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9 Key Affiliate Marketing Tips for More Money & Traffic

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9 Key Affiliate Marketing Tips for More Money & Traffic

Are you an affiliate marketer who wants to earn more money? Then read on—the following nine affiliate marketing tips were learned over my decade of experience creating and growing six-figure affiliate websites.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn passive income online. But it requires constant learning to keep up with the competition.

Here are my best tips for affiliate marketing to increase your traffic and, ultimately, your income:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the single most valuable skill I’ve ever learned as an affiliate marketer. Being able to get your content to show up in Google search results provides recurring, free, and high-quality traffic—which is exactly what you need to make more money.

To prove my point, here’s a screenshot showing my Google Analytics traffic breakdown, with nearly 90% of my traffic coming from Google over the last month:

Google Analytics organic search traffic

SEO can be broken down into three main areas:

  1. On-page SEO
  2. Link building
  3. Technical SEO

On-page SEO involves things like:

But optimized content targeting the right keywords isn’t enough to rank. One of the most important Google ranking factors is backlinks from other websites pointing to your website. These links tell Google that your website is a trusted authority on the internet.

There are many ways to build backlinks to your content. They often involve email outreach to other website owners, so you should get comfortable writing emails.

Lastly, you’ll need to learn some basic technical SEO. Don’t worry—it’s not as hard as it sounds. You don’t need to know how to code or anything like that. These days, there are WordPress plugins, such as Yoast SEO or Rank Math, for virtually any SEO task you need to do.

In fact, Ahrefs has a free SEO WordPress plugin to help you audit the content on your website, monitor your backlinks, and see how much organic traffic your pages are getting.

Ahrefs' SEO WordPress plugin

In conclusion, learn SEO and you will get more traffic and make more money.

2. Start with keyword research

Keyword research is arguably the most crucial skill you need to learn. You have to know what keywords people are typing into Google to find information about your affiliate products and how you can create content that matches the search intent of those keywords.

You can use Ahrefs’ free keyword generator tool to come up with keyword ideas. Just type in a broad keyword related to your niche, and you’ll get back a list of related keywords:

Ahrefs' free keyword generator tool

I never write a blog post without a target keyword for SEO. In fact, I always recommend focusing on creating content hubs in order to fully cover a topic—and help improve your chances of ranking highly on Google.

3. Branch out from Amazon

Amazon Associates is usually the first affiliate program every affiliate marketer starts with. It’s great because Amazon has products in almost every niche imaginable… but its commission percentages are abysmal.

At ~3% commission, you’ll need to sell approximately $3,333,333 to make a six-figure income. You read that right—over $3 million just to make $100K. Ouch.

Starting with Amazon is fine. But once you figure out which products are making you the most money, it’s a good idea to go directly to the manufacturer or another retailer that will offer you a higher commission on those products.

You can see what products are bringing you the most income by going to your Amazon reporting dashboard, clicking on the “Earnings” tab, and sorting it by “Revenue.”

Amazon Associates Earnings report

From there, you have to do some detective work to find another affiliate to promote that sells the same or similar products. It takes some Google searching and phone calls to find the best deals. But it’s worth it, as long as you’re making a significantly higher commission.

Keep in mind that you’ll probably need to make at least double the commission to make it worth switching. In fact, I aim for a minimum of 8% commission to make the switch. 

This is because Amazon’s 24-hour cookie policy means you earn on anything someone buys within 24 hours of clicking on your link, even if it’s not the product you initially recommended. Additionally, Amazon has spent billions perfecting its conversion rate and brand reputation. So if you link elsewhere, you will almost certainly have a lower conversion rate.

It’s a good idea to test other affiliates before you fully switch over. Change out a few links and monitor how they affect your income for at least a month. If it’s higher, change more links. If it’s lower, change it back and look for a different partner with a better website or a higher commission rate.

4. Negotiate with your affiliate partners often

Speaking of higher commission rates. Never be afraid to ask your affiliate partners for a higher rate. Chances are, if you’ve been sending them sales, they’ll be happy to work with you.

I suggest picking up the phone and building a real reputation with your partners. A video call is even better. Tell them that with the higher commission, you can spend more money on content to promote them and send them even more sales.

In fact, you should make it a habit of discussing this with your partners once a quarter or, at the very least, once a year.

This won’t work with giant brands like Amazon or Walmart, but it does work with most companies that aren’t giant corporations.

Don’t rely solely on one affiliate partner. 

