The internet is a competitive place, and many niches are saturated. It’s enough to put you off affiliate marketing all together. Especially as affiliate marketing has such a bad reputation. It has long been regarded as the cesspool of the internet; spammy links, black hat SEO and poorly designed websites with no thought for user experience.
But times have changed, and big businesses now rely on affiliate marketing to bring in sales and revenue. That does mean however, that as an affiliate marketer, you need to be up to speed with the huge number of marketing channels, techniques and strategies. What worked 5 years ago might not even be relevant now. And that is particularly true of SEO.
Let us show how to approach SEO in 2019 as an affiliate marketer using WordPress so that you can create a website that ranks well on Google for many years to come.
SEO, you’ve changed…
We need to stop thinking about SEO in the traditional sense. SEO still requires patience. A lot of patience. And hard work. It isn’t rocket science, although it can get a bit technical but really, you just need a strategy and some time. And remember, SEO is just as much about people as it is about search engines.
That doesn’t mean you can ignore the nuts and bolts of SEO. You still need to make sure that Googlebot (other search engines are available) can crawl your site and your pages. You still need build authentic links. You still need to optimise images. Your site still needs to be well structured.
SEO is a marketing strategy that should drive more traffic to your website. But not all traffic is equal; traffic is now about quality, not always quantity. It’s about getting the right kind of traffic at the right time.
Our 5 Top-Level SEO observations for 2019
So here are our 5 absolutely essential, no excuses, must-do SEO tactics for 2019…
1. Create Amazing, UNIQUE Content
There are over 1 billion blogs on the internet. That’s a whole lotta blog posts and content. And a lot of it is just samey, samey, boring, blah, blah, blah. It’s not enough to keep churning out that same old content. It has to be new, exciting and unique.
We’ve said it already but be bold. Publish stuff that no one else in your niche is. Step out of your comfort zone and try some video. How about getting hold of a couple of the products you recommend and reviewing them on camera in a live situation? Crash test that drone or test drive that pooper scooper on camera. Do something different.
Have you ever picked up a breaking news story and turned that into content? OK, it has to be relevant, but you can spin it. It’s called newsjacking. It is an actual thing. It means to inject your own ideas into a breaking news story, so you and your business get noticed. As a news story develops, people become interested in the products or services around it. So, by producing some content and getting out on social media with it, you are taking advantage of the opportunity presented. You have to fairly quick.
Here’s an Example of Newsjacking…
A few days ago, there was a story about CBD (cannabis oil) being banned for sale on the British high street until more tests into its efficacy had been done. So, if you were selling CBD and cannabis-related products, you could have jumped straight on that and crafted some content with a view to ramping up sales.
There are so many things you can do with the written word; authority blog pieces, how to guides, opinion pieces, storytelling, comparisons, success stories. The opportunities are endless. And don’t forget other forms of content like video, infographics and even better, moving infographics and podcasts. Be creative.
We created a post not long ago about content ideas for affiliate marketers. You can read it here.
A Note About Keywords and Keyword Research
OK, so it’s no good being super creative if no one is actually going to see any of it. You still have to give the people what they want. You have to understand HOW they are searching for your content/services/products. What words or phrases might people use to find you? You probably have some keywords that you would like to rank for. That’s a good place to start.
Remember though, there are so many factors that will impact your chosen keyword ‘difficulty’, including search volume and competition. How much work would it take to rank for your chosen keywords? If you’re competing with big brands who dominate your niche, you’re fighting a losing battle and it could take years of hard work to get anywhere.
Are your keywords relevant to your website’s content? Will people find what they are looking for when they hit your site? Can you identify relevant long tail searches? That’s where your successes will lie.
Check out the keyword research videos we have over on the WP Eagle channel here.
You might also be interested in installing Keywords Everywhere into your Chrome browser..
2. Audit Your On-Page SEO
We’ve already mentioned the nuts and bolts of SEO and it’s worth reviewing the basics to make sure you have all bases covered on your website. Remember, the search engines send out their little robots/crawlers/spiders to discover new and updated content, whether that be web pages, images, videos or even PDFs.
The bots follow links on their path of discovery and then everything that they find, they add to their massive index. So, when a person searches for something online, the search engine will scour that index or database and show the user the most relevant content in the hopes that it will answer the user’s query. Get it?! Your job is firstly to make sure that your content is geared towards your target users and the kinds of problems and questions that want answered but secondly, that the search engines can actually see your site and crawl all the pages, not just the homepage.
Here are some of the basics to bear in mind…
XML Sitemaps and
Google Search Console
If you haven’t already, set up Google Search Console and submit your XML sitemap or manually submit the URLs you want indexed. It helps.
Site Navigation & Internal Linking
Review your site navigation and internal linking structure. Make sure that all the content you want the search engines to crawl is linked to. If you’ve got a page that you want crawled, but it’s not linked to, it’s invisible.
Don’t Hide Behind a Login
If you require users to login before they can view your content, that content will not be crawled or indexed. Googlebot can’t login to see your site.
Don’t Hide Behind a
Same with search boxes or forms. Crawlers can’t enter search queries!
Title Tags and Keta Descriptions
Make sure all your pages have unique title tags and meta descriptions. These don’t influence ranking anymore, but they are displayed in the SERPs and could have a big impact on the number of people who click through.
Make sure you’ve got a robots.txt file. It basically tells the robots what it can and cannot crawl.
Page Not Found Errors
Get a really engaging and useful 404 page. Don’t lose the user, just because they can’t find the page they were looking for. Offer them another way back into your site.
