13 Minute Read

Affiliate Marketing SEO: 9 Actionable SEO Techniques to Boost Your Search Rankings

Our full breakdown of 9 actionable SEO techniques that affiliate marketers can use to scale their organic traffic and sell more products.

Affiliate marketing is harder than the experts make it seem.

We get it: you see an ad every day on Facebook for the latest “expert” who wants to show you how to make millions of dollars in your sleep.

They’re almost as bad as the ‘90s infomercials that we’ve learned to love.

 

Man reviewing SEO for affiliate marketers

Image credit to Giphy

More importantly, they’re not realistic.

The best affiliate marketers know that building a profitable affiliate program takes time.

We’re here to make the building process a little easier through showing you how to scale your affiliate site with proven SEO strategies.

Our team pulled together the highest-impact search engine optimization techniques that we do for affiliate marketers every day (plus, we called in help from owners of a handful of successful affiliate websites).

Today, we’re going to share 9 actionable SEO techniques that affiliate marketers can use to scale their organic traffic and sell more affiliate products.

We’ll walk you through each technique and give you action steps on how to implement each tactic to drive traffic to your own site.

Article Contents:

  1. Leverage Featured Snippet and SERP Features optimizations
  2. One-up your competitor’s best content
  3. Maximize your content ROI with better keyword research
  4. Maximize existing rankings with CTR optimizations
  5. Scale visibility with inlink optimization for new articles
  6. Run readability optimizations for improved on-page performance
  7. 2x your website loading speed
  8. Revise and update your old content
  9. Scale search visibility with Quora


 

1. Leverage Featured Snippet & SERP Features Optimization

The number of Featured Snippets that appear in search results has skyrocketed (Ahrefs estimates that 12.3% of search results have Featured Snippets).

To add to that, 8.6% of clicks go to the Featured Snippet in these search results. In other words, optimizing for Featured Snippets is a huge opportunity to scale your search traffic.

So how do you optimize for Featured Snippets and other SERP features?

We use 2 different tactics:

  1. Include “Summary” paragraphs
  2. Discuss FAQs

Include “Summary” paragraphs

41.59% of Featured Snippets come from question-centric search queries. If your 2,000-word article is focused on answering 1-2 central questions, take the time to write a summary of your answer at the end of the post.

Write out the central question that you’re focused on answering as an h2 or h3 tag, followed by a 1-paragraph answer to that question.

According to a 2018 study done by SEMRush, the average Featured Snippet paragraph is 46 words, so aim to keep your response to 40-50 words to maximize your chances of having your page listed as the Featured Snippet.

FAQs

Question-centric search queries have seen a massive increase in “People also ask” (PAA) SERP features since Google began experimenting with them in 2015.

For example, searching for “what is SEO” yields the following PAA box halfway down the first page of search results.

SEO Featured Snippet

Google decided that these questions are highly-correlated with the search query “what is SEO.” If you’re working on an article that defines SEO, why not answer those questions on your blog?

Include the original question as an h2 or h3 tag, followed by a list of 40-50 word response to maximize the likelihood of capturing that SERP Feature.


2. One-Up Your Competitor’s Best Content

Sign up for a trial of SEMRush.

Type your competitor’s domain name into the search bar and navigate to the “Pages” tab.

What you’ll see is a list of the pages on your competitor’s website that drive the most monthly organic traffic back to their site.

SEMRush SEO Analysis for Affiliates

Look through these top-performing pages and evaluate them to see which would be realistic for you to outrank with a more valuable piece of content.

Look for low-quality articles – articles that:

  • lack depth (could easily be doubled in length)
  • lack actionable advice
  • lack a meaningful backlink profile

Write your own version of each of those articles with the actionable advice and depth that your target readers are looking for and watch your site steal your competitor’s top rankings.

Skeptical? See how we helped one affiliate marketer to grow 124% in 6 months using this framework.


3. Maximize Your Content ROI with Better Keyword Research

This tip comes in from Brett Helling, who runs a handful of different affiliate sites, his most recent project being the gig economy information site Gig Worker.

If you’re looking to scale your organic traffic in shorter periods of time, you’ll need to rely on keyword research before you even write anything.

Taking a strategic approach to what you’ll write will pay off in multiples once your website gains authority and starts naturally ranking for keywords.

My favorite secret to finding your next 20 blog topics in under an hour is by using Ahrefs, an incredibly powerful link building and keyword research tool. While this tool comes with a heavy monthly price tag, it’s hands down the most powerful tool I’ve gotten my hands on, and if used correctly, has the potential to make a serious impact on your blog traffic in the long run.

