Affiliate marketing and SEO have evolved a lot in the past years. If you want to get started with it now, you’ll need to spend a lot of time researching keywords, optimizing your site, tweaking your campaigns, and reaching out for backlinks.
And if you want to stay competitive after every Google update, you need to provide real value to your audience.
So how do you go about it?
Let’s take it step by step.
Identifying A Good Affiliate Program
If you want to maximize your affiliate marketing profits in 2021, you need to pay close attention to the products you try, and choose to promote. Finding the right affiliate marketing program to hop on is one of the most important things you do. It will have a direct impact on your revenue.
If you want to research affiliate programs to partner with, make sure you check these criteria:
- How good their product actually is. We strongly advise you to only recommend products that you’ve actually used yourself. This can help you make the right recommendations, and earn the trust of your audience easier.
- How good their sales department is. Browse their website, and try to get a feel for how well they can market and sell the products you want to recommend. Good copy and a well-optimized funnel are always strong indicators that this company knows how to sell.
- What their commission rates are. After you know that commission rate, compare it to the market average.
- What their average order size is. This can help you calculate possible revenue and make financial projections for your business.
- What their cookie duration is. Anything above 30 days is golden, but you can make it work with less.
If you don’t want to do all of this research on your own, you can check our list of the best affiliate programs for beginners. If you browse our site, you’ll also find lists of the best affiliate marketing programs based on niche.
Lastly, you should also research what other affiliate programs your competition is using. In particular, look at how the technical part of it is set-up. You’re looking for clean links, fast loading times for landing pages, and no elements that can dissuade users (like huge pop-ups as soon as your audience lands on an affiliate’s website).
You might have to do some digging to find the right affiliate program for your site. But the grind is worth it. Remember that affiliates are not just nameless bank accounts that monetize your site. If you collaborate with the right companies, affiliates can become trusted business partners for years to come.
Targeting Low Competition Keywords
The next trick to make money with affiliate marketing in 2021 is to target keywords that have very little competition on the SERP. If you try to rank for extremely competitive keywords before making your first money with the site, you’re going to struggle a bit.
But how can you find these keywords?
We like to use Ahrefs for all of our keyword research needs. They’re a bit more expensive than the competition, but they have the largest web crawler after Google, so we think the money’s worth it.
In Ahrefs, go to the Keyword Explorer:
And type in your niche, or products you’d want to promote:
Keep an open mind here. If you have a website about sneakers, you’re not just limited to “best sneakers” or “best sneakers for basketball” as commercial keywords. Think about the things people use your products for, and expand your seed keywords with that.
The VPN niche is good at this. Besides VPN reviews, and articles about how to stay safe on the internet, they have tutorials on how to watch different shows with a VPN, how to use software with a VPN, and a ton of other both informative and commercial topics.
After you have a number of seed keywords, choose the region you want to target, and press search.
From the list of keyword suggestions, check the volume, and KD (Keyword Difficulty) of each entry:
Anything with a KD below 20 is achievable for most sites, provided the content is good, and there is some link building campaign for it.
You can even filter the results to only show high-volume, low-competition keywords, from the search filters:
This is how you find low competition keywords in Ahrefs, and the process is very similar in most keyword research tools. Identifying these SEO gems lets you make an entry in your market boosting your traffic, and revenue in turn.
Finding Long Tail Keywords
If you’re just starting out in the tech niche, you probably won’t be able to land on the 1st page for “best laptop” or “best headset”. The competition for shorter keywords or parent topics is usually much bigger than that for longer keywords. That’s simply because more people Google shorter words.
So your best bet is to target long-tail keywords, like “best laptop for gaming under 1000$” or “best phone for construction workers”. While the tech niche is usually competitive at all levels, long-tail keywords usually have a smaller volume, and a smaller KD rating.
How can you find them?
Well, if you filter keyword suggestions on Ahrefs to have a good KD-volume ratio, you’re bound to find longer tail keywords. You can also toggle search modifiers that might reveal longer tail keywords, or look for related keywords to uncover long-tail options.
And you can simply use your intuition. If you know your niche, it’s easy to make educated guesses about what longer keywords your audience might be using. Just plug that into Ahrefs, and see what comes up.
Optimize Your Site
If you use affiliate marketing to monetize your site, your partners are in charge of sales, support, and distribution. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do more to sell a product to your audience.
Analyze the performance of your CTAs (Calls To Action – buttons, recommendations, pop-ups) with tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar. You can use the same tools to create funnels for your site, and see where people drop off.
This can be a great way to improve your profits from affiliate marketing.
Another important thing to optimize is your site’s technical layout. Improve page loading times with tools like GTMetrix, add multimedia content to your posts, work on your UX, and formulate strong branding.
Making money with affiliate marketing in 2021 is still very much a viable business practice for authority sites that want to boost their income. If you:
- Identify good affiliate programs
- Target low competition keywords
- Find long-tail keywords
- Optimize your site
You can increase your revenue and reach a new level in monetizing your site.