I’m an affiliate marketer at heart and I can appreciate the blood sweat and tears that goes into link building for affiliate sites. If like me, you stay awake at night, dreaming of new ways to acquire backlinks and conjuring up new strategies to get those all-important customers to your site, I’m hoping this post will be of some help to you.
Before We Start
As you probably know, Google has not been kind to affiliate marketers in recent years. With both Google Penguin and Google Panda targeting thin affiliate sites with poor back link profiles, it’s harder than ever to get your affiliate product of the ground.
My advice to you is to make sure your on-page SEO is perfect. Get some original content and genuine reviews on your site. If you’re copying content directly from the site you’re attempting to promote, you may not only find yourself ranking poorly due to duplicate content, but you could find your account terminated for compromising the SEO efforts of the original site. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste!
Some of the strategies below don’t necessarily fall within Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, so use them at your own discretion. As affiliate marketers, you often need to bend a few rules to keep up with the competition as more often than not, you’ll have hundreds or thousands of sites contending for that same #1 spot that aren’t playing by the rules!
Link Building Strategies
Right let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I personally try to use a mixture of all the below strategies and highly recommend that you don’t stick to just one method of link building. Otherwise you’ll soon end up building a very unnatural looking link profile and some of your more malicious competitors could copy your entire strategy and outrank you with you doing all the hard work for them.
I’ve tried to avoid discussing out-dated linking strategies that have limited effect; including directory submissions, article submissions, blog commenting and commenting on guest-books. These have been covered numerous times and this post is an attempt to deliver something fresh to the community. The strategies below are loosely listed in order from white hat to black hat; however as with most subjects in SEO, this is open to debate.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building involves a bit of trial and error, in some instances, it can take a while, before we start find the right type sites to target and even once you’ve found sites that are worth contacting, they may not return your e-mails or may just not want to link to you.
Once you’ve found a few sites that you feel are worthy of checking, run them through your favourite link vetting program. One of the faster programs that I recommend for checking all the links on a single page is CheckMyLinks for Chrome. Alternatively you could scrape an entire site with Xenu Crawler and then use Scrapebox to extract your target metrics.
Once you’ve found a broken link, get in touch with the webmaster and inform him of the broken link. Of course you’ll have to have a site that’s just as good, if not better as a replacement to recommend.
There are a number of twists on this process, but this post by Jon Cooper on SEOBook.com covers a few great basics.
A Black Hat Twist
Sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to stumble upon a link that pointed to a recently expired domain. Register it and restore it to its former glory… but not without adding a link to your own site for your troubles. I cover abandoned domains in more detail below, but I’ve managed to pick-up domains with PR3+ with .edu backlinks for just the cost of a domain renewal.
If you stick to the white hat version of broken link building, your only real cost is time. Once you start investing in tools to help you do the job then your outlay is increased slightly, but this strategy is still incredibly cost effective.
Guest blogging is starting to get a bad reputation, as with all things in the SEO world, when a strategy starts returning results, everyone jumps on the bandwagon. We all know what happened to directories, blog commenting, articles etc. The strategy is outsourced and watered-down to the point that you start receiving outreach e-mails which make little or no sense (see point 5).
If you’ve got the time, or better yet, can afford to hire a professional writer to create inspiring piece of content, better still if it’s related to whatever product is you’re pushing. Then you’ve got a strategy that is scalable and will offer long-term benefit to your website in the form of referral traffic, brand awareness and an increase in organic visibility.
If you have a talent for writing, or a passion for what you’re promoting then it’s just a case of finding the time to engage in outreach and writing the content. Alternatively, you could pay a copywriter to develop a great piece of content for you. Depending on the difficultly of the target subject matter I find myself paying anywhere between $15-100 an article.
Are a great way to generate back links and acquire some additional SERP real estate. There is of course a right and a wrong way to create video reviews; it helps if you have the item you’re reviewing to hand and creating a real review of a product will do better than a 30 second video created with Animoto.com but that’s not to say both won’t work.
Once you’re done creating your review, publish it to your favourite video sites. YouTube being the most popular, but don’t forget that there are other video sites out there!
There are plenty of other sites including Facebook and MySpace that you can submit your video to as well, but these may not pass on as much of that all important link juice.