Competing against amazon links in top 5 - Whats Your Experience?

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Hello everyone,

I wanted to pose a question here to the veterans, what is your experience with competing against amazon links? Recently since the updates i have seen a big amount of amazon links bounce into my competing niches.

One Niche I have 2 websites that were #1 and #2 for a 5000 visitor easy difficulty term one site had 8 DA 25+ backlinks and all of a sudden an Amazon product jumps into #1, according to ahrefs it has only 2 backlinks and they are from low da/quality affiliate sites.

I was wondering what kind of experiences you guys had going against Amazon products in your niche, does google rank their product links higher because of so many affiliates backlinking to them as well as all the internal links?

My only theory is since it has so little links that the amount of internal links is what bounced it up.

Also a question for keyword research if you find a niche with a couple of amazon links in the top 5 with little links do you turn away from it or still try to conquer it albeit with more internal and external links?

My next plan of attack will be to build 5 small articles and internal links to each page, then 3 more da 30 links to each page and a few blog comments to each page as well as hit each with social shares to see if this recovers me.
 

Ryuzaki

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@tyealia, if you're using a review style of content and were ranking fine and suddenly see e-commerce links appearing in the SERPs, this is likely a sign that Google has reclassified the intent of the SERP. Something like "best 4 stroke weed eaters" will stay with a review intent, but something like "4 stroke weed eaters" is nearly always going to be or become e-commerce related. I'd recommend looking at the rest of the results in the top 20 and see if you're seeing more e-commerce now.

Google has been pushing updates quite a bit since August and some bigger ones before that too. There's been a couple this month and a big one last month, and of course they roll out several small updates daily. I wouldn't be too quick to chalk it up to that Amazon page getting internal links. I think if they reclassified the intent of the search, then Amazon has enough sitewide power and age to dominate regardless of the links to that specific page.

Your plan of attack sounds good, if and if your pages still meet the intent of the search. Otherwise you'll pretty much be banging your head against an immoveable wall.
 
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Hi @Ryuzaki thanks for the help,

Looks like the rest of the results are not ecommerce ralated lots of homepages to products some youtube videos, I think ill run my strategy and hope it works.

But your response does scare me now since I have another keyword im targetting pretty heavy with 12,000 uniques and low competition that fits your scenario. Over the past 2 months i have gotten to #10/11 from nowhere and been stuck there for 10 days with no movement.

Its a products name similar to "garage opener". Logically I would think people are at the informational stage and the keyword has a mixed buyer intent.
My content is a "top 10 best" guide of 5000 words with links to amazon products. The competitors in the top ten are

Top SERP's
1. amazon.com/product
2. amazon.com/product
3. amazon.com/product
4. amazon.com/product
5. ebay.com/category
6. bestbuy.com/search page
7. gearbest.com/product
8. youtube.com/best product video
9. youtube.com/product review
10. me

Does this mean I have no chance of ranking top 3 because it looks like google is ranking ecommerce intent sites or does it just mean it will be slightly harder to rank? These sites have few backlinks im wondering how I got to #10 so fast if it is just ecommerce intent sites, maybe it only matters up to the top 10?
Would me trying to rank a ecom stores category page work better for this particular keyword?
 
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Ok so I did a bit of an analysis here of about 20 similar Serp keywords loaded with eCommerce authority results and their stats. Im sure someone will find this useful.

I wont post the entire analysis(400 excel rows) but ill post a summary.

I looked at Root products not longtail without best words. These were tech products like "Garage Opener" (thats an example not the actual niche) Then I combed through the top 10's DA PA RD and pages and found a commonality ....mostly that the top 10 followed this layout.

1. amazon - AVG 4 rd
2. amazon - AVG 4 rd
3. amazon - AVG 4 rd
4. store like Ebay - AVG 10 rd
5. store like Walmart - AVG 10 rd
6. store like Homedepot - AVG 10 rd
7. Youtube - AVG 12 rd
8. Youtube - AVG 12 rd
9. varied - AVG 7 rd
10. varied - AVG 7 rd

So looking at this I can see that google is definitely favoring amazon results for general non branded product names perhaps like RYU said because of the query relevance of an ecommerce store or perhaps because of the massive domain authority or both combined.

What I did next was look for outliers, out of the 20 keywords I looked at in my excel i found any keywords that had affiliates best links in the top 5 - I found 4 outliers of the 20.

1. affiliate site which was #1 infront of 2 amazon links
2. aff site which was #2 after an amazon link
3. aff site which was #2 after an amazon link
4. aff site which was #4 after 3 amazon links

Here are the link metrics of each

1. 40 PA - 644 Referring domains - (Note) - It was a product page looking like an ecom store with an add to cart button but the add to cart button redirected to a affiliate site, possible trick for a google crawler to think its a ecom store?
2. 51 PA - 20 Referring domains - high domain authority review site like wirecutters but a best guide none the less, could show that domain authority coupled with internal optimization can trump these amazon results
3. 40 PA - 93 Referring domains - lots of backlinks to this one its a guide article and is just below amazon, not very well internal optimized some changes might have it beat the 1 amazon link ahead of it
4. 27 DA - 7 Backlinks - a best article, even though it only has 7 links the 3 amazon links above it have 0-3 links.

