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How To Identify Affiliate Sites


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How To Identify Affiliate Sites

One of the first things you should learn when getting started as an affiliate is how to spot other affiliates. In this lesson we show you how to spot others in action.

Affiliate marketing can be quite subtle - most people using the Internet are unaware that affiliate marketing exists, yet it’s the reason behind a lot of the content on the Internet; therefore one of the first things you should learn when getting started as an affiliate is How To Identify Affiliate Sites. Once you start to spot affiliates you'll realize exactly how pervasive affiliate marketing is, and it might just give you ideas for your own affiliate business!

Affiliates In Paid Search Listings

One of the places where affiliates are most obvious is in the paid advertisements on search engines like Bing or Google.

These affiliates will be promoting their websites through these advertisements, paying for each person who clicks on their ad.

The idea with this sort of marketing is that the money they earn in affiliate commissions is enough to pay for these advertisements, with a bit left over. However, because they have to pay for you to visit their site, you'll often find that they're a little more to the point than affiliates who don't have to pay for their traffic. (You can read more about why this might be, in our overview lesson on PPC Affiliate Marketing)

Let’s take at an example from a Google search on the phrase "learn guitar”.

Look at the search results in Google: the ads along the right hand side of the page are clearly marked "Ads", otherwise known as paid advertisements.

Depending on what you search for you might see ads in this list that have been placed by merchants themselves rather than affiliates; however, in this particular example it would appear that most of these ads have been placed by affiliates.

Telltale signs that an ad has been placed by an affiliate include any mention of reviews... there's always the favored affiliate catchphrase "Don't buy anything until you've read these reviews!"

These are very obvious affiliate ads. Another favorite affiliate hook is the mention of a “scam” – for example "Guitar lesson scams".

Nobody likes to be scammed, and everyone loves a scandal, so a lot of advertisements use this "scam" hook to get people clicking. Lets’ take a look at this ad in action

(To take your own look, go to [Link no longer available])

This site appears to be a review site built to target more than just the ‘guitar lessons’ affiliate market - however, let’s take a look at just the ‘guitar lessons’ page: at the top of the page they have a summary of the reviews, where they've given a number of affiliate products ratings out of five stars with a couple of brief points. If the visitor clicks on this link they'll be taken to the merchant site through the affiliate's affiliate link. These brief reviews at the top are a good way to grab people who are just looking for products to research and don't want to spend time reading reviews.

If you look a little further down the page you'll see the "full reviews" of the products, for example “Learn & Master Guitar”.

All the links on this page are affiliate links. An affiliate link is a link that (generally) places a cookie in the visitors browser to say to merchants “This visitor, X, came from affiliate Y’s link”. This helps the website track affiliate sales, and means that if the visitor comes back to buy at a later date the affiliate will earn a commission Affiliate links don’t harm the visitor in any way - the visitor doesn't end up paying any more for the product than if they bought directly from the merchant – in fact the affiliate actually helps the visitor to find a product they were looking for.

Affiliates In Natural Search Results

Not all affiliates choose to promote their websites through paid advertisements, however. A lot of affiliates rely on traffic that comes from normal search results in the search engines.

We call these search results "organic" search results, or "natural" search listings. You'll also hear people talking about SERPs, which is short for "search engine results pages".

For those of you who are new to these terms, the difference between natural search results and paid search results is that with the natural search results your listing is free, but you have a lot less control over how and where your website appears.

The natural search listings are the sites that the search engines deem to be most relevant to the particular search term, ranked in order of relevance. The problem for webmasters is that we never really know what the search engines are thinking; all we can do is guess and try to make our websites look as relevant as possible.

This gives rise to a whole area of Internet marketing called Search Engine Optimization, which we cover in other parts of Affilorama. But for now let’s take a look at affiliate sites that seem to be doing well in the SERPs for the term "dog obedience".

It can be a little more difficult to spot affiliates in the natural search results because they tend to be a little subtler than in the paid search results. We've got a few here which look like they could either be affiliates or merchants selling their own lessons. For example below http://www.barkbusters.ca is a merchant site, but sites like http://www.dogobedienceadvice.com or http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com could be either merchant or affiliate sites.

Reviews, free advice, and "learn the best way" are all tried and true methods affiliates employ to gain traffic, so let's have a look at the site offering “free obedience training advice”, http://dogobedienceadvice.com.

If you take a look at the front page for this site you can see that it seems to follow a fairly similar formula to the last website we looked at.- up front they have a review of their ‘Top Dog Training Guide”, and further down the page we find more reviews to other top ranked products. All links to these guides will be affiliate links.

Since this is an SEO site there must be more content here - you can see that on the left panel there is a list of articles about dog training: how to deal with jumping dogs, stopping chewing, digging and so on.

If you click on "Dealing with a whining dog" you're taken to a page with a lesson on stopping your dog from whining. And here go those recommended products again!

Let’s take a look at one more affiliate site from the natural search listings, this time from Let's find another affiliate site in the natural search listings. I'll do a search for "Pet training" in Google.

If you follow through to the first listed item you can see, down the right hand side, that they're promoting a number of pet training eBooks.

You can tell they're likely to be affiliate products because if you were to click on them you'll be taken to a completely different site; if you hover over the links you'll (sometimes) see in your status bar (at the bottom of your browser) that the link looks a little convoluted, with hop.clickbank.net in it.

