Affiliate marketing that produces qualified traffic with high intent to buy and low BV/A is the marketer’s equivalent to sitting on a pot of gold.
But without traffic, your affiliate marketing’s target products won’t have buyers. And without buyers, you don’t have a business period.
A smart affiliate marketing SEO strategy solves the traffic problem. You get recurring, ever-growing traffic to your affiliate website. Your only challenge would be to convert the traffic into sales.
That would be great, wouldn’t it?
In this article, we’ll reveal ten tried-and-tested affiliate SEO strategies to supercharge your traffic and sell successfully online.
Let’s get started.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO in short, is the optimization of online content so it becomes visible in search engines’ organic search results.
So then, affiliate marketing SEO is the practice of optimizing affiliate pages to make them discoverable online when people search for products related to what you sell.
3 foundational building blocks for SEO
#1. Technical SEO
Technical SEO deals with fine-tuning your website to help search engine algorithms crawl and index your site efficiently. Some critical technical SEO issues include:
- Correct site indexing
- Site is optimized for speed
- Site is mobile-friendly
- XML Sitemaps
- Working meta robots
- HTTPS authenticated
#2. On-page SEO
On-page SEO is the optimization of individual web pages so they rank higher in search engines. Here’s a quick run-through of what it includes:
- High-quality content
- Short, readable URLs
- Plenty of internal links
- High-quality, relevant external links
- A “magnetic” meta description
- Relevant image alt text
- Page has a logical page structure (H1, H2, H3)
#3. Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO refers to activities you do outside your website to boost your site’s visibility in search engines. Here’s an overview of the common off-page SEO practices:
- Building quality backlinks
- Guest posting
- Competitor backlinks analysis
- Being active on social media
- Online reviews
- Public Relations
- Content syndication
- Influencer outreach
Once you’ve laid a strong SEO foundation, you can move on to specific strategies.
10 proven affiliate SEO tips to boost traffic and sales
While online business SEO strategies come and go, some have stood the test of time. Let’s go over ten reliable affiliate SEO tactics that’ll increase your website traffic and sales.
#1. Pick a keyword-rich domain name
The battle for rankings and earnings starts before you build your affiliate website.
You can gain an SEO edge over competitors before you publish a single word. By choosing a keyword-rich domain name.
Here are some quick tips on how to nail your domain name choice:
- Keywords-rich, not barren: make sure you fit a traffic-attracting niche keyword into your domain name. While you must try to put your main keyword into your domain name, don’t force it otherwise, you’ll end up with a ridiculous, unnatural sounding name.
- Short, not long: even if your name includes an excellent keyword, if it’s winding, people will have a hard time remembering it. Coin a short and sweet name.
- Simple, not complex: the last thing you want is for crazy busy people to waste their precious time trying to decode the meaning of your website name. Create a simple, easy-to-spell name to get more hits.
- Memorable, not forgettable: your domain name must be unforgettable. When your site name is keyword rich and memorable, you will get more visits because people easily remember it. So make your name catchy, not run-off-the-mill.
Above all, try to get a dotcom extension if you can. “Dot com” is the most popular top-level domain (TLD) name, so potential customers expect it, and it makes for a more familiar experience than clicking through to an unknown extension.
“Dating Advice” is an exceptional specimen of a good domain name because the name is straightforward and memorable.
#2. Conduct outreach link building campaigns
Your link-worthy content assets won’t help your site if nobody links to them. That’s where outreach link building comes in.
Link building involves sending an outreach email to website owners whose content your content assets can complement. You ask them to insert your content resource as a value-add to their post. This is something that can be easily delegated to a freelance SEO or someone on your team.
For the best outreach link building results:
- Make social networking a part of your workflow
Cold outreach sucks and has dismal conversion rates. Someone is more likely to respond positively to your request if they know you already. That’s why you must put your name out there and develop relationships with people in your niche before you need them.
