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Chris, I am glad you have had good fortune with amazon, I think I have chosen the wrong niche, it appears to be very competitive, I have had my site for 4 mo, and have made zero, however, it may not be all bad, I still work on content, and I do get indexing, however, I am at a loss on how to find keywords on ranking content; If I could find this out, then I could do some seo on any LSI keywords. I do agree about having a nice looking website, I paid far much less then you did, and I think I turned out with a site that looks very nice; If visitors do not think you are legit, or if you content looks like trash, then the will bounce before you can blink. I think once I can find those magic LSI keywords and rank them, then I think things will turn around, as I have also invested quite a bit up until this point.
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Update: I used to recommend carousel style Amazon ads, but they don’t exist anymore. When I used them they converted about 3 times better than static style Amazon banner ads. I suggest using Native Shopping Ads instead which is essentially a replacement to the carousel style ads but allows for greater flexibility. You can display products by recommendation from the content, by search or with other options. Here is what the a Native Shopping Ad looks like for the keyword search “Chris Guthrie” Amazon displays the Kindle books I’ve written:
You want to convince the reader to investigate their purchase options by the time they finish reading an article, which is why I’ll always include links to all of the products mentioned in a review at the end of the article. That way it’s an easy transition from learning about the product during your review and then at the end it’s time to make a purchase.

Once your platform is live, you need a product to promote. However, you should avoid the temptation to do this early on. Get that emotional investment going before you attempt to do this. If you begin too early, you run the risk of losing a large portion of your audience. Take the time to first create insatiable content and deliver enormous amounts of value before you attempt to sell your audience anything.
SEO: getting consistent traffic by writing AWESOME content about your keywords (there’s a phrase “length is strength” in SEO and this paid off big time for me). Maybe you’re doing videos or an eCourse, but I found blog posts WAY easier to update which means less maintenance. The biggest factor by FAR was the time I spent meticulously creating my tutorials… which eventually resulted in a sudden 3x increase in SEO traffic
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