Affiliate marketing[1] has been big business for almost as long as the Internet has been around, but the business is constantly changing. The core idea behind affiliate marketing remains the same as it’s always been – get lots of traffic to your offers, and build a great sales page so that the traffic converts.

Sadly, getting traffic is becoming more and more difficult. The size of your audience is expanding, but the number of people that are running affiliate sites is expanding too, and the search engines are cracking down on a lot of the older, spammy link-building techniques. This means the blog commenting bot you saw advertised on that affiliate forum won’t do much for you. However, there are a lot of other ways to build links. Here are a few ideas for you.

Affiliate marketing

Content Marketing

Far too many affiliates focus on picking out a huge list of products, building sales pages, and hoping for the best. It is possible to succeed with a huge network of products and sites, but there’s a good chance you’ll burn out if you do this. Instead of trying to make money off a huge network, why not focus on a handful of products that you truly love, and genuinely believe in.

Content marketing[2] means creating awesome content that your competitors simply can’t match. Instead of just putting together a sales page, add value. Write reports that actually inform or entertain. If you sell protein powders, write an app that people can use in the gym to track their workouts. If you promote dating sites, run an agony aunt style column that provides genuinely useful dating advice. Sales pages don’t get links, great content does.

Content Marketing

Quality Links

If you are going to go out and seek people to exchange links with, don’t waste your time on link lists, top ten sites, spammy blogs, or barely related, low traffic sites. Pick high quality sites with content related to yours, and send personal emails to the owners of those sites. Make it obvious that you’ve read their site, and take the time to explain what your site is and why they should link to it. Link exchanges do work, but you’ll need to put some work in to earn quality links.

Guest Posting

Guest posting[3] is a great way to earn natural-looking links to your site from a range of other sites. Next time you’re reading an affiliate forum, see if you can spot some site owners that work within your niche and would be interested in taking posts from you. While you’re browsing the web for leisure, look out for blogs that you like reading, and take a look at their about page. If they accept guest posts, send them something.

Make sure that the post you write is interesting, well written, and useful. Yes, it takes time to write good posts, but it’s worth it if you want to develop a good name for yourself online.

Guest posting
Image by advancedwebranking.com

Product Reviews

Product reviews are essential for affiliates. If you want consumers to buy the product you’re promoting, you need to prove that they can trust it. Build up a relationship with a few good reviewers, and send them samples for your best products.

Giveaways and Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is a good way to build buzz around your product. You can start fairly small; use your social media profile to promote some giveaways, and ask people to comment on your profile, share your content, or post something interesting (a funny image related to your niche, a poem, a short video – anything easy to create that will attract viewers), in return for an entry into a completion for a free product. Crowd sourcing is a great way to get organic links to your product pages, and it can be good PR too!

Wayne Barker writes for the affiliate marketing forum Twist. With a bustling community at Twist you are bound to find the information that you need to succeed.

1. Affiliate marketing – Wikipedia.org
2. Content marketing – Wikipedia.org
3. The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging – Kissmetrics.com

SEO’s place in Internet marketing is firmly entrenched. No internet marketing campaign begins without a discussion about the SEO strategy. A few years back, SEO work comprised just a small percent of an Internet marketer’s job. Today, situation is much more different. This isn’t surprising considering the fact that there are more than 3 billion online searches every day[1] and that’s almost double comparing with 2011. People use search engines to find more about the products and services that they need and research shows that they more or less view only the first page of a search engine’s results. This has lead to a high page rank being the holy grail of Internet marketing.

the growth of search in 2012
Image by hubspot.com

Research has proved that most users review only the top 3-5 results returned by a search term. Search engine technology has advanced to the point that in most cases, the top 3 results offer exactly what the user is looking for. This means that good results that show up in the 2nd page of results are usually ignored and never get much web traffic. Research has also shown that people are now used to filtering out the paid search results[2] because of the distinctive colored box they appear in. Thus it is the challenge of every Internet marketer to reach the top of the rankings organically, preferably by using white hat optimization techniques.

In the early days of the widespread use of the Internet, it was easy for businesses to perform SEO for their websites on their own. Now SEO is a field all unto itself. The changes that happen in this industry are rapid and are directed by the search provider’s advances to combat spam in results. The work that is required is phenomenal and in most cases requires a team of people with specialized skill sets to achieve the targets set.

seo in internet marketing
Image by searchengineland.com

Further, these days SEO efforts are heavily affected by social signals. Social signals include retweets, Facebook likes and shares, reposts and other social networking site actions. Sending out the right image while online is often a full time task in itself. Businesses cannot afford to ignore this aspect as both positive and negative attention impact SEO efforts significantly. The prevalence of buttons on every site that lets you ‘Like’, ‘Share’, ‘Tweet’, ‘StumbleUpon’ or +1 the content lets search engines know what an actual human thinks about the content rather than taking only the opinion of a bot/crawler.