- Focus on relationships, not links
Don’t obsess over links. Focus on relationships instead because they give you links plus more: collaborations, intros to key niche players, etc. At Solitaired we’ve generated tons of links and traffic through strategic relationships with niche leaders.
- Make sure you have super-duper link assets
Outreach link building makes one big assumption—that your content is brilliant. Without an excellent content to link to, you won’t succeed. Nobody wants to link to trash.
- Offer something in return
Boost your chances of success by offering the prospect something in exchange. You can offer a link swap if appropriate. Perhaps you can give them free access to your handy tool or give them one of your products.
#3. Focus on purchase intent keywords
Keywords aren’t created equal.
It takes many stages and touches for someone to move from a prospect to a customer. So keywords target different stages of the marketing funnel.
- Top of the funnel (TOFU) keywords
- Middle of the funnel (MOFU) keywords
- Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) keywords
To get quick sales, commercial intent keywords at the bottom of the funnel used by people who are ready to buy right now. You don’t have to nurture these leads because these prospects want to buy your product now. All they want is a relevant product and they click the buy button.
These keywords include these common search strings:
- Best + product name
- Product name searches e.g. iPhone 12 pro
- Product categories, e.g. men’s shorts, computer accessories, or laundry detergents.
- Top + product
Buy now searches
- Buy + product
- Product + Deal(s) e.g. computer deals
Near me searches
Some local buyers have a pressing need that can’t wait. They want to buy a product or service immediately as long as it’s closest to them—that’s what near me searches are all about. They work best in local affiliate marketing.
Near me searches look like:
- Product + near me e.g. “pizza near me”
- Service + near me e.g. “barber near me“
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#4. Produce link-worthy long-form content guides
Up to 59% of in-store and online purchases start with a Google search. So, if you write solid content that includes phrases people use to look for the products you’re promoting, you’re in on the money.
Writing an exhaustive review of the product you are promoting is a surefire way to ensure your content (with affiliate links) appears in search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. When you tap into the power of SEO, the results are ongoing. You make money on auto-pilot, without raising a finger.
Here are some quick tips on how to nail your review piece:
- Highlight benefits, not just features– features are dry lifeless aspects of a product. Yes, you must touch them. But, for best results, focus on how these features help your audience. Sell the sizzle, not the steak. You’ll connect better with people and make more money.
- Be balanced and objective– your review must not be one-sided. Don’t sing the praises of the product throughout. Discuss its weak points as well so your content becomes authentic.
- Provide deep detail– studies show that posts that rank on the front page are 2000k+ long. To increase your chances of getting ranked, explore the product in great detail. Make sure you answer all possible questions people may have about the product.
#5. Insert affiliate links in high-performing pages
You don’t have to build all your affiliate SEO campaigns from scratch because you can leverage your existing content assets. Here’s how to do it in three simple steps:
Visit your analytics dashboard
The first step involves identifying your top-performing pages. To do that, go to your Google Analytics account, Google Search Console, or preferred analytics tool and pick pages that get the most traffic.
Search for organic keywords mentions
After selecting your leading pages, it’s time to optimize them. Open the posts in question and search for your affiliate keywords in the content. Once you find matches, link to your affiliate offers.
Tweak the page to accommodate affiliate keywords
While you’ll find many keyword opportunities using the previous step, not all of them can be discovered that way. To find other opportunities, you must do a bit of work. Just look for a relevant context in the content and rewrite short portions, then slot in the keywords.
When Smartblogger noticed their post on blogging tools was getting a lot of traffic, they optimized it for affiliate marketing.
Not only did they insert affiliate links on the post, but they also added the post on the navigation menu on their resources tab. This guarantees eyeballs on the post. moreMore eyeballs lead to more conversions and earnings.
#6. Create a handy tool that people dig
In some niches like SaaS, an easy yet powerful way to drive massive traffic to your affiliate site is to create a useful tool. It all boils down to four things:
Identify the right problem to solve
First, pinpoint something your potential customers struggle with. Make sure the problem isn’t a fleeting one for sustainability. You can survey your audience to identify and validate your choice.
