How we made $ 2.866,98 from FIFA 19 and how you can do too for any product release

In this post, we’re going to show you how to make money from any upcoming product release.

In fact, these are the exact techniques we used to make $ 2.866,98 from the FIFA 19 release in just a few months with minimum effort and costs 🤑.

(click on a screenshot to enlarge)

Watch the full walkthrough in the video below!

This blogpost is also fully covered in the video below for your ease 😄.

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Read on…

This idea was handed to us on a silver platter

We were having lunch with Jordy Noll, a fellow SEO. Since almost every SEO specialist has a side hustle, we were eager to hear about his projects.

One story got our attention. He told us how he had made quick money (around 10k in total) from the FIFA game release each year. Where he would create a new website for the newest release. He had done so for FIFA 2015, 2016 and 2017.

His strategy was simple:

  • Register a domain containing FIFA + year of release, like FIFA-17.com
  • Perform keyword research around previous FIFA releases, like FIFA 16
  • Predict similar topics and map topics to pages
  • Create individual pages with content for each topic
  • Do some outreach for the top 3 topics
  • Rank in top 5 for top terms
  • Add affiliate links
  • Sell banners or place adsense banners
  • Make money
  • Rinse and repeat: redirect all pages to the corresponding ones for the new release

He didn’t promote FIFA 18. Neither was he going to for FIFA 19. So we did…

Registering available domain names

I told Joep about the idea and it immediately appealed to both of us so we decided to go for it. We did some keyword research and found out that [FIFA 19 release] would be one of the biggest queries for the year.

This wasn’t a transactional keyword (read: with buying intent), so we registered multiple domains:

  • FIFA19release.nl (release focus)
  • FIFA19kopen.nl (buying intent focus)
  • FIFA-19.net (generic focus)

We ended up choosing FIFA-19.net, to have a more generic approach. We thought we could rank well with separate pages for all topics. However, trying to rank high with a .NET domain in the Dutch SERP (Google.nl) turned out to be quite a challenge.

Performing keyword analysis

We performed keyword research around previous FIFA releases (FIFA 15, 16, 17 and 18) to predict queries for the release of FIFA 2019. It turned out they had a lot in common, which you can see below:

See the similarities? This is just the tip of the iceberg of the 100K+ keywords Ahrefs has stored for this topic.

This meant we could easily predict 80% of all queries for the new release! So we could already start creating and indexing our content way before the queries would take off. Creating a competitive advantage over other publishers.

Lets look at Google Trends:

Almost the same trends, right? So here’s what our gameplan looked like:

Get access to our full keyword analysis so you can replicate our success

You can find our full keyword analysis here for free. We’re sharing this because we want to help you become a SEO Hustler too. No matter where in the world you live, we challenge you to dominate the SERP for the next FIFA release 🤠.

Whether you do it in your own language or in English, there’s a lot of potential from a lot of angles. For example, you could focus solely on one core topic like the release or a console like Playstation. Register a domain like:

All available at the time of writing!

Translating keywords into a proper website structure

We started out mapping our website structure into pages to represent the topics from the keyword analysis, which looked like this:

Nothing special here. There are even plenty of other topics we could have covered, but we decided to focus on these first. It would also be realistic within the given timeframe and the time we allocated to it.

But just to give you some more ideas, there’s a LOT of volume around topics like:

  • Features
    • Editions
    • Leagues
    • Teams
    • FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT)
    • Career mode
    • Manager mode
  • Player statistics / ratings
    • Wonderkids
    • Best young players
    • Fastest players
  • Gameplay
    • Skill moves
    • Formations
    • Shooting
    • Corners
    • Defending
    • Loot boxes
    • Packs
    • Coins (there’s a whole industry for this)
  • Others
    • Soundtracks
    • Mods
    • Review
    • PES vs FIFA

Purchasing Jordy’s old domains and three facebook fanpages

After we had a clear idea of potential topics, competition, the website and pages we wanted to create, it was time for us to setup a wordpress site.

I reached out to Jordy again to ask whether he wanted to sell his template, as he did quite a nice job on his previous websites:

After going back and forth a bit, we purchased the wordpress template AND all of his fanpages for a friends prize (bargain!) of 400 euro 😎.