A few years back, search engine rankings did not take location into consideration. The first result for a keyword search would remain the same irrespective of the location the search originated from. Today, all search providers have in effect walled off the search results to pertain to a particular country by introducing country specific domains. Further, users who have location tracking services enabled get results that are localized and tailored to their needs. In this scenario, SEO efforts become a balancing act. Internet marketers need to optimize the websites after getting a clear understanding of the business local and international reach. This will have an impact on the relevant traffic the website receives. There are definitely more things on an Internet marketer’s plate to care of today but the SEO still constitute a lion share of his efforts.

Article written by Andrea Walters, a freelance writer for www.globalx.net – The Nation’s Lowest All-Digital Price Provider. Click here for more info about Globalx.

1. The State of SEO and Internet Marketing in 2012 – Aug 20, 2012
2. Banner blindness – Wikipedia

The presentation is created by Rand from SEOmoz and Dharmesh from HubSpot, and these guys kicked some educational asses.

There are some really great information for SEO industry in this slideshow, like the fact that we reached 3 billion searches per day in 2012 and that’s double when comparing with 2011.
Also, 75% of clicks are going to organic results, not the paid ads and that more then 50% of search queries have no paid ads at all (great info for PPC guys).

Check out the rest of the slideshow and soak the knowledge.

Check out all 39 slides and learn what was and what will be in the world of Internet marketing.

Optimizing your site is something you should be constantly working on. Read this article to find out how to keep your SEO campaign up-to-date.

Some of your keywords might not remain popular. That’s the tough truth. As your online business grows, people will become more familiar with your products and perhaps use more specific keywords. Your brand could even become a strong keyword if you are able to develop a good branding strategy. Keep checking search volumes on Google Ad Words and other similar tools and use a good analytical plug-in to find out how people found your site. You should also monitor how your website ranks on different search engines for specific keywords to make sure your SEO campaign is efficient. There are quite a few websites with great rankings tools or options, like Raven Tools or toolbox at SEOmoz. Both of these tools are pretty pricy but definitely worth evey penny when it comes to tracking your SEO campaign.

seo tools
SEOmoz tools – image by authoritydomains.com

Keep your site well organized as you add more content. You should create an archive for your old articles and organize them by themes instead of in a chronological manner. Avoid changing the URLs of your pages in case there are backlinks that are still active and popular. If certain links are still bringing a lot of traffic to pages that are no longer relevant to your campaign, you should make a few changes to these pages. Add links to newer pages or use a 301 redirections to take this traffic to a new page.

Your old backlinks could still be useful, even if they are no longer attracting any traffic. Create a new level of back-links to direct traffic to the pages where there are prominent links to your content. For instance, if you posted a lot of links to your content on message boards, you should look for similar discussions on different message boards and post a link to the old discussion where you answered with a link to your content. If bloggers or webmasters have written articles containing links to your content, you should help them get this content featured in online magazines or on popular sites.

SEO Campaign
Image by www.netlz.com

Stay up-to-date with the sites and blogs your target audience visits. You need to get links from the most popular sites and perhaps join new social networks. Consumer surveys are a good way to stay current with trends, but you could also join message boards or keep track of what your customers share on social networks. Look for ways to integrate new trends into your campaign and do not hesitate to try new things. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing and expect them to copy you if you find a successful technique. Select your keywords smartly and get back-links on new popular sites before they do. If you find that the competition for a certain keyword is too strong, focus on another aspect of your campaign to get ahead of your competitors by reaching out to a niche they are not aware of yet.

Apply these tips and take the time to do some lite research on a regular basis. Do not hesitate to try new SEO techniques and reach out to new niches: this is how you will keep your online business going.

A common misconception amongst businesses is the belief that anyone can perform SEO (search engine optimisation). Of course, injecting popular keywords into your content and linking your pages to appropriate pages will help to raise your rankings; however there is more to SEO than managing the visibility of your content.

There are other elements to take into consideration such as: competition (the more websites competing for one keyword, the harder it will be for you to rank for it) and reputation (top SEO services post relevant articles across directories and appropriate sites, to increase your links and more importantly build up your reputation).

For this reason, we strongly recommend employing the services of an SEO team.

They can help you to ascertain what are the best words to target on your website; manage your content and more importantly help to increase traffic/conversions to your website.

But where do you start?

You want your website to do well, so it only makes sense that you want to employ the best SEO team. And the easiest way we have found to narrow this list, is implementing the following tactics.

  1. Where do they rank?It makes sense that as an SEO company, they should rank well.

    Yes, you could argue that there is a lot of competition in this field, meaning a team on page 1 of Google may only be slightly better than one on page 4, and yes, a quality SEO team that is part of a digital design agency may not rank as high as others as their site is targeting other design related phrases. However, the higher they rank for phrases such as ‘SEO services’ or ‘Digital Design Agency’, the more confident you can be that they can offer your website similar results.

