Complete Affiliate Action Plan: Search Engine Marketing for Affiliates

I receive an affiliate commission when you click on my affiliate links & purchase.  I give a portion of all proceeds to Alzheimer’s research as we search for a cure.  I am the sole caretaker for my 75 year old aunt who has Stage 5 Alzheimer’s so we can’t thank you enough.

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Super Affiliate QuickJumps

  1. The Stuff You May ALREADY Know… Self-Quiz!
  2. How Google's Business Goals Affect YOUR Income
  3. The Key To Winning Google's Favor
  4. Choose A Focus For Your Affiliate Website
  5. The Keyword List As Your Launch Pad
  6. FREE Tool To Help You Generate A Keyword List
  7. Building A Website That's Google Friendly
  8. The #1 Most Effective Strategy For Earning Top Rankings
  9. Tips For Increasing Your Inbound Links
  10. Where To Further Your Education

How Much Do You Know About SEO

It's difficult to start an Internet business these days without some rudimentary understanding of the direct correlation between where your site appears in the search engine listings, the volume of traffic your site generates, and your total income.

Top Rankings In Google…

= MORE Traffic To Your Website
= MORE Clicks On Your Affiliate Links
= MORE Captured Email Addresses For Follow ups
= MORE Total Commissions

It's simple logic, right?

Search Engine Marketing Secrets for Affiliate Marketing

So to make sure this action plan gives you the most current search engine marketing secrets you can apply to your website TODAY to increase your overall traffic and income, we're going to brush past many of the basics.

For example, we're going to assume you already know:

  1. Search engines have “spiders” and “bots” that “crawl” the Internet, “indexing” websites. This simply means they're collecting and storing information about your website that's then used to “list” and “rank” your website in related searches.
  2. A complex set of proprietary “algorithms” decide where your website will be listed and ranked, meaning where your site will appear in the results returned for any particular search done by Joe Public.
  3. These algorithms, or ranking rules, are NEVER published by the search engines and are constantly being updated and changed to ensure less scrupulous site owners can't artificially manipulate the search results (i.e. So searches for “romantic date ideas” or “dog training tips” don't return PORN listings!).

What is Organic SEO?

  1. “Organic” or “natural” listings refer to results in search engines that are NOT paid for. Paid listings (typically PPC) will be dealt with in a separate article that you can read here.
  2. Organic listings are FREE but the rank of your listing is NOT guaranteed and can change at any time as ranking algorithms are updated and spiders crawl the Web 24/7, collecting fresh information about your competition, new and old.
  3. “Keywords” will be the driving force behind your search engine marketing efforts. Your goal is to reverse engineer your ideal customer's thought process to figure out what words and phrases they're typing into Google to find your products and services.
  4. SEO refers to “Search Engine Optimization,” which is simply the process of making sure every aspect of your website content and design is optimized so that your website appears at the top of the search results when people type in phrases related to your site content.

Now don't worry if these concepts are new to you.

Specific, Actionable SEO Strategies to Boost Search Engine Rankings

You will still find value in lesson to follow as it contains specific, actionable strategies that you can apply to your website right away for improved rankings and increased traffic.

However, we'd also highly recommend that you invest in a few of the educational resources mentioned at the end of this lesson.

Because while search engine marketing firms will charge you $1000s to optimize your website and build a campaign for you, the reality is that once you understand a few basic concepts, you can do the majority of the work yourself… even if you're not a “techie”!

Plus, search engine marketing isn't something you can do once and expect your 3-4 weeks of effort to carry you for years to come.

It needs to be an ongoing process…

Which is another reason why it's far more cost effective to get educated and do it yourself!

How SEO Affects YOUR Income

Today, any conversation about search engine marketing is a really a conversation about Google.  In fact, I just published a new step by step how one large company with no SEO paid me $38,000 to dominate the search engines for them.    How in the world did I conquer 38 straight pages of Google in the competitive health niche?

Click Here to Read About How to Write Blogs for SEO

Sure, Google's two closest competitors are Yahoo and Bing. But frankly, 65% of all searches are done via Google and their marketshare continues to expand. In fact, YouTube, which is OWNED by Google, actually gets more searches than either Yahoo or Bing.

So since much of the work you'll do to earn top rankings in Google will produce comparable results in the other search engines anyway, your SEO efforts are truly best focused on Google.

Focus on Relevant Content to Optimize for SEO

And here's the #1 most important concept that you need to keep in focus when optimizing your website for Google:

Google's “client” is not you, the business owner!

Their client is the web surfer!

Because without happy users of their engine, Google's entire business model would fail. No users would mean no advertisers, which would mean no income!