We slightly revamped the website with some styling and wrote some code to make the table responsive. I really liked the end result:

fifa seo case study

Fixing basic technical SEO shit

Here’s a quick overview of the technical shit we optimized for FIFA-19.net:

Htaccess: Optimized htaccess to provide our preferred URL to Google, optimizing crawlbudget and link equity. You will  have to 301-redirect all non-www, non-https and trailing slash variations to the https://www. version:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} !^443$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^fifa-19.net$
RewriteRule (.*) https://www.fifa-19.net/$1 [R=301,L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*)/$ /$1 [L,R=301]
</IfModule>

Robots.txt: Optimized robots.txt by disallowing our search pages and including our sitemap

User-agent: *
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Allow: /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php

Disallow: /*s=*
Sitemap: https://www.fifa-19.net/sitemap_index.xml

Sitemaps: Created sitemaps through yoast and submitted them in Google Search Console. Only for posts and pages. Not for media, attachments, tags or categories.

On-page elements: making sure each page had only one h1 heading and some h2 headings. Body-content was in the HTML source-code.

Internal links: Checked whether the links in the main menu where in the HTML source-code and had descriptive anchor-texts. Added a widget on news articles to our most important pages and related posts.

Used plugins (all free versions):

Creating content that would both satisfy user-intent and is laser focused

Next up, we had to create content. The best tip I got from an early mentor: always consult Google first. The most important rule when creating content is that it should satisfy the user-intent. To discover user-intent, just Google the phrase/topic that you want to create content for.

Let’s take the [FIFA 20 demo] as example:

  • What meta data is used by competitors?
  • What questions are being asked?
  • What are related searches?

Copy and paste your findings into a spreadsheet. Rinse and repeat for related searches until you get the feeling you covered everything. Now create one piece of epic content that covers everything you found about the FIFA demo (when it releases, where it can be downloaded, whether is free or not, teams you can play with, etc.). It’s easy.

Creating news articles on steroids

Luckily for this particular technique – you don’t have to reinvent the wheel!

Look up websites about the previous release.

  • What are the top ranking pages?
  • What did they write about?
  • How did they cluster their pages?
  • How did they cluster their paragraphs?
  • What kind of news articles did they release?
  • Etc.

Easy.

Then, just rewrite their content. Make it better. Make it more relevant for the upcoming release. Add all content from the separate results into one, big monster piece. Try to aim for 800-1.000 words per news article.

By doing this, you will likely outrank your competitors and even major retailers for a long time. The major retailers in the Netherlands didn’t even created pages until after the release (!). They competed with very thin content, purely focused at selling the game. Not many aimed at long-tail. We did, obviously.

It took us only a couple of hours to write this content. You can even outsource this if you’re super lazy – just explain the process above and let someone else write if for you. Textbroker is an excellent platform to outsource your content. We’ll probably release a full guide on this particular topic as well.

We also set EA’s twitter profile and FIFA’s twitter profile notifications on, which means you’ll get a push notification when they tweet something. As news gets shared on Twitter first, it turned out as a good strategy to be able to publish news fast.

Our news updates were not only focused on getting some long-tail search traffic, but also on strategically placing internal links in the body-content to strengthen our most important affiliate pages. Here are some examples, notice the anchor-texts:

Monetizing the website with all major affiliate programs

We already knew which affiliate networks we needed to register to. Basically, these are the biggest online retailers in the Netherlands along with some game/toys related websites. We signed up for:

We used a plugin called Pretty Links to manage our affiliate links. The pro version basically allows you to create a custom link, which you would only have to manage in one place, instead of updating individual links throughout your website.

Our link structure looked like this:

fifa-19.net/out/bol/ps4/

  • /out/ is for an outgoing link
  • /bol/ is for the retailer, in this case Bol.com
  • /ps4/ is for the console, in this case Playstion 4

Now we could easily implement these links throughout the entire site. In our comparison tables, in our body-content, in our news updates and on our fanpages. If the link would change for whatever reason, we only needed to change it once in the pretty link dashboard.

Plus, if you use a naming convention like we did, it’s easy to remember so you don’t have to copy and paste all the time. Also, you can setup A-B tests to try out different links and check your reports on which links convert best. Remember, always be optimizing. Always be hustling 😉.

pretty links plugin affiliate management
pretty links seo affiliate management

Here’s the strategy we used to get backlinks from some major publishers

So at this point, we had our technical SEO fixed and our content created. Next up, was to get some good backlinks.

For this, we used three very simple outreach strategies.

  1. Explaining our little competition and how it would help us tremendously if they could place a link to us. We already had the page, the anchor-text and landing page ready.
  2. Offering an audit of their site with some quick-wins. In some cases, we would already have attached a list of 3xx, 4xx and 5xx errors as well as non optimized page titles, meta descriptions and headers. Basically, screaming frog’s output.
  3. Buying expired domains.

The first technique landed us two links from a major publisher Wayne Parker Kent. The second technique got us six backlinks from a few news related websites.