For instance, this paycheck calculator is a super lightweight web application that soaks up tons of traffic.
Create the right tool to solve the problem
Once you’ve identified your target audience’s itch, make a tool that scratches it. If you don’t have the expertise, outsource the work if you are confident about the software’s potential.
Promote the tool for initial traffic and exposure
Having a fancy tool nobody knows about won’t help you. In the early days, promote your tool like crazy so people get to know about it. This will give it SEO traffic. Once the tool has found traction, word-of-mouth marketing will kick in as people speak about your solution organically.
Identify the right product
It’s not enough to have a flawless tool. You must also identify the right product(s) that complement your tool perfectly. This ensures higher conversion and close rates as your product is relevant to the interests of those using the tool.
Perfect Keto’s Keto Calculator is an excellent example of this strategy.
Source: Perfect Keto
The impressive numbers show the company hit the right nerve:
- 3,37k backlinks
- 3,3k organic keywords
- 16,5k organic traffic
- 16,8k traffic value
#7. Leverage the power of pain-point SEO
Pain is a potent motivator.
Moreso if it’s a product-related pain people want to solve now. In case you are uninitiated, pain point SEO is a strategy that prioritizes low volume high-intent keywords over the regular high-volume keywords everyone aims for.
The idea behind the concept is that while high-intent keywords have lower volumes, they convert better because they solve problems that are closer to the sale. Here are five content types that suit pain-point SEO.
In this content type, you discuss the pricing of the product or service you are promoting. Importantly, show readers why the product is worth it. Alternatively, you could talk about competitor pricing and include your affiliate products as a cheaper or more worthwhile option.
This approach involves comparing your affiliate products to leading products in your space. Remember to be objective instead of just singing your affiliate products’ praises throughout because you are chasing clicks.
“Alternatives To” posts
This content framework helps searchers find the best alternative to a popular product or service. All you have to do is to find the top products in your niche and then present your affiliate products as fitting alternatives.
Here are two examples:
- This HubSpot alternatives post from our blog.
- This ClickFunnels alternative post example from Freedomtoascend.com.
Use case posts
In the use case content structure, you describe the typical scenarios where your affiliate products can be used. Describe the problem (and solution) in-depth, so it becomes easy for readers to identify with it. When readers feel you get their pain, they’ll be more likely to take you up on your offers. Here is a case study post example about how to get your prospects attention.
Best Products Posts
Searchers are always looking for the best products on the market. Best products satisfy this user intent by providing a handy list of the finest products in a particular category. In the affiliate marketing context, simply slip in the products you are selling into the list.
Here are two examples:
- This top virtual event software post from our blog.
- This best screencasting software post by Colinshipp.com.
#8. Optimize your content for voice search
Voice search is here to stay.
As we speak, 50% of all searches are voice-based. So if you don’t optimize your affiliate website for voice search, you’ll leave money on the table and lose ground on your competitors.
Here’s a crash course on how to make your content voice search-friendly:
Write conversationally, not formally
Voice search is essentially a conversation between an intelligent machine and a person. To attract voice search spiders use a casual style in your content. If you stick to a rigid formal style, you won’t get results because Voice Search Assistants are geared for natural voice commands, not dry keyword-stuffed content.
Massage a lot of questions into your content
Searchers phrase most voice queries as questions e.g. What’s the best Mediterranean restaurant near me? To boost your chances of appearing in voice searches, work questions into your content. Besides using questions in blog posts, create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for your top products.
Sprinkle more long-tail keywords into your content
Voice search strings are longer than regular text-based searches—up to five words. Optimize your pages for voice search by incorporating many synonyms related to your main keywords into your content. Use a tool like Amazon Keyword Tool for help in coming up with Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords.
