- super charge your affiliate campaigns, EzineArticles (or any other content farm)
- safeguard yourself from future algo updates
- recover from the last one!
- get more backlinks (without trying to figure how you can get other sites to link to you without returning the favour)
- get more traffic
- yadda yadda yadda
HISTORY LESSON - In my last post we learned that if we are promoting a keyword that has more affiliates than web searches each month then we are in trouble.
We talked about how the affiliate marketers of old (as in last year) virtually spammed the hell out of keywords and FORCED Google to clean up the content sites (we crunched some numbers from Squidoo.com Hubpages.com Ezinearticles.com and ehow)
That was to purpose of the algo update; to clean up the Internet and remove spammy style article and mini-sites - and we should be THANKFUL because it put a LOT of affiliate marketers on the back burner and de-indexed thousands of webpages of our competition.
TODAY - WE'RE LEARNING FROM OUR MISTAKES. THE MORAL OF THE STORY. HOW TO SAFEGUARD YOURSELF AND BECOME AN UNSTOPPABLE AFFILIATE.
HOW TO DO THINGS THE "RIGHT" WAY
|The rules of Internet Marketing (and affiliate marketing) have changes - it's time to throw some new light on the matter and stop worrying about what we can't change...but learn from our mistakes.|
So the moral of the algo update story is to branch out and find new opportunities. Do NOT mistake me - there is no need to constantly chase the latest craze, the latest "cutting edge" push button software or any of that other garbage.
I'm talking about using tried and true methods to do things...but doing things a little bit differently from all the other thousands of affiliates around the world.
AFFILIATES MARKETING AT IT'S MOST PROFITABLE
(The "Right" Way)
Okay, let's get stuck into this, Few things are easier to sell than when a well established company creates the latest model or version of an existing product - it's like shooting fish in a barrel.
The first thing I can't stress enough is that you need some link love. Backlinks are essential to getting to the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Page Results) and sticking there like glue.
When the Google-bots crawl the Internet, they follows the footprints - the links - that we leave behind. The more links we have pointing to our site, the more important our site must therefore be. It's like one big popularity contest. And just like the Miss Universe contest id rigged - because all the winners come from Earth - we can also manipulate Google into giving us a better page rank by creating a steady drip of backlinks to our site, our article or our blog.
|Backlinks force Google to rank you well|
See this spider web on the right? That's where you want to be...right there in the middle. It doesn't matter if you're thinking of your latest article or you blog or your website...you need to have other webpages backlinking to your web page - one way backlinks from niche relevant websites are more valuable than trying to find a link partner or partake in a dodgy link share scheme.
I strongly urge you to get out there and start building backlinks to your articles, blog posts and webpages. Did I mention this is essential? There are two services that I recommend and they are both free. (Right click now and open in a new tab so that you don't lose your place here)
FREE BACKLINK BUILDER #1 Social Monkee
Under a free membership you can submit your URL to Social Monkee once a day and they will publish it to 25 different IP addresses on your behalf. The catch? You can only submit your URL once a day (which is perfect for article writers and blog marketers) AND if you want to upgrade (than submit 3 times a day) you can hand over $50 OR if you know 12 friends you can upgrade for free,
FREE BACKLINK BUILDER #2 Directory Submitter
This is not one of those automated submitters that rarely gets you accepted; most directories don't like it when the bots submit your URL. This is like a turbo charged, suped up manual submitter - I have it installed on my desktop and love it!
Free membership gets your URL in 350 directories. Free. The catch? You will have to pay for your upgrade - I've been testing this one for a while and I think it's great for the owners of mini-sites, blogs and websites.
Seriously, if you can't see the value of either one (or both) of these then you are either crazy or are so cynical that it's going to interfere with your
USING CONTENT SITES - Article Marketing
Ezinearticlescom has over 8.8million webpages chock full of affiliate links. BUT Not a whole lot of them have ANY backlinks though. I strongly recommend that you establish yours ASAP.
I've used the example before of Google being like a school - when the new kid on the block shows up (your latest article) then one of the cool kids points at you ad says "Hey, this kid's alright. You should listen to him" then you become instantly, on the spot popular.
That is the purpose of backlinks - you have to force Google to give you the page rank you worked for. You do this with quality (one way, relevant) backlinks and keywords.
So how many articles per product or per niche are you going to need? Keep reading, I've included a great little illustration below.
