The Affiliate Marketer’s Intro to SEO

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It’s safe to say that every affiliate wants their website to rank on page one of search engines. Unfortunately, (just like in affiliate marketing) there’s no “get rich quick” way to go about getting there. Even if paid search marketing seems like the easy answer, according to SEOMoz, ads at the top of Google receive about 18-20% of search traffic while organic results take the other 80-82%. The real answer to getting to the top of organic rankings lies in trusty search engine optimization (SEO) practices. At its core, SEO requires two things: patience and a commitment to best practices. We’ve rounded up some basics of the latter, below.

Start off strong with the right domain name

If you’re in the market for a domain, put a lot of thought into the name. The best domain names are short, memorable and contain important keywords. However, that doesn’t mean you should stuff as many keywords as you can in there.

Google is continuously updating its search algorithm to de-rank “spammy” websites using practices like keyword stuffing, while surfacing high quality websites that add value. The important thing to remember and keep at the heart of your SEO strategy is to develop for humans, not algorithms. For example, think about what website you’re personally more likely to visit – www.toptechreviews.com or www.bestphoneslaptopsandtablets.com?

But first, keyword research

Conducting keyword research is critical to knowing what keywords to target throughout the SEO process, and should come before all else. Start by brainstorming a list of words and phrases you think people would search to find your website, then plug that list into a keyword tool such as Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner or Wordtracker.

The goal is to expand and refine the list with relevant phrases and compare their average monthly searches. Targeting long-tail keywords – that is, longer keyword phrases with say 4-6 words – is a popular approach for affiliates for a number of reasons.

Long-tail keywords are:

  • More specific and focus on a niche
  • Less common than broad keywords, and therefore usually have less competition when it comes to ranking
  • Used further along in the search process, and tend to have higher conversion rates

Identify which keywords are best to target and focus your content strategy around those.

Create unique, quality content

You’ve probably heard the advice to “create unique, quality content” many times throughout the affiliate industry. Why is this so important? Well, you can drive all the traffic in the world to your website, but if it doesn’t provide value or the answer your visitors are looking for, they’re bouncing (along with your commission). This is also very important to search engines, as they want to provide a valuable and easy search process for users.

So whether it be a blog post, review, video, or in some other form; relevant, high-quality content helps searchers find what they’re looking for, and in turn Google pushes that website up in search rankings. Other factors include how often your website publishes new content, and whether it can be found elsewhere online. Even if it’s your own, avoid repurposing content on multiple pages or websites.

Whether you’re just starting off with SEO or looking to freshen up your skills, keep an eye on the EPN blog for more SEO tips.