The second technique even got us a freelance lead (!) after going back and forth with their online marketing manager about how shitty their SEO efforts were.

We also submitted our site to some directories. Questionable quality for sure, but some of them still rank and receive traffic in the Netherlands. Which makes it worth trying.

In the end we had about 20 proper backlinks over the course of two months. We were quite happy with the end result, given the minimum effort we had put into it.

Making $$$: FIFA 19 release week 🤤

As we were coming closer to the release date, EA games was releasing a lot of teasers and updates about the new FIFA. We tried to keep up with all the information and published a new blog article right after the information was released.

Furthermore, we monitored our rankings almost everyday to see if there was anything interesting happening in the SERP. With new press releases, we could tell that Google is changing the SERP almost constantly. Filling it with news carousels and other news related websites.

Luckily for us, we had established our website in the top 10 for [fifa 19 release] and [wanneer komt fifa 19 uit] (when does fifa 19 come out), our two main keywords.

Sales were slowly coming in already, from people visiting our website. We could see that they didn’t purchase FIFA or anything related to it. But hey, we didn’t care since we got a commission on anything they purchased through our link. That’s the best part of affiliate marketing.

During the week FIFA 19 got released, we received well over 15.000 visitors. Quite happy how that turned out.

Here’s an overview of traffic divided per page:

Making $ 1.320 in affiliate commissions

Around the release date, we earned a total of 1.200 euro (around $ 1.320) in commissions which was quite nice. Our most profitable affiliate platform was Bol.com, followed by Mediamarkt and Wehkamp. Most of the earnings came from SEO traffic and some via social media.

Here are some screenshots:

Flipping the website for $ 1.420 on a Dutch webmaster marketplace within ONE day.

A few months after the release date, traffic and sales dropped significantly. We kept it live to see whether the holidays would bring in some extra cash. We still received about 500 visitors a month to some of our player statistics pages and continued to make a few bucks from our affiliate programs. But nothing special.

We decided to put the website up for auction before FIFA 20 would launch, since we thought it might increase our chance of selling it for a good price.

Within a day we got several DMs and one offer, € 1.250 (which equals about 1.420 dollars at the time of writing). The auction closed 24 hours after the bid and to be honest I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get more bids.

Nonetheless, it was still a great deal. We pushed the website and domain to the new owner as soon as we got our money transferred.

Here’s how you can use this angle to your advantage

The reason this strategy works so well is because you can predict the search behaviour by looking into keyword data of previous years! Therefore, you can already establish your presence in the SERP without having a lot of competition.

Here are some other niches / angles you could use to your advantage to make money with SEO and affiliate marketing:

  • Game releases: FIFA, GTA, Madden, Formula 1, Etc.
  • Console releases: PS5, Nintendo, Xbox …
  • Smartphone releases: iPhone 11, iPhone xyz, Samsung S20, Samsung xyz
  • And many more! Just browse Amazon or Aliexpress most sold products for inspiration.

Basically anything coming up that’s proven to be searched for. Use queries like:
intitle:release inurl:2019
intitle:release+date+announced

to find topics and niches you can go after. Here are a few examples:

  • Sneakers (Adidas, Nike)
  • Books (50 Shades of Grey, Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck)
  • Movies (Frozen 2, Bad Boys 2)
  • Series (The Office, The Witcher)
  • Events (Connor McGregor fight, World cup 2022)

We even discovered releases.com, that does all the work for you. Or this website, keeping track of major product launches.

What would we do differently next time?

There are defintely some learnings from this case study. Things we would probably do differently next time:

  • Buy a ccTLD instead of a .NET to rank better in your country or
  • Buy a .com and aim to scale globally (way more competition though)
  • Buy a domain which isn’t tied to one specific year (e.g. FIFAFans.com) if you want to use it for the long term. Since redirecting and rebuilding everything for a new release is a bit of a hassle. Also, taking a more generic approach to games allows you to apply the same strategy for multiple games (e.g. GameReleases.com).
  • Outsource more! We ended up spending way too much time fixing very basic technical & css related stuff, which we could have easily outsourced via Upwork. Also outsource  writing general copy or even news articles to companies like Textbroker.
  • Focus more on outreach, since this is where you can make the biggest difference. It’s time consuming but once we got a few good backlinks, we immediately saw our rankings increase. We started a bit too late with acquiring strong backlinks which made it hard to compete with publishers who already gained a significant presence in the SERP.

There you have it. A full SEO strategy and case study around product releases.

Please let us know in the comments what you think about this case study, join our SEO Hustlers community and share your own success story!

Will you be promoting FIFA 21? 🤔💰

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