You should always publish your articles on your blog first. After they are indexed (get a few backlinks pointing to your latest post) THEN you can go ahead and spin that post into "new" articles to publish at the content farms.
|Get lots of backlinks & publish on your blog first, content sites second|
Each and every blog post you make should be indexed by Google under your blogs URL. Occasionally after spinning and submitting to other article directories, some articles may slip through the gaps (meaning you haven't done your job properly or changed enough of the content) and be picked up by Google as "duplicate content."
If it does get picked up then Google will recognize that it was your blog which was first credited with publishing the original. You do NOT want Google to think that your blog is made up of duplicate content from the article directories.
What does this have to do with beavers and dams?
Basically each time you submit an article or publish a blog post, you are that little beaver adding another stick to your dam - you are increasing the likelihood of capturing traffic.
Make sense? So you find a product at Clickbank and you write a couple of articles, you use a couple of keywords - it's going to be like trying to hold water in a sieve. If you write 20 articles about it...well now we're talking! What if you write 20 articles every week? Well now you're really talking. Now you've got yourself a sweet little dam that which catch the traffic from the search engines.
BUT...You want Google to recognize you BLOG as the original publisher of that content. Make sure that your post is indexed first - by pointing a few backlinks to your new post then go ahead and hit the content sites.
Blogs have another advantage over article farms. Firstly, prospects need to be exposed to a product about 7 times before they buy it - you want them to do this on your webpages and not head back to the search engines (Hubpages and Squidoo give you the option of linking your pages together...use it). Useful, relevant content is essential to getting readers to stay at your blog.
Secondly, your blog is where you establish yourself as an authority in your niche. This is where you prove that you're the go-to-guy (or gal). Trust is essential. You build trust by...
You guessed it...
Providing useful, relevant information - not sales pitches.
THE AFFILIATE "MINI" SITE
Let's face it, the rules have changed. Mini-sites worked wonders for affiliates in days gone by but since the algo change many were dropped by Google because they amounted to little more than spam.
Building a mini-site these days is a little more complicated. They need to be larger than ever before. Approx 5 pages used to be the norm. Nowadays, 10 pages minimum. Content needs to be original - do not think that grabbing a few articles from Ezines is going to cut it. I'm a fan a PLR...but I also go a little crazy when spinning it.
In times gone by many affiliate mini-sites also had a lot of banners at the top of the page (in prime position - it's the first thing that loads and so the first thing prospects see) however Google doesn't consider this a great "user experience" these days and so we now limit the amount of advertising we put up there.
WORKING WITH PLR CONTENT
I know that once upon a time, PLR was a popular choice for many affiliates making mini-sites. Some common sense goes a long way. For the sites on which I do use PLR (mostly on my pregnancy and relationship sites) I always, always re-write the entire first paragraph (often two) and the title. I add as much as I know to the article. I take away many of the pointless questions or sentences like "Are you looking for info about [keyword]?" that are there simply to boost work count and keyword count. I'm constantly thinking about how the reader will benefit from reading this (Google judges our web pages according to "user experience" remember). Will they? Will they find what they are looking for? Have I answered their question?
I make sure that each of the duplicate articles I spin have a different word count. If one article is targeting boyfriends, I'll change the next one to target girlfriends, the next one wives and so on. Yeah, I go a little overboard but that's just the way I roll.
WHICH NICHE IS MOST PROFITABLE?
The short answer is not one you want to hear. The short answer is they all are IF you know HOW to target them successfully. I'll give you an example though...I'm not that heartless!
The long answer is:
- It's not what you're promoting but WHO you're promoting to
- The BEST types of niches are evergreen - people will still be wanting info about this interest or hobby or problem in 5, 10 or 20 years time ie, insurance, weight loss, dating, break-ups, etc (these examples are highly competitive markets btw - think about micro-niches if you're thinking about trying to target them)
- These people talk about their problem - they have forums or websites dedicated to discussing this problem or interest.
- When you Google this niche, you should see Google AdWords along with your search results - this means other people are making money from this crowd
- You can probably find a magazine about this niche in your newsagent
- These people think about their interest, hobby or problem a LOT - how many times a day do you think about the weeds in your garden? Not very often? Okay...know how many times a day would you think about your love life if you had just broken up with your partner? Or your unborn child if you were pregnant?
- Are these people likely to buy something? Seriously - think about it. Cooking is evergreen, right? But the majority of people searching for recipes are housewives worried about how they can turn some sausages, half of a week old cauliflower and a can of mushy peas into dinner for the hubby. They want free information, not necessarily a new set of steak knives or another eCookbook; you can still make money from these people...but you're going to have to really work for it.