That means that the product comes from ClickBank -- an affiliate network. You can also see some ads on the side that look like affiliate products too. This site doesn't seem to offer any reviews: they simply have a "recommended" column and some ads.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson you’ve learned:

A few things you can use to spot obvious affiliate sites:

  • How some affiliates are making money in a few different markets
    • Deriving traffic from paid search listings.
    • From the natural search listings.
  • Sites comparing and reviewing products are often affiliate sites
    • Sites promoting products or services they did not create are often affiliates
    • Catchphrases like Reviews" "ratings" "learn the truth!" "scams" etc, often indicate affiliate sites.

 

 

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Questions & Comments + Add a comment

Reply Jariya 680 days ago
I'm a beginner interested in affiliate marketing. First of all I need to have a website.can the same company design a website and park it. How much would be the cost for building a website? Can you tell me the procedures for parking? If we use blogger.com/Wordpress or any other blogging sites how the earning is shared between the blogger and the sponsor of the blogs? Thanks.
Melissa Johnson678 days ago
Hi, Jariya!

That's a lot of questions all at once:

For website, you need both a domain and web hosting. You can get free web hosting from sites like Blogger/WordPress, but they'll give you one of their free domains. For a more professional look, you need to buy a separate domain and link them.

The cost of building a site depends on how much you can do yourself and who you hire, so it's really hard to say. I recommend actually visiting the Affilorama forum to talk to other members about their own experiences with site building: http://www.affilorama.com/forum/

You can also check out our site-building resources here: http://www.affilorama.com/site-building

Hope that helps!
Reply Kelechi Nwachukwu648 days ago
Hi...I am a very newbie in affiliate marketing. I have a website already hosted on wordpress and Ive already started out on the home business niche. Will I be required to get another website?
Melissa Johnson646 days ago
Hi, Kelechi --

That depends on what affiliate niche you choose. if you endorse products still in the home business niche, one site should be fine. If you choose a different niche and unrelated products, you're better off creating a second site with its own branding.

Hope that helps!
Reply Demba Dibba445 days ago
I have a blog but my problem is how to link my blog ads site
Melissa Johnson443 days ago
Hi there!

I'm afraid I don't understand exactly what you're asking. However, if you need technical help, you can always reach out to our support team.

http://www.affilorama.com/support
Reply delvin forde330 days ago
I am a new bie to affiliate marketing before I found your site I already have a domain and a website am I on the right track or what else do I need to go firward?
Melissa Johnson327 days ago
You are on the right track!

Keep going through our free lessons. You can also participate in our forum and talk to others who work in affiliate marketing: http://www.affilorama.com/forum/

If you have any questions, you can always reach our support team at http://www.affilorama.com/support/
Reply Angela Sachs261 days ago
Hello I am new here. I was a member of another teaching affiliate site that offered 2 free websites for its members. I had a good start on content with my 1st site. I did learn a lot about how all that works. However, when I tested the site( not logged in) I found that my affiliate link to a related product was Not clickable. This is very upsetting, I feel mislead and lied to.
I was quickly informed that I had to become a Premium member in order to be able to ad working affiliate links to my free websites.
With that in mind, do all free websites outside of affiliate teaching groups block affiliate links? For example, if I created a web site on Webs.com for free, will affiliate links work?
Melissa Johnson260 days ago
Hi, Angela!

That is not a question I know the answer to! I've never heard of such a thing.

Your fellow affiliates over on the Affilorama forum may be able to share their own experiences with paid vs free sites and affiliate links, though. https://www.affilorama.com/forum/
Reply Abbe 230 days ago
Hi Angela,

The best way to start promoting affiliate links is to buy your own domain and hosting. Then you will have freedom to test a lot of things.

Please feel free to contact me if you need any help in this regard.

Abbe
Reply Hannah Chester179 days ago
Is this going to be updated given that Google isn't doing right-side ads anymore?
Melissa Johnson177 days ago
Hi, Hannah!

Thanks for letting us know! I'll make a note to get this updated.
Reply mary borromeo125 days ago
HI IM JUST NEW HERE IS IT SITE RIGHT FOR ME ... CAUSE I DONT HAVE WEBSITE YET BUT IN NETWORKING AND I WOULD LIKE TO PROMOTE MY PRODUCTS IS IT COSTLY TO CREATE A WEBSITE OR DO I REALLY NEED IT ... THANKS FOR YOUR ADVISE :)
Melissa Johnson124 days ago
Hi, Mary!

Building a website isn't free, but it doesn't have to be expensive either. Your basic costs will be buying a domain and hosting. You may also choose to sink some funds into web and graphic design or content creation -- but those are optional.

A website is a really important part of a good marketing strategy these days, because everyone expects businesses to have an online presence. Social media has its limitations as far as what is possible to do (and they often have restrictions on affiliate links), and email lists need a place where people can opt in. It's absolutely worth the investment.

Hope that helps!
Reply Michael Poulsen120 days ago
Hi my name is Michael and I am returning back to affiliate marketing. 6 years ago I read a lot about affilorama and even sold few items from click bank. Now I have move to denmark and I work with a designer who sells ladies bags. Is there any chance for people like me who want to promote goods like ladies bags and other products on the danish market by signing up or even getting the affilojetpack? And how often do affilorama teach its subscribers about new strategies regarding such good?
Melissa Johnson111 days ago
Hi, Michael!

AffiloJetPack does include a large variety of niches, but I believe most of them are digital projects, not retail goods. If you have questions about the specifics of AffiloJetpack, I recommend contacting our support team -- they'll be able to answer your questions! https://www.affilorama.com/support

In addition, you can always connect with our staff and other affiliate marketers working in a huge range of areas through the Affilorama forum. https://www.affilorama.com/forum/

Hope this helps!
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