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7 Affiliate Marketing Examples & Why They Work So Well

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7 Affiliate Marketing Examples & Why They Work So Well

But what makes a good affiliate marketing website? What products does it promote? And how does it get people to visit and purchase its recommendations?

To answer these questions, let’s take a look at some well-done affiliate marketing examples and dissect what makes them so successful.

The Barbecue Lab is a fairly traditional affiliate marketing example. It reviews and promotes home barbecue grills and cooking accessories.

What makes it stand out is its combination of YouTube videos and search engine optimization (SEO) to create a multi-faceted marketing strategy and capitalize on two different (but complementary) platforms. 

It ranks for over 18,000 keywords on Google…

Ahrefs' Organic keywords report for The Barbecue Lab

… while also having over 60,000 subscribers and nearly 6 million views on its YouTube channel:

The Barbecue Lab YouTube channel's About page

It also does an excellent job with YouTube SEO to create videos focused on keywords people are searching for on the video platform, like “smokeless fire pit.” 

The Barbecue Lab ranking on YouTube for the keyword "smokeless fire pit"

But it doesn’t stop there. Not only does this video rank well on YouTube, but it also helped the site capture two first-page ranking positions on the SERPs—one from its blog post and one from its YouTube video:

The Barbecue Lab captures two search results for the keyword "smokeless fire pit"

You can implement this combination approach on your own affiliate marketing site by using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer

Type a broad keyword you want to rank for in Keywords Explorer (like “coffee maker”), then go to the Matching terms report under “Keyword ideas.” 

Finally, tick the box under SERP features > Videos.

Ahrefs' Matching terms keyword report with video SERP features filter

Click Show results and you’ll be shown keywords that include YouTube videos in the search results. These are keywords you can potentially rank for multiple times—once with your website and again with your YouTube video(s). 

Finally, create a combination of a YouTube video and blog post for the target keyword, then cross your fingers you’re blessed by the Google Gods…

… or just follow our SEO checklist to increase your odds.

If you’re on a tight budget, we also have a free keyword tool to find keywords people are searching for on both Google and YouTube.

Bank My Cell does affiliate marketing a bit differently. Rather than promoting affiliate products and making a commission on those sales, it’s an affiliate for phone trade-in companies.

It also built landing pages with custom widgets to help people quickly and easily find trade-in values (and offers) of their used phones.

Affiliate landing page for selling used Google Pixel 3 XL

This affiliate is so successful because it did two things really well:

  1. Published hundreds of content pages to establish topical authority and rank for thousands of relevant keywords
  2. Used PR and statistics pages to build thousands of powerful backlinks to its website

If we look at its backlink profile in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, we can see it got links from leading sites like Whatsapp, Wikipedia, Adobe, and more using statistics pages:

Bank My Cell's backlink overview, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Want to copy this tactic? Read our case study on how we used a stats page to build 32 links.

Simply Insurance is a bit of an enigma. It has managed to compete in one of the most competitive affiliate niches to exist online today—insurance.

It ranks on the first page of Google for highly competitive keywords like “renters insurance 100000,” with an estimated Keyword Difficulty (KD) score of 64:

Keyword rankings for Simply Insurance

Its secret? No surprise here—content and link building.

It hustled to write more guest posts and acquire more links through direct outreach than nearly any site I’ve seen. According to owner Sa El, the team managed to write over 1,000 guest posts and collect over 2,200 referring domains in just two years.

Site overview chart for Simply Insurance

Some of these guest posts are from relevant and respected sites like Rocket Mortgage and Intuit.

Example of guest post for link building

Interested in this tactic? Check out guest blogging at scale from our SEO video series:

Hobotech is one of my favorite examples of a high-ticket affiliate marketer. He’s a YouTuber who films reviews and comparisons of expensive electricity-related products like lithium batteries and solar power stations.

The products he makes videos about typically cost thousands of dollars and have up to a 10% commission rate—which means he’s making hundreds of dollars on every sale.

One of his most popular videos is his review of a portable solar power station that sells for over $2,000. That video received nearly half a million views and, if I had to guess, earned him tens of thousands of dollars.

