Guest post by John Lamerton…
Affiliate marketing refers to internet based marketing, where a business offers rewards for others directing traffic to their website. This may take a number of different forms, including the omnipresent advertising banner, text links and, in the case of less scrupulous advertisers, spam and adware. The vast majority of affiliate marketing is legitimate and can be extremely lucrative.
Affiliate marketing can also be very successful for the merchants themselves. Indeed the industry is increasingly taking the place of conventional online and offline marketing. Greatly improving a brand`s visibility, offering a reasonable and stable price for marketing, affiliate marketing is relatively easy to establish and appropriate for companies of all sizes.
Search engine optimisation – or SEO – has become a considerable industry in itself, and is the subject of much discussion. There are various techniques available which may maximise a website`s chances of appearing in search engine results, and ensure that those directed to the site are of a good quality. The golden rule is that in the world of SEO content is king. Without a considerable quantity of good quality and relevant content a website can only progress so far. In terms of the structure of this content, the most obvious place to start is in giving consideration to the titles used. Titles should contain important keywords, as they feature highest in search engine results. Use a description of the service being offered, rather than a simple name, otherwise there is a risk of losing traffic.
The body of texts should again focus on important keywords and phrases, ensuring the most likely variations of words or phrases are given hearing. Content should be relatively accessible, with no unnecessary jargon, simple ideas expressed simply, in short sentences and paragraphs. Subheadings often work well, but steer clear of lists where possible. Account for potential spelling mistakes, and use metatags – the code as `seen` by the search engine robots – to its fullest effect to better explain the content and focus of the page in question to the search engines. Also ensure that target phrases are emphasised in bold or strong tags a couple of times and that keyword density for each phrase is around 2-4%. Keep the spread of target phrases on any given page to a clear and narrow focus. Also ensure that you use the heading tags H1 and H2 and that your content is a minimum of 300 words in length – ideally between 500 and 1000 words or so per page.
Links on a website tend to improve rankings, as do links from other websites. In an ideal world these sites should themselves have good rankings with Google, so don`t be afraid to contact relevant sites in order to exchange links. Ideally offer third parties something of value in return for a link and try to link out from and gain links in from content pages rather than links pages or directories as the latter seem to be carrying less and less weight. Most importantly, ensure that your link partners are relevant for your audience and that they are linking to you using your preferred anchor text (search term).
Choose the style of affiliate marketing which is best suited, and don`t assume banner ads will work best. Banners are no longer as effective as they were, and the focus has tended to shift to content, as people increasingly search for quality writing as opposed to garish flashing banners.
Also research the options regarding Pay Per Click (PPC) and other affiliate marketing models, as their suitability varies between industries. With a little investment of time in finding the right affiliates and model for each particular case, affiliate marketing and extending into the world of content affiliates can work for many a business.