Affiliate Marketing Case Study- From $8,000 to $90,000 Monthly Revenue

Dive into the success story of The Island Now, a distinguished online publication, as we unveil its evolution to a powerhouse in the digital landscape, propelled by strategic content optimization and groundbreaking backlink strategies.

This comprehensive SEO case study aims to cover the expansion of a US-based news publication site, ‘The Island Now,’ from a beginner in the field to a known online publisher with a strong DR of 74. This was done through a combination of solid content optimization and backlink strategies. 

The Island Now started in 2011 as a publishing site where industry expert writers collaborate to share their insights. When we onboarded the publisher, it had a basic website, about 100 articles, a very limited backlink profile, and no content optimization.

Due to our thorough and custom-built link building strategy, we achieved an average of 2,863,688 organic hits on The Island Now at its peak!

This case study also covers how we adapted our backlinking strategy in cases of misfires. Along our way, we faced the challenge of the Google penalty and immediately modified our approach to undo the damage and take the site to stellar new heights.

What is Covered in the Case Study?

In this case study, we’ve tried to explain all aspects of our link-building process for The Island Now. Here are some of the pointers we’ve covered:

At 747 Media House, we are a bunch of data-driven SEO link building experts who believe in proving their point in numbers. Thus, this case study will take you quarter by quarter throughout our journey with The Island Now, along with all the data.

Brand Background

The Island Now is a well-known online publication that invites expert writers to create high-quality, well-researched, and current guides on topics around several niches, such as:

The Island Now is a well-known online publication that invites expert writers to create high-quality, well-researched, and current guides on topics around several niches, such as:


There are 5,000+ online content publishers and countless affiliate marketing blogs in the US. The Island Now admittedly had a diverse portfolio of content on the website. Still, it faced several significant challenges that restricted it from maximizing its online presence and effectiveness. Here are some of them in detail:

  • Restricted Organic Visibility & Reach

Despite covering a variety of niches, The Island Now was struggling to achieve noteworthy organic visibility and reach on its content throughout search engines. Their articles were lost among the crowd, and as a result, they could not attract the attention of the desired audience. This was the primary reason the site could not increase its reader base and revenue.

  • Insufficient Backlink Profile

The Island Now was building backlinks in-house before coming to 747. Thus, while it had a backlink portfolio, the quality, and quantity were not up to the mark. Only a few high-quality backlinks were redirecting to its website. This insufficient backlink profile caused poor search engine rankings and worsened visibility issues.

  • Lack of Content Optimization

While The Island Now had a range of articles in several competitive categories, the articles were not properly aligned with SEO best practices. The lack of proper keyword optimization and structure caused even high-quality articles to disappear in the whirlwind of search results, further restricting their visibility and engagement.

  • Saturated Niches

The Island Now published editorial content in finance, dating, and supplements. However, several established players with niche relevance were already posting content in these niches, making it even more difficult for the site to differentiate itself and capture its audience. The strategic SEO strategy required to outdo the competition was lacking.

  • Absence of Strategic Link Building

A strategy and tailor-made link building approach is crucial for attracting relevant traffic and improving search engine rankings. The Island Now depended on its in-house team for SEO, which meant a cohesive link-building strategy was absent. This meant the SEO strategy could not be improved along with its online presence and trustworthiness.

Apart from the challenges above, The Island Now was also hit by a Google penalty in 2023-Q3 due to some low-quality backlinks. This significantly decreased the site’s DR, traffic, and revenue. However, our experts quickly adapted the link building strategy to restore the site’s health. Let’s elaborate on our process in the next section.


When The Island Now reached out to 747, we thoroughly analyzed the brand and highlighted its shortcomings. Keeping them in mind, we created a tailor-made SEO strategy encompassing high-quality backlink acquisition, link building, and media placements. 

We also revamped its content optimization strategy to align with the industry's best practices. Apart from that, we also conducted a competitor analysis and gave strategic inputs to improve our own link building strategy for The Island Now. Here’s the year-on-year explanation of how we took the revenue of this new site to a whopping $140,000 in 2 months of 2024!

2021 - First Year With 747 Media House

Yearly Highlights:

  • Number of links ordered- 3600
  • Revenue earned- $240,000

First Quarter

In the first quarter, we focused on improving the site’s outlook and backlink profile. We wanted to make the site look more modern and user-friendly. We also tried to diversify the site's low-quality backlinks to more relevant, high-quality links to build authority and improve discoverability.


  • The average organic traffic went from 43,377 in Q4-2020 to 46,261 in Q1 2021.
  • The DR also saw a noteworthy jump, from 65 in the last quarter to 67.
  • Average keywords ranking (1-3) went from 2,578 in Q2-2020 to 2,710.

