Increase Your Influence as an Affiliate with Tips from Rand Fishkin


Earlier this year, EPN global director John Toskey spoke as one of the keynotes at the Affiliate Management Days conference, and we were lucky to hear from many other charismatic and insightful speakers. One of those speakers was SEO master Rand Fishkin. Within just 5 minutes on stage at his keynote, “Being the Signal Amidst the Noise,” Rand got lost in thousands and thousands of social signals (Facebook birthday reminders, a new follower Twitter notification, email invites to join a webinar…) and information overload on the internet. And that was without even commenting on his friend's new baby picture.

As an affiliate, how are you supposed to be a beacon of influence in this sea of information? Rand shared a number of tips on being a signal amidst the noise, or as he put it, “Whatever your tactics are, stand out, or get lost in the coming ‘I have no more attention to give’ era.” Here are some of our favorite takeaways from Rand’s presentation.

Go the road less traveled

You’ve done your homework and identified which keywords to target across your product, content, SEO and PPC strategies, which is great. But what if everyone is using the same tools as you, and ultimately surfacing and going after the same keywords? Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner is one of the most commonly recommended and used tools, but there are also some lesser heard-of tools and techniques that can help you uncover hidden gems. To go after less accessible opportunities and keywords, Rand recommends:

  • Going beyond Google Adwords for keyword research, with free tools like UberSuggest and
  • Looking at the “related searches” at the bottom of Google and other search engines, as they’re often underutilized.
  • Targeting people in their own words, by manually extracting topics and language from online discussions and forums like Reddit.

Be an early-adopter

Remember when some people thought Facebook was just a fad? Hindsight is everything, and successful affiliates not only keep up with trends, but get ahead of them. Facebook and Twitter are already heavily saturated with ads, but marketers are still experimenting with other social networks like Instagram and Pinterest. Make your mark here while they’re still fresh and unsaturated with noise.

When it comes to mobile, you know you should have a mobile-friendly website, but what about a mobile-first website? A mobile-first strategy could have a huge positive impact on your visitor experience and conversions. Check out differences between the two and other benefits here.

Skip the low hanging fruit

Don’t create content just for the sake of creating content. As Rand explains, “The easier it is to create content, the harder it is to stand out.” Always think about what value you are bringing to the table through your content and asset development. You should be solving problems, providing answers, and engaging visitors.

Challenge yourself to move beyond basic blog posts or stock photos. Interesting, high-quality images increase trustworthiness and retweets, while a generic stock photo from 1990 can send bounce rates through the roof. Also, many publishers focus on targeting and optimizing for conversions, while educational searches aren’t as saturated and crowded. Using the example Rand shared, try searching for “data visualization tools” versus “venn diagram examples” and compare the results and opportunities.


The common theme throughout all of Rand’s tips is to be innovative and ahead of the competition – two things that will greatly increase your success as an affiliate. Dig deeper into these tips and learn what else Rand had to say at Affiliate Management Days in his full keynote, “Being Signal Amidst the Noise.”