Reaching the top spots of search results for certain keywords is difficult for affiliate marketers given that the search engines are now favoring big brands to be more visible on SERPs. This made the notion that content marketing and link building for big brands is far different from what affiliate marketers should be doing in their marketing campaigns.
Though at some point, there are differences between a big brand’s site and an affiliate site like the product they’re promoting and the resources they utilize, it’s not quite as big as you think it was. The approach use in link building and content marketing both for an affiliate site and a big brand’s site is almost the same.
In this post, I would not share to you how you could build links to both of the two sites but as you go further reading, you will start to notice that the your link building approach for big brands could actually be your techniques to get links for your affiliate site.
Core Principles of Affiliate Marketing
I’ve been working on affiliate sites (my clients’ sites) few months ago and I saw that there are still lacking with how they approach affiliate marketing in the real sense. It made their strategies difficult to climb at its peak of success given that most of their strategies are centered on their sites alone.
There are three core principles that made affiliate marketing more useful and meaningful to both affiliate marketers and its customers.
- Value. What makes your affiliate site more compelling to your customers is the value you’re providing to them. If they always see a product review or a product comparison page (which you should still be doing), customers won’t get enough value from it in terms of how the offering is applied to their everyday lives. Your site’s content should connect to your customers by not only giving them tools that could help their work become more efficient and effective but also give them a chance to live a meaningful life.
Pat Flynn is a good example of an affiliate marketer who helps his audience not only to earn money but also gives them inspirational insights on how they could strive more to become successful on their career. (sounds, drama ha!)
- Trust. It’s easy to buy a product from a person whom you’ve been built relationship with. The trust goes a long way. You’re building a solid army at the top of your marketing funnel. This army consists of people who trusted you the most and would help you earn more commissions by leveraging the content distribution of your site because you’ve invest time and money for them. Remember the law of reciprocity!
- Market Analysis. You can’t provide any value to your target audience and get them trust you if you don’t know their deepest needs. Identifying how you should be helping them with your site’s content assets could get your affiliate marketing system a lot easier.
Also, the feedbacks that came from seeking every discussion in community sites (e.g. forum) would give you a feel of how you could further improve your affiliate site, not only enhancing as a money-making site but make it worthy of being an authority website.
Affiliates marketers should be focused on what people are searching for in a particular product. Those are the keywords that tend to have high conversions given that these terms incorporate the intention of the searchers (they’re ready to buy the product).
The common way of searching for ready-to-buy keywords is Google Suggest. You can use phrases like, “where to buy” + “product” or ”where can I buy” + “your keyword” or “I want to buy” + “your keyword” to get more ready-to-buy keywords. Use variations so you can get more list of this type of keywords.
Do not hit enter so you can find more specific keywords/products.
If you want to scale up your Google Suggest keyword research process then you can try Keyword Snatcher which can scrape lots of different sources quickly.
Keyword Snatcher uses the Google, eBay, Amazon, Bing and Yahoo search suggestions to create a combined list.
Use the common queries: inurl:links + “your keyword” or inurl:resources + “your keyword” to find product-based resource pages. List them down in a spreadsheet so you can go back to each of the URLs when you start building links.
Use the functionality , “Ctrl + F” to easily find keywords that are related to your product or industry.
Comments on product reviews and community sites
Product review sites and niche-specific community sites allow product reviews which are gold mines for finding conversion-focused keywords. Given that these terms are used by people when they comment on product-review sites, it will be more likely that they will also use those keywords when they search for product-related pages.
There are still other content pieces that can be created aside from product review and product comparison pages. Here are some content marketing examples that you should try and would need resources but all the effort are worth it if they are done creatively:
This is a common content you’ll see in any niche. But what does a product video content could provide to the target audience? Well, it brings people into action. When you’re showing to people how you use the product you’re promoting, they’ll be able to know how to use the product and understand both the advantages and disadvantages of using that product.
One common mistake of many affiliate marketers when they create a product-testimonial videos is that they’re not telling people the cons of the product which may lead to disappointment on the part of the consumer when he started to use it. It would affect their branding as affiliate marketers so they better to give to their audience everything they need to know about the product.
Don’t create mediocre video content. Add slide presentations to make it look professional just what people would do in a webinar. Outline what you will preach to your audience so the outcome/message would not be misleading for them.
One of the effective ways to earn more commissions from your third-party products is to create solid series posts. This would help your prospect customers to walk through a step by step procedure on how you can actually create one thing (e.g. Triple X Niche Site Case Study).
Series posts are like resource pages that list down links with brief descriptions for each link. Unlike a resource page, series posts only link to internal pages since they’re giving people step by step posts about a particular topic. Internal linking of pages is strong in this type of post since one post could pass link value to another post. This made series posts beneficial on the site’s performance.
Additionally, series posts would spark relationships with your potential customers given that they would be able to learn more from your site other than the content pieces you published on a regular basis.
If you want to learn more about building relationships with your customers/influencers, you may want to check out this post on relationship building.
Step by step instructions could also be presented in a visual form. Instructographic is a good example of this kind of visual and had been very popular ever since given that this type of infographic allows people to read the text from top to bottom (reading step 1, step, and so on…).This would simplify the process of learning for your visitors since they would not only read but also see the image in the infograph that tells them how to use the product.
