It is easy to come up with ideas on how to generate organic, free traffic via affiliate links. SEO (Search Engine Optimization), however, is the heart of any digital marketing strategy. Many marketers consider SEO much more effective at generating organic traffic and increasing sales than pay per click (PPC) advertising. Even with well-written PPC ads, a large percentage of potential customers stop before reaching the buy button. The high demand for high-quality SEO services has led to the creation of thousands if not millions of SEO affiliate programs around the world.
Affiliate marketing has its roots in the early Internet days when web sites would host free blogs in exchange for banner ads. The ads could link back to the web site owner’s affiliate account. When a visitor clicked on one of these ads, the web site owner would place his or her name in an affiliate link located on the affiliate ads. Since webmasters relied on donations from friends and family or other means of monetizing their web sites, this transaction became the precursor of affiliate links.
Since most web sites require at least a modicum of content in order to publish them in the first place, the popularity of affiliate links has blossomed as advertisers realize that it is cheaper to pay affiliates directly for posting their ads rather than paying a webmaster to publish the site. This method of monetizing a website has lead to the rise of literally hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs currently on the Internet. While many of these programs are not illegitimate, others may be using unethical techniques to scam web site owners who are unaware of the different affiliate program rules and regulations.
A good starting point when learning how-to make money with affiliate links SEO is to educate oneself about what constitutes an ethical affiliate link program. There are some basic guidelines that every affiliate program will follow, such as not allowing one affiliate link on a web page to serve two purposes. It is also important to make sure that any ad copy is uniform with similar colors, sizes, and format. Many affiliate links use text-based advertising such as banners, buttons, and images. To ensure a well-designed web site, it is recommended that a webmaster do not use any of these tools except for graphics, if he or she chooses.
Some affiliate link schemes go so far as to allow webmasters to have more than one affiliate link displayed on their pages. These types of advertising are considered a “double-play” because the revenue generated by the ads can also be offset against the cost of generating another, different, affiliate link. These types of double-play arrangements can result in unexpected and undesirable revenues for the webmaster, so they should be examined closely before signing on the dotted line.
The most effective way to avoid the appearance of unethical behavior when promoting affiliate links through SEO is to create content that is unique to its own website. For instance, instead of writing a blog post touting the benefits of certain brands of dog food, a webmaster might instead choose to feature a brief paragraph on how the ingredients in that brand of dog food contribute to the health and longevity of a pet. The author may provide a link to his or her web site that contains additional information on the brand of dog food in question. This demonstrates that a web site owner is interested in the content of the article and that he or she is knowledgeable about the product being promoted. In this way, an affiliate link may appear to be within the boundaries of the affiliate program’s code of conduct.
While this may sound like a time-consuming or complicated technique, it is actually a relatively simple process. First, the webmaster must decide which type of affiliate link he or she would like to place on the page. The easiest option is to simply include the affiliate logo next to the page’s title, followed by a brief description. For instance, if a webmaster plans to promote certain brands of infant clothing as his or her source of infants’ clothing referrals, he or she could insert the logo and name of the brand he or she is marketing between the babies wear icon and the description of infant clothing. (orphans of mankind should take heart! There are many others who will be thrilled to see the link.)
Another option for webmasters looking to insert affiliate links is to use the “nofollow” attribute. This attribute forces Google and other search engines to ignore any affiliate links that are placed on a page. The only time that these links will generate traffic is when someone actually clicks on them. Affiliate marketers have several options when it comes to choosing the best way to incorporate these links. Some choose to build their own website to act as a portal between the affiliate site and the visitor. Others choose to make use of a third-party web directory that will list their links for the affiliate marketers’ visitors to see.