When it comes to Google, it’s all about change. They changed the way we source information online; changed the way we consume content; and – on a regular basis – they change the results we find when searching.
When you perform a Google search for, say, cheap Ford KAs, you’re presented with relevant, quality search results. That’s the very least you’d expect – and if the search engine behemoth started throwing up results for cheap T-shirts or cheap iPhones or anything that wasn’t what you were searching for, you’d go looking for a search engine that did what it was supposed to.
These changes, Google algorithms, are a regular thing, and unless you’re immersed in SEO practices, you’re unlikely to even be aware of the updates. But these changes, which are great for consumers, present an issue for affiliate marketers.
What’s Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketers are third-party experts in identifying marketplace niches, and promoting other companies products, recommending them to buyers. For every sale completed, the affiliate marketer earns a percentage of commission. It works as a cost-effective marketing tool for the business; and as a sweet money-earner for the affiliate.
Along Comes Google
More and more frequently, Google are focusing not just on relevance of search terms, but on the quality of the content within. So for affiliate marketers, it’s not simply possible to optimise their content for keywords; they have to provide quality content about the products they’re promoting. In effect, they must become experts.
I don’t know about you, but writing about something of which you’ve got no experience is a tricky business. Whilst I can happily blog away for hours on end about all things digital – from the value of blogging to social media tips to internet marketing – I’d be absolutely bamboozled if asked to write at length about the inner workings of the human heart, or the technical specs of the latest Dyson vacuum machine.
Research for Results
Some affiliate marketers might simply choose to wing it. That’s not going to cut it with Google though, nor with readers – they’re a savvy bunch, they can spot a fraud at five-hundred paces. Only affiliate marketers who are prepared to embrace Google’s demands for quality are going to cut it these days.
That means, first and foremost, research, research, research. And then research some more. Seeking out the details not just from the product’s official website (which is also handy when ascertaining how they’re positioning the product), but also from reviews – both from professionals and customers. The awesome affiliate marketer will retain an encyclopaedic knowledge of the product, in order to write about it as an authority.
But there’s more to it than Googling around for reviews. It requires the affiliate to totally immerse themselves into the industry. Research competitors (why is your product better than theirs?), read industry-specific magazines, attend conferences and exhibitions – and while there, pick the brains of those in the know. The more information they’re armed with, the more content they can produce. Quality content, published regularly.
Quality and Quantity
Remember when I said that affiliate marketers are experts in identifying marketplace niches? Well, with the emphasis on quality, that niche becomes even more important. If an affiliate marketer hasn’t chosen the right niche, the ability to produce quality content is going to suffer.
But if they zero in on products they already enjoy, or an industry that’s tied to their hobby, they’ll be able to write a lot more authoritatively on the subject. Love technology? Write about that new laptop range. You know you want to! The words will just flow without even needing to force them. This also works on a second level: if an affiliate marketer has a love for those sorts of products, it’s a whole lot easier to persuade others to purchase them.
There are two very good reasons why researching the product and totally immersing yourself in an industry works, if you’re an affiliate marketer. One, Google will reward that quality content – and that helps people find and buy, and two, such content will generate more commission for the affiliate marketer.
And winning the respect of Google, plus the trust – and sales – of customers is a double-edge sword – except both edges are pure victory (or ‘win-win’, if you prefer).
Where have the easy days gone?
Long gone are the days when affiliate marketers were able to put up a 1-page website, fill it with affiliate banner links and flood it with cheap links to get it ranked in search results; this is what Google calls thin content and they don’t like it. To be an affiliate now-a-days is to be a knowledge base. Essentially, it is to become a business, just without carrying the stock.
Why is blogging important?
And in just the same sense that blogging is important for businesses, this also applies to affiliates. Blog posts add valuable content to any website, giving Google something substantial to index and earning them a place in the search results pages.
Clickbank, one of, if not the, largest affiliate exchange in the world listed blogging as the 2nd most important activity for affiliate marketers in this recent article, stating, “it’s imperative that you write one or more new blog posts every day…”
Who has time to write a blog post every single day?
It’s the million dollar question. We all run busy lives and have a hundred other things to do other than write a blog post. In fact, most affiliate marketers, who are entrepreneurial in spirit, want to spend their time on the hunt for an exciting new opportunity. They not only don’t have the time to write blog posts, they don’t have the inclination either.
This is the reason we have such strong bonds with the affiliate marketing community, because we can write affordable blog posts on any topic, providing affiliate marketers with the essential blog posts they need, and letting them get on with growing their business(s).