This in an “Affiliate Marketing How To” guide for those who are new to the business. While most affiliate marketers use blogs, some people use traditional websites and even write for article directories like Squidoo. There is certainly much more to cover than can be fairly written in one post but I’ll do my best to cover the important aspects and help you understand what it means to be an affiliate and how best to make money doing it. In another post I’ll discuss affiliate programs for beginners.
In order to understand how to make money in affiliate marketing you need to think about the mechanism which drives it all, your blog (or website or Squidoo article). A blog is much more than just a content delivery mechanism, its sort of like the Librarian’s Aide, and Google, Bing and Yahoo are the Librarians. That is, your blog must tell the story or provide the information, AND tell the search engines exactly what your writing about and where and how they should sort and store it so that readers can find it.
Affiliate Marketing How To
Optimize For Search Engines
So the first step in a affiliate marketing how to tutorial should include a discussion of optimizing your blog, or in other words making it more simple for search engines to understand and sort your content. Most people simply call this SEO (search engine optimization). Much like libraries sort books, so too do search engines sort websites. Start with the title and make it precisely relevant to what you’re writing about. Use headers throughout the content to make points and sections more clear, and designate the importance of those with a variety of headers (H1 – H6). Do the headers read well? That is, if you only saw the headers as an outline could you tell what the story was about? Great.
Next comes the content. What do you see when you open a book? Of course you see the table of contents, but there’s an introduction which tells you what the book is about. Do the same with your content. Make sure that the first paragraph tells the reader what they can expect, and in the very first sentence tell the search engines by using your keyword, in bold, italics or underline if it works; this helps them sort it properly (where you want them to sort it). You’ll also use your keyword and variations of it throughout your content so that you reaffirm to the search engines what you’re writing about. No one knows for sure, but its reasonable to assume that at least part of the sorting and ranking that search engines do is based in part on the frequency of words.
When you do a word analysis of your writing you can see for yourself which words appear most often. On a post such as this one with a keyword like “Affiliate Marketing How To” it’s a little more difficult, but not impossible, to use the words enough. You can perform an exercise at home. Find an article that is ranked at the number one spot on Google search for any term. Then copy the text of the article and then go to http://www.online-utility.org/text/analyzer.jsp. Perform an analysis and you’ll see exactly what I’m referring to here. These top ranking articles do a great job of making sure that Google understands exactly what they’re writing about and who they’re writing for.
As an example I analyzed my post on the best responsive themes (my keyword), a nearly 2,000 word post, and the results looked like this:
|Some top phrases containing 4 words||Occurrences|
|#1 – the best responsive themes||4|
|Some top phrases containing 3 words||Occurrences|
|#1 – best responsive themes||11|
|#2 – the best responsive||4|
|Some top phrases containing 2 words||Occurrences|
|#1 – responsive themes||14|
|#2 – best responsive||11|
With nearly 2,000 words in that post, for my keyword to land in the top 1 and 2 position for 2, 3, and 4 word occurrences means that search engines will likely understand fully what I intended to write about, and they’ll place the post accordingly just as I had intended. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an article, a blog post or on your own traditional website, write purposely to make sure that BOTH your readers and search engines know what you are writing about. I use SEOpressor which makes churning out optimized posts a relative snap, and that’s important when you have multiple blogs and also write at article directories.
Warning, don’t take this to mean that you can “stuff” keywords into your post in order to fool the search engines… they are much more intelligent than you may think, and they’ll spank you, hard, for trying to fool them. There is no magic number, though I’ve found that I have no problem ranking with a keyword density of under 1%, while many bloggers try for a much higher ratio like 3 or 4 %… I wouldn’t do it unless you legitimately can make an argument for needing the same words repeated so much. Instead, use synonyms. You can even use Google to find related keywords. When you type something in the search bar, look at the results… any words that are in bold are considered by Google to be synonyms of the words you searched for, so use them, too. How many ways can you say jelly? Jam, marmalade, preserves, etc… Google will give you keyword credit for the same word without spanking you for using it too much.
Finally, just like a book, have a conclusion that wraps it all up and uses your keyword one last time in the final sentence or two.
Affiliate Marketing How To
Serve Your Readers
If you’re writing an affiliate marketing how to article then your readers want to learn more about how to be successful in affiliate marketing. So the content, and the advertisements, should closely match what reader is expecting and wanting.
Whatever you’re writing about, carefully select products and services that you think your visitors would truly be interested in, or need, and then place those ads tastefully around the site (affiliate selling). Internet surfers, for the most part, are quite savvy these days and the old tricks no longer work (nor should they). Don’t trick them into clicking a link that takes them somewhere else than what they expected, and don’t push stuff off on them that no reasonable person would expect them to be interested in. An article on baseball bats isn’t the place to sell the NuWave oven (necessarily).