Amazon can change its affiliate terms at any time, like it did back in 2020 when it lowered the commission rates of most categories. Worse still, most of the other corporations tend to follow Amazon’s lead and change their commissions shortly after.

But beyond expanding to work with multiple partners, you should also consider other income methods entirely. Display ads, drop shipping your own products, or making an online course are all great options to avoid keeping all your eggs in one basket.

6. Focus on email capture

Speaking of sudden changes, even SEO has its limitations. Google, like Amazon, can change things at a moment’s notice that massively impact your business.

I would know—I’ve been affected by a Google update to the tune of a 60% income drop almost overnight. It’s not a fun feeling.

That’s why it’s important to focus on capturing your readers’ emails. Email is the one channel you can own that isn’t impacted by any company changing its policies.

If you have an email list, you can reach out to that list any time you want—as long as you aren’t spamming.

Luckily, email marketing goes hand in hand with SEO. You can create content upgrades on the pages already ranking on Google to turn visitors into subscribers.

For example, I created a comparison sheet of 50 different small campers as an email opt-in for one of my guides to the best small campers.

Content upgrade example

You can create your own content upgrades with an email tool like ConvertKit or Mailchimp. Just come up with something that improves upon the content you wrote, such as a mini ebook, video series, spreadsheet, printable PDF, etc.

7. Do more than your competition

Right now, if you look at the SERPs for highly competitive affiliate keywords, you’ll notice a trend: Everyone is copying each other.

Most people are writing the same stuff about the same “10 best” products. They’re using generic Amazon product images and aren’t actually purchasing and using the products themselves.

This is good news for you because it means with just a little extra effort, you can stand out from the competition and steal their rankings. If you want to make more money, consider:

  • Buying the product and actually using it.
  • Taking your own high-quality product photos. 
  • Shooting a video review of the product.
  • Diving deeper into the research using forums like Reddit and getting real users’ opinions.

These extra steps may take you more time but will ultimately put you ahead of the crowd.

8. Keep your data organized

This is a tip I wish someone had told me when I first started out in affiliate marketing. Organization is crucial as your website grows and you have multiple affiliate partners and hundreds or even thousands of blog posts.

This can be as simple as keeping a spreadsheet with:

  • A list of all the content you have published on your website, along with the publish dates, meta tags, and affiliate links used.
  • A list of all your affiliate partners and their respective login URLs and commission percentages.
  • A few standard operating procedures documenting how you write, upload, and publish your content.

For example, here’s what one of my spreadsheets looks like:

Content organization spreadsheet

I like to include basic data about each page, such as the keyword it’s targeting, the content hub it’s a part of, and what keywords it’s ranking for—which I pull from Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

Just head to the Organic keywords tab and click Export in the top right to download a sheet with all of your rankings data.

Organic keywords report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

From there, you can upload the sheet into a Google Sheet and customize it to fit your particular needs and style.

9. Create more content and keep it updated

Last but not least, as an affiliate marketer, you need to both create MORE content and focus on keeping that content up to date as your website ages.

You can’t expect to only create a few dozen articles and turn your website into a six-figure earner. It takes hundreds—sometimes thousands—of articles to reach that point.

And it often takes years to produce that much content. 

If you’ve been creating content for years, it’s equally as important to refresh your old content to keep it relevant and to improve (or at least keep) your first-page Google rankings.

Final thoughts

As an affiliate marketer, it’s important to continually learn and hone your craft. The tips outlined above were learned over a decade, and I’m still learning new things every day.

Here are some other guides with more affiliate marketing tips and tricks to help you continue learning:

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How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher

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How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher

How To Measure The Largest Contentful Paint Of Your Website

Run a free website speed test to find out. Your LCP speed will be displayed immediately.

The results of your speed test will tell you if:

  • The LCP threshold is met.
  • You need to optimize any other Core Web Vital.

How Is The Largest Contentful Paint Calculated?

Google looks at the 75th percentile of experiences – that means 25% of real website visitors experience LCP load times of 3.09 seconds or higher, while for 75% of users the LCP is below 3.09 seconds.

In this example, the real-user LCP is shown as 3.09 seconds.

Screenshot of a Core Web Vitals data of DebugBear.com, November 2022

What Are The Lab Test Results On My Core Web Vitals Data?

With this specific web speed test, you’ll also see lab metrics that were collected in a controlled test environment. While these metrics don’t directly impact Google rankings, there are two advantages of this data:

  1. The metrics update as soon as you improve your website, while Google’s real-time data will take 28 days to fully update.
  2. You get detailed reports in addition to the metrics, which can help you optimize your website.

