Affiliate marketing is an excellent way for businesses to make money, reduce their tax burden, and reduce their in house workload. But did you know that affiliate marketing can also be great for search engine optimization as well?
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is trend in online marketing in which businesses recruit independent affiliates (contractors) to market their products and services. They give the affiliate a unique tracking URL and allow that affiliate to advertise that URL throughout the web. An affiliate URL looks something like:
These affiliates then post this URL and anyone who clicks it receives a “cookie” on their internet browser. If that person then purchases the product or service the company offers, their checkout system pays a commission to the affiliate for sending them that lead.
Affiliate Marketing & SEO:
There’s some great affiliate programs out there and they do an excellent job for both the affiliates and the company, but did you know that the vast majority of affiliate programs aren’t properly setup for SEO purposes?
You might be thinking that you already receive enough conversions through your affiliates, but lets be realistic, if you could receive your conversions from an affiliate who you pay a 40-60% commission to or from a search engine who you pay a 0% commission to, which one would you pick? The choice is quite clear, yet so many affiliate managers don’t know enough about SEO to properly setup the affiliate program to be SEO friendly and help the company rank better in search engine results.
How Can You Make Affiliate Marketing SEO Friendly?
There’s a lot of steps that go into making an affiliate marketing campaign SEO friendly. Some of them are super simple, and others are much more complex especially if the program is already established. Here’s a few quick tips to get on the road to having an SEO friendly affiliate program:
- Make all your affiliate links “do follow”. This will allow “link juice” to pass from your affiliate sites to your main site which they are linking to
- Make your textual affiliate links have the proper anchor text. So many times the affiliate links just say “click this” or “click here” instead of describing the parent company
- Urge your affiliates to post their affiliate links throughout their website, on social media sites, and in other communities they participate in that allow the links as this will just beef up your company’s link profile
- Grow your affiliate program. This is a no brainer, but continue to get new affiliates which will build even more links to your website
- Make sure your affiliate linking structure is SEO friendly. Some affiliate programs have odd URLs that just aren’t SEO friendly but this is a fairly quick fix if you know how to properly optimize the links
- Urge your affiliates to have high quality copy on the page with the affiliate link. This will help improve the link power post panda update and will also help in getting more conversions through the affiliate program
- Hold free training webinars for your affiliates explaining simple SEO techniques — this will not only help your affiliates get more traffic to their site (more clicks for your affiliate links) but will also improve their site which will improve the quality of the link back to your site
- Engage in an SEO campaign on top of your affiliate marketing campaign. Chances are you’ll have some funds available to invest in SEO and it really feels good to receive conversions that you don’t have to pay a commission on!
I’m personally a big fan of affiliate marketing, but I’m an even bigger fan of SEO, and if you don’t have your affiliate marketing campaign properly setup to reap the full SEO benefits of the links built to your site then you’re missing out on a huge benefit of your affiliate program and you’re missing out on a ton of search engine traffic that your site could and should be receiving!