What is SEO?
You May Be Asking, Why Do I Need SEO?
The answer is, you may not. If your strategy is just to gain visitors from other channels such as social media or paid advertising, then perhaps you don’t, but it won’t hurt.
Search engines are great as they are a gateway for people who are looking for what you offer, therefore providing you with targeted traffic. If a search engine can’t find your website because it doesn’t have some basic SEO elements, you are missing out on some amazing opportunities.
Investing time in SEO or paying someone else to work on it for you can have an exceptional rate of return compared to other types of marketing and promotion, but you should aim to have a good mix of traffic sources to spread the risk.
Will Google Find My Site Without SEO?
Search Engines like Google are getting smarter each day. They continually change the criteria they look for when crawling (looking through) websites to ensure they are providing their visitors with the most relevant results.
These changes are called algorithm updates and may change the positon a website ranks for within the search results
Despite search engines being very clever, they still need a helping hand. The right SEO can mean many more visitors and much more attention for your website and brand. The wrong SEO, or no SEO at all will hide your website deep down in the pages, where no one will look. How often do you look past the first or second page when searching on Google?
The internet becomes more competitive every day and those who perform good SEO will have a distinct advantage over those who don’t.
You can do SEO yourself, but it can become complex. However, anyone who has a website and wants to attract visitors can easily understand the basics and even a small amount of knowledge on the subject will make a big difference.
Setting Up Your Website For SEO
Choosing Your Brand And Domain Name
At the initial set-up stage, the first thing you’ll want to consider is what domain name you’ll register for your website. Google has invested a lot of time in monitoring the usage of exact match and partial match domain names to ensure they aren’t being used to obtain an unfair advantage in their search results. This means you don’t have to worry too much about your domain name matching the product your users are searching for.
In fact, you can effectively rank a website with a brand name even if it doesn’t relate to the product you are trying to sell. Partial match domain names like collagenproductreviews.com should be the perfect domain for a collagen product website. It creates a unique brand name while also making it clear to the user what the brand does. It also helps with link anchor text by encouraging links to the home page to include the word collagen in them.
As affiliates, even though you are promoting external brands, you still want to create your own brand for your site. Creating your own brand is essential if you wish to appear authoritative within your chosen niche.
The advantage of having a unique brand and product name is clear: it provides more legal protection over your identity, allowing you to trademark your name. In addition, if you’re looking to register a company that matches your brand name, then you should check this is available too.
Another essential check to make before purchasing your domain name is that you’re able to register social profiles that are intuitive. Imagine having to use the Twitter username XYZcollagen_123 because someone had already taken XYZcollagen – you immediately look less professional.
The final important factor to consider when choosing your brand name is what top-level domain (TLD) you want to use. If you’re targeting a specific country then it may be best to use a country code top-level domain (ccTLD). However, if you’re looking to have a global audience it may be best to register a global top-level domain (gTLD) such as website.com. In addition, you can also consider the new TLDs such as .club, .diet and .london as viable choices; recent studies have shown they are fully capable of ranking as well as a .com domain.
You just need to remember that while Google may treat new TLDs equally, users might not. We’re all so used to .com and .co.uk domain names that something as bonkers as collagen.ninja won’t be as memorable, making it harder for users to return directly to your site.
Choosing The Correct Hosting
When thinking about SEO it’s easy to get absorbed in creating great content to the extent that you overlook the fundamentals. Choosing the correct host for your website really can be make or break for your website: poor hosting slows down load time and increases bounce rate due to the poor user experience. If you don’t choose wisely when considering your host, you really aren’t giving yourself the best chance of success. If you’re unsure what you’re looking for, it may be wise to outsource this to an experienced systems administrator or DevOps.
A significant aspect to consider when choosing a website host is its geographical location and how this may affect load times for your users. While geographical proximity doesn’t guarantee faster loading times due to the weird and wonderful ways that traffic is routed on the web, it is a great starting point to host in the same country as your target audience.
If you’re using a gTLD, then hosting in the UK may indicate that you’re targeting a UK audience to Google. If your actual primary target is the US, then it may be better to host somewhere closer to your audience. Over time when scaling up your website, you may choose to host localised sites in different countries and use a service such as AWS Route 53 to route traffic to the correct server based on their location or response time.
Setting Up A Well-Optimised Site
Set up your URL structure
You’ll want to immediately change your permalink structure otherwise each blog post will display something like: https://website.com/?p=3 rather than: https://website.com/xyz-collagen-review. The latter is going to be more search engine and user friendly, as it describes the nature of the page content.
The most commonly recommended setting is ‘post name’ so that all posts display as https://website.com/post-name/. We’ve seen best success with this set-up rather than a custom structure such as /%category%/%postname%/, especially for smaller websites. If you’re expecting to create a lot of content, it may be worth reconsidering your URL structure to prevent your site from becoming bloated with all posts existing directly off the root.
Don’t discourage search engines from indexing the site
This is pretty obvious but in Settings > Reading if you tick the box to discourage search engines from indexing the site, you will not rank. Even if you only wish to prevent Google from indexing while you’re developing the domain, it can sometimes be tricky to reverse the process once you’ve actually ticked the box!
We’ve seen mixed results and have even seen Google refuse to index a site for almost a week after the option was unticked, with the page eventually having to be found through the Google Search Console.
The only exception to this rule is if you have a separate address for development domains. For example, if we ran dev.xyzcollagen.com we may choose to specify that this should not be indexed, but it’s best to prevent Google accessing the site by restricting access by IP in .htaccess.
As mentioned above in the hosting section, loading time is something to be aware of.
Website speed is made up of 2 parts; crawl time, which is how long it takes the search engine to download your URL and raw code; and render time, which is how long it takes the page to load for your visitor in the way it is meant to be seen.
If your site is slow, search engine bots will be able to download fewer of your pages in a single session which may impact the speed your content gets indexed. Slow sites can be penalised by both Google and Bing, but from an SEO perspective it is unclear whether actual site speed is a positive factor.
What is clear is that site speed affects user experience. Studies have shown that 40% of visitors would abandon a site that takes over 3 seconds to load and 75% wouldn’t return to a site that takes over 4 seconds. Bounce rate (number of visitors that quickly go back to the search results page and choose another website without a new search) and dwell time (amount of time visitors spend on your site) are considered as possible ranking factors and your site speed could impact both of these.
Google have signalled that site speed is important to them with their Page Speed Insights tool and instructions on how to improve, as well as other projects such as Accelerated Mobile Pages.
To improve your site speed:
- First test your speed using Google’s tool or another tool such as Pingdom
- Check your site is loading scripts asynchronously (meaning these are downloaded in the background rather than making users wait for them to load for the page content to render), your images and files are compressed, and your site is using caching.
- Implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN) which means instead of users being served content from just one server in the location your site is hosted, they are served content from a server that is geographically closest to them. This will be particularly beneficial if your visitors are spread worldwide or if you target users are in France, for example, but your site is hosted in the US.
- Consider upgrading your hosting. Most affiliates will start out on cheap shared hosting and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. But once your site is getting a high volume of visitors, upgrading to premium hosting will speed up your site and improve user experience. By switching to a virtual private server or dedicated server you’re no longer having to share resources with hundreds or thousands of other websites. So when your visitor clicks on your site the speed at which it loads isn’t affected by other sites’ traffic, only yours, so you can optimise it to load quicker.
Schema markup is code you add to your site to tell search engines what your content is about. Not just the words but the meaning and context of that content.
If you have an article about avatar for example, are you writing about a type of profile picture or the movie. The other words you use in your article should help Google decide, but schema markup will make this clear from the start.
If your page is an informational blog post, a review page, or an ecommerce page you can use the relevant schema markup to highlight that you think your page should be shown for informational queries, review queries or buying queries.
As well as informing Google, certain types of schema markup are shown in the search results page in the form of “rich snippets”. This includes things such as star ratings for review, product prices, recipe information such as calories and timings etc.
These help your website stand out in the search results page, give the searcher info upfront on what they can expect and studies have suggested can lead to up to 30% increase in click through rate vs sites without rich snippets.
So whilst Google’s John Mueller has said that schema markup is not currently used for rankings (directly at any rate) but may be in the future, there are already some clear benefits to adding it.
Schema markup code can be added in a few ways:
- Find the code directly at schema.org and add it to your site
- Use Google’s Data Highlighter tool in Search Console
- Use a plugin such as the free All in One Schema.org, the premium Yoast plugin or WP Rich Snippets
Adding schema markup doesn’t guarantee Google will show your rich snippets in the search results, but if you haven’t added it then they certainly won’t!
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has changed lots in recent years. This lesson will guide you on which are the most important on-page SEO basics in order to grow your affiliate site’s organic traffic and rank better.
1. Optimize your site around one topic or specific keyword
Ensure that each of your pages are optimized around one specific topic or keyword. Your main keyword for each page should naturally appear in on-page elements such as page title, main heading, image alt text, images and of course, naturally throughout your page content. Keep in mind that the natural flow is very, very important as you need to write for your audience and not for search engines.
2. Optimize URL structure – Short, descriptive and helpful
Search engines use the URL to determine, amongst others, the page rank. This is why it is crucial to ensure that your URL is easy for search engine spiders to crawl.
Good example: www.myaffiliatesite.com/page-name
Bad example: www.myaffiliatesite.com/p=129
If your URL is short and in line with your page´s topic, this will help the search engines to categorize and evaluate your site. It´s also recommend to use Google Webmasters Tool to find potential crawl errors.
3. Optimize meta titles and meta descriptions
The meta title is used by search engines to display a specific page in their search results. It basically tells users and search engines what the page is about, so make sure to add your main keyword or page topic at the front of the title.
Google only displays up to 60 characters in the page title, so ensure you don’t use more. Make it compelling so that readers want to click through and read more.
The meta description is also a factor contributing to on-page optimisation as this is the first introduction the potential consumer will have with your site. In order to get their attention and encourage them to click through from the search engine results page, the meta description should be no longer than 155 characters and should be a compelling description of what the site will offer the consumer.
4. Optimize image alt tags
When you upload an image, always ensure you add a unique keyword to the image alt text and file name. This allows search engines to “read” what the image is displaying and rank it accordingly.
5. Optimize site speed
Site speed matters more than ever and is a very important ranking factor. Site speed improves the user experience and that matters to you as an affiliate as well as to search engines. So what can you do to optimise your site speed?
- Test your site speed i.e. via Google´s page speed tool here
- Avoid a high amount of images and embedded videos
- Avoid a high amount of plugins
- Ensure that your web server has enough capacity to handle your affiliate site(s)
6. Optimize your site via https
Google has made it clear that https is important to them, hence it´s also a ranking factor in their algorithm. What does this mean for affiliates? HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) ensures that your affiliate website is encrypted and cannot be hacked. As a result, we think it´s important for affiliates to secure their sites with HTTPS.
7. Optimize your site for mobile
We can´t stress this factor enough. At the time of writing, about 50% of organic traffic is coming from mobile devices and numbers are growing. In addition, Google now favours mobile friendly sites. Therefore, it´s not a revelation that your affiliate sites should be mobile-friendly too. To start with, we recommend using responsive website designs for each affiliate site.
8. Optimize with the aim to achieve natural inbound links
In order to grow your organic traffic it´s important to work on getting natural links pointing to your site. We’ll talk more about this in one of the following lessons.
9. Optimize header tags
The H1 tag is your headline tag and helps search engines to find out what the content of your specific page is about. WordPress usually adds the H1 tag to your post title but some themes override that rule, so it is worth double-checking. You should also ensure that each H1 tag is unique on your site.
10. Optimize your content quality
You know by now that content is king and this is absolutely true. Since the Google Panda update, thin and duplicated content is no longer an option. Affiliates need unique, well-researched and informative content that people want to read and share. Adding value to your audience is a very important affiliate task. Write your content for your users and ensure that it is of an adequate length in order to provide all the relevant information a user is looking for (our recommendation is 500-1500 words).
Below, you can see a good summary of important on-page factors which you as affiliate have direct control over in order to improve your sites SEO.
How Google’s Algorithm Works
The title of this module is a little bit misleading because there is no-one who can tell you exactly how Google works and how it determines which websites to show for which queries. However there are many things we do know and on top of the Ranking Factors that we introduced in a previous lesson, it is also a good idea to have a broad understanding of how the algorithm works and where it’s heading.
Firstly it’s important to understand that Google is making small updates to it’s algorithm throughout the year and is also crawling your site and your competitors sites with its bots to check for any changes, so there is potential for your site to move in the search rankings due to these.
From time to time though Google makes a big named change to its algorithm and gives us some information about what it relates to. SEO practitioners then try to understand more about these changes and how they can use them / beat them. Ultimately for most affiliates it makes sense to understand how you can work with these changes for a long-term sustainable business model.
The Panda update first rolled out in February 2011 and is focused around identifying quality sites (or more precisely those that do not live up to these standards). It isn’t related to backlinks, but is purely about onsite quality. If Panda determines that your site is low quality, this can affect rankings for every page of your site.