Affiliate Marketing How To
Choose The Right Partners
This ties in closely with what we just discussed on serving your reader’s interests. But more importantly to you is that you’re affiliated with partners that sell products or services that are truly good and worth their cost, and which convert well. That is, it does you little good to promote the absolute greatest miracle the world has ever seen if the landing page on your partner’s site is lousy and makes visitors leave right away. Conversions are everything in affiliate marketing.
In the hard-fought battle of getting traffic, the magic sauce for affiliate marketing is to increase conversions. You will find that you can control conversions much easier than you can control traffic. So would you rather have, for example, a site that gets 300 visitors a day but only converts at 1%, or a site that gets 100 visitors a day but converts at 5% (for the same product, of course)? By simply increasing the effectiveness of your affiliate products you increase your earnings much more than you could by simply increasing traffic. 300 visitors a day is a 200% increase in traffic over the 100 visitor per day site, yet at the slightly greater conversion rate of 5% over 1% you earn more money with less traffic. I hope you see the point. By tweaking your affiliate marketing sites and ads, and choosing wisely your partners, you can increase conversions by a few percent much easier than you can increase traffic by 200%.
Affiliate Marketing How To
Choose Niches With Riches
We’ve talked about the most important things, but there’s one more that matters, the niche. A niche is nothing more than a target audience. So lets say you want to zero in on your affiliate marketing efforts and so you choose cordless drills as your niche. Within your site you can review the top cordless drills, discuss how to articles that DIY’ers might enjoy, etc… you can use keywords surrounding and related to cordless drills throughout your site, specifically buying words like “the best” or “Black and Decker P230 Cordless Drill Review.”
I would rather have 100 visitors a day who searched for “the best cordless drill” than I would 500 visitors who were DIY’ers and just surfing the net. Those 100 are in a buying frame of mind. I don’t have to convince them to buy something, only that what I’m showing them is the best. That’s a much easier sell than it is to convince a general surfer to buy something they weren’t looking for. These are generalities, of course, as many people make money off of Adsense clicks. But the real money is in capturing visitors in specific niches using keywords that indicate a buying frame of mind. I don’t want to dive in too deep in this beginners guide to affiliate marketing, but I believe you get the point.
As you’ll learn in Andrew Hansen’s Forever Affiliate course (you’re enrolled, right), you’ll make a LOT more money with niche specific “mini sites” than you will with authority sites (like this one), though these authority sites have a use and are needed (which is why I’m here). In fact I’ll take this opportunity to boldly say that anyone who strives to make money as a blogger needs to (even must) take a look at Andrew’s training, especially now in this new internet environment. Its your call, but I couldn’t be more emphatic in saying that you are leaving lots of money on the table by not joining his team.
Finally, as I’m sure you noticed I didn’t mention anything, not one word about backlinks. How is that possible when this article claims to be an Affiliate Marketing How To guide? I’ll tell you how. Google (and others) have made huge strides in their efforts to bring real content with real value to readers. So much so that the once almighty backlink has now been relegated to second or third tier on the scale of importance. It used to be that you could have oodles of backlinks and lousy content, and STILL rank on the top; those days are long gone. In fact, I have been successfully ranking great content with zero (yes, you read correctly, zero) backlinks.
Sure, it helps if you have good quality (relevant) backlinks, no doubt about it. But even more important is that the new age algorithms believe that your content is unique and worthy, and they do a really good job of making that decision. So I have chosen to leave backlinking out of my equation and focus on good content that is optimized for search engines and readers. When backlinks come, and they will with good content, they’ll make my posts and pages all the more richer and much more likely to sustain their position.
For example, I have an article that I’m trying to rank for the keyword paracord bracelet (in addition to other keywords which it already ranks #1 for). Yet when you do a search for that term you’ll see that one of the top results is an article that was posted way back in 2007! Yes, high quality content is rewarded by Google and others, and this author is sitting very pretty for a keyword with 20,000+ monthly hits, on an article he wrote 6 years ago. THAT is what true affiliate marketing should look like, and its precisely that type of long-term residual reward that Forever Affiliate is about.
I hope that this Affiliate Marketing How To article has been helpful to you. Consider it nothing more than one small stone on your climb to the top. There is so much more to know as your learn how to begin affiliate marketing, and we’ll share that journey together. Subscribe to Money Blogger today and pick up your free Strategy Guide from Andrew Hansen while you’re at it. Lastly, here’s a video of Google’s Matt Cutts talking about SEO, and while it’s a couple of years old, the points are as valid as ever. He talks about plugins, but that is one thing which has changed… SEO plugins literally make a huge difference; I swear by SEOpressor as you know.