Embrace long-form content strategy
Earlier, we noted the power of long-form content as a link magnet. Not only is long-form content ideal for link acquisition, but it’s also superb for voice search engine attraction. Why is that so? It’s simply because when you write in-depth about a topic, you naturally include many long-tail keywords.
A foolproof roadmap for outbound sales.
Prospects are far more likely to buy when they’ve heard of you before. This step-by-step outbound campaign template shows you how to get on your contacts’ radars before you start dialing.
#9. Guest post on popular niche sites
Guest posts are a proven method of getting links and traffic.
Because it’s now a popular mainstream method, it’s overdone or often done incorrectly. If you’re going to leverage guest-posting in your affiliate marketing, it’s important that you nail it.
Pitch super duper original content
Rehashed pitches swamp editors’ inboxes. They reject such pitches in a flash because the proposed content won’t add something new to the conversation. But the good news is that editors appreciate original pitches that’ll add value to their audience.
Don’t pitch an idea to an editor first asking yourself if it will truly deliver value to their audience.
Guest post only on relevant niche sites
Don’t chase guest posts just for the sake of checking it off your affiliate marketing to-do list. Pick your targets with the utmost care if you want to see tangible ROI from your guest posting campaigns. Choose widely popular high traffic (and domain authority) sites frequented by your ideal potential customers.
Link to your content in the guest post’s body
If possible, link to your content in the guest post’s body. Most editors don’t mind as long as the resource you link to adds value to the post. But don’t force it if the content you link to isn’t contextually relevant. Editors can spot forced irrelevant links from a mile away and promptly remove them.
Maximize author bio linking opportunities
While editors are strict on links in the body of guest posts, they give free rein in the author bio. Therefore, maximize the golden opportunity to link to the pages you are promoting.
Take traffic to a dedicated landing page
Taking warm guest post traffic to a home page is a big mistake. Most homepages have a lot of distractions. Better channel that traffic to a distraction-free landing page and make specific tailor-made offers to your visitors for better conversions.
#10. Zero in on long-tail keywords
In affiliate marketing circles, there’s a mad rush for highly competitive, high volume keywords. Everyone thinks that’s where the money lies.
Unfortunately, that’s a fallacy.
Yes, you should target high volume keywords. But you’ll be better off if you add long-tail keywords into the mix. SEMrush has a handy graphic that illustrates the dynamics between long-tail keywords and the head keywords.
Here are three reasons you should make long-tail keywords an integral part of your affiliate SEO strategy:
Less traffic, higher conversions
While head keywords get a lot of traffic, they don’t convert very well. Long-tail keywords get less traffic but they convert way better than head keywords because the little traffic you get is more targeted.
More descriptive, higher conversions
Head keywords are brief and have a broad appeal. Long-tail keywords are longer and allow searchers to be more specific about their needs. This leads to higher conversions e.g. tomatoes versus best fertilizer for tomatoes. Research by Ahrefs revealed 69.7% of search queries contain four words or more so long tails present a marvelous growth opportunity.
Less competition, faster results
Since everyone pursues head keywords, if you target long-tails, you have higher chances of success. They are juicy easy opportunities because they have very low keyword difficulty scores so you can rank for them easily. In contrast, ranking for high-volume keywords takes a long time since the competition is stiff.
Affiliate marketing SEO: The key to traffic and sales
Affiliate marketing and SEO are a match made in heaven. They make a perfect combination that can drive your business forward.
Use these SEO tactics to boost your online visibility and improve your affiliate revenue. Since SEO results are repeatable and compound over time, you’ll enjoy tremendous profits well into the future.
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About the author:
Neal Taparia is the co-founder of Imagine Easy Solutions, a portfolio of online educational services that reached over 30 million students yearly. Neal sold the business to Chegg (NYSE: CHGG), where he stayed there as an executive for three years. He’s now pursuing a new initiative, Solitaired, which ties classical games with memory and attention training.