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Affiliate marketers have been tasked with promoting and selling a product in exchange for a commission following a successful transaction. While both the brand and the affiliate marketer benefit, the affiliate marketer is the one that has to work to increase the product visibility for potential customers. The strategies used to accomplish this have been in a constant state of evolution ever since the creation of affiliate marketing; the newest evolution follows the same principles as SEO marketers.

Being an affiliate marketer is all about finding a product market that has high traffic and low competition. After finding a market, the marketer advertises similar products on their digital properties. This is where the link between SEO and affiliate marketing becomes clear; both methods use keyword optimization methods. Although the relationship between SEO and affiliate marketing is clear, can both methods be combined in order to deliver better results?

The Answer Is Yes

As Robert Glazer, the founder and Managing Director of Acceleration Partners, recently stated in a post on MultiChannel Merchant:

“To be clear, affiliate marketing won’t improve the SEO of your site per se; all affiliate links back to your site should be no follow. But it will exponentially increase the amount of content your brand is creating, expanding your organic reach to include all of these affiliate sites. Searchers can now find content about you on affiliate sites for keywords that your own site might not rank as well for. And because this content is all relevant and accurate, it helps drive visitors through to a conversion on your own site.”

SEO and affiliate marketing require content and resources in order to achieve marketing and sales goals. The overlapping requirements of both methods show that an improved outcome can be achieved.

How Do You Get Started?

As mentioned above, affiliate marketing requires finding a product market with demand but not competition. The only way to find these niche opportunities is by conducting thorough market research.

Step 1: Find Your Niche Market

Finding a niche can be one of the more difficult steps. It is important that you choose something that is both profitable and that you are interested in. Deciding on a niche market that you have no interest in can result in you burning out quickly, resulting in no profit.

If you are struggling to think of a good niche, viperchill.com has a good list of profitable SEO niches. Some of the niches included on this list are:

  • Tiny Houses
  • Car shipping
  • Security Systems
  • Kid’s Party Ideas
  • Laserless Tattoo Removal

Determining whether or not an opportunity exists can be difficult, so let’s do a step-by-step walk-through. Does an opportunity exist for charcoal face masks in Australia?

Step 2: Find Keywords For Your Niche Market

If you enjoy data analysis, you are going to love this step. Step 2 involves identifying trends and using creativity to translate those trends into keywords.

In order to find trends, you will need to identify which keywords are being searched for. My favorite search analytics tool is SEMrush. SEMrush is easy to use and, when combined with its keyword analytics feature, can provide you access to some of the best search data available.

SEMRUSH

Another good option is Google Keyword Planner. The data provided by Google Keyword Planner is similar to that of SEMrush, except that it allows you to see the historical trend of the keyword.

The three criteria that you need to pay the most attention to are:

  • Search Volume
  • Trend Curve
  • Commercial Intent

Search Volume

Search volume is the number of times that a keyword is searched for. Pick a threshold for your search volume (at least 2,000) and make sure that the keyword you chose is over that amount. High levels of search volume are directly correlated with increased traffic volume to your website.

Trend Curve

The trend curve is a great indicator of what you can expect in the future. By analyzing the curve, you can identify if the usage is rising or falling. It is generally recommended to avoid using keywords that are falling in popularity.

Commercial Intent

Does the keyword hold value? This can be determined by examining the cost per click and the competitive score. Keywords that have a higher cost per click and competitive score have a higher commercial intent.

Step 3: Determine the Competition Levels

Congratulations on finding a good keyword! The next step is figuring out how competitive the market is and the easiest way to do this is by conducting a search engine results page (SERP) analysis.

In order to do this, all you have to do is go to Google Search and type in your keyword. The SERP will allow you to identify the other websites that show up when your keyword is searched, including paid searches. These websites are your competition.

This is who I would be competing with for my charcoal face masks:

SERP results

 

Here are the observations that can be made from this page:

  • Do the listings represent the intent of the keyword?
  • Are the sites listed international or domestic for the keyword?
  • What are some other forms of content that are required for building a good brand?
  • Are there any recent news stories or events that influenced the search trends?

In our charcoal face mask example, we can see that:

  • Most of the listings shown are editorials and reviews about whether charcoal face masks work.
  • Most of the listings are for international websites. There are only 3 AU sites listed.
  • Some examples of things that can improve the brand are Beauty Do-It-Yourself videos, social media accounts, and other content producers.
  • There are a few trending articles that provide instructions for charcoal face masks or that talk about the risks associated with these masks.

Step 4: Use Affiliate Marketing Networks to Scope Out the Market

Affiliate marketing companies allow you to see if you can monetize your niche through affiliate offers.

These networks will allow you to see the affiliate programs that are being offered after you register. The networks will show you the available products and services, but not who is participating in the campaign. A list of the participants can still be accessed by using the search operator “{product name} inurl:program”. Simply enter the product name and program name before searching.

In our example, our charcoal face mask returned only one affiliate marketing program. The program was being offered by Ground Up Skinco at a rate of 15% for every new customer we refer.

affiliate program

 

Step 5: Forecasting

The goal of any business is to make money. The only way to tell if you are going to make money is by doing a forecast. Your goal during this step is to determine the opportunity cost of your chosen niche. Your opportunity cost can be calculated by determining the keyword value and removing the direct and indirect costs. The experts recommend using this equation to determine the keyword value:

Monthly Search Volume x Average CPC = Value Per Month

To do this, you need the information collected in step 2. After retrieving that information, simply fill in the equation. The value per month for “charcoal face mask” would be 2,900 x 1.1 = $3,100. The next step is to remove your direct and indirect costs. It can be hard to determine what this number will be and it will vary greatly from person to person. We determined our total costs to be $2,400.

$3,100 – $2,400= $700

According to our calculation, we stand to gain $700 each month by pursuing this product. Keep in mind that we only used one keyword for our calculation. We also looked at our situation optimistically. It may be difficult to achieve profitability early on if you currently have no presence in the market.

Step 6: Decide If Pursuing Your Project Is The Best Option

You now have access to all of the information needed to decide if your project has the potential to be profitable. Review your keyword value, your competition, and your forecast before coming to a decision.

Based on that information, what is your decision? Is your niche profitable and sustainable or is it a trend that will soon flop?

Step 7: Use SEO Tactics To Drive Traffic To Your Website

If you decided to launch your project, the first hurdle awaits. How do you drive traffic to your website? As mentioned earlier, the best method is through search engine optimization. Follow these tips to increase your page ranking on search engines:

  • Publish Good Content
  • Publish Content Frequently
  • Focus On Your Keywords
  • Link To Other Websites
  • Link To Your Own Website

By using the approach that is highlighted throughout this post, you can legitimize your affiliate marketing campaign. By creating a product that offers valuable content and gives consumers a voice, you can successfully build a network of affiliate sites that not only survive the search engine algorithms but also thrive in them.

What’s your experience in synchronizing SEO & affiliate marketing efforts? Comment below.

Bio: Zane McIntyre CEO and Co-founder of Commission Factory and Australian affiliate marketing veteran with 12+ years experience in affiliate marketing.

Andrew Raso
General Manager & Co Founder
Andrew is the General Manager of the Online Marketing Gurus and heads up our SEO, SEM and Account Management department to drive excellence for OMG. Andrew has been featured on Skynews, Deloitte Fast 50, BRW Fast 100 and the Telstra Business Awards.