You can also do this for your affiliate marketing. However, you need to target a good keyword so you can get the most value out of your infographic. Most people would use the title of your visual as the anchor text when they used to link to your page. The more people are linking to you, the more link juice is passing to your page (whether it’s a do-follow or no-follow). And as these people would use your title as anchor texts for external linking, the likelihood of your visual to get on the top spots of search results for that particular keyword/title you’re targeting is high.
Getting started page
This page would help beginners in your industry understand what your page is all about. Not all of your visitors would want to read each and every post you published. They might only consume readings that are suitable for them and would help them learn about the basics.
This is another content that you shouldn’t miss in your content strategy given that this page would give your site a positive user experience (especially for beginners whom you need to teach where to click and what page to find in your site).
Transparency is what makes income reports valuable to the readers. The more you’re providing information of what products provide you the highest earnings, the more your potential customers are encouraged to check out reviews about those products. Maybe the reason would be the curiosity that came from listing your top third-party products. They would want to know why people would want to buy those products and how they would benefit them as buyers.
There are several linkbaits that managed to earn links/shares in every type of industry. One good example of this is a toolbait where people could easily use the tool for FREE and make their work more efficient/effective than their normal tasks.
When you have this kind of linkable asset hosted on your site and you targeted that page for a highly-searchable keyword, the chances of ranking the page for that keyword is high given that links are easily obtained from authority sites and/or bloggers who could write reviews about the tool. Also, people would be happy to mention your tool in any kind of linking (newsletter link, editorial link, etc..) if they found it useful for their followers.
General resource page
You’ve seen this page all over the web. But what really a general resource page does is that it allows people to see a list of links where they could get a lot of value from (you don’t need to link to all of your product reviews). It would just give people a reason to leave your site since your resource page looks like a spammy one.
Use your resource page as your own advantage by linking out to another external resource pages. This is a good angle when you pitch the content publishers of those resource pages. If you linked to them, there is a high chance that they could link to you as well (aside from the relevancy factor).
Your own products
Once you see that you’re starting to already make your affiliate site as an authority brand in your industry, you probably don’t want to always link to external products. You could try creating your own products that would suit the needs of your target audience. If you’re good at promoting other people’s products, you should also be keen at advertising your own products as well.
Look at how Pat Flynn did in his niche sites (GreenExamAcademy and SecurityGuardTrainingHQ). He created products that people could remember not just the products themselves but the brands Pat wants to expose to his audience.
Venchito, How about for advertisements? What are the right spots to place my advertisements on the page?
Well, there are no definite answers. What people would always want to do is to test every advertisement they place on their page. Not all industries have the same type of audience that click only on the same spots of the page so you better have to test the CTRs of every advertisement (large or small).
You may want to check out this group interview by Ana Hoffman about banner advertising and what famous affiliate marketers consider the best spots of the page to put your ads.
Just what I mentioned earlier, link building for an affiliate site is not different from how you approach link building for a big brand site. Here are a few common but still effective strategies to earn/build links to your page/site.
Related posts should be linked to each other. Vary your anchor texts to make your site looks natural in the eyes of your audience. You could also link to your money pages or pages that tend to convert well on your site (in terms of buying third-party products).
Instructional guest posts
This kind of post helped Pat Flynn got followers and potential customers for his Green Exam Academy given that the post provides step-by-step instruction on how to pass the LEED Green Associate exam. If you’re into that niche, you probably want to get yourself sharing the post to your peers/friends.
Creating high quality guest posts is a sure way to obtain leads/sales for your affiliate site. The moment those posts rank high on search results, continuous flow of potential customers to your site is possible.
Conversion-focused content distribution
Interviews, guest posts, collaborated industry guides, and other content distribution initiatives should be done with a mindset of conversions. You won’t be linking to your product link right from your guest posts but you could link to your conversion pages or your site’s inner pages that need boosting in terms of links (link to your posts that are not well performing on search results but have high quality content and have high conversion rates).
It’s also a good idea to look for link building opportunities with testimonials too.
Aim to earn editorial links from news sites and authority blogs. This would help your affiliate site to build its authority and influence over its target audience. You could achieved this by producing high quality content assets that could earn links over time (linkbait) and focusing more on building relationships not just only links (because these are assets that are hard to replicate by your competitors).
Niche-specific web directories
There are several web directories that you may want to submit your site to their forms. Some folks are still arguing this topic if web directories still have link values. As long as people are looking for websites that people could benefit from, web directories would always still be valuable to users since directories list down sites according to different categories (which people would want to visit first when they’re new to the industry).
Nail it down! Submit your website to niche-specific web directories but please don’t focus your efforts on it. Diversity your resources to any link building tactics that work so you could test which one is the most effective in your industry.
The aforementioned tips about content creation and link building are proven to be effective nowadays. However, you have to test each tactic since not all industries have the same market system and same type of audience that affiliate marketers are trying to reach out.
If you have any questions, get in touch with me @venchito14 or venchitotampon [at] gmail [dot] com. I’ll be happy to connect with you!