“Scott, I want to learn about affiliate marketing – not SEO!” I know, I know. The truth is, you can’t have affiliate marketing without SEO. How do you think traffic flows to a website? Yes, its through SEO. If you understand and apply these 7 fundamental terms about SEO, then you stand a chance in this vast world of competition.
There are literally more than one and a half BILLION websites in existence. If you want to be prominent among them, you have to put in some work to be sure.
That work I’m referring to is called “SEO,” or search engine optimization. This is how you get attention in an already cluttered world; this is how your content gets seen on the Internet.
I understand that you want to learn about affiliate marketing, but to do that without learning SEO would be like learning how to drive without learning how to use a gas pump.
So, what the heck is this SEO? Put most simply, it’s a method for structuring and promoting your website that allows you to rank well on search engine results while also bringing in traffic from other sources. Traffic – especially free (or one-time-cost) traffic – means SALES.
With a clean and effective SEO ranking, you can climb those rankings without worrying about being penalized by Google. I’m going to provide you with some SEO tools to help you generate traffic.
Before that, though, let’s just kick off our review of SEO with some basic terms:
Among terms in SEO Keyword has huge importance. It is a word or phrase that web searchers type into search engines to learn about your topic. These words are important to your content, as they will help search engines categorize and index your pages. I suggest you use Google Keyword Planner for Searching Keywords. You can Spy on competitors’ word it’s a separate topic but if you wanna know-how. Check my this post.
“Affiliate marketing,” for example, is a keyword phrase that thousands of people search for every day. What you want to do is “rank” for that keyword, meaning that when people type it in, your site comes up!
This is a type of keyword that is more specific and less commonly search by the people than the super competitive and high-traffic keywords. For example, “classic leather-bound books” is much more specific (and less searched for) than just “books.”
This is a great way to capture a small audience while avoiding the big competitors, but don’t plaster your articles with these – Google can tell when you’re desperate.
This helps give the search engines a little “nudge” in terms of categorizing and indexing your site. Meta tags allow you to indicate to bots what your content is about.
For example, if you link your Pinterest account to your skiing equipment site using a meta tag, your Pinterest profile will be more readily available under that search query.
These are super, super important in terms of SEO. Backlinks are links to your website featured on other websites.
The more backlinks you have by reputable and relevant sites – the more you stand out as an authority in the eyes of the search engines.
More authority, in turn, equals a higher rank. This piece of SEO is so important, I dedicated an entire post on effective backlinking.
Also referred to as “off-page SEO,” this term refers to SEO methods that do not involve creating or tweaking content on your own site.
So, building backlinks, promoting on social media, developing ads and email marketing campaigns, and so forth. Essentially, this is half of the SEO battle.
The other half of the SEO battle is off-page optimization. This has everything to do with your site.
The internal linking structure, keyword usage, alt text, content length and readability, use of visual media, use of “latent semantic indexing” (keywords that are similar, but not exactly the same as your target keywords) and on and on and on.
I’ve mentioned it probably 400 times before, and I’ll mention it at least 400 more times! Your content and how valuable it is can, in fact, affect your SEO. If you are desperately writing keywords without any substance behind them, your SEO will not rise to the top!
Phew – I realize that this seems like a lot, but you’re committed, aren’t you? If so, then keep reading.
The best way of doing SEO is one step at a time. This is one of those topics that can have your head spinning after five minutes on Google. Don’t get overwhelmed or intimidated; there is no single piece of SEO that is beyond your ability.
Can you type a keyword? Check. Can you learn what a meta heading/meta-text is in five minutes? Check. Can you install free plug-ins to help with on-page SEO? Check. And on and on and on the list goes until you have seriously boost your SEO.
SEO isn’t some mystical “x-factor” that you just have to stay at until you connect. It’s a logical, concrete set of more than 200 “ranking signals” that Google happily shares with the rest of the world.
Ranking signals are basically factors that Google uses to place your website higher or lower than others. The age of your website, for example, is a signal (you get a strong bump at six months, I believe).
Think of Google as a football coach at a tryout, and each website is the player. Your SEO methods are like your skills in the field. Every time you satisfy a ranking signal requirement, the coach marks down a point for you on his clipboard.
Every time you bumble the ball – i.e., you fail to meet a factor – he takes a point away. Look these ranking signals up, learn them, love them, and monitor them – they change often!
If you can understand Google’s mentality, then you will be able to anticipate and appreciate all of the changes that they make to their ranking signals. This will allow you to get ahead of the game in terms of rankings.
Google wants their users to have access to relevant, high-quality information in milliseconds.
Quality is absolutely at the forefront in every way! When black-hat tricksters looking to make a quick buck learn how to exploit one of Google’s ranking signals, Google changes it to prioritize content quality – that’s what you have to remember.
In the 90s, which was basically the “wild west” of SEO, you could at one point stuff a web page with nothing but your keyword, and BOOM – the first page of Google.
If you were selling shoelaces, your content will literally read, “Come get the best shoelaces and shoelaces for shoelaces prices and shoelaces for sale at the shoelaces mega store!”
Do you see how this is problematic for Google, who wants quality content at the forefront? As such, they instituted penalties for this technique (known as keyword stuffing) and other tricky workarounds.
If Google detects you using a cheap trick like this, it will penalize your site. It could go from the first page to the tenth page or worse, sometimes never recovering.
If you are taking ANY shortcuts in your SEO whatsoever, Google will catch you. It’s supposed to be a long and difficult haul because that’s what separates great content from quickly thrown-together dribble.
Now, there’s nothing that says you can’t speed up the process in a legitimate way by learning from experienced SEO professionals, just as long as you don’t cheat your way through any of the important SEO steps.
In summary, SEO is a commitment to be sure, but a completely feasible one if you are willing to research, be patient and do things the right way.
Does SEO make a bit more sense now?