    So do a search, see how well they rank on search engines and then compare their fees, so you can pick the best company for you.

  2. Have they got certificates?A good thing to look for when comparing SEO companies is whether they have got ‘SEO certification’. These certifications are designed to prove the ability of an SEO team as their skills have been evaluated.

    So when you are looking at different SEO teams, look to see if they have been granted these certifications. Find one on their website and you can feel confident that they meet the standard.

Now, these are just 2 of the many tricks you can use to help you find the best SEO companies in the field. And we think you’ll agree that they will certainly make a difference when helping you to narrow down your list.

seo process
Image by increaserss.com

However, if you are struggling we suggest doing the following:

  • What is their portfolio of work? What other websites are they working on? How are these websites ranking? Ask for data/references and check to see if they have managed a website in your industry niche before.
  • Ask for references. If possible try speaking to previous clients to see what they are like to work with; the results they have produced and how their websites are doing now.
  • What services do they offer? A SEO team that forms part of a digital design agency may not rank as high in Google as independent SEO companies (as they will be targeting a larger range of keywords); however they may be able to offer you a range of other services i.e. web design, email marketing, content etc that can prove beneficial to your business in other ways.
  • What tactics do they plan to use on your website? Alongside their quote, get them to put together a proposal containing their research, statistics and predicted projections. Essentially get them to outline exactly what they believe they can do for your business.

Finding a quality SEO team is within your research, so try implementing the tips above and make your search even easier.

This article was written by the web design agency, Soula Ltd

So many website owners believe Search Engine Optimization is magical, at least that is how they act when the topic of SEO comes up. I almost always hear black hat Search Engine Optimization techniques when people talk about how they get traffic to their Website. When I tell someone that their advertising strategy is black hat, they look at me like I am speaking another language.

What is a black hat?

I always explain that the term black hat originates from Country Westerns where the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys wear black hats. When the term black hat is used in reference to Search Engine Optimization, it means you are doing something very stupid and while it might be helping your site right now, it will destroy your site in the long run.

Some very popular black hat SEO techniques that we will be covering and explaining why they are bad will be keyword stuffing and abusing HTML code.

What is Keyword stuffing?

Keyword stuffing can be done in several ways and all of them are very bad and will get your website removed from search engines, so your site really is invisible. One popular way to stuff keywords is to write the same word or a variation of words over and over on a page to up your SEO traffic. You may see a boost in traffic to your site, but how long do those people stay at your site? Most likely less than 3 seconds, just enough time to hit the back key. Another popular keyword stuffing technique is to do what is listed above, but make the words invisible so people won’t see them. People may not see them, but Search Engines will! If you view the source of the webpage you will see the so called “hidden” text. These techniques are surefire ways to get you banned from search engines like Google.

What is HTML code?

HTML code is the most popular language used to write a website in. HTML is very easy to learn, but also very easy to abuse. People who are desperate for traffic will hear about metadata description tags (that is already out-dated as an on-site optimization source  for better rankings) and that search engines use them to help rank a website. Some people will fill the description tag to the brim with words that are irrelevant to their site. People will not want to go to a site that has a description that makes no sense and search engines will remove you for this or at least lower your ranking on their search engine. Another form of abusing the description tag is stuffing it full of words that are relevant to your site, but put together make no sense whatsoever. Sure, you may have a site about electronics and technology, but having your description just full of words that have to do with electronics and technology, well that will get you banned. A well written description uses terms that are searched for a lot and has to do with what your site is about.

Black Hat SEO
Image by Searchenginepeople.com

Another abused tag is H1.
H1 stands for Header 1, which is the biggest font that HTML generates on its own. This tag is used for titles of a blog or the title of a page, but some people decide to use h1 for their entire site. Yup, this will really hurt your sites ranking when the search engines find out and trust me they will find out. two last abused tags are the strong tag and the b tag, they both do the same exact thing, they make the text bold, but to much bold text can be bad for a site. Bold text is used to say something is important. I know your entire site is important, but you have to decide which words or sentences should be in bold. This is very important, because if bold is used properly it will raise your ranking with the search engines, but if used improperly, well the search engines may find it as spam.

In conclusion, if you need your site to show up well on a search engine do a lot of research on SEO, watch videos by Matt Cutts, the lead anti-spam Engineer that works at Google and if you can’t learn SEO, then hire a firm that does it for a living. Be careful when hiring a firm, because there are a lot of firms out there that still practice black hat SEO, so the least you should do is tell them not to do anything that I list as being black hat.

This article has been written by Ryan Satterfield from Planetzuda.com, a game reviews, tech news and reviews website.