So their #1 goal is to deliver RELEVANT search results FAST
to keep their users coming back to perform more searches!

And this is where many affiliate sites get into trouble:

If a Google bot visits your site and determines that your sole purpose is to drive visitors through affiliate links into other commerce-driven websites, you may be penalized with a poor or non-existent ranking.

Because as far as Google is concerned, your website should offer visitors stand-alone value.

If visitors are simply skimming through your site on their way to their REAL destination, then in Google's eyes, your site was not a RELEVANT result... And your site is impeding the visitor's progress to their desired destination.

Quality Content over Quantity Content

So if you take NOTHING else away from this lesson, remember this:

To win well-ranked listings in Google, your website must be a destination, not a speed bump!

Too many affiliates put up garbage websites jammed with fluff content and a million affiliate links and then fail to understand why Google leaves their sites at the bottom of the search results.

Even mastery of advanced SEO concepts will only get you so far if you're operating a website like this. Especially in competitive marketspaces like health, fitness, weight loss, sexual fitness and more.

To win favor with Google…

You must create a QUALITY website built on QUALITY content, and quality content, in the eyes of Google, is FRESH content.

Ideally, your website should include:

  1. A blog that's updated 2-3 times per week with fresh posts that attract comments from readers.
    If you haven't already, consider installing a WordPress Blog on your website. It's free (assuming you do the install yourself), but keep in mind that it's not optimized for Google out of the box. You will need to install SEO plugins.
  2. A growing directory of articles.
    Articles should be roughly 3/4 to 1 page in length each, and they should include DIFFERENT content from your blog (i.e. the articles should be original).
  3. Pictures and YouTube videos to enhance articles & blogs.
    This is currently an under utilized strategy that can give YOU a serious advantage in the search listings!
    To see an example of how Google favors quality videos with top rankings, search “dog training tips” — see how video results appear below the first 3 organic listings?
  4. Outgoing links to relevant websites (NOT affiliate links; purely informational).
    In Google's eyes, if your website is truly a resource with visitors' best interests at heart, it will include non-affiliate links out to other websites.
  5. A limited number of affiliate links.
    Google frowns on sites that are one big mass of affiliate links. So you need to be VERY strategic about what products you're promoting.
    You'll enjoy a bigger income AND better rankings in Google if you choose to promote a handful of top-earning products rather than take a shot gun approach.

Choose A Focus For Your Affiliate Promotions

It's also worth mentioning that all of the content featured on your website should have a fairly tight focus. The tighter, the better.

For example, let's say Joe Public types “low libido help men” into Google.

Google wants to return relevant results FAST.

So in the search results, Google will favor:

  • Sites that deal specifically with “low libido” issues for men.
  • Large, established men's health sites that feature articles on men's low libido
  • Men's health & libido sites that receive high volumes of traffic and inbound links
  • Men's health sites, discussion forums, articles, and blogs where repeat visitors make a lot of comments on the content
  • Popular videos dealing with the topic of men's low libido

How to Determine What's Relevant?

In Google's eyes, websites and pages that deal ENTIRELY with “men's low libido” are more likely to be relevant than an affiliate site where this topic comes up in two short paragraphs followed by an affiliate link.

Affiliate sites that take a shotgun approach, and promote a wide variety of products with limited content are limiting their chances of success in today's competitive online marketspace!

The Keyword List As Your Launching Pad

Keywords are the driving force of search.

They are simply the word combinations that people type into the search engines to find websites with content relevant to their interests and needs.

For example, someone interested in “looking younger” might type in any of these keywords:

make yourself look younger
look and feel younger
how to look younger
anti aging supplement
anti aging cream
look 20 years younger
youthful skin
youthful face
youthful aging
healthy skin
reduce wrinkles
firmer skin

And these are just a FEW of the combinations that get searched.

As you can probably imagine, there are actually THOUSANDS of keyword combinations used to find anti-aging products and information!

So the secret to driving traffic is:

  1. Figuring out what GROUPS of RELATED keywords your potential customers are typing into Google to find information related to the products you promote, and…
  2. Creating all of your site content around these specific keyword groups.

Because if Google finds these keywords placed throughout your site in REAL articles, blogs, videos, forum postings, etc. they will see your website as RELEVANT to searches for these keywords!

Word of EXTREME Caution:

Don't think for a minute you can trick Google by jamming your website with keywords. This is called keyword spamming, and Google's bots and algorithms are extremely sophisticated and able to easily spot and penalize you for this attempted trickery!

Real articles with REAL content are the only way to go.