Google Panda aims to give users the best, most useful results in response to their search query. The key to ranking well is to provide unique, in-depth content that fully covers the topic of your article (and therefore the user’s search query). You should think about how you can make your article better than all other articles on the same topic.
Panda has primarily penalised the following:
- Thin content – content which does not cover the topic fully and therefore isn’t helpful to searchers. 200-300 words is unlikely to be sufficient to fully cover a topic so spend time on your content and write in-depth articles 1000 words+, each word of which adds value for your reader.
- Duplicate content – if your content is a copied from a source which can be seen elsewhere, either on another website or within your own website, then Google isn’t interested in showing this copy to their users. Make sure your content is original and if you do have duplicate content that can’t be avoided let Google know about it by using the rel=”canonical” tag or other relevant Google solution. Google does say that duplicate content will only be penalised if they consider it is intended to manipulate their results.
- Low quality content – content perhaps that is keyword stuffed, unreadable and not intended to help the searcher but only to rank in Google.
To evaluate your own content you may find it useful to consider the questions included halfway down this post by Google.
The last announced update of Panda was in July 2015. Since then Google have confirmed that it is part of their core algorithm, meaning it is unlikely future Panda related updates will be announced but that it is continuously being used to determine rankings. It still isn’t a real-time update however, so be aware that if you do get penalised as a low quality site it may still take time to regain your rankings even after you have made changes to your content.
Website owners first saw the impact of Penguin in April 2012 and it came as a massive blow to many SEO practitioners. Google uses links to your site as recommendations that it is good quality and that people like it and find it useful. However once SEOs worked this out they were able to come up with ways to manipulate it and aimed to get as many links to their site as possible in order to rank well. Penguin was Google fighting back and penalising sites they deem to have unnatural links, to try to get back to the position of a link being a vote of confidence for a site again.
Penguin includes any of the following as an unnatural link:
- Paid or incentivised links – if a website owner has literally given money in exchange for a link or has otherwise offered some kind of incentive such as a free product or other benefit
- Link exchanges – website owners linking to each other in order to improve rankings, whether this is webmaster A linking to webmaster B and vice versa or a more complex arrangement
- Automated programs or services – any automated method of creating links back to your site would be unnatural
- Low quality directory or bookmark links – again these are easy to create yourself and therefore not a vote for your site
- Forum comments – comments or signatures with optimised links
- Article marketing / press releases – posting articles on article directory sites or creating free press releases with keyword rich anchor text (anchor text is the text within the article that is hyperlinked).
- Guest posting – this is a more recent addition as low quality article marketers turned to guest posting on other websites. Google say large-scale guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text are the ones they penalise. Advice is do guest blog but not for links, but for brand exposure and traffic, and to “nofollow” links.
To fully comply with Google’s guidelines you should be aiming to create fantastic content that earns links, rather than creating links yourself. Get some tips in our Link Building lesson.
Unlike Penguin and Panda which were algorithm changes, bolt-ons if you like, Hummingbird was a rewrite of the core algorithm. It uses some of the previous algorithm including Penguin and Panda but also adds in some new elements. The key change with Hummingbird was introducing a better understanding of exactly what the user is searching for. Rather than matching the exact keywords that are used in the search, Hummingbird aims to understand the intention and provide the best result to answer that query.
For example Google understands that diet pill and weight loss pill are the same thing! It also understands that people use generic words such as place instead of keywords such as store or shop or restaurant.
The key learning to take from this is that whilst keywords are still important, you shouldn’t focus purely on a specific term but instead focus on writing about the topic as a whole. Still use your preferred keyword in your URL, title tag and the first paragraph of your content. But don’t stuff that same keyword all the way through. Instead use words that fit in naturally and are related to your main keyword and the topic you’re writing about. Google use synonyms and other related keywords to help them identify what your page is about (known as latent semantic indexing). Google shows you Related Searches at the bottom of the search results page for a particular query, and also emboldens words that match, or which it considers related, in the search results.
Mobile-Friendly Update / Mobilegeddon
In April 2015 Google began using mobile friendliness as a search ranking factor. In the same year they said that mobile searches now make up a higher % of the queries than desktop, meaning this update impacts over 50% of search results.
For the initial roll-out of the mobile friendly update, Google determined whether the site was mobile friendly or not using a simple yes / no. It either is mobile friendly or it is not, no levels of mobile friendliness. It also gave the results based on individual pages, which meant sites could create mobile optimised landing pages for their key organic traffic pages so these were classed as mobile friendly, whilst giving visitors a poorer experience on the rest of the site.
Following the mobile-friendly update release it’s important to make sure you have a mobile version of your site, probably by choosing a responsive wordpress theme, and you can check this using Google’s mobile friendly test.
Google announced they would be increasing the impact of the mobile-friendly algorithm in 2016, although other factors such as content and links (authority) remain the most important ranking factors.
Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird are three parts of the Google Algorithm that have affected affiliates over recent years and which you can work with to help you rank better now. But how about the future, what is coming next that you should be aware of? One of the answers may be RankBrain.
RankBrain is already starting to impact search results since 2015, but currently is only a part of the algorithm working alongside all the other parts. That said it is already said to be the third most important search ranking factor, after links and content. We can see RankBrain playing an even bigger role as it develops further though, which you’ll understand more once you know what RankBrain is.
RankBrain is Google’s AI (artificial intelligence) system meaning that it teaches itself and learns as it goes rather than being programmed by humans. Google say that 15% of search queries have never been seen by them before. So RankBrain works to understand the intent of these searches and what results they are looking for in order to show the searcher the best websites to answer their query. It’s suggested that it does this by understanding patterns and looking at new complex, long-tail searches and connecting them to related more common searches that it has seen before. In this sense it’s an extension of what Hummingbird was designed to do, but whereas in Hummingbird the rules are set by humans, RankBrain is developing the ability to create these rules itself.
This suggests a few implications to be aware of:
- CTR (Click Through Rate) may impact your rankings – if you get a lower CTR for a particular search term than your competitors sites then for future queries you may rank lower, and likewise if you’re getting a higher CTR your position may improve. Optimising your Title Tags and Descriptions will therefore be increasingly important, and you’ll want to combine keywords with psychological triggers that make people click. Whilst the impact to your rankings is something for the future, optimising these factors could help increase traffic to your site right now.
- Bounce Rate – RankBrain is likely to also be looking to see if you found what you were looking for when you clicked through. If your site has a higher bounce rate than competitor results then it would determine it should show your competitor sites for similar queries in future. Again, while bounce rate doesn’t seem to be a factor in itself right now, work you do onsite to improve your visitor experience and decrease your bounce rate will benefit you immediately.
