The Affiliate and Webmaster Marketing Guide – SEO
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEO is actually a subset of SEM where with search engine marketing, the overall goal is to increase your website visibility in search engines. Search engine advertising, like pay-per-click (PPC), is rarely done by affiliates or operators and there is a lot of opportunity to get more traffic to your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Probably all of you have already met with SEO abbreviation. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is one of the more popular buzzwords in today’s marketing, business, and indeed, affiliate fields. Any good webmaster coach should be able to help with quick fixes that will better optimize your website. A quick checklist of SEO fixes that seem to commonly be ignored by many webmasters include:
- Page titles: avoid keyword stuffing and that titles match the site content.
- URL structure: make a link structure that is readable and easy to follow.
- Description tags: fill them in and keep them up to around 150 characters. Many sites have this blank! This is perhaps more a conversion discussion than SEO. Using CMS, you can get many SEO plugins that may help you to manage it.
- Number of links: keep this less than 100. Too many links are bad for the user and bad for SEO.
- Header tags: use <h1>, <h2>, and <h3> header tags to organize your content and ensure it is congruent with your page title.
- Image file names: if you have a blackjack image called file005.jpg, change it to blackjack.jpg.
- Image Alt text: all images should have alt text explaining what the image is.
- Anchor text: most websites don’t make use of anchor text in their content linking to other parts of their website.
- Optimized code: the code to content ratio is important. More code with less content will hurt your rankings so try to keep your code clean.
- Site loading speed: faster loading pages might help you rank higher and possibly help for conversions. Images can usually slow down a site’s load speeds and is an easy way to make a quick improvement. More banners and unnecessary graphics will also hurt. You can check your page speed on Google Developer Site, where you may find also recommendations for your website.
Link Building Management
Link building is also very important for rankings on search engines and also a sensitive topic to discuss with many affiliates and SEO experts to ascertain a perfect solution. A higher volume of quality links will help your rankings but where you get these links from becomes an almost never ending task, albeit with infinite opportunities. You can find out where your competition gets its links using Bing Link Explorer as a part of Bing Webmaster Tools. Be cautious about buying links or paying another company to take care of your link building as you could incur the wrath of Google and be penalized if you’re caught. You don’t want to copy the wrong person who has been penalized in the past.
The recommendation is to do the link building yourself or consult an SEO specialist to help you with the work and with the link building strategies.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
Hopefully CMS isn’t a new acronym for you but there are many affiliates using no form of CMS at all. A good CMS will help you organize your website and automate your tasks. If you are a new webmaster then this is definitely the way to go to start your first website. Although WordPress is the more popular product, it isn’t the only one with others like Joomla, Drupal and many more proving viable alternatives.
The ‘pros’ of using a CMS far outweigh the ‘cons’, but do understand both. Using a CMS will take care of a lot of basic SEO issues for you. The only downside is popular systems can be targets for hacking, however, even if you don’t use a CMS you will still face the same threat just in a different form.
Content Writing and Strategies
Writing good content does take some skill and some care. If possible, unique content is also preferred and is becoming a must after Google’s updates and good content will give your site an edge for rankings. Producing more content is a great strategy for search engine marketing since more pages equals more opportunities to rank for more keywords. If you research the top ranking affiliates, they all seem to have thousands of pages. You can use Bing Link Explorer, former also known as Yahoo! Site Explorer, to check how much content they have. Quality should always be preferred over quantity; ideally, you want both but never at the expense of quality content.
Unique Selling Point (USP)
Perhaps this should be at the start of the article but it was saved for last to try to put the above information into perspective. Most webmasters haven’t heard of this acronym before and will struggle to answer the question: what is your website’s unique selling proposition?
Ironically enough, one great way to be unique is to work hard and top affiliates all share this characteristic. Value is judged differently by everyone, but if you can’t identify the value your website has then you’ll need to consider your marketing strategy.