Making SEO Work (And Selling A Tonne) As An Affiliate In 2015
Affiliate marketing with content “mini sites” looks very different today than it did 5 years ago… even 2 years ago. Understanding what’s changed and how affiliates are positioned to add value today is the difference between building an empire and wishing you could.
OH AFFILIATE MARKETING, HOW YOU’VE CHANGED.
Once it was easy to interrupt someone in the middle of their buying process, insert your affiliate link and take a commission. The money was good and it was done to excess. But it’s no wonder people started to hate us.
Adwords, then other paid traffic forms, then the search engines all complained. They wouldn’t let us run ads, and they wouldn’t rank us (easily). They complained that we weren’t adding any value because… for the most part we weren’t.
We were taking advantage of loopholes. And while it was fun, it was always going to end.
Today, very few affiliates (that don’t live in holes surrounded by monitors running black hat software 24/7) do well without operating real businesses. What does a “real business” mean to an affiliate marketer?
It means you have to add real value.
HOW DOES AN AFFILIATE ADD VALUE TODAY?
A couple of people have complained recently about the difficulty of ranking for ecommerce product name keywords these days. And it’s true. It’s much harder than it once was. We’re not going to trick Google into ranking us above the merchant selling our product anymore (at least almost never). Google understands what an ecommerce search is now and they are reluctant to rank something other than the product being searched for.
But that’s fine for us. And below you’re going to hear why.
If we affiliates are going to add value (and make money) today, we have to have something that our merchant’s don’t have. We have to give a buyer some information that they can’t get anywhere else.Or we need to present the information in a more convenient fashion than they can get it anywhere else. And we need to enter their markets in places that the merchant’s don’t know about yet.
We can write reviews. Yes, that’s great. But the chances are you won’t have the best review. You won’t write a review better than ALL the reviews on an Amazon product page. You need to be even better than that.
You need to be more. How?
BY ANSWERING MORE QUESTIONS
I’ve talked about this at length elsewhere but your first opportunity to stand out above your merchant, and above other affiliates is to answer more questions.
Everyone about to make a purchase has a question. They might not know the right words to use to search for the answer, but they are searching.
The merchant doesn’t answer these. They can’t because the number of questions for most popular products are too many. And even if they provide the answer, the buyer might not recognize that it IS the answer because it’s not worded how the buyer asked it.
If you can answer more questions than other affiliates, you can make more sales than other affiliates. Including affiliates with better than reviews than you.
That reminds me:
Many products for sale now have hundreds or thousands of reviews. There’s a saturation point where it’s too much for the buyer. Past a certain point, reviews might not be helpful.
What good are reviews if you have to sit for hours sifting through them, looking at all the ways they vary? You’ve probably had the experience of reading a bunch of reviews for a product and ending up feeling no more certain about your purchase than before you started.
Enter the affiliate.
A smart affiliate can make a summary of 1000 reviews with 2 or three paragraphs. The affiliate can do the work so a buyer doesn’t have to.
You can literally slot into your content, things like:
- “The most common reasons for negative reviews of [product]“ so your buyers don’t panic when they see the inevitable few one star ratings of your product on Amazon.
- The most common positives raised by reviewers
- The most common frustrations about the product that people who still loved the product had (and how they can be overcome)
and so much more.
REVEALING A SECRET
If it’s cheaper on some other site than Amazon, tell your readers.
If a sale is coming up or if it’s usually cheaper at some other time of year, tell your readers.
If one model is almost the same but slightly cheaper, tell your readers.
There are a host of things that aren’t convenient for a merchant (or a low level affiliate) to reveal about your product that you can win points with your readers by revealing.
But what I’m really getting at here, is that as an affiliate in 2015, you’re trying to…
GOAL: DON’T RANK FOR BIGGER KEYWORDS, RANK FOR MORE KEYWORDS
That’s why you bother doing any of this above. That’s how you win.
If you can’t rank for [product name] it doesn’t matter. You can still make great money.
Even if you can’t rank for [product name review] it doesn’t matter.
If you answer enough questions, and summarize enough reviews, and reveal enough secrets, you’ll rank for more keywords than your competitors… which will make you more profitable than your competitors more quickly… which will give you more ammunition to target the bigger terms in your market anyway.
As a general rule, the more long tail a buyer keyword gets, the more “hot” the searcher is. They’re juuust about to purchase but they’ve spent minutes refining their search to find the specific answer to one, final, niggling question.
And there YOU are to help. And there’s your commission.
A new affiliate site of ours just had it’s first sale recently after generating only TWO affiliate link clicks. Why? Targeted long tail keywords.
BOTTOM LINE: ADD MORE VALUE & AFFILIATE MARKETING CAN BE AS PROFITABLE EVER
The ways of adding value I’ve only begun to describe here. And new ones will be available to you in your niche, depending on what it is; They only require a little creative thinking to uncover.
You will win as long as you remember that. You want to be in this game today?