As yet, Google has confirmed very little about RankBrain and potential impact is based on educated speculation. It’s certainly something to be aware of though, and to look out for updates on in the months and years that follow.
Current Ranking Factors
This changes all the time, but there is always information on this type of thing on the internet, so have a Google and see what you can find.
As of early 2015, Google uses around 200 different factors to rank a website; a huge number to comprehend when you are just starting out. To make it even more complex, not all of these are of equal importance. Some are must haves and others may not make a difference in your niche.
Below, you will find a list of the most important ranking factors to get you started.
The way your page is written and optimised has the most effect on its rankings. This is where the user experience and “writing for the visitor” comes in. Here are the page optimization factors that can affect its search visibility.
1. Keyword in meta title
The meta title is one of the strongest relevancy signals for a search engine, as well as for the visitor when they are looking through the search results. The tag itself is meant to give an accurate description of a pages content. Search engines use it to display the main title of a search result. For example, when you search for “best dog foods”, this is the number one result. The top line is the meta title.
Including a keyword or words such as “best dog foods” in the meta title will indicate to the search engine that you want to rank your page for that word or term, because that is what your page is about.
Ideally, the keyword should be placed at the start of the title tag, because Google weights them, meaning they see the first words as the most important. Pages optimized this way will rank better than those with keywords closer to the title’s end. However, do not cram your meta title full of keywords. Try to have a different “main” keyword or term for each page on your website. It has to reflect what the page is about.
Google displays the first 50-60 characters of your meta title, so try to keep them around this length to get your message across.
2. Keyword in description tag
The importance of this for search engines is under debate. Nonetheless, it still plays an important role for the visitor. Using the same example, the black writing is the meta description.
A good meta description is crucial for helping visitors click through from the search results pages. Including keywords makes it more relevant to a search engine and a searcher. Again, no spamming. Tell your visitor in around 155 characters what they can expect from your page and include your “main” keyword once and perhaps some other relevant words such as ‘dry’, ‘wet’, ‘organic’ etc. This will help if people are searching for best dry dog foods or best organic dog food etc.
3. Keyword in H1 tag
The H1 tag is yet another factor that Google look at. There is some discussion once again about the importance for search engines, but it is also useful for the visitor so definitely good practice. You should ensure that all your website pages have a unique H1 tag – no two pages should have the same H1 tag. In our example, this page’s might be “Best Dog Foods” or “Top 10 Best Dog Food”. This confirms with Google that this is what the page is about.
4. Using keywords in the page copy
You used to be able to stuff the page full of your keyword. Mentioning “best dog foods” as many times as possible on your page would have been a sure way to increase your rankings for that term. But this is no longer the case.
Using keywords in your content is still used as a relevancy signal of what the content is about, but you must be careful. The best thing to do is to write the content keeping your keywords in mind, but do not purposefully add them. If you are talking about the subject, your keywords should naturally appear within your content in the right way. Don’t forget to use other relevant words around the subject, as these are also important. Target your content towards your visitors, solving their issues and answering their questions. Don’t try and target Google, you will fail.
5. Length of content
People tend to search Google to educate themselves on one subject or another (unless they are looking for funny cat videos). They will not be satisfied with small pieces of basic information. Google therefore looks for authoritative and informative content to rank first. So it makes sense that the longer your content, the greater the chance you have covered more aspects of your chosen subject. Don’t shy away from writing long content. Just make sure that it is really useful and consider your layout to ensure you don’t overwhelm your visitor.
6. Duplicate content
This is more of a what not to do. Duplicate content is a big no no. Ensure that the content you use is unique to your site. If not, this will have a negative impact on your rankings. So please don’t steal someone else’s content. It works in the same way on your own site. Having similar content across different pages of your website can actually hurt your rankings. Avoid duplicating content and write original copy for each page.
7. Canonical tag
This helps search engines to identify legitimate reasons for duplicate content, and therefore not penalise you for having duplicate content.
Some example of this are:
- Mobile URL – when using a mobile URL such as m.myawesomeaffiliatesite.com for the mobile version of your site, as the content is likely to be very similar to the main domain.
- Multiple URLs – this is more common on eCommerce websites when URLs are created for filters, such as category pages with pagination; IE page 1,2,3 and if you have a view all filter, this will show the same content.
- HTTP, HTTPS & WWW – search engines see http://www. myawesomeaffiliatesite.com, http:// myawesomeaffiliatesite.com and https://www. myawesomeaffiliatesite.com as different pages, and will crawl (and possibly index) them as such, giving Google the impression that there are 2 or 3 different versions of your home page, when there isn’t.
When having two URLs is unavoidable, use a canonical tag on your site. This tag tells Google that one URL is the same as another, clearly showing that in spite of two pages having the same content, they are in fact one.
How to add canonical tags
Here is an example of a canonical tag:
The good news is that WordPress helps you a great deal automatically. For example, it adds rel=canonical to your tags and post types etc., meaning you won’t be penalised by Google for having category pages or an overview page of your posts. It tells Google which pages are the main ones without you doing anything. Thank you WordPress!
However, if, for example, you wanted to quote a large piece of text from Wikipedia on your site, you would use the following link on your page:
This tells Google you are using content from a different website and you are giving them the credit for it. This will not give your site or theirs any SEO value, but it will stop you from being penalised. So if you need to quote something for your visitors benefit then use it. If not, just write your own content.
8. Image Optimization
It’s not just the words on your website that can be optimized; images and other media can be to. It’s important that your images have alt text, a caption and description as this once again is a relevance factor for Google. It will also help your images appear in the image search.
9. Content Updates
Google prefers content to be as up to date as possible, so if you just write the content for your website and leave it, you will slowly slip down the rankings. However, Google also understands that some things, such as product descriptions, are hard to update and refresh. But if you have a blog or review site, you should be adding new content and refreshing existing content often as this is an important SEO factor.
10. Outbound links
People used to be scared of sending the visitor off to another website. But look at it like this; if you are linking to an authoritative page, the only reason you would do so is so your visitors can learn more about the topic. This sends a trust signal to the search engine. However, use them in moderation, as too many can make you lose page rank and decrease your rankings. Use them when they add value to your visitor but don’t forget to make sure they open in a new tab so your visitor can read the content and then easily find their way back to your website.
11. Internal links
Creating links between your own pages can pass their strength between them, so if you create a new post or page, try and link to it from one that is already ranking in Google. This will help it get indexed (ranked) faster.
12. Keyword in URL
Including a keyword in the URL slug (the bit that appears after the .com/part of the URL) is also good practice, so bear this in mind when creating new pages. These can also be referred to as search engine friendly URLs. For example .com/top-10-diet-pills is much better than .com/post476 for both search engines and visitors.
