Home Affiliate Marketing Blog How to Improve Your Affiliate Site’s Search Engine Visibility in 2012

How to Improve Your Affiliate Site’s Search Engine Visibility in 2012

How to Improve Your Affiliate Site’s Search Engine Visibility in 2012

There have been a lot of changes on how Google ranks pages over time. Judging from the algorithmic updates that they have continuously implemented the past several months (from Panda, Freshness, Parton and to the recent Search plus your World), it is clear that the task of being more visible in this area of marketing is getting more challenging than ever, particularly for smaller websites, like affiliate sites.  

Given that search engines are now more adept in identifying weak and irrelevant pages, it’s very vital for marketers to be more adaptive and well-versed on the best practices of SEO to keep on surviving. Google has had this love/hate relationship with affiliate marketers for almost over a decade now, but they seem to be more determined in removing this business model (but not entirely) this time. 

However, there’s always a better side of things, and the great news is that there are still so many ways for affiliate-based business websites to rise above these ordeals and stand out in search result pages. So I’ve listed below some of the most significant aspects of online marketing that could greatly impact your search marketing efforts.     

Online Branding 

Obviously, Google favors brands and sites acting like one to show up prominently on their search results, based from the trust users see in them as a credible source of information, products and/or services.

This is why building a strong brand presence as well as a unique and recognizable identity in your industry is essential these days, as it allows your online business to grow in so many ways, in terms of:

  • The natural links that you’re site will be able to acquire (knowing that it will be known as an authority in your field)
  • Those brand-driven links and signals will put traction to your domain’s ability to achieve better rankings and search engine visibility.
  • Building a strong following base and eventually loyal consumers who will trust your judgment when endorsing a product, which more often than not increases the conversions of product reviews.    
It’s conventional wisdom that the more people trust you, the more they’ll buy from you. This principle is very much applicable to the affiliate industry as well. It will be easier to promote products through affiliate links if your audience can trust you. The good news is that there are so many ways to build a brand, particularly over the web – you’ll just have to know where to strike. 

Here are some pointers when starting an organic branding campaign:
  • Invest in a visually attractive web design and catchy logo.
  • Implement content marketing strategies (which will be explained further below)
  • Build your own entity in your industry by knowing your unique selling proposition (know what will separate you from your competitors)
  • Become known by being more active in your industry’s online community (identify top people in your industry and build relationships with them)
  • Optimize your site for trust, by allowing your audience to know more about your affiliate brand, the people behind it, its mission, and its business value proposition (you’ll definitely need to create an identity for the website)
Content Marketing 

This method of marketing a website is somehow seen as the new age of link building. The great thing about content marketing is that it benefits a website in many ways, not just through acquiring high value links that can really influence rankings and overall domain authority, but it also helps develop brand awareness to a specifically targeted market and brand loyalists in due course. 

The main principle of this strategy is to get links, traffic and customers by putting out great content, consistently, content that your audience is searching for with a topic that is in demand and solves a problem within a certain industry.

Once you have that content put up together, marketing comes in. In which you’ll have to promote that great content to places that it will be of high relevance and high-utility to the linking pages’ targeted audience. 

There are many types of content that you can use to promote your affiliate business such as:
  • Comprehensive blog posts, based on extensive research
  • Creating or investing on infographics
  • Videos
  • Slide presentations
  • Offering expert content as a guest blogs on other high authority blogs in your niche
  • Free ebooks
  • Expert interviews or crowdsourcing
Don’t forget to use your target keywords when creating content, especially in title tags, as when people start linking to your content, people will more likely use the title as anchor texts when linking back to it. 

The strategy doesn’t just stop on creating high value content, as the key to a successful content marketing campaign depends on how you market your content. You can leverage content through various channels such as Social media and SEO/link building. You can use this linker outreach method to start with when reaching out to linkers that have high probability of sharing or linking to your content. 

It’s always important to have a high quality content when you’re reaching out to other webmasters/bloggers/industry linkers, as the link-worthiness of your content enhances the approval rate of your requests.  

You can also promote your content through relevant forum threads (or forum marketing), as most people there are seeking for information. Use your content as a resource when contributing on industry forums.

Build Relationships 

In any industry, building relationships has proven to be effective as a marketing strategy, and this works well when applied as an SEO strategy. Why? Because this method can simply give you lots of scalable opportunities for link building and lead referrals. 

This method requires a lot of effort, but can certainly bring long-term results. The processes that it involves are not that advanced and will mostly rely on your social engineering skills. 

To start off, it’s best to first identify your link targets, probably the ones that your business will benefit a lot if you have massive brand impressions and links from their site (sites or blogs that are highly relevant to yours, have high-traffic and provides high value content as well). 