Example of a successful affiliate review video with nearly half a million views

He doesn’t use fancy editing or the latest and greatest camera gear. His videos have pretty lackluster lighting. He isn’t trying to be overly entertaining.

So why do the videos do so well? 

  1. He shows the products in ways that only someone who clearly knows what they’re talking about would or could do (like voltage and capacity tests).
  2. He breaks down complicated subjects in ways that anyone can understand.
  3. He will tell you NOT to buy something if it isn’t actually worth the money (even if the companies pay him a lot of money to say otherwise).

All of these things add up to make him a trustworthy source of information, yielding him more subscribers and more profits. 

Scotty Kilmer is a mechanic in his sixties with over 40 years of experience in his trade. He’s an awesome YouTube personality, and his video content is (in my opinion) a blessing for ordinary people who need to learn how to work on their vehicles and save money on shop costs.

Scotty Kilmer's YouTube Channel

He’s managed to accumulate over 5.5 million YouTube subscribers due to the quality of his videos. Like Hobotech, Scotty takes complex subjects (like changing your engine’s spark plugs) and turns them into something anyone can do with the proper tools.

His affiliate strategy is simple: teach people how to do certain tasks on their cars, then link to all the tools and parts needed in the video description.

Affiliate links on YouTube

The takeaway here is to create really high-quality content. 

Scotty’s successful because his channel has some of the best guides on the internet for DIY mechanics. I’ve watched hundreds of his videos to fix my vehicles, and I’ve never once felt like he was pushing me to buy anything I didn’t need.

If you haven’t heard, Wirecutter is a giant affiliate marketing website that sold for $30 million in 2016 and made over $20 million in 2018.

It’s most well known for doing product reviews… a lot of product reviews.

In fact, it ranks for nearly 5 million keywords and receives over 16 million visits per month—and that’s just from Google.

NY Times Wirecutter organic search overview, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

How did it manage to become a Google juggernaut? We wanted to find out, so we did a full case study on Wirecutter’s SEO strategy. Here’s an excerpt of what we found:

1. It prioritizes E-E-A-T signals by talking about why you should trust it and how it came to certain conclusions on each review page:

Wirecutter's explanation of why you should trust its reviews

2. It provides a great user experience with an ad-free, mobile-friendly layout. 

3. It has excellent website navigation and category pages.

Wirecutter's category and navigation

4. It frequently updates its content; in fact, it updated five pieces of older content for every new article published in 2022.

5. It’s great at distributing its content to a lot of people through social media and its email list.

All in all, it simply did a lot of things right. It started out just reviewing tech products, then expanded to cover virtually every kind of product. There’s a lot you can learn from the site’s success.

RTINGS (or “ratings”) is another gigantic product review site similar to Wirecutter. It’s not quite as big (it “only” gets 8.7 million traffic per month), but it still has a lot to teach.

RTINGS.com organic search traffic overview, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

We also did a case study on RTINGs.com to see what made it so successful. Here are the takeaways:

1. It started with a scalable website structure. It also makes excellent use of category pages. Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the structure the site uses:

RTINGS.com website structure chart

2. It uses programmatic SEO (​​a method of generating many pages from a set of data using automation with the goal of ranking on Google) to mass-create comparison pages like this one:

RTINGS.com programmatic SEO comparison article example

3. It has an excellent internal linking method that allows it to stitch things together in a way that’s easy for visitors (and Googlebot) to find content.

4. Like others on this list, it uses a combined approach that includes YouTube SEO. It double-dips on many keywords in the search engines.

RTINGS.com uses YouTube to rank twice for the same keyword on Google SERP

And that’s about it. Though, I wouldn’t follow its strategy of being a broad review website without massive capital to back it up. But you can definitely follow its lead when it comes to website structure and navigation, and possibly even use programmatic SEO to create a lot of fairly high-quality pages at scale.

Final thoughts

If you’re interested in becoming an affiliate marketer, it’s important to study what’s working. While there are many different approaches to succeeding as an affiliate, there are a few things that are universal to success. You should:

  1. Create content that’s really damn good. Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile because that’s what will help you stand out.
  2. Make it easy for users (and Googlebot) to navigate your website. Plan your website structure hierarchy before you build out your site.
  3. Consider investing in video content to build trust with your audience and double-dip in the Google search results.
  4. Find unique and interesting ways to build backlinks to your content at scale.