There are certain site-wide factors that will affect your sites visibility to search engines as well:
1. Sitemap (On page and XML)
The on page version is often linked to in the website footer and is a simple way for the visitor to find a page on your website as it should list them all. An XLM site map is the simplest and most effective way to tell Google what pages your website includes, which will help Google when indexing pages. WordPress have easy plugins that update Google every time you add a new page to your website so use one of these.
2. Domain trust
There are lots of factors here, too many to mention. Domain trust is built up from all of your activities, including the age of your domain, links going to and from it, the amount of visitors and their engagement with the site; the list goes on. Domain trust will come with time. If you build a website with a long term vision, give your customers what they want and play by Google’s rules.
3. Server location
Some people believe that having your website hosted on a server within the country you are targeting helps with your rankings.
4. Mobile optimised site
It should be no surprise that having a mobile optimised or responsive site will have a positive impact on your rankings. More and more people are using mobile devices, so this is a must.
5. Google Webmasters Tools integration
Lastly, having Google Webmaster Tools verify your site is said to help get your pages indexed. Even if that’s not the case, it provides valuable data you can use to better optimise your website.
When crawling your website, Google will also look at factors outside of your website as well. Here are some of the key ones:
1. The number of linking domains
The number of relevant domains linking to you is one of the most important ranking factors, but it is no good getting any old site to link to yours. It must be logical and the subject linked in some way. If you have a number of sites within the same niche, you can link some of them which can help with this.
2. The number of linking pages
Rather than having lots of links from the same website to yours, it is better to have links from different domains.
3. Authority of linking domain
A link from a well trusted site is much more valuable than one from a low level site. For example, a link from Wikipedia, or a trusted news site like the Guardian would carry a great deal of value. In the same respect, a link from a home page of a website is generally more valuable.
4. Types of links
Too many links of one type could be a spam indicator for Google, which would have a negative impact on your rankings. So ensure you get different types of links such as content links, banner links, anchor links, brand name links etc., but mix them up. Too many anchor links with the same text can be flagged as spam.
5. Contextual links
It is believed that contextual links (links within content) have more value than those in a side bar, for example. This may be because it suggests you are an authority on the subject, rather than an advert on the website.
And finally, your domain. This used to have a stronger influence but there are still some points to note.
1. Domain age
Google considers domains registered for longer than a year as more trustworthy.
2. Domain history
If your domain was owned by someone in the past and under their control received a penalty, this may affect its current rankings.
3. Country TLD extension
As we have mentioned in previous modules, if you are targeting a particular country, it is wise to get a domain with that extension, like .co.uk or .de
Content Do’s & Don’ts for SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be part of every affiliate strategy because it’s very cost-effective and provides a good return on investment (ROI). The number one aim for an affiliate is in line with Google’s aim; to provide the best user experience possible, and content plays a big part in this.
Below you’ll find an overview of good and bad practices when writing content for SEO.
Content Do’s For SEO
- Do use high quality content that is unique, adds value to your users and is sharable. This may be informative, newsworthy, educational, a top ten list or comical content pieces.
- When writing content always keep your target audience in mind and ensure the content is engaging. If your audience like it they are more likely to link back and share your content on social media etc. which will help your search engine rankings.
- Do keep important information above the fold (the upper part of your website that is visible without scrolling). This will ensure that both your users and the search engines “see” the vital content at first glance.
- These days search engines put emphasis on the length of content, as longer content tends to provide more information regarding the chosen topic to satisfy the needs of your users. Try to write reviews which are at least 500+ words and have a blog section on your site with several articles that are 1000+ words.
- When adding content to your WordPress site, ensure you have installed the All-In-One SEO plugin from Yoast. This will enable you to add a meta title and a meta description to your published content piece.
- Meta Title: The most effective page titles are 10-70 characters long, including spaces. Keep your titles concise and make sure they contain your best keyword for this particular page. Each page should have its own exclusive title.
- Meta Description: These are important because they often dictate how your pages are shown in search results. For optimum effectiveness, meta descriptions should be 70-160 characters long and give a short description about the site or page. This can help improve SEO ranking as well as your click through rate (CTR)
- Images are content as well. But as search engines can’t read images it’s important that you add a unique ALT tag and title when uploading an image to your affiliate site. That way search engines can crawl and rank them too. See below for an example:
Content Don’ts For SEO
- Don’t provide your users with low quality content. Since Google’s Panda update, Google is able to identify low and copied content very effectively. This will lead to your site getting penalized.
- Don’t duplicate content as you will suffer ranking and traffic loss. In addition, it adds zero value to your readers.
- Don’t stuff your content with keywords. A high keyword density is likely to lead to a penalty from search engines.
- Don’t use the same meta titles and meta descriptions on every page. Make sure each page of your website has its own original title and description.
- Don’t over-optimize your pages and as mentioned above, don’t keyword stuff the meta title, meta description and content. You need to optimize for real users not search engines.
- Don’t use the same ALT tags in images – always be unique.
- Don’t write content with only search engines in mind, because “artificial” content won’t help you rank.
- Don’t think that SEO is not worth your time. Approximately 1/3 of Google’s organic traffic goes to the first page, which proves that ranking does matter. You should aim to have your affiliate campaign on the first page for your chosen keywords.
Keyword Research Spreadsheet
This is a template we have prepared, you can either use it as it is by copying it in your own Google Docs folder (by going to File > Make a copy), or you can use it as a foundation to create your own personal spreadsheet:
It will make thinks easier to have all these information in one place, especially when creating your content marketing plan. You can for example add in further columns the dates where you are expecting to complete the article on those keywords, the name of the article, the writer that is going to prepare it, etc.
Keyword Research and Market Potential
Keyword research is vital in the early stages of your promotions to ensure you are focusing on the correct terms for your target market. Whilst there’s a handful of obvious key terms you can target, it’s safe to assume any affiliate interested in pushing the same brand will also begin targeting those terms. However, if you dig a little deeper you can gather a collection of longer tail and contextual keywords allowing you to target a broader range of relevant search terms and will improve the quality and relevance of your written content.
When conducting keyword research, most people start with the Google Keyword Planner. This tool is found within Google’s Adwords tool, as primarily they want people to use it to increase their paid ad spending. However, you don’t need to actually run any paid ads, or even give Google any payment details, in order to use it. You just need to set up an Adwords account and you will then be able to access the Keyword Planner on the Tools menu.
The simplest way to get started is to pick a keyword related to the product you want to promote and type it in the ‘Your Product or Service’ box. If you plan to target a particular language or country, select these from the dropdown boxes below to ensure the information in your keyword report relates to these. Then click ‘Get Ideas’.
