If you’re an affiliate marketer, you need to focus on affiliate marketing SEO—plain and simple.
Affiliate marketing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is your ticket to generating recurring, high-quality traffic. It’s a lot of work, but it’s more than doable with the right guidance.
Note: If you’re yet to build your first affiliate marketing website, read: How to start affiliate marketing with no money
What is affiliate marketing SEO?
Affiliate marketing SEO is the process of optimising affiliate sites for search engine visibility.
An affiliate marketing SEO strategy involves on-page and off-page SEO practices that boost the search engine rankings of pages or posts containing affiliate links.
This allows affiliate marketers to get more eyes on their affiliate links, increasing their chances of generating more sales.
If you’re just starting your affiliate marketing journey, read our guide on how to create a website for affiliate marketing.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is the process of optimising website elements that affect your search engine rankings. This includes content, title tags, meta tags, keywords, page loading speed, internal link structure, and more.
What is off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO includes strategies that involve factors away from your own website, like backlinks, directory listings (for local SEO), and social trust signals. However, off-page SEO campaigns primarily focus on link building, which aims to obtain backlinks from authoritative domains.
How to do on-page affiliate marketing SEO
Follow the on-page SEO strategies below to boost your affiliate marketing website’s rank-worthiness:
Step 1: Conduct keyword research
Research relevant keywords that will attract the right audience—without competing against bigger brands with deeper pockets.
There are a number of tools that you can use to conduct keyword research.
Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool is a great example.
Just enter a seed keyword, choose your location, and click ‘Search.’
Keyword Magic Tool will supply hundreds of keyword ideas in different categories, like related keywords, phrase match keywords, and question-based keywords.
Each keyword idea includes crucial metrics like monthly search volume, Keyword Difficulty (KD) rating, average Cost Per Click (CPC), and so on.
Tip: Look specifically for keywords with “transactional” or “commercial” intent (Semrush can detect this relatively well). These are keywords used by people looking to buy products or services.
Identifying keyword ideas with Semrush is great for content research and strategy planning. It also provides you with a list of target keywords to insert in key elements of your content, like the title tag, subheadings, image alt text tags, and so on.
Another tool you can use for keyword research is Surfer, which comes with a Chrome extension that provides real-time keyword suggestions. The extension also provides other optimisation suggestions like a target word count, headings, image count, and more.
Step 2: Reframe your SEO content strategy
Restructure your SEO content strategy by creating “topic clusters” for higher rankings. This involves creating a pillar page about a core topic, writing posts about subtopics, and linking them all together.
Creating your pillar page
A pillar page is a comprehensive page about a broad topic that covers all (or almost all) subtopics.
The goal of a pillar page is to help users and search engines find related information fast.
For example, if you have a pillar page about freelance writing, it should mention subtopics like:
- Freelance writing marketplaces
- Freelance writing tools
- How to improve your writing skills
- Client management
But instead of covering these subtopics in detail, a pillar page only briefly mentions them while linking to other, more in-depth posts. These are called “cluster posts.”
Creating cluster posts
Start by brainstorming a list of subtopics related to your pillar page’s topic. Then, create a more comprehensive blog post for each topic.
Keyword research tools, including Surfer’s Content Planner tool, is perfect for this task.
Just enter your main topic, click ‘Create Content Planner,’ and watch as the subtopic ideas pile up.
Be sure to interlink all the posts in your topic cluster. While doing so, visualise the hierarchy of your cluster posts in relation to each other and the pillar page.
You can further increase the SEO performance of your affiliate marketing website with multiple cluster levels. Check the graphic below to understand better how topic clusters work.
Step 3: Run an SEO audit
Use Semrush or Surfer’s audit feature to check your affiliate website’s SEO health, identify issues, and reveal remediation options.
SEO audit tools are pretty straightforward. Most only need the website’s URL to begin analysis.
Surfer’s Audit tool generates more fine-tuned results by letting you enter specific target keywords.
Once the audit is completed, Surfer uncovers optimisation opportunities to improve your content’s rankings. You’ll find suggestions like missing backlinks, internal links, long-tail keyword ideas, and more.
Step 4: Optimise your website loading speed
Use GTmetrix to test your website's loading speed and get recommendations on how to improve it.
You might be surprised at how much faster your website can get with all the hidden issues affecting your website’s loading speed. GTmetrix catches them all and provides actionable information on how to address them.
If you’re optimising a new affiliate site, use performance optimisation WordPress plugins to improve your site’s speed preemptively.
- W3 Total Cache. Enable caching on users’ devices to improve loading speed when loading static website assets.
- Smush. Optimise your affiliate site’s images using lossless compression—without affecting quality.
When all else fails, consider upgrading your hosting to a performance-focused provider like 20i.
Also, implement a content tracking system to analyse how your website’s performance affects the user experience. This should be reflected via changes in user engagement metrics like bounce rate, session duration, and traffic.
Step 5: Improve the mobile experience
Most people today use their mobile devices to search the internet.
