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Australia is ripe for an explosion in affiliate marketing. The growth of the National Broadband Network provides millions of Australian with high-speed internet that facilitates online commerce, and online retail spending has been increasing year-over-year.

Affiliate Marketing in Australia: Does It Clash With SEO?

Australia is ripe for an explosion in affiliate marketing. The growth of the National Broadband Network provides millions of Australian with high-speed internet that facilitates online commerce, and online retail spending has been increasing year-over-year.

But as affiliate marketing starts to gain a foothold in the country, the question often arises: Can it coexist with traditional SEO strategies?

Once you realise that marketers who rely on SEO strategies are trying to accomplish the same goals as affiliate marketers, the possibility of synergy between them becomes clearer. After all, both affiliate and SEO marketers are doing the same things: They’re driving traffic to sites by working with data regarding customer preferences, search engine algorithms, and the continuing push-pull issues associated with supply and demand in any marketplace. 

SEO and affiliate marketers often blame each other for drops in Google ranking or loss of market share. Let’s take a look at the actual situation.

SEO vs. Affiliate Marketing: The Perceived Clash

Affiliate marketers focus on backlinks and use of influencers to help lead to conversions. They also rely on their understanding of traffic sources to drive conversions. They keep fiddling with their content to attract consumers and traffic.

SEO marketers are aiming at the same goal — traffic and conversions — but with the presupposition that higher search rankings are what drive both. As a result, they also keep juggling their content, but instead of focusing on backlinks and other affiliate strategies, they constantly revise their long-tail keywords to get Google’s notice and rise in search rankings.

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Which strategy is better? An honest assessment has to admit that both have advantages, both approaches also have flaws. Proponents of both affiliate and SEO marketing have to admit that their strategies don’t always work as planned. Affiliate relationship that seem perfect on paper can result in disappointing conversion numbers. In the same way, stellar search ranking numbers can remain just that: numbers only, with no corresponding uptick in conversions.

So what’s the solution? Is there a third way? For many businesses, there is an answer: The identification of profitable niches combined with the use of both SEO and affiliate marketing tactics to draw in consumers.

The Best of Both Worlds: Identifying Profitable Niches

Focusing on a niche market is an old idea that’s always new as technology changes, and it’s always useful. All the way back to Gutenberg churning out books for the niche market of those who could read up to today’s YouTube star unboxing toys for fun and profit, the niche market is a concept that calls to everyone publishing unique content.

When you identify the needs of a specific audience, you’re able to market to that audience through SEO tactics, affiliate strategies, and other methods. By understanding that audience very specifically, you can dig deep to know exactly what products and services meet their needs — and what marketing tactics cause them to click the “Buy” button.

As an added bonus, niche audiences are profoundly loyal. They become repeat customers readily, as long as you keep meeting their needs.

Let’s look at the best ways to identify profitable niches.

Find the Right Niche

Some niches are just more generous than others. If you’re in the fashion industry, even on the fringes of it, you’ve got an ideal marketplace, filled with consumers who are always ready to spend money on the latest trend and whose passions are tied up with the concept of always having something new. Because of this, lots of affiliate marketing involves fashion in some form.

But not every niche consumer is as free with their money. So how do you find a niche that isn’t overcrowded (as is rapidly happening with the fashion niche in Australia) and that appeals to consumers ready to spend money to solve problems in their lives.

Analytics tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush’s Keyword Analytics are vital to help crack this question. That’s a type of tool that’s all too familiar to SEO proponents, but one which affiliate marketers may be less comfortable with. Analytical tools are crucial, however, to all types of marketers. The data you gain from them will be helpful no matter which type of marketing tactics you prefer.

Look at the keyword searches related to the niches you’re considering. Investigate the stability of the search terms and keywords. Run some numbers regarding the number of competitors in that marketplace. Research how much the niche audience must make purchases to satisfy their needs.

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Use whatever tools you need to get the answers, and determine what level of searches you need to generate in order to drive the traffic you need to get the conversions you want.

In addition, factor in the element of time. While the numbers on the niche audience of Harry Potter fans, for instance, are impressive, those numbers peaked half a dozen years ago. The numbers of Star Wars fans, in contrast, continues to grow as the franchise continues to churn out new content, driving the consumer market for products related to that content.

Once you have a sense for the value of the various niche markets you’re considering, you can start to incorporate the appropriate affiliate and SEO marketing techniques.

Put the User First

You can find niche audiences by identifying people’s passions and looking for the communities that have gathered around those passions.

When you start your list of niche audiences, it may be surprisingly broad. Fans of the Sydney Roosters. Beer connoisseurs. Surfers. Filmmakers working with micro-budgets. Yacht race enthusiasts. Ford Ranger owners. First Peoples supporters. Women who use charcoal face masks. Collectors of barbecue sauce recipes.

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You get the concept. Once you’ve found some interesting niches, it’s not difficult to narrow down your choices. What are the niches that intersect with your own passions or experience?

Next, dig deep into the narrowed-down list of world’s you’ve chosen to explore. Think about the people within each of your chosen niches. What problems do they face? How do they solve those problems? What do they fear? What do they do to deal with those fears? What makes them happy?

And the ultimate question: What are they willing to spend money on?

Choosing Affiliate and SEO Marketing Strategies to Boost Niche Marketing

Affiliate and SEO marketers may choose different approaches and tactics, but they both rely on content to drive consumers to their sites. That means both require content that appeals to those consumers — content that makes people click through and make purchases.

Once you’ve identified a profitable niche, both SEO and affiliate marketing tactics become valuable. Let’s look at some tactics that allow the synergy between SEO and affiliate marketing to work in your favour.

  • Localisation and unique content. Marketing campaigns can’t be exported from one culture to another without making an effort to localise them and make them specific — something that’s particularly true in Australia, where spelling and slang don’t necessarily carry over from other Anglophone countries. Go a step beyond localising by creating truly unique content that’s aimed directly at your chosen niche audience. This audience always wants more content (and more products) related to their passions. When you create that kind of content, you don’t need to keyword-stuff, as traffic is drawn to your site organically.
  • Keywords. And speaking of keywords — Keyword stuffing is a big no-no when you’re dealing with a niche audience. Your potential customers know their niche very well, and they’ll be turned off if you try to trick them into clicking through. Instead, research keywords deeply (something you already started when choosing a profitable niche), then keep tracking them to make the most attractive choices.
  • Comments, Surveys and Other User-Generated Content. Here’s a tactic that SEO aficionados can adopt from the affiliate marketers. User-generated content is an ideal choice for niche marketing, because you’re already dealing with a focused group of people who want to communicate about their shared passion. Add to the power of user-generated content by tying your site into all your social media and compounding the give-and-take between your brand and your customers. Start a blog, and give your consumers opportunities to contribute to it, and run surveys on your site to gather data and let customers be heard.
  • Backlinks. Here’s another strong tactic from performance marketing that translates well to niche marketing. Once you’ve chosen a profitable niche, you’re not limited to the linkbacks that build naturally through affiliate marketing. Now you can create original content that solves your customer’s’ needs, content that they want to link to naturally. When that occurs, you get user-based signals that naturally add to your SEO and make Google sit up and take notice.

The key to synergy between SEO and affiliate marketing lies in finding that profitable niche. When you start there, you open the door to using both types of marketing techniques to drive traffic to your site.

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.