Engaging them will be the most part of this strategy, wherein your activities will revolve around online interactions. Here are some of the most common approaches to this method:
  • Following your link targets’ blogs regularly and engaging them through giving solid contributions via blog comments.
  • Sending emails to them, where you can discuss industry-related topics, suggest topics for their blog postings or pitch a guest blog post.
  • Sharing their content on social networks, like Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+, and building conversations with them along the process. 
Once you have established a good connection with them, it will be easier to request social shares or links from them, though sometimes they might just do it on their own, especially if they can notice that you are also providing great content on your end. Perhaps, the strongest form of endorsement that anyone can get are from your peers, so start building relationships around your business, because it’s one of the most powerful tools in online marketing.

So how does this improve your search engine visibility, besides the links? If you’re friends with influencers in your industry (especially on Google+), you’ll have higher chances of showing up on your target market’s search engine result pages for queries related to your website, as Google has recently released Search plus your World, a version of search (for logged in users) that merges social and personal search results.   

Google+ Page Optimization

Google’s search results have been pushing a lot of pages from Google+ since they have rolled out Search plus your World, for users who are logged in on their Google accounts, which means the search that most of us have been accustomed to have met its end, as users are now finally seeing different search results based from their own activity as well as the content that their connections are sharing over Google+.

Creating a Google+ strategy is imperative to improve the chances of getting free traffic from both the social network itself and their search engine. And the most apparent foundation of this strategy is through building your authority in Google+. This means growing your following base in their social platform, and proving that you’re an authority through your account’s activity.

I recently wrote an extensive guide on how to build a brand/site’s influence on Google+, and here are some of them:
  • Use the authorship markup (rel=”author”) on your site that reciprocates with your Google+ profile. I have a post last year here that includes steps on how to implement authorship markups on websites, and you can check it out on this post.  
  • Having the authorship markup on your site increases your authority, to both search engine and users’ perspectives, as this markup allows your profile image to show up in Google’s search results, especially if you have built your authority on Google+. This can increase trust and improve your site’s SERP click-through rate, assuming that people will more likely click your listings since it looks more trustworthy. 
  • Install the Google +1 button on your site and make it very visible for your visitors, as the more you can get +1s from your readers, the more positive signals it sends to Google – hinting them that your content is being voted to be a valuable resource by their users.
  • Optimize your Google+ brand/profile page, by simply completing all the necessary details on your profile and making use of your keywords on your introduction and/or tagline (this helps search engines know what your brand is all about). 
  • Increase the amount of people having your Google+ page on their circles. There are many ways to do this such as promoting your Google+ page through the content you’ll continuously produce, by building conversations within the social platform, and by sharing other people’s compelling work on Google+.
  • Your activity within the social network can also improve your authority, as the interactions that people are having with your brand/profile page (re-sharing your content, mentioning your page, and voting your shared content) can be the metrics that Google might use to determine your influence.
User Experience Optimization 

Google’s search algorithms heavily rely on usage data or on how users behave on the websites they are visiting. When people find your website useful and relevant, they stay longer and the explore more of your pages, and that’s definitely a positive signal for search engines when rankings pages from their indices.

Studying your traffic’s behavior once they are on your site is extremely important nowadays, though completely basing your analysis through plain metrics such as your site or pages’ bounce rates, average time on site, average pageviews per visit, and visitor loyalty can be misleading sometimes. 

It’s best that you test your important landing pages (particularly your money pages, or pages that are getting high conversions) on a real user’s standpoint, by checking elements on your site physically. Say if you’re a new visitor to your own site, would you really read its content, or would you actually buy from it. These things are essential, as this method can reduce the traffic that can be wasted (visitors that bounces off because they probably didn’t like what they see or it wasn’t relevant to what they are looking for at all).

There are many ways to do this method, but here are some of the most important ones:
  • Make sure that your important landing pages – particularly pages that are getting good traffic from search engines – are actually relevant to the search terms that they are ranking for. Rooting for irrelevant keywords will only skyrocket your bounce rates, and low user-activity, which can affect your site’s ability to rank its pages. 
  • Improve your site’s navigation scheme, and make sure that your new visitors will not be confused of where to go next once they are on your site. Leading them to where you want to be is a good way to convert your visitors into sales, so put emphasis on those important pages (making them as destination page for your call to action)
  • Optimize your site for speed, since Google is also using this as a ranking factor. The likelihood of staying longer in your site is greater, when your users can easily and quickly access your pages.
  • Remove disruptive elements in your site such as too many advertisements and irrelevant links on the sidebars.
  • Making certain of quality experience for users when it comes to the content, in terms of grammar, readability and/or reading level of content. You can also test what your site looks like on different platforms, browsers, mobile devices and screen resolutions to ensure that all sort of traffic will have the best experience in your website. 
If you have questions related to search engine optimization, feel free to ask us on Affilorama’s Google+ page.



25 Comments Add your comment
  • Reply matt Nunn2408 days ago

    great info here thanks for sharing

  • Reply Gordon Youd2407 days ago

    Since I created my site I have only had 30 views over 1.5 months.
    It is purely an information site. I don't think search engines like me.

