Disclosure (full version here): Some of the links you’ll encounter are affiliate links. If you click and buy something, I may get a commission. Thank you!
For some reason, most of the blog posts explaining how affiliate links work are talking about it from the consumers’ point of view.
Since my goal is to help educate affiliate marketers, I thought it wise to create a version that best serves you.
If you’re in the affiliate marketing space, then I’m sure you already know what affiliate links are; however you shouldn’t leave this page yet.
Because In this post; you will:
not only learn what affiliate links are,
but exactly how they work,
and how to use them the right way to make more sales and blow up your affiliate earnings.
Excited to learn more?
Don’t answer it!
It was a rhetorical question 🙂
Table of Contents
What Are Affiliate Links Exactly? And How Do They Work?
Affiliate links look no different from any other link on a website. In fact they look exactly the same as their outbound and inbound brethren.
So, affiliate links too are used to connect web pages.
The only difference here is that affiliate marketers use their “special” links to monetize a website or a campaign. They hope that many a visitor clicks on their links; and that they proceed to buy something, thus earning a commission for the marketer.
Here is another special thing you need to know about affiliate links. They save cookies into the visitor’s browser.
What are cookies? Are they sweet? Can I eat them?
No you can’t 😉
Cookies are small files containing non-personalized information about the visitor.
type of browser,
when did the click happen
Generally, the function of the cookies is to help the merchant’s website determine the website the customer came from. And if a sale occurs, that is how the merchant knows whom to pay out their affiliate commissions.
On average, cookies are active for 30 days. But there are plenty of exceptions.
Imagine a visitor clicks on your affiliate link, visits the web page, likes the product but decides not to purchase at that time. That must mean you have lost on commissions even if they went back directly and purchased later.
Well, no 😎
The beauty of cookies is that even if the visitor goes back and makes a purchase days later, the sale will be recorded under your account (as long as they don’t clear they cache and are not browsing in Private mode.)
Now let’s get into the actionable parts of the post.
How to Write Effective Content That Both Helps and Sells?
Just having your affiliate links slapped on a page will not guarantee success. Your content has to sell them on why it’s important to click; and what they’ll lose if they don’t.
So here’s how to achieve that;
Step #1- Research Keywords People Search for
Before you do anything, it’s vital to know who’s your audience and:
what they want;
what they need;
what their pain points are?
Once you know that stuff, it’s easy to craft content that solves your reader’s problems, while also lining your pockets with affiliate commissions.
Now, here’s how to get unlimited blog content ideas
For example here; what I get when I type “is coffee healthy”
That’s dozens of easy keywords, ripe for the taking!
Step #3- Chose a Keyword and Write a Post Targeting it
Once you’ve researched your keyword, make a decision and choose the one that you think would most resonate with your target audience.
While choosing a keyword, make sure to focus on long-tail keywords. In this day and age, there’s a stack of content online and it’s impossible to rank for short keywords.
So for example, you should never try to rank for “Coffee”
But you could and should target “is coffee healthy for weight loss”?
Put yourself in their shoes and try to think like they think. What do they REALLY want when they type keyword X into Google search? Approach it that way and you will easily create content that resonates with your tribe.
Pro tip #2
For any post you write on your website, always have a product you can promote in a subtle way. And one that ties in nicely with your blog post’s theme.
For example, I know that folks searching for “how do affiliate links work” are beginners and as such will benefit from an organized training that can teach them the basics of affiliate marketing. That is why throughout this post I promoted Wealthy Affiliate, a platform where I first started with online marketing.
They helped me, and I know they can help you too.
Step #3- Optimize Your Content With Basic On-Page SEO
As you write your article, it’s important to do basic on-page SEO right. It’s because these SEO elements are clues to Google on what you page is about and with higher relevancy, you will rank better, faster and with less backlinks needed.
Here’s on-page SEO in a nutshell:
Keyword to SEO title-. SEO title is the single most important on-page SEO factor. You need to have your keyword in there
Keyword in headline– good for SEO but also a clue to the visitors they’re on the right page.
Keyword in the first 100 words of your content. Using your keyphrase early in the post helps Google understand your content’s topic better
Keyword in sub-headline- this isn’t necessary; but it is helpful (however, it has to make sense- don’t stuff keywords where they don’t belong).
Keyword in content– try to get your target keyword at least once in the middle and conclusion.
Keyword in meta description. Not a ranking factor, but can boost your CTR (keyword in meta description get’s bolded in the SERPS)
Step #4- Place Links Strategically Throughout Content
When placing your affiliate links in your content, you should be strategic and intentional about how you do it.
Here are some pro tips for you;
a) Make them isolated
Make sure your affiliate links are not competing with other links on the page. Isolate them to get maximum attention.
b) Affiliate links anchor text- make it descriptive and longer
When a link is descriptive it means it tells folks exactly where it leads. And when it’s descriptive it’s automatically longer which makes it more noticeable (especially if it’s a lone link in a sea of text).
c) Make them pop at you by creating a button in the middle of the post
Want to boost your CTR for a specific link? Then create a button to hold that link.
This will make it unavoidable to the eye and very click-worthy..
For example, the button below leads to my button making guide.
You see it because it’s impossible to miss it.
It’s not an affiliate link button, but no matter. The concept is still valid.
Note: click the link above if you need to learn how and why to cloak affiliate links.
#2- No-Follow Affiliate Links
By nofollowing affiliate links, you’re telling search engines that they should not count them as backlinks, i.e., as votes for the merchant’s site. This saves you from a major headache of getting a search engine penalty.
The good news is, if you use link cloaking plugins I mentioned above, you can set them up so they automatically nofollow cloaked links.
#3- Try Banner Ads for Increased CTR
Use banner ads sporadically. They really don’t work as they used to in the past and the keyword here is “sporadically”.
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