You’ll then see a graph showing search trends for the keywords you entered, and two tabs; ad group ideas and keyword ideas. The ad group ideas is again intended primarily for paid search. However, it can be useful for if you plan to use SEO also, as it groups related keywords together, and could help you generate topic ideas for articles.
For example a search for protein powder, brings up ad groups which suggest articles on protein powder for women, top protein powders, organic protein powders, protein powder for weight loss etc. This can help you plan your article content, ensuring you cover a wide range of related keywords without articles overlapping and duplicating content.
However the main tab you’ll use will be the Keyword Ideas tab. This lists all keywords related to your initial (seed) keyword, along with the number of monthly searches for that exact term. You can download all these keywords into a spreadsheet or csv file to make it easier to review them, and pick out which ones look interesting and relevant to you. Once you’ve found some keywords in which you’re interested, it’s a good idea enter them into the Your Product or Keyword box to refine your keyword list further and find more that could be relevant.
Things to bear in mind:
- Buyer intent – some keywords are more likely to be searched by someone looking for information e.g. “how to build muscle” and others for someone looking to buy e.g. “cheap protein powder”. High buyer intent keywords are more valuable, though in many cases search volumes will be lower and competition higher. You will likely want to target a mixture of keywords on your site, but beware of going too broad e.g. “muscle” – it may have lots of searches but the searchers intent isn’t clear, and although the Keyword Planner says Low competition that doesn’t mean it will be easy to rank for or ultimately worth your time
- Competition – the competition information in the Keyword Planner relates to PPC (paid ads), not to competition for organic search (SEO). What it can give you an indication of is buyer intent – keywords with high buyer intent are likely to have higher competition for PPC and a higher suggested bid.
Other Simple Keyword Research Tools
Google Keyword Planner is the most popular keyword research tool for getting started as most people use Google to search. It is their information you want to know because it is there you primarily want your content to rank. However, there are many other tools and techniques you can use to get started with your keyword research.
- Google autosuggest – This is a really simple but insightful tool to use, when you enter a search term Google will add a list of suggested searches at the bottom of the page. This gives you a list of long tail keywords others are searching for. You can repeat this for a range of keywords in different locations eg. if you are targeting a specific market, use their local Google domain to carry out your search. This will help you build a good list of long tail keywords to target in your content.
Start typing a keyword such as protein powder into the Google search box and it will offer suggestions of keywords you may be typing based on those that are commonly searched. Once you’ve clicked Search, you’ll also find Searches Relating to [Your Keyword] at the bottom of the search page.
- Google search is another really useful tool to help find related searches for your keywords. By typing words such as: can, does, will, how, what, where, when etc. followed by an asterisk and your key term, Google will show you suggested searches and try to predict what you may be looking for.
- Google Trends is a good tool for market research and further research can also be done on keywords using the same tool. You can compare keyword popularity over a period of time, view keyword trends by region and geo targeting data. You can also compare one keyword to another to see how trends differ, as well as related searches, so overall this tool can give you more in depth insight than most keyword planners.
- Bing Keyword Tool – similar to the Google Keyword Planner but for Bing. Also they promote that all search volumes and keyword suggestions are based on organic search, not paid search. But of course it only includes data for searches on the Bing / Yahoo search network.
- Ubersuggest – enter a keyword e.g. protein powder and Ubersuggest will generate hundreds of related keywords by simply adding a letter / digit to your search e.g. protein powder + a gives you keywords ‘protein powder amazon’, ‘protein powder at walmart’, ‘protein powder and weight loss’ etc. Each search generates keywords for A to Z, and 0 to 9, giving you lots of potential longer tail keywords that you can consider for your articles and put back into Keyword Planner to get the search volumes.
- Keyword.io – similar to Ubersuggest but also searches for question keywords such as ‘how…?’, ‘does…?’ etc. It also makes it easy to export results so you can mass check search volumes in Keyword Planner.
- Multi-stores – check out popular multi-stores in your niche for competitor products around which you could build content and thus target the relevant keywords.
- Wikipedia – One valuable source for finding such keyword is Wikipedia. This site has been around for years and is a trusted source of information on a huge variety of topics. Just enter a relevant search term into Wikipedia and you will come across a range of contextual terms which can be targeted in your content.
- Amazon – This is a source that’s often overlooked by affiliates. Amazon is a search engine based on buyers intent, because it can give us an idea of the type of content that buyers are willing to spend money for.
When a buyer is purchasing books or magazines on Amazon, is pretty much buying content. So by looking at the most purchased products of your chosen niche and by looking at the reviews on those products, you can have a good idea of the type of content that your audience is interested to, and thus on the keywords you should be targeting in your articles
- Youtube – Youtube is a search engine for videos and is very useful to know which topics people are interested at, to gather ideas not only about the keywords to use for your own articles, but also to know what videos people are looking at in the case that you wish to use video marketing to promote your website.
In the Additional Tools lesson we are going to talk about a tool that is useful to extract useful data from Youtube, vidIQ Vision, and that can help you in narrowing down the best topics.
- Quora – Quora is a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited, and organized by its community of users.
It’s another useful place were you can investigate your niche, see what questions people are asking and gather ideas of topics to write on.
By seeing which subjects people are passioned about, which are the most asked questions and the type of replies that receive praises, you will have a very good source of material to work with.
- Keywordtool.io – The keyword tool is free to use, but will only give you keyword suggestions, to see more in depth information such as monthly searches there is a fee, but as a starting point to find long tail keywords it’s still really useful. As you can see below you can search for key terms specifically by search engine, Youtube and even places like Amazon and Ebay. This can be filtered further by selecting the domain and language you wish to research.This tool is fantastic for researching and comparing different regions, let’s say you want to target parts of Asia and Africa, whilst both regions may have a high demand for the products you promote, this tool allows you to find out more about the language used in those regions to allow you to better tailor content and target the right users using key terms relevant to their region, language etc.
At the end of this research you should have compiled a comprehensive list of keywords to begin targeting.
Developing Your Keyword Research Further
Ok, so that’s the very basics of keyword research. You’ve found out the kind of terms people are searching for relating to your topic, you know the rough volumes of people searching and you’ve got some article ideas. Many people start writing from here.
But what you don’t know is how much SEO competition there is for those keywords, how difficult they will be to rank for, and the value once you do rank for them. If you’re planning on being the next top affiliate you’re planning to invest a lot of time and effort, so if you want to be more scientific you need to take your keyword research to the next level.
Competition – Can I Rank?
The first question you need to be asking is who is currently ranking for these keywords and can I outrank them?
Type one of the keywords you’re looking to rank for into Google (making sure you don’t have personalised searches active) and review the sites that are currently ranking for those terms.