Second Quarter

In this quarter, we used niche edits and guest posts as 95% of our ordered links. Our efforts were directed towards tying the articles with relevant and high-quality sites to improve the site’s authority. We also directed most of the links during the initial quarters to the homepage, as it had too few links compared to some of the inner pages. 


  • The sum of average organic traffic grew from 46,261 in the last quarter to a solid 225,383.
  • The DR also went up one point this quarter, from 67 in the previous one to 68 now.
  • Average keywords ranking (1-3) increased from 2,710 in the last quarter to 9,415 in this one.

Third Quarter

The website had started to improve, but a lot of work still needed to be done regarding its health. That’s why we opted for natural anchor texts and decided to stay away from money keywords for now. We continued aggressively with guest posts and niche edits and kept pointing high-quality backlinks to the homepage and some other high-performing articles. 


  • The sum of average organic traffic rose from 225,383 in the second quarter to a good 1,077,390.
  • The DR was also increasing slowly but steadily, from 68 in the last quarter to 71 in this one.
  • Average keywords ranking (1-3) also started growing, from 9,415 in the previous quarter to 52,742 in this quarter.

Fourth Quarter

In this quarter, we introduced a balanced mix of branded, generic and URL achor text in our link building strategy. As the keyword ranking and average organic traffic increased, we also devoted a good part of our budget to securing premium quality links from prestigious websites to bring a substantial increase to the site’s authority.


  • The sum of average organic traffic increased from 10,77,390 in the past quarter to 1,018,779.
  • There was no change in the DR this quarter, which remained 71.
  • Average keywords ranking (1-3) went from 52,742 in the last quarter to 55,486 in this one.

2022- Second Year With 747 Media House

Yearly Highlights

  • Number of links ordered- 3,900
  • Revenue earned- $600,000

First Quarter

We checked the site’s performance to start the year fresh and were glad to see it taking off. While the traffic was moving a bit slower, the average keywords were growing really well. That meant the site still needed work, so we decided to distribute our budget into niche edits, blogger outreach, and tier 2 backlinks that lead back to the homepage. 


  • Average organic traffic decreased a little to 1,018,291 from 1,018,779 in the last quarter.
  • The DR improved by one point and got to 72 from 71 in the previous quarter.
  • Average keyword ranking (1-3) increased from 55,486 in the last quarter to 56,215.

Second Quarter

Until this point we were using a combination of mid and high-quality backlinks to suit the client’s budget. However, we decided to chase high-authority sites for backlinks aggressively and used very generic anchor text. Our strategy also involved diversifying our backlinks and directing them to both the homepage and some of the inner pages.


  • The average organic traffic in this quarter increased exponentially, from 1,018,291 in the previous quarter to 1,475,364 in this one.
  • The DR remained stable at 72.
  • The average keyword ranking (1-3) grew from 56,215 in the last quarter to 60,158 this quarter.

Third Quarter

Our link building efforts were working, but we needed more links to the homepage to strengthen the authority and improve traffic metrics. Thus, we created a mix of niche edits from mid-authority sites and guest posts from high-authority sites. We directed the links to the homepage and only the top revenue-generating inner pages with natural anchors.


  • The average traffic rose to 1,590,524 from 1,475,364 in the last quarter, showing a positive response.
  • The DR increased another point, bringing it to 73 from 72 in the last two quarters.
  • The average organic keywords (1-3) also went from 60,158 in the past quarter to 66,425.

Fourth Quarter

In this quarter, we decided to distribute our links evenly across the homepage and top-performing articles in the primary niches. We did this with mostly natural and some exact match anchors. We thought it was finally time for tier 2 backlinks to diversify The Island Now’s portfolio, so we included them in our strategy.


  • The average organic traffic was seeing an upward trend, going from 1,590,524 in the past quarter to 1,654,802.
  • The DR progressed to another point, and we went from 73 in the last quarter to 74.
  • The average organic keyword (1-3) was moving slowly but up, getting 67,890 from 66,425 in the last quarter.

2023- Third Year With 747 Media House

Yearly Highlights

  • Number of links ordered- 4,800
  • Revenue earned- $800,000

First Quarter

The Island Now had finally started to become a known name in its niche. It was hitting more top 10 searches in most of its niches and also increasing revenue. So, this quarter, we decided to pump content production and use generic and naked anchors in most niches. We also increased the quantity of tier 2 backlinks from mid to higher authority sites.


