About 1 year ago (~14 months, to be fair) I started a simple fitness and health blog.
It was essentially a hobby site — a place where I could write about something I liked, completely free of any of the contraints I might have writing for Upworthy or digital marketing clients.
I knew I could write good articles and get traffic (after all, that's pretty much my job), and figured I'd make money off the site somewhere down the line if all went well.
Since I left my job in February of 2018, I've been able to pour quite a bit of time into this site and thought it'd be cool to show some of my affiliate marketing results as I've monetized the site using something called the Keyword Golden Ratio.
Here's my real Keyword Golden Ratio case study and results after publishing 100+ KGR articles.
(Or go here to learn more about the KGR & check out Doug Cunnington's complete Five Figure Niche Site course)
What is the Keyword Golden Ratio?
The keyword golden ratio is a really nifty keyword research tactic developed in part and made popular by Doug Cunnington of Niche Site Project.
Essentially, the KGR is a formula that helps you find underserved keywords on the Internet... meaning, any time someone's looking for information where it doesn't really exist, or at least hasn't been put together in a useful way yet.
For example: Instead of writing a 7,000 word guide to "the best ball point pens 2018" and trying to build backlinks to rank for such a competitive term (which is what most marketers are doing), you'd write several smaller pieces like "best ball point pen for lefties," "best ball point pen for journaling," or "best ball point pen for arthritis."
(Here's a great video that explains it in detail)
The majority of the content I've written on my site has targeted these low volume, hyperspecific searches, and the results have been awesome.
(It's not the only way to do affiliate content, or even necessarily the best way, but it gave me a scalable blueprint to follow when I sorely needed one)
I was recently on Doug's YouTube channel talking about some of the success I've seen using his ideas:
The idea behind the KGR is to help your content rank quickly. Read my full guide on what to do if your articles won't rank, even after a few months.
My Keyword Golden Ratio Results (snapshot)
In total, my site has probably close to 100 articles.
Since February 2018, I've written (or hired out) about 61 KGR compliant articles
Roughly half the content on my site is informational vs affiliate
Average article length: About 1500-1800 words*
My total earnings since I started following the KGR (a mix of Amazon affiliate commissions, Google ads, and a high-commission informational product I promote):
I've been grinding hard on my site since February 2018, but in reality the foundation for how it's performing right now was laid a year ago.
The truth is that you REALLY CAN make money online!
But the part no one wants to talk about is how long it's going to take and how much work goes into it. Most days I spend just hammering out more content or editing content from writers I've hired.
And then for all of that work, you might not really see the fruits of it for months.
It takes an incredible amount of perseverance and patience.
Just check out the steady growth of my site below (weekly traffic). It looks fast, but this is a snapshot of over a year's worth of work.
(And hey, if you want to get started with blogging and affiliate marketing, check out my favorite tools to keep things running and growing day in and day out.)
Does the Keyword Golden Ratio work?
In a word, Yes.
Here's what you need to know about the KGR:
1. It's designed to be done at scale.
The KGR is not a sniper approach.
It's not meant to identify the ONE keyword or handful of keywords that's going to make you rich.
Going after huge, highly-profitable keywords is another skill entirely.
You'll see the best results using the KGR if you publishing a couple dozen posts following this method and give it time to work.
You'll have some major hits, some flops, and a lot of articles that do OK.
2. You have to define what "work" means
It's unlikely that a KGR article is going to bring you 20,000 pageviews per month and launch your business into the next stratosphere.
In fact, some of them will be lucky to bring you a few pageviews per day.
Does that mean it "didn't work"?
Not at all!
You can make a great living with a lot of posts that bring in a little traffic each day, if it's the right kind of traffic, you know what to do with it, and you understand the value of each article.
In an increasibly competitive online world, going after these small-win, low-competition terms is often the best way to carve out a business in the beginning.
3. The KGR isn't the only thing you should do
People always forget about this, but even Doug says the KGR is only one part of his content strategy.
Publishing a bunch of Keyword Golden Ratio content is a really good way to get a new site off the ground fast.
But you should also be writing other stuff and strategically targeting higher volume keywords.
You should also be link building to raise the authority of your site and improve your ability to rank for things.
The KGR is great but it's only one slice of the pie.
Learn more about the Keyword Golden Ratio here -- and check out the free KGR training on that page, it's pretty great!
*Bonus: Project 500 results
After my interview with Doug, where I told him most of my content was coming in somewhere around 1200-1500 words, I went back and did a word count check on many of my posts.
I'm embarrassed to admit that way too many of them were only around 1200, if that.
I was still seeing great results! But I wanted to see what would happen if I added more content to some of my shorter pieces.
Project 500 was my codename for basically going through and adding about 500 words of extra content to the majority of articles on my site.
(I mostly used the FAQ method, or adding extra content to the end of each article in the form of a Q&A)
I started adding words on June 14. Here are the results (in an admittedly limited timeframe):
June 10-16: 15k pageviews
June 17-23: 16.2k pageviews
June 24-30: 17.5k pageviews
That's an increase of over 2000 pageviews per week.
Some of this is natural growth from new articles ranking, but I've seen a lot of articles I thought were dead rise from the grave and start bringing in traffic. And some of my high performers are doing even better with a longer word count, which adds relevancy, authority, and hits more longtail keywords.
The improvement is almost imperceptible to the naked eye, but when you talk about a few extra pageviews per day x 50 or 60 articles, it adds up fast and turns into a serious revenue increase before you know it.
Key takeaway: Make your content longer! Shoot for 1500 words as your floor, even for low competition keywords.
So that's what I've been up to!
If you're struggling with affiliate marketing or turning your blog into a profitable endeavor, I'd definitely encourage you to check out Niche Site Project on YouTube and give the keyword golden ratio a look-see.
Just having a plan that I could execute at scale helped me tremendously, and it got me to a point that I honestly never dreamed I could get to (making nearly $4,000 on my blog in one month).
(You can also check out all of my favorite tools that have helped me build a profitable blogging business here.)
Good luck to you and keep working!