That’s all I’ve got. I hope you enjoyed these affiliate marketing examples and learned a thing or two.

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

Google removed the Covid-era structured data associated with the Home Activities rich results that allowed online events to be surfaced in search since August 2020, publishing a mention of the removal in the search documentation changelog.

Home Activities Rich Results

The structured data for the Home Activities rich results allowed providers of online livestreams, pre-recorded events and online events to be findable in Google Search.

The original documentation has been completely removed from the Google Search Central webpages and now redirects to a changelog notation that explains that the Home Activity rich results is no longer available for display.

The original purpose was to allow people to discover things to do from home while in quarantine, particularly online classes and events. Google’s rich results surfaced details of how to watch, description of the activities and registration information.

Providers of online events were required to use Event or Video structured data. Publishers and businesses who have this kind of structured data should be aware that this kind of rich result is no longer surfaced but it’s not necessary to remove the structured data if it’s a burden, it’s not going to hurt anything to publish structured data that isn’t used for rich results.

The changelog for Google’s official documentation explains:

“Removing home activity documentation
What: Removed documentation on home activity structured data.

Why: The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

Read more about Google’s Home Activities rich results:

Google Announces Home Activities Rich Results

Read the Wayback Machine’s archive of Google’s original announcement from 2020:

Home activities

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Olga Strel

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Google’s Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

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Google's Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, Gary Illyes, Analyst at Google, revealed that the search engine takes a binary approach when assessing a website’s lastmod signal from sitemaps.

The revelation came as Illyes encouraged website owners to upgrade to WordPress 6.5, which now natively supports the lastmod element in sitemaps.

When Mark Williams-Cook asked if Google has a “reputation system” to gauge how much to trust a site’s reported lastmod dates, Illyes stated, “It’s binary: we either trust it or we don’t.”

No Shades Of Gray For Lastmod

The lastmod tag indicates the date of the most recent significant update to a webpage, helping search engines prioritize crawling and indexing.

Illyes’ response suggests Google doesn’t factor in a website’s history or gradually build trust in the lastmod values being reported.

Google either accepts the lastmod dates provided in a site’s sitemap as accurate, or it disregards them.

This binary approach reinforces the need to implement the lastmod tag correctly and only specify dates when making meaningful changes.

Illyes commends the WordPress developer community for their work on version 6.5, which automatically populates the lastmod field without extra configuration.

Accurate Lastmod Essential For Crawl Prioritization

While convenient for WordPress users, the native lastmod support is only beneficial if Google trusts you’re using it correctly.

Inaccurate lastmod tags could lead to Google ignoring the signal when scheduling crawls.

With Illyes confirming Google’s stance, it shows there’s no room for error when using this tag.

Why SEJ Cares

Understanding how Google acts on lastmod can help ensure Google displays new publish dates in search results when you update your content.

It’s an all-or-nothing situation – if the dates are deemed untrustworthy, the signal could be disregarded sitewide.

With the information revealed by Illyes, you can ensure your implementation follows best practices to the letter.


Featured Image: Danishch/Shutterstock

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

There’s one thing standing between you and several days of SEO, socializing, and Singaporean sunshine: your boss (and their Q4 budget 😅).

But don’t worry—we’ve got your back. Here are 5 arguments (and an example message) you can use to persuade your boss to send you to Ahrefs Evolve.

About Ahrefs Evolve

  • 2 days in sunny Singapore (Oct 24–25)
  • 500 digital marketing enthusiasts
  • 18 top speakers from around the world

Learn more and buy tickets.

SEO is changing at a breakneck pace. Between AI Overviews, Google’s rolling update schedule, their huge API leak, and all the documents released during their antitrust trial, it’s hard to keep up. What works in SEO today?

You could watch a YouTube video or two, maybe even attend an hour-long webinar. Or, much more effective: you could spend two full days learning from a panel of 18 international SEO experts, discussing your takeaways live with other attendees.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve speakers from around the world.