- How high quality is the site overall in terms of content accuracy, detail and usefulness / interest, website load speed, mobile friendliness etc.?
- Is the site an authority in the particular niche?
- Do they have active social media accounts with engagement, visitor interaction in the website comments, a forum etc.?
- How many backlinks do they have and are these from other high quality sites?
- What is missing? What could you do to create content and an experience that is not just equal, but better? That is what you’re going to need to do to outrank the sites that are already there.
Looking at the search page in general, are the any other factors that you need to take into account? If there are lots of videos or images shown in the search results page, you may choose to use this format. Is all the content recently written, suggesting freshness is important?
The Moz toolbar is a free tool that will give you a quick idea of a site’s authority by overlaying metrics directly in the search results.
You may also decide to invest in other tools to help you determine the SEO competition of your keywords, and to analyse your competitors. SEMrush, SpyFu and Moz Pro are all examples of tools that can help you do this.
Keyword Value – Is It Worth Ranking?
Firstly, how many visitors to your site can you expect to get if you rank in position 1, 2, 3, first page, top of second page etc.? Previous studies have shown a variety of results depending on methodology used but roughly position 1 can expect 30% of visitor clicks, position 2 15%, position 3 10% and so on.
Differences in the search page can have a big influence on this though, such as whether ads are shown, whether there is google knowledge graph or instant answers, the type of query etc. For a more detailed understanding it’s worth looking at moz.com’s study of CTR from organic search.
Secondly, how much is each click worth to your business? Does the keyword have high buyer intent and can you expect to convert from this article? Or will you need to funnel your visitor from this page to your sales page and then onto the merchant site to buy? What’s your expected conversion rate and average commission?
Once you have all this information you can calculate the value of the keyword i.e. number of monthly searches x CTR x conversion rate x average commission e.g. 3,000 x 0.3 x 0.025 x £20 = £450!
Market Potential & Prioritisation
When you’ve completed this for your range of keywords you will have a better idea of the value of those individual keywords and the niche as a whole. You can then use this to make decisions such as whether it is worth investing your time (and maybe money), and which keywords you’re going to prioritise based on their return on investment.
You’ll also have a much clearer idea of what article topics you need to create content for, the format of that content, and what is needed to create content that is better than your competition.
Since 2013 there has been more emphasis on the context of a search query and Google now looks for relevant contextual content surrounding your main keywords. This focus helps to ensure that users are served content which is more relevant and better quality, not just stuffed with keywords. It’s therefore important to have an idea of what other key terms are relevant and in context to your content and ensure they are also present in your content.
You may have heard about this under a different name, LSA (or Latent Semantic Analysis), that’s defined on Wikipedia as:
Latent semantic analysis (LSA) is a technique in natural language processing, in particular distributional semantics, of analyzing relationships between a set of documents and the terms they contain by producing a set of concepts related to the documents and terms. LSA assumes that words that are close in meaning will occur in similar pieces of text (the distributional hypothesis)
This is a very important concept because it’s not only useful for when searching new keywords to target in our articles, but also because this same technique is used by Google to check if a page is actually talking about a specific topic and not simply keyword-stuffing the content with the purpose of ranking better.
How To Gather More Keyword Ideas
The following services can be used to explore keywords related to selected topics:
Moz Keyword Explorer
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer (paid)
Tools To Gather More Information About Keywords
Link Building Techniques
What is Link Building?
The pursual and accrual of a portfolio of backlinks (external links pointing to your site).
Why Link Build?
Links remain an important factor used by search engines to rank pages. This is because links to a page signify authority and help search engines to identify relevance.
When one page links to another it is vouching for its quality and relevance. Therefore the first page is passing on some of its authority to the page to which it links (this is not to say that the first page loses any of its authority by ‘passing it on’).
The more pages this first page links to, the more this authority is divided up. So if you were to get a link from an authority site which links to only 4 pages including yours it’s more worthwhile than if it were linking to 40, for example.
Of course the value of the link depends upon the deemed authority of the page that does the linking. So fewer links from higher authority sites can actually be more valuable to your page than more links from lower authority sites.
Attracting links from authority sites
Note: Before linking to you, any decent authority site is going to check that you’re trustworthy. Make sure your site is at its best; up-to-date high quality content; broken links removed; attractive, navigable design etc.
There are three key factors which signify relevance with regards to links; anchor text, content of the linking page, and co-citations.
Anchor Text – This is the text within another site’s content which is hyperlinked to your page.
Go to MoreNiche for the great Academy Training program.
The anchor text in this example is ‘Academy Training program’. You ideally want this anchor text to contain keywords, or similar, for which you want the page to rank. This being said, do not try to pursue specific anchor text as over-optimisation of this can lead to a penalty. It’s natural to have some anchor text such as ‘click here’ for example.
Content – Fairly self explanatory, but you want to get links from pages which contain content on the same, or similar subject matter. It’s worth noting that it’s not only the on-page copy which is considered but the metadata of the page too.
Co-Citation – The principle of co-citation is that if one page links to yours and a third page on another site, yours and the third are considered to be relevant to one another. The more backlinks shared by yours and the third page, the more relevant to one another your pages are deemed to be.
You can use this to your advantage by doing some backlink analysis on higher ranking competitor sites to then pursue links from the same places they do.
Your links need to be varied or you run the risk of your link profile being considered manipulative.
Build a diverse profile by ensuring a varied range of:
- Sites from which your links come
- Types of sites, e.g. not only forums or directories
- Anchor text
- Pages on your site to which backlinks are directed.
You also need to consider the rate at which you build links, your link velocity. This should be a natural progression, not peaks and troughs of activity. It would appear unnatural to gain thousands of links suddenly one month from having none previously.
Once you have started to implement link building strategies you must ensure to gradually build upon this consistently. Make your campaigns a regular part of your marketing and website management.
When starting your link building campaign, it’s worth researching what your competitors are doing. You can carry out backlink analysis to see from where their links come. You then have a suitable list of sources to target.
The process is simple:
- Search your target keywords to identify your competitors (those ranking higher)
- Run a report on their URL using a tool such as ahref.com (or try monitorbacklinks for a free tool, though with less information).
- Undertake link building strategies (we’ll discuss these in more detail later) to build similar links yourself.
Often people advise that you can undertake backlink competitor analysis to match your competitors backlink portfolio, but you don’t want to do that – you want to better it! Use this information to target the same sources as well as identify opportunities missed by your competitors.
Reaching out to webmasters, from whom you’re trying to get a link, must be given time and careful consideration. The way in which you approach them could make or break the campaign.