We use Ahrefs on a daily basis at Junto. Learn about a few more of our favorite affiliate marketing tools.

How do you define the appropriate search volume/competition to go after?

Finding the right target keywords to target for your industry depends on what you’re looking to rank, as well as the search intent behind each one.

Are you looking to grow blog traffic without a direct goal, or are you looking to find lucrative keywords that will directly impact your ROI? Regardless of your goal, this tool can help.

If you’re just trying to grow traffic, look for high volume keywords that your competitors are ranking for.

A great way to do this is to open Ahrefs and navigate to the “Organic Keywords” section. From there you can filter multiple criteria including existing keywords, new keywords, and movements of keywords for your competitors.

For example, I track my competitors very closely and have daily email alerts from Ahrefs that inform me of all the new keywords each competitor is ranking for. If I see that a competing site starts ranking for a new keyword that falls within specific criteria, I then produce a new post that targets that keyword.

The criteria that’ll work for your own keyword research depends on multiple factors, including niche size, number of competitors in your space, and the domain rating of your own site. But for reference, I usually only go after a new keyword if it has a search volume over 1,000.

From my own trial and error, I found search volumes under this don’t really move the needle in terms of traffic, but you’ll likely notice anything over that number.

Editor’s Note:

We couldn’t agree any more with Brett’s advice, especially when trying to grow a larger brand’s organic traffic.

However, smaller brands may find greater success by mixing in some long-tail keywords to help them see more immediate ROI on their content efforts while broadening their positioning as they scale.

For example, our team wrote an article about website migrations back in August 2018. Given the level of competition around “website migrations,” we decided to take a very narrow focus and target the search theme “website migration process” (~20 searches/month) until we began to see some traction for this post.

Over time, we revamped this article and broadened the search focus to target “website migration.” As of January 2019, we rank 2nd for that theme (350 searches/month).


4. Maximize Existing Rankings with CTR Optimizations

This tactic comes from our very own Darin Evangelista. He’s going to walk you through an SEO tactic that he uses for client sites on a daily basis.

If your content is ranking on the first or second page, but you’re not seeing increased page views, your title tags and meta descriptions are underperforming. If this is the case, consider CTR optimizations to increase the number of people getting to your site.

But how can you tell if your page is underperforming?

The simplest way to check is to compare your page’s click-through rate with the average CTR for search ranking.

To find a queries CTR, you can use Search Console and export the data.

Using Search Console for affiliate marketing SEO

Then look at your position and CTR compared to the industry average.

For instance, the average CTR for the 4th result is around 6% (according to AWR). If your page is ranking 4th, but you’re seeing a much lower CTR, optimizations are in order.

Internally, we use a spreadsheet with a formula that allows us to identify underperforming pages in bulk, quickly and efficiently.

Once you’ve identified underperforming pages, tweak and test your title tag and/or meta description until your CTR improves.


5. Scale Visibility with Inlink Optimization for New Articles

Just published a new article? Identify other relevant content on your site that could link back to that new article. This will distribute more search authority to this article and help to boost rankings.

So how do you find those opportunities?

Type the following into Google:

Site search with Google

(replacing “domain” with your website domain)

What you’ll see is a list of every indexed page on your site. Narrow down the search results by adding a word or phrase that relates to your new article.

Pull open 5-10 articles that appear in the narrowed search. Look through these articles for a place to include a link back to your new article.

Looking for help? Learn about our content marketing services to see if we’re the right team to help you grow.


6. Run Readability Optimizations for Improved On-Page Performance

We live in an era where attention spans are at an all-time low. Everyone is busy as hell and there are a near-limitless number of distractions surrounding us at all times.

What does that mean for marketers?

Keeping your reader’s attention is hard.

Fortunately, we’re about to share our favorite secrets for keeping your readers on the edge of their seats.

Remove friction with more digestible paragraphs

Which of these two snippets would you rather read?

affiliate marketing readability

Chances are pretty good that you said the text on the right.

Why? Because it’s way less overwhelming to see a bunch of small paragraphs than a wall of text.

The text on the right breaks each paragraph into 1-2 sentences. Most of those paragraphs are less than 50 words.

Try implementing this on your own site. Find a page on your site with a high bounce rate and low average session duration. Take a look at the content and look for opportunities to break down paragraphs.

Review bounce rate and average session duration one month later to see the impact of your efforts.