The big niches are often dominated by the big boys so I recommend that you think sub-niche or micro-niche. Don't think weight loss. Think about a diabetic who needs to lose weight before surgery. (A market of people within the market). We always seem to do much better targeting micro-niches; we make more money, we get indexed faster and rank better for those long tail keywords.
PROMOTE ONE PRODUCT OR MANY?
I have a few personal suggestions...and you know how I can't write a post without giving you an example! As you read, try to work out the underlying principle. Once you figure it out the rules of the make money online game, you can profit from any niche
Example - Think micro-niche...a wife who suspects her hubby of being unfaithful.
|Suspicion is a very powerful motivator|
- Is this evergreen? HA!
- Are other people advertising? (Go on, open a new tab and ask Google "I think my husband is cheating" - see any ads?
- Do these women think about their marriages often? Or sometimes?
- Are these women motivated buyers? Well? Wouldn't YOU be willing to part with $50 to find out FOR SURE?
- Do they talk about it? (HINT - Google "I think my husband is cheating forums")
Would you want a psychic reading?
Or something tangible - some rock solid proof - one way or the other - that you could take to your partner and confront him with?
Are you thinking?
Come on...self sustained affiliate-in-the-making...what could you sell to a suspicious wife?
How about something that could tell her to whom those strange phone numbers on the phone bill belong?
Something that could track his computer history?
Or record his phone calls?
ANSWER: All of the above.
Sure you may have to look a bit further than Clickbank to find these products but they are going to be an easy sell to a suspicious wife.
Clickbank does have a few persuasive sales pages if you're stuck.
So that's my hypothetical suggestion - make a little site about how to track and record a husbands activities, throw in a few banners, a dozen articles, affiliate links to a few quality and related products and...viola! Profitable site in an evergreen niche!
THEN, you also have the option to create a mini-site about each individual product in addition to your mastersite.
At the end of the day it's up to you to make an informed decision (or guesstimate) about using a master-site to promote many sites...or not.
PROS AND CONS - WEIGHING YOUR OPTIONS
|Promote one product per site...or many?|
PRO's of having a Master-site
- Once established, new pages are indexed quickly
- You're more easily established as an authority in the eyes of you readers
- You don't need to begin backlink building campaigns each and every time you add a new product
- Each new backlink adds to the authority of the site from Google's perspective
- One backlink too many, too soon and you're going to find yourself sandboxed
- A generic domain name will take longer to rank well compared to a keyword rich domain name (domain names aren't everything; I'll explain in a minute)
- You're putting all your eggs in one basket - if Google sandboxes that site you're really going to know about it
- A single product site allows you cover the product more thoroughly ad provide more targeted info to your prospectsHowever, what will happen if the merchant stops selling that product? Or changes the commission? Or makes some royal stuff up, changes the sales page and your traffic stops converting?
Consider what you will do with your single product mini-site if the merchant has a change of heart and stops selling that product? Or changes the sales page and your traffic no longer converts? Or the product suddenly gets a bad rep and is associated with a s.c.a.m.?
I know, when I write articles, that I am writing a fairly generic content in regards to the product I promote. Why? If I see that I have a lot of traffic and none of it converts...I go back and SWITCH OUT the product. I swap the product for something else that may sell better.
For the same reason, when I buy domain names, I do not buy a name that I can't use on other related or similar products.
Mini-site or master site? Both. Go ahead and create a master site with several products and then create a few mini-sites about the individual products. You don't have to do it all at once. What I mean to say is that both are successful and as affiliates we need to have variations, we need to cover all bases. If your master site gets slapped then you're not losing you're only source of online income.
They are not the be all and end all of your page rank. They do play a role (and they seem to rank well weeks even months faster) BUT using (long tail) keyword rich content is even more important. Relevant information is far more important to SEO than having a keyword rich domain.
Domains should be
- catchy, easy to remember,
- be wary of spelling variations (or you'll send prospects to the competition),
- short and sweet - avoid anything longer than 15 letters...and even that is a huge domain name
Wow. We've been through Sooo much info (I swear I hadn't intended this to be such a long post!). We will be going into some of these things in a little more depth over the coming weeks as we wrap up our Getting To Know Google month.
Questions? I know you have them! Feel free to drop me a line and tell me what I've forgotten or what I've skimped over.
Good luck new webmasters and affiliates. I hope to be seeing much more of you in the coming weeks *insert cheesy grin here*