So. Lesson time kids – gather round.
The lesson of the first two months of 2012 is this:
Don’t build a SEO-focused niche product review site specifically around CPA offers that are only available at one network.
Not only can one or two companies wipe out your site by making review sites against the TOS for dozens of offers, they can also set hard caps on the number of monthly leads. Once a lead cap gets hit, they stop paying out on your traffic and sales. Normally, in traditional affiliate marketing or even in CPA where there are multiple networks running the same offer, you can just switch out your links to point to a different merchant or network. But – when you go down the route I did (which was going after offers that are only on one network) you don’t have that option.
All in all, this makes the site as-is totally unstable. Lead caps are alright if you’re dealing with paid traffic as your primary source – but I can’t rightly just turn my rankings off because the company hit an arbitrary lead cap that they had set when they first put their budget together.
So, here’s the lesson from my point of view.
Build your sites around generic terms and phrases within a niche that can have the ads/offers rotated between different products or networks. Targeting specific product terms is fine – if there are multiple networks or merchants you can use for the same product.
So. The site I had already been working on will get more or less shelved for a few weeks. I’m debating running some paid traffic through it as a little experiment, but it won’t be an SEO focal point.
So now, as we kick off March, I’ll be researching and launching the second site I had planned for this year. It’s a content site in the health niche.
With the health niche, there is an endless supply of offers that you can rotate through. Adsense also pays pretty well, which will be the initial advertising that gets put in place until some decent traffic builds up. There’s also a huge amount of long tail traffic that can be scooped up. Granted – the competition is also high, so head terms are a long way off. It should make for a nice little case study in generating traffic through lots of long tail rankings (for the first little bit, anyway – then we’ll switch to head terms.)