  • The average organic traffic grew from 1,654,802 in the last quarter to 1,678,520 in the current one.
  • The DR saw an outstanding increase, from 74 in the past quarter to 77 in this one.
  • The average organic keywords (1-3) also went from 67,890 in the previous quarter to 69,820.

Second Quarter

In this quarter, we asked The Island Now’s in-house team to keep generating content while we focus on further diversifying the backlink portfolio. We had already built strong relationships with high-authority blogs in all associated domains, so we started pushing more guest posts with URL, branded, and generic keywords.


  • To our dismay, the average organic traffic fell from 1,678,520 in the previous quarter to 1,096,453.
  • The DR remained stable at 77.
  • The average organic keywords (1-3) also decreased from 69,820 to 54,015. 

Third Quarter

We had already started our site-wide analysis as the metrics fell in the previous quarter. By the end of this quarter, we were absolutely certain that Google had penalized The Island Now following an update. The site was struck for AI content and some backlinks that didn’t perform as expected. So, in this quarter, we made space in our budget for high-quality, original, and relevant content. 


  • The average organic traffic went down from 1,096,453 in the last quarter to 441,889.
  • The DR also fell 2 points, bringing it from 77 to 75.
  • The average organic keywords (1-3) went from 54,015 in the last quarter to 11,030 in this one.

Fourth Quarter

While we kept seeing a downward trend in metrics even this quarter, our team knew we had to act quickly and go all out to restore The Island Now’s health. So, we modified our strategy and deleted over 200 articles that were not getting enough traffic both before and after the update. In this quarter, we also fixed the internal linking across the site and updated the disavow file. We kept generating backlinks to the homepage and top-performing articles only from high-authority sources.


  • The average organic traffic saw the lowest point in this quarter, going from 441,889 in the last quarter to 60,843.
  • The DR remained stable at 75.
  • The average organic keywords (1-3) also fell from 11,030 in the previous quarter to 2,478.

2024- Fourth Year With 747 Media House

Highlights (Jan- March)

  • Number of links ordered- 1800 
  • Revenue earned- $140,000

First Quarter

We proactively started taking steps to bring the site back into its prime. First, we shifted the domain from to Then, we cloned the content to the new website, updated all the articles with original and high-quality content, and refreshed the dates of all articles. We continued creating backlinks with niche edits, blogger outreach, and media placements on the new site. And sure enough, we started seeing an upward trend in metrics again!


  • The average organic traffic increased from 60,843 in the previous quarter to 435,210.
  • The DR still saw the impact of the update, which went from 75 in the last quarter to 74.
  • The Total Keywords ranking in top 3 rose from 2,478 in the last quarter to 9,054 in this one.

Final Thoughts

We’ve been working with The Island Now for over 3 years now. While we had some challenges along the way, our team quickly adapted the strategy and took corrective measures to bring the site’s articles into ranking. The brand currently ranks at 651,023 in terms of total organic keywords. Here are some of the key takeaways from our experience:

  • Keyword Stability

Keyword stability was one of our most noteworthy achievements throughout our engagement with The Island Now. Our link building and content optimization strategies ensured that important keywords remained ranked even during the most turbulent times following the update. That’s why year-on-year total keywords rose from -43% in 2023 to 203% in 2024.

  • Optimizing Target Keywords

We carefully selected and optimized the keywords with high traffic potential and relevance to The Island Now's niches, significantly improving their content's visibility and reach. We also continuously monitored and optimized the target keywords to adapt to the update, thus increasing the average organic keywords (1-3) from -45% in 2023 to 1,401% in 2024.

  • Increase in Organic Traffic

The better keyword stability and optimization led to a manifold increase in the organic traffic of The Island Now. We not only secured a higher ranking in all the niches but also got high-quality incoming traffic from high-authority sites through our niche edits and guest posts. This led to an increase in organic traffic from -43% in 2023 to 2,628% in 2024.

  • Increase in Revenue

The efforts of 747 Media House and prompt action in undoing the damage caused by AI content from their in-house team and the Google update resulted in an exponential increase in The Island Now’s yearly revenue. The revenue was 150% in 2021, which fell to 33% in 2022, and we helped it grow back to 733% in 2024.

Client Testimonial

“Partnering with 747 Media House has made all the difference in our site’s visibility and popularity. Their tailor-made SEO strategy not only led to stellar growth in our traffic, ranking keywords, and revenue but also helped us tackle the challenges after the update. We’ve seen remarkable improvements in the quality of incoming traffic, and our articles are also ranking longer, bringing in more revenue. The time during and after the update was admittedly challenging, but the team maintained clear communication and adapted the strategy intelligently to help set us back on the path to success in the online publishing industry”.

  • Mr. Garry Simons, Chief Editor, The Island Now