Read the email marketing section of our training course for general tips to get your emails read and replied to. I will highlight below those which are most appropriate to your link building outreach.
Personalisation – Simply using the recipient’s name can have a big impact on response rate. Check the contact page, about page and WhoIs information to see if a name can be implemented.
Personalisation doesn’t stop at a name. You should show that you know their website or brand, comment on specific content or design for example. This shows the recipient that they’re not just one of hundreds to whom you have sent a mass template.
What’s in it for Them – Be sure to identify how the recipient would benefit from linking to your site. There’s always something, the value to their readers, for example.
Reciprocity – You’re not just emailing asking for a link, you’re building a long-term reciprocal relationship where each party benefits. It could be that you plan to exchange guest posts, engage in an interview or even provide them with useful information to improve their site, broken links for example.
Be Social – If you have cited someone or published content in which they had involvement, reach out on social platforms such as Twitter, as they’re likely to interact with your post or post themselves. Doing this reinforces the relationship and gives you extra promotion to their social following.
Search Engines and Penalties
Google’s (and of course the other search engines’) continuous algorithm updates mean it’s important to avoid outdated link building techniques which today may quickly result in penalties or a deindexed site.
As a general rule of thumb; if it feels dishonest, don’t do it! Even if you can currently get away with it, you probably won’t forever. You should never find yourself dreading the next algorithm update.
Resist the temptation of page one results through costly link building packages.
The primary principle of successful link building, and all aspects of on and off page SEO, is to ensure the best possible user experience. It all comes back to quality of content and value to your audience.
LINK BUILDING STRATEGIES
Unfortunately most methods of link building have been abused by SEOs and webmasters over the years. This can make them toxic to your site. We can’t see what the future will hold but a good tip is to stick to an organic approach using a diverse range of different methods. We’ll work through some of the strategies which allow you to do this as an affiliate marketer.
This strategy should be an essential and continuous consideration for your website. Fortunately this one is entirely under your own control.
Interlinking your own pages means that you can provide further detailed content on subjects which are briefly mentioned elsewhere on your site. This provides much more value to your user and so a more positive on-site experience. Of course we now know that making the user happy makes Google happy too!
As with all link building strategies, remember that you want varied anchor text. This is much easier to control with internal links.
This strategy is win-win for both parties. A blogger can get quality content from you and all it costs is a link to your site.
There are sites you can go to which accept guest posts from everywhere but the value of these links is much lower than those which can be gained through building relationships with bloggers.
As with all SEO; if it seems too easy, Google probably won’t like it. Guest blogging has been abused for link building purposes over the years so shouldn’t be over-used or solely relied upon.
Instead adapt an organic approach, reach out to suitable blogs and sites with suggestions for content which you could provide. Try to build good relationships with other webmasters where content and links can be exchanged to the benefit of your users. You want to choose sites which have a relatively good following but don’t aim too high. The top industry influencers will get hundreds of requests from potential guest bloggers.
Interviews – This is a self-explanatory method; ask a series of questions to a third party within your niche and publish their responses on your website. Easy.
This method falls under the umbrella of ego bait, the idea again is that your target will be so flattered to have been considered worthy of an interview, they will be eager to promote it.
If you can secure the extra participants then you could take this method one step further and perform a group interview. The obvious bonus of this is that you gain multiple links.
Lists/Roundups – Compile lists of great sites, blogs or specific content. These could be ranked lists, for example if you had a bodybuilding authority site you could compile lists like ‘5 best downloadable workout programmes’.
Enhance these lists by providing information about the content/people/websites which you have chosen to include. This is more useful for your audience and also demonstrates to those included that you have a general interest in them.
Infographics – People still love infographics, if you can demonstrate genuinely interesting data in a user-friendly way you are likely to gain links to it naturally.
Other sites and blogs are also likely to embed these into their own content. This is great as you get control over the anchor text of the embed code. See this guide on how to create embed codes for infographics.
A web directory is a categorized list of websites. You can submit your site to be listed under appropriate categories and sub-categories.
As well as general website directories you will also find niche-specific. Actually there is a whole range of more specific directory types for various types of content:
- Web 2.0 (like article but allowing images, video and other interactive content)
Directory submission is an easy tactic so links are relatively low value. It should be used as a part of a varied portfolio of methods. Don’t overdo it, select only the most authoritative directories. Think quality, not quantity.
This strategy is all about reciprocity. Contact webmasters from whom you would like a link and offer a way in which you could make an improvement to their site.
Look for gaps in information, or topics which could be elaborated. Advise that you can help fill in this gap, send some content which they could use to do so. If you ask, they are more than likely to be willing to link to a relevant page of your site in return.
Alternatively look for outdated content and provide the necessary new information or provide a missing translation in a multilingual site.
5 Benefits Of Google Analytics
- Get to know your audience (geographical, screen resolutions, time zones etc.)
- Track movement on your site (how long visitors stay on your site, how many exit your site on the first visit etc.)
- Find out where your visitors come from (search engines, direct links, referral links etc.)
- Learn more about how your visitors interact with your site (i.e. you can run A/B split tests)
- Gives you the ability to fine tune your website for the best ROI (return on investment) possible
With the help of Analytics, affiliates can monitor site performance, reduce traffic leaks and improve individual site performances. This piece will teach you how to install Google Analytics for self-hosted WordPress sites.
Google Analytics Installation Guide
1. Create your own Google Analytics Account
If you already have your own Gmail account, you can sign-in with this. If you don’t have your own Gmail account yet, then you need to create your own free account.
Once you sign-in with your Gmail account you will be able to sign-up for Google Analytics.
2. Google Analytics for Website or Mobile App
In the next step you will be given a choice between setting up Analytics for a website or a mobile-app. The majority of our affiliates will choose Website.
Google currently offers two tracking methods – Universal Analytics (beta version with extra features) and Classic Analytics (classic version but once new features come out your account will be upgraded regardless). You can choose either of them.
Other information required will be things such as your website URL, account name, country, time zone etc. When you have filled out all the relevant information, you need to press the button “Get Tracking ID” after you have agreed to the terms and conditions.
3. Install the Google Analytics Tracking Code
Once you have copied the code, go to your WordPress site. There are two options I would recommend:
- Get a plugin such as “Insert Headers and Footers” and then paste your unique Google Analytics code as described in the plugin settings.
- Go to your theme’s header.php file and copy the code right before the ending </header> tag or straight after the <body> tag.
Please note, if you have a custom coded site, double-check i.e. with your web designer where to add the code.
Once you have completed step three, save all the settings on your WordPress site and on your new Google Analytics account. It will take now up to 24 hours until you see some statistics under your reporting tab and get your first set of reports.