FREE Tool To Help You Generate A Keyword List

A good keyword list will be the foundation of your affiliate business.

So it would be misleading to suggest that this short lesson on generating keywords contains everything you need to know. It doesn't!

And choosing the WRONG keywords is where the majority of online businesses make one of their gravest mistakes, causing a snowball effect of low traffic, low sales, and low income!

You would be wise to read The Unfair Advantage Book – a comprehensive guide to search engine marketing, which has particularly good information on compiling a top-flight keyword list.

They'll show you:

  1. Both FREE and Paid Membership Tools you can use to find out which keywords are most commonly searched by your buyers.
  2. How to locate keywords that have gone unnoticed by your competition.
  3. And how to separate the freebie seekers from the qualified buyers. (Hint, they use different language when searching!)

For now, check out Google's FREE Keyword Tool:
https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

This is a great place to start your brainstorming and get some immediate insights into keywords that are being commonly searched in your industry!

Grouping related keywords together and creating content 

For example, if you were an affiliate for GenF20, you might group keywords along these themes:

  • Anti-aging supplements
  • Looking younger
  • Feeling younger
  • Reducing wrinkles

And so on. Then you'd go on to create content, web pages, maybe even entire niche websites, focusing on these tight themes.

Again, though, there's a real science to choosing keywords. Choose the wrong keywords, and you're hooped! Apply them to your website incorrectly, and you're doubly hooped.

So invest a little in your education. It will do wonders for the long-term success of your business!

Building A Website That's Google Friendly

Is your website welcoming the search engine spiders?  If you don't have a website built on WordPress, then click here for my free How to Start a Blog tutorial.

Or inadvertently turning them away?

Many site owners have NO CLUE that their websites are actually blocking the path of the spiders, not allowing them to index their websites!

So here's a quick checklist of things you can do to make your website EASY for Google's bots to index:

  • Keep your URLS simple (i.e. dynamically generated URLs that include a lot of numbers, symbols, etc. are not SE friendly). URLs like www.lookingyounger.com/skincreams are favored over www.lookingyounger.com/product=1234-cust##
  • Make sure you've filled out your Title Tags, Meta Description Tags, Meta Keyword Tags, found in the HTML source of each page. (You'd be wise to read up on Google's current preferences for Title, Description, and Keyword Tag length and content as this impacts what's displayed as your listing content in the search engines!)
  • Make sure your site includes a sitemap, which gives the spiders a linked map of your website, making it easy for them to crawl and index your entire website. Search “create a sitemap” in Google to find hundreds of how-to articles on this topic.
  • Avoid using frames on webpages that you want indexed!
  • Avoid the use of Javascript links. While Google can now follow them, Yahoo and Bing still can't.
  • Don't rely heavily on Flash content; search engines can't read it.
  • Include relevant keywords in your Image Alt tags (the text that appears while an image is loading). If you don't know how to do this, search “Image Alt Tutorial” in Google.
  • Use <h1> </h1> tags (Header Tags) to let the spiders know what text is your headline — and be sure to include your BEST keywords in your headline!

Finally, while we're on the subject of design, don't assume that because you hired a professional website designer, your website is optimized. Too often, designers are not familiar with current search engine optimization techniques, or they simply don't care.

Perform your own SEO audit to check their work!

And again, a small investment of time and money in your search engine marketing education will go a LONG way…

We recommend The Unfair Advantage Book as an excellent starting point.

The #1 Most Effective Strategy For Earning Top Rankings

So far we've discussed two of the three key strategies for earning top-ranked listings in Google:

  • Regularly adding fresh content to your website
  • Designing your website to be search engine friendly

But we've saved the most important for last. And that's…

  • Attracting high-quality incoming links!

Hands down, this is the #1 most effective strategy for earning top rankings in Google today. Because in Google's eyes, incoming links to your website are like third-party recommendations for your content and products.

The more links (or “votes”) other websites give you, the more trustworthy and valuable your site content must be.

So how do you get links?

What Not to Do When Link Building

  • DO NOT participate in link schemes
  • DO NOT trade links (an OLD strategy that is VERY bad now!)
  • DO NOT purchase links on link farms, web rings, or from brokers
  • DO NOT build mini-networks of websites (Google is wise to this tactic now, too!)

If Google catches you trying to manipulate your listing by artificially inflating the number of inbound links your website has, they will penalize you… to the point that your websites will NEVER perform well in their listings EVER AGAIN!

All of your links should appear NATURAL to Google:

  • Given in good faith by site owners who see value in your content, or
  • Purchased from a well-established business directories like Yahoo!