Additionally, PageSpeed Insights also provides lab data, but keep in mind that the data it reports can sometimes be misleading due to the simulated throttling it uses to emulate a slower network connection.

How Do You Find Your Largest Contentful Paint Element?

When you run a page speed test with DebugBear, the LCP element is highlighted in the test result.

Sometimes, the LCP element may be a large image, and other times, it could be a large portion of text.

Regardless of whether your LCP element is an image or a piece of text, the LCP content won’t appear until your page starts rendering.

For example, on the page below, a background image is responsible for the largest paint.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of DebugBear.com, November 2022

In contrast, this page’s LCP is a paragraph of text.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of DebugBear.com, November 2022

To improve the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) of your website you need to ensure that the HTML element responsible for the LCP appears quickly.

How To Improve The Largest Contentful Paint

To improve the LCP you need to:

  1. Find out what resources are necessary to make the LCP element appear.
  2. See how you can load those resources faster (or not at all).

For example, if the LCP element is a photo, you could reduce the file size of the image.

After running a DebugBear speed test, you can click on each performance metric to view more information on how it could be optimized.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of a detailed Largest Contentful Paint analysis in DebugBear.com, November 2022

Common resources that affect the LCP are:

  • Render-blocking resources.
  • Images that are not optimized.
  • Outdated image formats.
  • Fonts that are not optimized.

How To Reduce Render-Blocking Resources

Render-blocking resources are files that need to be downloaded before the browser can start drawing page content on the screen. CSS stylesheets are typically render-blocking, as are many script tags.

To reduce the performance impact of render-blocking resources you can:

  1. Identify what resources are render-blocking.
  2. Review if the resource is necessary.
  3. Review if the resource needs to block rendering.
  4. See if the resource can be loaded more quickly up, for example using compression.

The Easy Way: In the DebugBear request waterfall, requests for render-blocking resources are marked with a “Blocking” tag.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of DebugBear.com, November 2022

How To Prioritize & Speed Up LCP Image Requests

For this section, we’re going to leverage the new “fetchpriority” attribute on images to help your visitor’s browsers quickly identify what image should load first.

Use this attribute on your LCP element.

Why?

When just looking at the HTML, browsers often can’t immediately tell what images are important. One image might end up being a large background image, while another one might be a small part of the website footer.

Accordingly, all images are initially considered low priority, until the page has been rendered and the browser knows where the image appears.

However, that can mean that the browser only starts downloading the LCP image fairly late.

The new Priority Hints web standard allows website owners to provide more information to help browsers prioritize images and other resources.

In the example below, we can see that the browser spends a lot of time waiting, as indicated by the gray bar.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of a low-priority LCP image on DebugBear.com, November 2022

We would choose this LCP image to add the “fetchpriority” attribute to.

How To Add The “FetchPriority” Attribute To Images

Simply adding the fetchpriority=”high” attribute to an HTML img tag will the browser will prioritize downloading that image as quickly as possible.

<img src="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/optimize-largest-contentful-paint-debugbear-spcs/471883/photo.jpg" fetchpriority="high" />

How To Use Modern Image Formats & Size Images Appropriately

High-resolution images can often have a large file size, which means they take a long time to download.

In the speed test result below you can see that by looking at the dark blue shaded areas. Each line indicates a chunk of the image arriving in the browser.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint &#038; Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of a large LCP image on DebugBear.com, November 2022

There are two approaches to reducing image sizes:

  1. Ensure the image resolution is as low as possible. Consider serving images at different resolutions depending on the size of the user’s device.
  2. Use a modern image format like WebP, which can store images of the same quality at a lower file size.

How To Optimize Font Loading Times

If the LCP element is an HTML heading or paragraph, then it’s important to load the font for this chunk of text quickly.

One way to achieve this would be to use preload tags that can tell the browser to load the fonts early.

The font-display: swap CSS rule can also ensure sped-up rendering, as the browser will immediately render the text with a default font before switching to the web font later on.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint &#038; Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of web fonts delaying the LCP on DebugBear.com, November 2022

Monitor Your Website To Keep The LCP Fast

Continuously monitoring your website not only lets you verify that your LCP optimizations are working, but also makes sure you get alerted if your LCP gets worse.

DebugBear can monitor the Core Web Vitals and other site speed metrics over time. In addition to running in-depth lab-based tests, the product also keeps track of the real-user metrics from Google.

Try DebugBear with a free 14-day trial.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint &#038; Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of site speed monitoring data on DebugBear.com, November 2022



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