Make sure your URLs are well structured. This: wpeagle.com/blog/seo-in-2019/ is better than this: wpeagle /blog-page-2/uncategorized/ttjhjdksf789
Slow and Steady Will Not Win This Race
Make sure your page speed is optimised. Google uses page speed as a ranking factor. You can check your current page speed with Google Page Speed Insights. It will show you what your current speed score is and where there might be issues that affect page speed. Not only is page speed important in terms of rankings, it also impacts user experience. If you can improve your page speeds, you might see bounce rate and other engagement metrics improve.
3. Update Old Content for SEO
Do you want to do less work and get faster results? As well as producing kick-ass new content, you should be periodically going back and refreshing your older posts. Google will reward you for doing so.
If you do a search for, say ‘the best trainers for road running’ you will see that all the results are posts that were published in the last few months. None date back further than 2018. And rightfully so. Who wants to read about trainers from 2017 or earlier? Apply that to any market where things change and evolve quite quickly. Technology, fashion, strollers; all date so quickly.
Go back and review your past posts and refresh the content. Update those posts for 2019’s landscape. The beauty is you probably won’t have to re-write the whole thing from scratch. The more recent they are, the more likely people will be to click on them. And Google will like that. Just make sure the post has a new published date.
While you’re at it, check all your links and make sure there are no broken ones. Better still, find newer and better places to link to and where relevant, link to other posts on your own site to improve your internal linking.
Have a look at the title and description for the piece you are refreshing and update them too. And take time to make sure your facts are correct and that your spelling and grammar are all tickety-boo.
The keys things when updating your content are refresh, repurpose and improve.
4. Build Links – but is Link Building Still Vital?
Yes! Along with quality content, building links is still one of the most important ranking factors. Having a number of authentic backlinks shows Google your site’s authority. Simply put, good and trustworthy websites tend to link to other good and trustworthy websites. Spammy sites tend to link to many other questionable sites.
You Are What You EAT
Instead of ‘high quality’ you might have read or heard the term ‘high EAT’. And apparently if you boost your EAT, you’re more likely to improve your chances of ranking well in the SERPs. But what the hell is EAT?
E = Expertise A = Authority T= Trustworthiness
To leverage the power of EAT and the influence it has over your rankings, look at getting links from sites with… good EAT? High EAT? Whatevs. Just make sure they are authoritative and trustworthy. And the best kind of inks to get are the natural, editorial type where people naturally want to link to your site. And that comes back to publishing good, unique content.
There are over 1 billion blogs out there. That means there is a lot of competition for links. The method of writing to website owners and asking them for a link is getting more difficult. You might have spent time identifying the authority websites in your niche and crafting a nice, friendly email to the website owner asking for a link, only to be ignored. It’s frustrating. Persevere.
One of the things we find at WP Eagle that truly works is being helpful. No, seriously. Because we are here to try and help people use WordPress and affiliate marketing to live the life they want, we are very collaborative and transparent. That means we recommend other websites and YouTube channels that we think our subscribers and users would benefit from. And in turn, those website owners have linked back to WP Eagle.
In fact, some of the content strategy points we mentioned earlier will help you build links to your website. And if you are going to “reach out” to site owners, be original and personable and provide some value. Don’t be spammy.
What Not to Do
Do NOT, under any circumstances buy links. And if someone emails you and asks to exchange links and there is absolutely no correlation between your website and theirs, don’t do it. You’ll be sorry.
5. Build Your Brand
This is a funny one for affiliates. Often, we under value how important it is to build a relationship with customers because ultimately, they go on to belong to Amazon or whoever else you pass the sale on to. But if you want to be successful in this game, you are going to have to build a brand around your affiliate business.
If you have a brand or a strong identity, people are going to be more likely to trust you and trust the content you publish. Otherwise why would they buy something on your recommendation? So, building trust and getting people to view you as an authority in your niche is vital. And if you want to succeed in Google’s eyes, get building yourself a brand.
Understand Your Role in the Process
You want to attract people at all stages of the buying process, from the get-go. Slay them with your killer content and hilarious, informative and impartial product reviews and then get their email address and start building a relationship with them. Send them relevant content on a regular basis and be there when they are ready, credit card in hand to make that purchase. And then when they want to read about and buy something else, you’ll be in their head and under their skin.
How to Build a Brand – the Absolute Basics
Know who your target audience is and be relatable. Genuinely help them and engage with them. Show some personality. Think about what you’re calling yourself. It doesn’t have to be keyword-specific. In fact, those days are kind of behind us and being a bit more creative and edgy can go a long way.
Be bold. Try and do something that no one else in your niche is doing. And be unique. Don’t be a copycat. Ripping off someone else’s ideas or content will get you nowhere. People won’t trust you, they won’t care about you, and they definitely won’t follow you.
At the end of the day, if people start using your brand name as a search term, Google will love it and will reward you accordingly.
The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There will never be an end to your SEO efforts. Just keep on going. SEO is an ongoing process of testing, measuring, improving and testing. And apart from the on-page and more technical aspects of SEO, one thing is very clear; SEO comes back to content. Good, unique, authoritative, trustworthy, awesome content. Simple. Right? No, not simple. Bloody hard and deep and time consuming. But necessary.
Having written this piece, it’s clear that there are so many facets to SEO and content and affiliate marketing success. Keep your eyes peeled because we’ll be doing more in-depth posts about some of the more specific areas, like how to link-build. Or how to do keyword research. And if there’s anything you would like to read about or watch us talk about, leave a comment and we’ll see what we can do.