    Dario • 2402 days ago

    1.5 months is really just the beginning. The web is becoming quite competitive, although it also depends on your field. If you're writing on health or tourism it's obviously harder than say ancient chinese poems. Good market & keyword research is important prior to starting anything.

    Then again, 1.5 month is really just the beginning. But you can expect to go to 100 in another 1.5 months if you do things well :)

  • Reply udsexpert • 2407 days ago

    As someone who is constantly learning and changing as SEO work requires, this article offers some great "sink your teeth in" advice. Thank you I am going to proceed right away with some of the ideas that I have not be using.

  • Reply criminal justice career2407 days ago

    It is true, it is getting harder to rank sites.

  • Reply Robert • 2407 days ago

    Jason,

    Thanks for sharing such useful and valuable information, you could easily have made an ebook and charged for this! But, it's nice to see you guys at Affilorama adding lots of value for free.

    Robert

  • Reply Search Ranking Pro • 2407 days ago

    Great article, Jason!

    It's ironic that branding is something that I have only recently been focusing most of my attention and resources on with many of my Affiliate sites, and POW, I get an e-mail with a link to your article. Awesome advice all around! Thank you!

    Best,

    Manny - Search Ranking Pro

  • Reply Stephen • 2407 days ago

    Hey Jason,

    Great article. I followed your instructions for Google +1 with the Author information but still can't get it to validate. Who can I ask to have a look at my site?

    Samuel Frost2403 days ago

    If you provide me with the details I can take a look at your site for you if you want?

  • Reply Ronald Mitchell • 2407 days ago

    I have been very impressed by Affilorama! The information available has been very helpful in my wesite development. Thank you Affilorama!

  • Reply Marlon Acosta2407 days ago

    Thank you for your great tips in this post. It definitely have given me some great ideas of the things I need to implimenting more consistenly.

  • Reply Marlon Acosta2407 days ago

    Awesome post with some great tips for getting exposure to your brand and building trust. Thank you

  • Reply Party Rentals Northwest Indiana2407 days ago

    Very informative. Keeping up with Google is a matter of life and death when you are a small local business owner. Great job!!

  • Reply Rachel • 2407 days ago

    This truly is great insight, thanks for the post. I am concerned however about new pages and websites that I want to rank quickly (especially when going after new keywords) Do you think making a new G-mail and online identity (or a new google+ account for that matter) is even worth it, or should I create a major business brand, and link all of my new affiliate sites to my major business brand homepage?

    Samuel Frost2403 days ago

    Building up a brand identity is always a good idea, but if you have lots of sites in unrelated niches then I would probably suggest that you don't try and link them all in under the same Google profile.

  • Reply Mengatasi Rambut Rontok • 2407 days ago

    Just learned about related author can be appeared on goog search. On the wordpress point of view, where can I find this plug in?

  • Reply Gul Memon2407 days ago

    Thanks for sharing nice info i really like it..

  • Reply Orestes Adan2407 days ago

    Hi!

    I just wanna say thank you so so much for sharing this incredible
    information and hope to learn a lot more from you search engine
    optimization.

    Blessings!
    Orestes

  • Reply 2406 days ago

    Nice update and the tips will make a great checklist to me on track.

    Thanks Chris

  • Reply Ray Burton2405 days ago

    Great content about content. It's great to see you illustrating what you're saying. Well done.

    I'd love to see an article on Google Places. Especially for those of us in New Zealand and where and how to get citations.

    Thanks
    Ray

  • Reply Ayush Gupta • 2405 days ago

    Thanks for sharing SEO tips

  • Reply vidya | Jobs • 2404 days ago

    yes its true.. and your all tips are nice

  • Reply Ross Barefoot2404 days ago

    Well laid out post. Google's priority has shifted dramatically toward Google+, but is the "plus your World" strategy creating happier searchers? Maybe it is, but are there any early metrics on this?

    Samuel Frost2403 days ago

    My opinion is that the Google + system of searching (plus the continued 'personalization' of search results by Google) is actually negatively impacting the quality of search results for the average user.

    Most of the time we want to find what WE want to find, not what Google thinks we want.

  • Reply Dan Reed • 2404 days ago

    Lots of information to digest here, Jason, well written and of course, excellent advice. I have been trying to "brand" myself and when I learned to use the authorship markup, it added to my brand. I have had a G+ account almost since they started it and I am constantly getting new "friends" there, as well as more traffic to my site. Thanks.

  • Reply Tim B • 2404 days ago

    Thanks for the updated tips to keep up in the search results!

  • Reply Bright • 2401 days ago

    You nailed it. It is becoming harder to get ranked on Google. Branding is becoming more important by the day.

  • Reply Rocko • 2384 days ago

    Thank you for sharing it really helped me a lot. I makes you realize that your website is never finished. You have to evolve along with the search engines and social media I believe.

  • Reply Barry Desautels2380 days ago

    A large amount of information and lots for us newbies to
    digest. You put a some serious work into your submission.
    Thanks for that.
    And I'm very grateful to Affilorama for the constant
    supply of content. Its a big help.

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