Two of the best ways to make money on your site with SEO are Adesense and Amazon. They both give you access to an almost unlimited number of niches to choose from and can make your web site anything from $100 per month to $30k per month and beyond. But, which one is best for you? The answer isn't a simple one despite most giving a blanket answer of "Amazon is best because you can make more money". Yes, in many cases you can, but the story isn't as simple as that. Searcher Intent First of all let's talk about searcher intent. It's something I very rarely see discussed on blackhatworld and it's vitally important. At the simplest level there are two core categories. 1) Informational queries. 2) Commercial queries. You've probably heard these discussed before. They're not very useful when thought about in such general terms. We can further divide them into multiple sub-categories depending on our niche Let's divide each into a further 2 sub-categories. 1.A) Informational Query - No Buying The goal of the searcher is to learn. It could be to learn for the joy of learning, or to learn how to do something themselves. Examples :- How to Shave Properly How do LED monitors work How are stars formed These are of the lowest commercial intent. The higher the commercial intent, the more likely the person is to buy. 1.B) Informational Query - Might Buy The goal of the searcher here is learn more about something, but this time they could be looking to make a purchase once they get more general information. I'll deliberately lead on with the shaving example to show how searchers can evolve from 1.A through to 2.B. Examples :- What are the benefits of using a safety razor (A safety razor for anyone that doesn't know is the older metal shavers that you put a razor blade into. You get an excellent shave and our fictional reader discovered above that to shave properly he needs a safety razor, so he wants to learn more about safety razors) How to lose weight How to get big muscles The difference between 1.A and 1.B is very subtle and in some cases there is overlap. You have to think about what the likelihood is of the searcher needing to make a purchase to answer their informational query. To learn how to shave properly, the searcher doesn't need to buy anything. They're learning a technique. The same goes for how stars are formed. You definitely don't have to buy anything to answer that question. The searcher learned about safety razors from the "how to shave guide", and now he's searching for information on safety razors. This is more commercial because once he's learned about safety razors, he'll need to think about buying one. It's not likely he's learning about safety razors out of educational curiosity. The weight loss and muscles query are more commercial too. The searcher might find some useful information he can use without buying. However, it's more likely he'll need to buy something to achieve his goal. We're thinking in terms of the goal of the searcher. In 1.A the goal is achieved almost completely with the information and the searcher is satisfied and moves on to the next activity. In 1.B there's less of a chance that the goal is achieved, and a greater chance the searcher may need to buy something in order to achieve the goal, which will lead them on down the buyers funnel to 2.A. 2.A) Commercial Query - Research The searcher at this stage in the buying funnel is potentially interested in buying a product, or type of product. He's looking up information to help him come to a buying decision. We can split the commercial queries even further up into multiple types of searcher intent which can fit into a complete buyers funnel with 8-12 stages. This allows you to really go very advanced with your conversion rate optimization. When you combine an 8-12 stage funnel and intent types with advanced analytics and user-behaviour analysis like different types of heatmaps, session recordings, session analytics(ie, kissmetrics/mixpanel) and piecing together individual analytics to form a complete picture, what you can do is really tailor how you interact and the type of content you use at different parts of your web site. The more you know about what your user wants, the better equipped you are to enter their minds as the solution. I'll write a bigger guide on searcher intent and conversion funnels in an upcoming post, but just now we'll keep it simple. Examples :- Best safety razor for under $50 What's the fastest gaming laptop for under $800 quartz heaters vs halogen heaters As before, a search may not have just one intent. The quartz heater one could be someone who's going to buy either a quartz or halogen heater, or it could be someone who's curious about which is the best. In most cases it's going to be someone interested in buying one of the two and this is something you have to decide for yourself in your own niche and adjust your content accordingly. 2.B) Commercial Query - Buy Now These are the searchers at the end of the buying funnel where the buyer is ready to buy. These are as commercial and juicy as it gets. buy merkur 34C safety razor (The razor I own. ) buy alienware x51 gaming pc quartz heater best deals In general the difference between 2.A and 2.B is the product. It's 2.A if they're looking for information on a product category, or comparing 2 or more products. It's 2.B if they're looking for a deal, coupon, discount, to buy a single product. Choosing Adsense or Amazon Now that you've learned a little about searcher intent and buying funnels you can make a decision on Amazon vs Adsense. 