Eliminate excess wording

Quoting Sam Parr from The Hustle, “Avoid adverbs at all costs. They weaken your words.”

The same holds for trying to show off your vocabulary. Nobody cares that you know how to use “ratiocinate” in a sentence. Cut that shit out and focus on making your content easier to understand.

When in doubt, plug your copy into Hemingway to break up long sentences and simplify your word usage.

Invest in content design for maximum attentiveness

Stealing a quote from Jonathan White:

“Good design builds trust between products and users. When a product has finish and polish, it builds trust.”

The same holds for the design of your content. A well-designed website with creative imagery builds trust with your readers.

Brian Dean is the king of well-designed content. That being said, you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars on illustrations to have well-designed content.

Some of our favorite secrets for creating well-designed content:

  1. Include screenshots/video walkthroughs in step-by-step guides.
  2. Add relevant imagery throughout your articles to break up text.
  3. Work with your developer to build out a handful of shortcodes that your writing team can easily insert into future posts (WordPress users can use this plugin to save on dev costs)


7. 2x Your Website Loading Speed

Ignoring site speed is one of the biggest mistakes that we see affiliate marketers make.

Remember the point above about how bad our attention spans are? Website bounce rates increase by 50% when pages take 2 or more seconds to load.

So how many customers are you losing to a slow website?

Site speed optimization is an ongoing process. That being said, here are our two favorite secrets to 2x your site speed in under an hour.

  1. Compress image file sizes
  2. Set up browser caching

WordPress Users: download and set up TinyPNG and W3 Total Cache (NOTE: always make sure to test website functionality after setting up any new plugins to make sure that they work with your website).

Non-WordPress Users: compress all of your website images with TinyPNG, then re-upload them to your website. Next, read this step-by-step guide to setting up browser caching.


8. Revise and Update Your Old Content

This tip comes in from Alex at Wanderlust Marriage – an affiliate marketing site that specializes in writing about Europe and the Americas.

Focus on posts that already bring you some traffic. See if they can be updated and improved. This can make the post even more successful.

For example, let’s say you wrote an article on “10 Great Things to do in X”. If the details are a little sparse under each subheading, add more details and try to make the article 1,900+ words as that’s a metric that Google likes.

To add to that, focus on timeliness.

Are there any opportunities to remove outdated tips and replace them with newer suggestions? Are there any outdated statistics that you could replace with more recent one?

Maybe the article is lacking in quality outbound links –  if so consider adding some, but avoid linking to direct competition that you want the article to rank for.

Editor’s note:

We’re all about revamping old content.

One of our favorite content revamp tactics is to use an SEO tool like Clearscope to identify semantically-relevant terminology that should be included in your article.

Google’s algorithm has started to pay much closer attention to the intent behind each search and the relationship between search queries. Incorporating related terminology will help search engines to understand the contents of your article.

For example: if you’re trying to rank in Google search results for the phrase “Boston,” the best thing you can do is write a high-quality article that talks about Fenway Park, Mike’s Pastries, and other themes that are relevant to the city of Boston.

 


9. Scale Search Visibility with Quora

Looking to drive some immediate visibility to your newly published article? Repurpose your hard work to answer popular Quora questions.

Start by logging into SEMRush and plugging Quora’s website into the search bar.

Look up all keywords that Quora ranks in the top 10 positions on Google for and filter out keywords that receive <50 searches/month.

Content promotion with Quora

Export the remaining results and filter out any irrelevant queries.

You’re now looking at a list of pages that currently rank for valuable keywords that relate to your article.

Go through these questions and prioritize them based on their follower count and the number of answers.

Quora affiliate marketing promotion

Now go through the top opportunities and write a long-form response to each question, linking back to your newly published article whenever it adds value to the post.


What Are the Best Methods for Affiliate Marketers to Scale Their Search Traffic?

  1. Leverage Featured Snippet and SERP Features optimizations
  2. One-up your competitor’s best content
  3. Maximize your content ROI with better keyword research
  4. Maximize existing rankings with CTR optimizations
  5. Scale visibility with inlink optimization for new articles
  6. Run readability optimizations for improved on-page performance
  7. 2x your website loading speed
  8. Revise and update your old content
  9. Scale search visibility with Quora

So there you have it: our nine favorite methods for scaling your website traffic through digital marketing.

Did you find this helpful? Then sign up for our newsletter to hear our other tactics before your competitors do.

Did we miss anything? Tweet at us with any other suggestions on ideas to include.

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