Our world-class speakers are tackling the hardest problems and best opportunities in SEO today. The talk agenda covers topics like:

  • Responding to AI Overviews: Amanda King will teach you how to respond to AI Overviews, Google Gemini, and other AI search functions.
  • Surviving (and thriving) Google’s algo updates: Lily Ray will talk through Google’s recent updates, and share data-driven recommendations for what’s working in search today.
  • Planning for the future of SEO: Bernard Huang will talk through the failures of AI content and the path to better results.

(And attendees will get video recordings of each session, so you can share the knowledge with your teammates too.)

View the full talk agenda here.

There’s no substitute for meeting with influencers, peers, and partners in real life. 

Conferences create serendipity: chance encounters and conversations that can have a huge positive impact on you and your business. By way of example, these are some of the real benefits that have come my way from attending conferences:

  • Conversations that lead to new customers for our business,
  • Invitations to speak at events,
  • New business partnerships and co-marketing opportunities, and
  • Meeting people that we went on to hire.

There’s a “halo” effect that lingers long after the event is over: the people you meet will remember you for longer, think more highly of you, and be more likely to help you out, should you ask.

(And let’s not forget: there’s a lot of information, particularly in SEO, that only gets shared in person.)

The “international” part of Evolve matters too. Evolve is a different crowd to your local run-of-the-mill conference. It’s a chance to meet with people from markets you wouldn’t normally meet—from Australia to Indonesia and beyond.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve attendees by home country.

If you’re an Ahrefs customer (thank you!), you’ll learn tons of tips, tricks and workflow improvements from attending Evolve. You’ll have opportunities to:

  • Attend talks from the Ahrefs team, showcasing advanced features and strategies that you can use in your own business.
  • Pick our brains at the Ahrefs booth, where we’ll offer informal 1:1 coaching sessions and previews of up-coming releases (like our new content optimization tool 🤫).
  • Join dedicated Ahrefs training workshops, hosted by the Ahrefs team and Ahrefs power users (tickets for these workshops will sold separately).

As a manager myself, there are two questions I need answered when approving expenses:

  • Is this a reasonable cost?
  • Will we see a return on this investment?

To answer those questions: early bird tickets for Evolve start at $570. For context, “super early bird” tickets for MozCon (another popular SEO conference) this year were almost twice as much: $999.

There’s a lot included in the ticket price too:

  • World-class international speakers,
  • 5-star hotel venue,
  • 5-star hotel food (two tea breaks with snacks & lunch),
  • Networking afterparty, and
  • Full talk recordings to later share with your team.

SEO is a crucial growth channel for most businesses. If you can improve your company’s SEO performance after attending Evolve (and we think you will), you’ll very easily see a positive return on the investment.

Traveling to tropical Singapore (and eating tons of satay) is great for you, but it’s also great for your team. Attending Evolve is a chance to break with routine, reignite your passion for marketing, and come back to your job reinvigorated.

This would be true for any international conference, but it goes double for Singapore. It’s a truly unique place: an ultra-safe, high-tech city that brings together dozens of different cultures.

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Little India in Singapore

You’ll discover different beliefs, working practices, and ways of business—and if you’re anything like me, come back a richer, wiser person for the experience.

If you’re nervous about pitching your boss on attending Evolve, remember: the worst that can happen is a polite “not this time”, and you’ll find yourself in the same position you are now.

So here goes: take this message template, tweak it to your liking, and send it to your boss over email or Slack… and I’ll see you in Singapore 😉

Email template

Hi [your boss’ name],

Our SEO tool provider, Ahrefs, is holding an SEO and digital marketing conference in Singapore in October. I’d like to attend, and I think it’s in the company’s interest:

  • The talks will help us respond to all the changes happening in SEO today. I’m particularly interested in the talks about AI and recent Google updates. 
  • I can network with my peers. I can discover what’s working at other companies, and explore opportunities for partnerships and co-marketing.
  • I can learn how we can use Ahrefs better across the organization.
  • I’ll come back reinvigorated with new ideas and motivation, and I can share my top takeaways and talk recordings with my team after the event.

Early bird tickets are $570. Given how important SEO is to the growth of our business, I think we’ll easily see a return from the spend.

Can we set up time to chat in more detail? Thanks!

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