If attracting these kinds of links from other sites sounds like a lot of work, you're right — it is! And that's what makes inbound links so valuable in the eyes of Google.

While it's easy (okay, easier!) to manipulate YOUR site design and content for good rankings, it's more difficult to artificially build a network of inbound links.

Tips For Increasing Your Rankings Via Inbound Links

Of course, there ARE things you can do to increase the number of websites linking to you.

So here's a list of marketing strategies you can use to build momentum and start generating more inbound links:

  1. Keep producing lots of fresh, quality articles and videos. It's work and you may eventually need to hire writers to help. But you need to give other sites a reason to link to you!
  2. Write original articles to give away as free content in Article Directories like www.ezinearticles.com — it's an easy way to get inbound links to your website with related content!
  3. Distribute press releases, which include links back to your website. Start with PR Newswire.

Please Note:  These SEO Still Work Today

  1. Request links from websites with a Pagerank of 5 out of 10 or higher. (Pagerank is a score of “importance” that Google assigns websites based on the traffic they generate. It's available in the Google Toolbar, which you can download for free here.)
  2. Request links from websites that match your site's content focus. For example, if you're a bubble gum affiliate, links from drag racing sites are less valuable than links from other bubble gum related websites. In Google's eyes, links from related websites prove that your website is REALLY about bubble gum.
  3. Purchase listings in niche business directories (when appropriate) geared to your specific industry or marketspace.
  4. Create a YouTube channel for your business. (Very hot strategy right now!)
  5. Create a business listing for your website in Facebook — it's free. Start here.
  6. Encourage links to pages within your site — not just your homepage. These so-called “deep links” look more natural and carry more weight because they're pointing to very specific information rather than a general entry page.
  7. Purchase a listing in Yahoo's Paid Directory (different from their organic search directory). This is the easiest way for new sites to legitimize themselves in the eyes of Google. It's $299 US annually, but worth it!
  8. Also consider submitting to DMOZ. This directory listing is free, but because listings are reviewed by human editors (volunteers), it can take up to one year to see a listing — assuming the editors decide your site is worthy of inclusion. Submit here.

    Update Apr 21, 2020: DMOZ closed down in 2017.  If you want to read the history of why that happened, you can read it here.

  9. Purchase links in industry newsletters that are emailed to subscribers. You get the instant exposure via the email campaign and then long-term link exposure when the newsletter is archived on the publisher's website.

Anchor Text Your Keywords

Finally, in all instances, links carry more weight when your keywords appear in the anchor text.

For example, if your focus is anti-aging, a link at the end of an article reviewing the various anti-aging options available to consumers today could be:

“To get more information about anti-aging wrinkle solutions, visit www.mysite.com.”

Instead of linking the domain or text like “click here now”, you're linking keyword-rich text. Again, when Google bots view this link, the anchor text gives your site more credence as a site about “anti-aging wrinkle solutions”.

Where To Further Your Education

We've covered a lot of ground in this lesson and you now know the basics of search engine optimization.

The 3 most important concepts to take away are:

  1. Google prefers sites with plenty of fresh, topic-specific, keyword-rich content that attracts links from other websites.
  2. You need to design your website to welcome the search engines spiders.
  3. Inbound links are extremely important. The more the better. Google treats them as “votes” for your website and favors websites that have high numbers of inbound links from high Pagerank websites.

As we've mentioned a few times in this lesson, this in not intended to be a comprehensive look at search engine optimization… but rather an introduction to some key concepts.

How Much Do SEO Firms Charge

Because while SEO firms can charge upwards of $5000+ to manage your campaigns, it's actually pretty simple to manage yourself with a little education. Many of these firms get away with charging exorbitant rates because the average website owner is ignorant of how easy it can actually be.

Frankly, the toughest part of your SEO campaign will be generating the fresh, keyword-rich content on an ongoing basis. But even if you ultimately decide to hire a few writers to manage your content development, it will still be far cheaper than hiring SEM experts.

In terms of furthering your education, the best recommendation we could make is at www.searchenginenews.com — pick up a copy of their “Unfair Advantage Book on Winning The Search Engine Wars.”

Behind this rather simple looking guidebook is a sophisticated team of search engine marketing gurus who work `round the clock staying up-to-date on the very latest strategies in SEO.

Their guide is updated monthly and your $97 purchase includes a 6-month-subscription to their monthly guide updates, advanced search engine marketing tutorials, and a premium monthly newsletter filled with cutting-edge SEO strategies.

Other good resources include:

Google's Webmaster Tools – SEO Information, Including Webmaster Guidelines

 

How to Start an Affiliate Blog to Make Money Online

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