My Takeaways from the outliers

Looking at this data I see a few things here from the affiliate outliers. You can get to #1 for a term with just these ecommerce results but looks like its significantly harder, i see it like what EMD bonuses were back in the day I remember someone commenting they are like a free 15 RD bonus before they got nerfed, I see this as the same.

The one outlier that was #1 was beating all amazon and ecommerce results, but his amount of RD was much higher even though his authority was lower and he had an emd - though that doesn't really matter as much these days.

I see myself having a decision to make, do I keep fighting to get out of #10 and committing much more budget to this keyword, or do I switch my relevancy to a "Best my keyword" by changing my articles title and some of its internals I already rank 35 for one without the word in any of my titles, it may be a change from 12000 uniques to 5000 but the stronger buyer intent would even it out and I would be competing against other seos and not amazon.

1. Invest 3-4 times as much to beat amazon for 12000 uniques (probably 1.5-2% conversion)
2. Less investment, commit to keyword change and some rewrites and links to beat other affiliates for 5000 best article ( Probably 3-4% conversion)

I guess im going with #2 going to change up the article, a shame im already at #10 but I dont want to "be banging your head against an immoveable wall. " hehe
 

Ryuzaki

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Its a products name similar to "garage opener". Logically I would think people are at the informational stage and the keyword has a mixed buyer intent.
That's what I naturally tend to think too, but Google's data is telling them otherwise. You'd think a generic term like that means "I want to learn more" and it does, but not more about the product. They want to know more about which products are available and then go from there. Otherwise people are searching "what do I need to know about garage openers." Those generic product terms like that are almost always "e-commerce window shopping."

Does this mean I have no chance of ranking top 3 because it looks like google is ranking ecommerce intent sites or does it just mean it will be slightly harder to rank?
It usually means that you can sneak up in the rankings for a while until the next big update rechecks intent. I've pulled it off some and I see it happening often, but it's usually not worth pursuing in my opinion. There's a window of opportunity and then it closes. If you want to play ball for the long haul you need to match the correct intent of the SERP.

I think your 2nd post above after my initial response shows this to be the case.

or do I switch my relevancy to a "Best my keyword" by changing my articles title and some of its internals I already rank 35 for one without the word in any of my titles, it may be a change from 12000 uniques to 5000 but the stronger buyer intent would even it out and I would be competing against other seos and not amazon.
This is what I would do, but that's just me, one of many ding dong's out here flailing his arms around. That buying intent is powerful, and 5k is still some good volume. You'll get more than that with related keywords.

It's kind of like, "yeah, I could get into the MMA octagon with boxing gloves and do okay, but I probably want to wear the right gloves since I'll need to grapple too." Mismatched intent means you're on the wrong playing field. It doesn't last long, even if you get in for a while.
 
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Just an update on this and my experience... First @Ryuzaki Thanks for the detailed reply never said thank you but your response led to me rethinking my strategy

What I did 30 days ago.
- changed my page title from "Product" to "Best Product"
- changed internal links (7) to have new keyword in anchor
- sent 5 pbn links with half having some portion of keyword match anchor and rest being brand anchors
- Removed 5 pbns with old anchor
- 2 more pages built with internal links to anchor main page

What happened
New best keyword rank i started targeting (5400 unique) has remained basically the same avging position 27ish.


Old keyword I stopped targeting (12,100 unique) jumped to #3 just below amazon and above all ecommerce sites and youtube!


Observations/Causes
I would be lying if I wrote I know exactly what was happening because this is to an extent the exact opposite of what I expected and wanted but I do have some theory.

1. Over-optimization - Though I take care not to over-optimize I actually write articles without keywords in mind and then sprinkle a few lsis at the end it could be I was a bit over optimized for my keyword and removing it from my title and some of its occurrences helped since im noticing in 2018 even over 30% exact match anchor can be overoptimization
2. Past pbn links returning value - I had built over 20 pbn links to this page months before and consistently on a weekly basis, they could of just started to take effect now
3. Google now Identifies my site as being completely related to this keyword - I started to see some strangeness for the best keyword my page title shows "Top 10 Best X for 2018- blah blah" in Serps However for the product category keyword ex. Garage Openers my title is automatically created by google as "Garage Openers - MySite" one page, two serp titles. The fact that google is creating my title itself for one keyword and keeping it for another is something i havent seen before but does let me believe that its now identified my relevance as being more towards this keyword and im not sure if I can change this with time since my content changes and title changes have been unsuccessful in budging it.

Next Steps
Theres not much I can do here that I haven't done in the internal content, maybe build more internal links to the best keywords with Lsi like top etc. But I dont want to overdo it with direct match anchor text.

I am going to keep building brand and url links, I will also begin to build links to all internal pages sending internal links to this page, I believe they call this site size explosion.

Google may now refuse to let me target the best keyword in a strong way no matter what I do but im fine with ranking for the bigger general keyword, I just didnt want to compete with amazon even though their first results have barely any backlinks. I will soldier on and hope I can push those two amazon product links out with better external and internal linking.
 
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