1.A Niche (Informational - No Buying) Example: Student physics/astronomy site. Building an email list and got some experience with conversion rate optimization ? Yes? Amazon is the option here along with other CPA/CPS. You'll need to identify what your demographic is, build an email list, then market products that demographic is likely to buy, related or unrelated to your Niche. Ie, you might build an email list from an astronomy/physics student site, then market dating and gaming products to them since that demographic will struggle with dating and likely be interested in gaming. You might even discover astronomy/physics students are really into MMO games, but not FPS games, in which case you can market MMO gaming related products. Difficulty: 9/10 Time: 10/10 Profit Potential: 8/10 Time consuming and difficult, but you can build very large email lists this way. Why? Because the vast majority of phrases on the Internet are "informational - no buying" phrases and what's even better is they're mostly low competition. If you're good at this you can create dozens of sites that offer good quality informational content and build lists you can market to. Just because someone's not ready to buy something now doesn't mean they're not a buyer. Everyone is a buyer. With our example of MMO games and dating we could build astronomy/physics sites, any type of student learning site, any type of gaming site etc. Check out http://www.pof.com/demographicInterests.aspx. If you enter mmo you can see that 150% have a bachelor's degree, and if you enter warcraft, 149% have "some college". You can drill down on demographic information and related interests with that tool. This is a very powerful approach and you can build a huge empire like this. For most marketers this isn't the approach they want. However, if you'd like to someday get into media buying then I'd recommend this style of SEO and marketing. You'll gain massive exposure to email marketing, demographics, conversion rate optimization, research, analytics and understanding user buying habits. When you start to profit, you can add in media buy sources to expand your email lists and hire writers and web designers to build sites. You're left to focus on the initial demographic research, conversion rate optimization and email marketing with your team pumping out sites to expand your email empire. I could write a book on this kind of approach. It's huge and a whole business model that can lead to making millions of dollars. No? If you're just going to create a web site and/or you lack experience then Adsense is what you're looking for here. Difficulty: 3/10 Time: 5/10 Profit Potential: 3/10 1.B Niche (Informational - Might Buy) Example: General dating tips site Building an email list and got some experience with conversion rate optimization ? Yes? Amazon and also other CPA/CPS. The same applies here, the only difference is instead of building email lists and marketing unrelated products, you can directly market products in the niche. This could be a site on general dating with content like "7 Tips For Getting a Smart Girlfriend". You then promote pickup artist products via email. Difficulty: 8/10 Time: 8/10 Profit Potential: 8/10 The main difference between this and targeting 1.A is competition is probably a little higher and there's less a bit less volume with keywords/niches available. There's still plenty to go around here, but you're more limited. With the 1.A method you can target any sort of niche that your potential demographic is interested in. With 1.B you're staying within the one niche, like dating. However, you're targeting slightly more commercial keywords so you can profit more quickly. With the 1.A empire you will need to spend more time building trust over email and converting, but with the 1.B method you can get sales on the first email you send out. No? Adsense for you then. Difficulty: 4/10 (Potentially slightly higher SEO competition) Time: 5/10 Profit Potential: 4/10 A little more profitable than 1.A Adsense since your keywords are a little more commercial. 2.A or 2.B Niche (Commercial - Research) & 2.A or 2.B Niche (Commercial - Buy Now) Example: Hair Straighteners Niche Niches won't fit into either one of these categories exclusively. You wouldn't create a web site with just buy now pages. You would have research(2A), guides(1B) and comparison tables(2A). The way you'd be a match for 2B would be by having a buy now near the top of your reviews and an easy option to buy on comparison tables. You would also of course have a buy now at the bottom of the review for those consumers who are reading the whole review(The 2A's). Are you very new to Internet Marketing with almost no experience of converting sales? Yes? Adsense for you then. Even though 2.A and 2.B are easy to convert, if you're very new you'll have more early success with Adsense and make reasonable profit since these are commercial keywords that more Adwords(The people buying your adsense clicks) advertisers are bidding on. Difficulty: 5/10 (HIgher SEO competition than 1.A and 1.B, but still lots of low competition niches) Time: 5/10 Profit Potential: 5/10 No? Definitely Amazon. No email building is required here and I don't really recommend it. You risk alienating visitors with opt-ins. A high quality information site or blog can get away with pushing for an email, but when a consumer wants to buy they'll be annoyed by opt-ins. Unless you have something *incredible* to offer them. But for most of you, avoid email marketing for your 2.A/2.B niches. Difficulty: 6/10 Time: 6/10 Profit Potential: 9/10 This is the most profitable type of site. The email emipre 1.A and 1.B methods will make more profit over time if you're building dozens of sites and huge email lists, but in terms of single site profit/work ratio nothing beats a 2.A/2.B commercial niche monetized with Amazon. Also note that you can potentially monetize with commission junction or any other CPS site depending on your niche. Split test, split test, split test. I hope you enjoyed my guide. If you have any questions feel free to post them in the thread. p.s. Split test some more.