywords by their competitiveness rating- helping you to isolate specific high-volume/low-competition terms that were easy to 'rank and bank' for.
To this day it's my go-to keyword research tool because it is so thorough and dependable. While I also pay for Ahrefs, I find that its keyword research capabilities are a bit scattershot- often pulling in random or duplicate keywords.
Also, since Ahrefs works in the cloud, as opposed to LongTailPro which has a cloud-based and desktop app, it's not as easy to see all the keyword data on one screen. The data is paginated and more difficult to filter. I primarily use LongTailPro's desktop application- it gives you all your keyword data on one screen and lets you one-click export it to Excel.
While all the other tools on this list are useful and have some interesting applications, LongTailPro is indispensable.
2. The Scientific Seller Tool
In terms of finding good Amazon keywords, one tool I used a lot in the beginning was the free Scientific Seller keyword tool.
Basically, the way it works is you plug in a keyword and it spits back out related Amazon products.
I would use it by plugging in a precursor keyword like "digital" and it would produce hundreds of buyer keywords that began with the keyword "digital".
Use your imagination to think of precursor keywords like "digital", "manual", "power", "electric" and I guarantee you'll find hundreds of products to promote.
You can download this information into a spreadsheet and even get bulk keyword monthly search volume from a site like SearchVolume.io. Search volume will help you weed out insignificant volumes and prioritize meatier queries.
In all honesty, I would recommend subscribing to LongTailPro and using their desktop tool so you can also generate their Keyword Competitiveness Scores- these metrics will help you further clarify the best ranking opportunity for the keywords you've sourced.
I've spent countless nights staring at LongTailPro data, downloading CSVs, and sorting through the keywords like a Goldrush panhandler. Because, really, that's what the right keywords are- pure gold.
3. Ahrefs Competitor Keyword Theft
Another strategy is to find general review sites and use the paid tool Ahrefs to explore their organic keyword ranking data.
This lets you pick through the, mainly, product keywords they rank for, examine their monthly search volume, and the Keyword Difficulty metric to determine how hard it is to rank for them.
This is a remarkably effective strategy, though it does require a paid subscription.
All you have to do is plug your competitor into the Site Explorer tool, click on Organic Keywords, and sort through the list. One hack I've discovered is if I search by the keyword "best" it will quickly show you all of the product reviews that they've done. As you can see in the example above, TheWireCutter.com ranks #1 for "best fidget spinner".
4. Analyze Existing Amazon Commission Data
A fourth strategy is to examine your Amazon Associates reports and note all the weird and interesting ancillary products you've received commissions on. This is assuming you're already receiving commissions from Amazon Associates.
Amazon gives you commissions on anything the user buys within a 24 hour time span of clicking your link- so while they may not buy Product Y you're promoting, Product X that they did buy could be a golden keyword you've never even considered.
I keep a Google Sheet for all of these keywords- as I come across them I'll add them to the Sheet and eventually outsource a review write-up.
Install The Keywords Everywhere (Chrome Extension)
It's also useful to install the Keywords Everywhere extension for Chrome. This will provide search volume data across Google Search and even Amazon right beneath the search box, which is ultra convenient.
This way you can instantly spot check a keyword's search volume without having to run it through a dedicated tool like LongTailPro.
This tool is actually pretty incredible. The development team keeps expanding its feature set.
For example, I just noticed that when I'm searching on YouTube, the type-ahead dropdown now includes keyword search volumes.
5. Amazon Pagination Strategy
Another process for discovering niche products on Amazon to promote is to type in a precursor keyword like "automatic", "digital", "manual" and search through specific Amazon categories like "Industrial & Scientific" or "Electronics". You'll find a slew of interesting products as you go through EVERY page.
You can even sort these products by price to find the most expensive items you can earn affiliate commissions from.
The Amazon Category+ Keyword Research Process
- Choose a precursor keyword and input it into a category.
- Go through every product page and once you find an interesting product, search for it on Google, with Keywords Everywhere installed so you can see the specific search volume for that term and also see what the Search Engine Results Page looks like.
- Then search for it on Amazon in a separate tab so you can see how many of them are available to promote. You'll want to see multiple versions of the product from different manufacturers that have lots of reviews- not 2 or 3 of them with only a couple reviews.
- Collect the products and their keyword volume in a Google Sheet- this will help you begin to organize the products you wish to promote.
- As you do this, you'll start to see patterns emerge. At this point I can eyeball a SERP and quickly understand how good the ranking potential is. In essence, if you see a lot of eCommerce pages for the product, pages with little content (i.e. less than 500 words), social media presence for product terms (Pinterest URLs, for example), it's an open opportunity to dominate this keyword vertical.
Now, since I run a general product review site, I'll promote products with only 1,000 monthly searches because I'm not basing my ENTIRE site around this one product. If you're looking to build a site around the product you're search for, obviously you'd want to see higher search volume than 1,000 monthly searches.
As an aside, I wouldn't recommend structuring a site that way. I think it's preferable to have a niche site in a category with multiple product types you can promote, alongside non-affiliate, 'informational' content that attracts links. But that's subject matter for a different post.
6. Scraping Niche eCommerce Stores
Another fun strategy- one of my favorite ways of discovering obscure products is Googling for niche eCommerce stores. For example, on my general product review site I decided to cover every single eldercare product. No one covers those products so I knew that this would be a fruitful content focus.
Everyone wants to write about iPhones and drones, but not many people want to write about "bedside commodes".
Googling for "eldercare products" turns up this site, ElderStore.com. You can see some interesting products here- "folding shopping carts", "laundry trolleys" and "skin protection sleeve".
All obscure, relatively high cost items, that I guarantee you no one in their right minds is writing about in any depth.
It's hiring and training writers at reasonable rates and having them produce quality content targeting specific keywords that creates an insane ROI (Return On Investment).
That's been my primary strategy so far- and it's worked well. I'm continuing to branch out, diversifying my online income as much as possible so that I never have to return to the 9-5, corporate slave-race for as long as I live.