To succeed in affiliate marketing, you must ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices.
Consider the following when building your affiliate content strategy for mobile:
- Voice search keywords. What keywords does your target audience use when using voice search?
- Mobile content readability. Is your content readable and accessible on smaller displays?
- Mobile-friendliness. Does your website use responsive design to streamline the user experience on mobile?
How to do off-page affiliate marketing SEO
Off-page SEO is all about optimisation strategies outside of your website.
For businesses, this involves link building, local SEO, social media marketing, podcasting, and many more. But for affiliate marketers, off-page SEO usually boils down to link building and social media marketing.
The goal is to acquire high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources.
Step 1: Analyse your top competitor’s backlink profile
Use Semrush, Ahrefs, or SpyFu to uncover backlink opportunities. These tools will give you an idea of what kind of links your competitors have—and where they are coming from.
Once you understand your competitor's backlink profile well, you can start to build similar links for your own site.
For example, if your top competitor regularly submits guest posts to authoritative publications, create contributor accounts in the same publications. Check other aspects of their strategy, like their anchor text keywords, guest post topics, and content types.
Step 2: Outperform competitors’ content
Look at your top competitors’ best content and create even better posts.
Below are a few tactics to do this:
- Update old stats. Authoritative websites prefer linking to content with accurate and updated data. If your competitor’s content contains outdated stats, build one with the updated numbers and reach out to their backlink sources.
- Add more visuals. Visuals are catchy and help readers better grasp advanced and technical concepts. Scan your competitor’s content for missed visual opportunities and take advantage of them.
- Find inaccuracies. Top-performing competitors rarely make mistakes when citing facts. But when they do, jump on the opportunity to claim their backlinks. Create similar content with the correct information and reach out to their link sources.
- Make it more thorough. Dial up the word count, cover more subtopics, and target more keywords. This will help you outperform competitors in getting backlinks and boosting keyword rankings naturally.
- Broken links. Use broken link checkers to scan your target referring domain. If you find one with a relevant keyword as the anchor text, reach out to the website owner and encourage them to link to your post.
Step 3: Work on genuine guest posting
Search for websites that accept guest posts in your niche.
Guest posts take a lot of work, so you need to look for the most authoritative websites you can find. A surefire way to do this is to analyse your competitor’s backlink profile, which we already discussed.
Another way to find websites that accept guest posts is to use “search footprints.” These are additional terms in search queries that function as filters.
For example, if you want to search for sites that accept guest posts, here are search footprints you can use:
- “Write for us”
- “Guest post by”
- “Submit guest post”
Take note that the quotation marks are included in these footprints. These tell Google to find results with those keywords in the exact same order.
In most cases, sites that accept guest posts have clear contributor guidelines and a registration form you can use to get started. If not, compile their contact information and reach out to them individually.
Step 4: Build social signals
Establish an active social media presence to gain social signals, encompassing shares, likes, comments, follower count, and other forms of social media engagement. Although social signals don’t directly affect search engine rankings, they do affect your content’s ability to obtain backlinks.
For example, sharing content on social media helps you get on other bloggers’ radar. If you share interesting facts and statistics in your niche, they might link to your content in their next post.
Popular social media users may also share your content, bringing raw targeted traffic to your affiliate website. This can bolster important SEO metrics like page session duration, monthly organic traffic, and pages per visit.
Affiliate marketing SEO best practices
Win at affiliate marketing SEO with these best practices:
- Target keywords with commercial or transactional intent (keywords with terms like “best,” “how to buy,” “price,” etc.).
- When producing affiliate marketing content, place your focus keyword in the first sentence, headline, and subheadings.
- Publish “ego bait” content that mentions popular thought leaders in a positive light—encouraging them to share or link to it.
- Preview content both on mobile and desktop to keep the user experience consistent.
- Always include internal and external links to relevant articles.
Affiliate marketing SEO: FAQs
Is SEO good for affiliate marketing?
Successful SEO aids in the long-term profitability of any affiliate marketing business. Unlike paid channels like advertising and influencer marketing, you don’t need to reinvest the money to generate traffic and sales through SEO constantly.
What are keywords in affiliate marketing?
Keywords help optimise the discoverability of your affiliate marketing content in search engines. It also helps you gauge product demand, creates elaborate content outlines, and identify in-demand content ideas.
Are affiliate links allowed on Google?
Affiliate links are perfectly fine and won’t affect your Google search engine rankings. However, you need to disclose the presence of affiliate links as per consumer protection regulations.
Fast-track your affiliate marketing SEO efforts
Affiliate marketing SEO is an incredibly powerful tool for driving website traffic and generating leads.
But it’s too much work for a solo affiliate marketer.
To be competitive, you need extra pairs of hands for time-consuming affiliate marketing SEO tasks.
Let’s rank your websites to get more traffic, close more sales, and generate more affiliate commissions.
Learn how to supercharge your affiliate marketing SEO efforts by talking with proven content experts.
Contact me today and let’s begin.