Hi guys, and welcome to the first (of a great deal many) Affilorama blog posts for 2013. On behalf of the Affilorama team, I would like to wish you a prosperous and very happy New Year! In today's post, we're going to hit the ground running and look at what I believe are going to be the key points for link building and SEO in 2013.
Each new year brings a lot of exciting (or nerve-racking, depending on which way you look at it) developments in the affiliate marketing webscape - so it's time to put on your thinking hat and walk with me as we examine what you need to do to thrive online.
Quality WILL Become More Important
Both 2011 and 2012 saw an increasing emphasis placed on the quality of web pages as a factor behind rankings. Ignoring the inevitable anomalies in terms of result quality that appear every time Google release a search algorithm update, it definitely seems that the quality of your content is becoming yet more important.
Therefore, one of the most important things you need to do for SEO in 2013 is adding more quality content to your website. If you didn't read my previous blog post about the easiest way to increase traffic to your blog (hint - it involves lots of writing) then you should do so now to get the lowdown on an easy-to-follow system for adding new content to your site, all without losing the motivation to do so.
In 2013, quality will also become the byword for link building. Instead of seeking massive quantities of links from low quality blogs, article directories, and thin niche affiliate sites, you should be leading from the front and attempting to get as many high quality links to your site as possible. If you're out to make yourself an authority in your niche (which you should definitely be doing) then it reflects poorly upon your brand to source most of your links from the "digital badlands". Sure, those bulk blog comment links that you outsourced for five cents each might drive some useful direct traffic and have a small impact on your search rankings, but the connoisseur of quality would rather a handful of links from niche authority sites and high traffic blogs.
Here are some great places to search out quality links in 2013:
- Regular guest posting on high traffic blogs. Pick the best blogs in your niche (use a Technorati search, which you can learn about here) and then put together some unbeatable sample articles. Really push the boat out and share some valuable information - this is where it really helps to have lots of knowledge in your niche - and then offer those select blogs regular guest content. You might like to offer one post per month for six months; do this on five different blogs and you're going to get a lot of targeted referral traffic AND quality links. This is guest posting, taken to the next level.
- Become a source for niche news. I was reading some SEO/link building forums the other day, and stumbled across a discussion where one guy was building some seriously impressive links by acting as a source for news, and more importantly as a source of insight/knowledge for news articles. Journalists, digital news publishers, and even bloggers would contact him when they wanted professional insight on his niche topic. In exchange, he would provide a small snippet, and the publisher would use his content with a byline such as "John Doe of Best Dog Training believes that". To become a source for niche news and insight, you should start emailing news sites, topic journalists, and even blogs and static websites right away. Furthermore, you might want to consider signing up for a free HARO account (Help A Reporter Out), which delivers niche-specific news sourcing opportunities right to your inbox - basically, if a journalist is looking for some attributable content, then they will put out a call on HARO. If that call meets your niche profile, then you will get an opportunity to submit the news.
- Focus on creating link bait. If you're an AffiloBlueprint member (check out AffiloBlueprint for yourself here if you're not) then you'll recall the video where Mark covered link bait ideas. For 2013 SEO and link building, link baiting is going to become more important and influential as a means of standing out from the competition. Whether it's viral videos, quality infographics, or even extremely detailed blog posts backed by scientific research, you CAN make link bait that will naturally attract inbound links and marketing.
SEO 2013 - Avoid Jumping On The Bandwagon
One more big tip for improving your SEO and link building in 2013 is to avoid jumping on the inevitable bandwagons that spring up all the time. Seriously, there is always somebody claiming to have discovered the latest unbeatable method for slamming Google into the canvas and "legally stealing" first page rankings (to borrow the type of nomenclature these guys use). What's the catch? You'll need to pay them for the knowledge, and when that unbeatable method turns out to be another passing fad that is quickly shut down by Google, they never seem keen to refund your hard earned dollars!
If you want to succeed with SEO, link building, and organic traffic, then you need to avoid bandwagon hopping, at least until you've built up a strong fundamental basis to your website and are getting targeted visitors, leads, and sales on a daily basis.
Bandwagon hopping will reduce your concentration and focus, and lead to dwindling motivation as you wonder why these "latest and greatest" methods just aren't quite working for you as they should.
Instead, focus on:
- Researching good keywords
- Writing quality content (check out AffiloBlueprint for winning advice on how to do this)
- Attracting relevant blog comments from targeted users
- Pinpointing quality link and traffic sources like a laser - stick to the tried and true methods that will always be evergreen
There's nothing wrong with keeping abreast of current developments in traffic generation and link building. However, you shouldn't jump to try every new method until you can consistently apply the basics - learn to walk before you try to run!
By avoiding the bandwagon and focusing on the basics, you will build a more stable and profitable affiliate marketing business than you ever have before. Just work away diligently, and you will reap the rewards!
SEO/Link Building - Things To Avoid In 2013
Rather than give you any more long-winded explanations, let's take a quick look at some things you should try to avoid for success with search engine rankings, organic traffic, and link building in 2013:
- Keyword stuffing in anchor text. Don't try to cram too much anchor text into your internal links, or into inbound links back to your site. Instead, focus on readability to ensure the best possible experience for your visitors and the Internet community in general
- Duplicate content. Avoid it like the plague - I know it's 2013 and I shouldn't need to tell you, but I still see so many people wasting their time with duplicate content. Post your best articles on your website, and then feel free to use "inferior" specimens on article directories. Avoid republishing content on your website as well. There just isn't much point in trying to cover the Internet with the same article over and over again.
- Affiliate links on every page. As much as it pains me to say it, all the signs point to Google not really being the biggest fan of affiliate marketers (in both the SEO and PPC realms). That's probably because lots of affiliate marketers indulge in building very thin sites that lack great content. Stuffing affiliate links onto every page of your site is a surefire way to appear like a think affiliate site, even if you're actually providing great content. One thing to consider here is targeting product name + review type keywords, but instead of plugging the actual affiliate link, why not seek targeted leads? You then get multiple chances to convert that lead to a sale AND your site looks less like an affiliate site and more like a valuable content resource.
- Slow page load times. Okay, so it's not 1999 anymore and most people have advanced beyond dial up Internet. However, there's still no excuse for slow page load times. As a rule, if someone with a fast Internet connection has to wait more than two seconds for your page to load fully, then they have a very high chance of clicking the back button (which will register as one of those dreaded "bounces" on your analytics). Put in a bit of effort to decrease your page load times - learn more about how to do this here. My father has been running a niche website since 2005, and prides himself on the fact that his page load time is so low, he can connect to dial up for "old time's sake" and still load the site in under five seconds. Aim for this kind of dedication to page load speeds.
- Linking to bad neighborhoods is out. Avoid linking to crummy sites at all costs. Basically, you need to ask yourself whether the site is the kind of place you would actually want to spend time reading the content and exploring. If you can't answer a confident and resounding "yes" to the bona fides of any potential link partner, then avoid setting that link! Bear in mind that the greatest potential for linking to bad neighborhoods comes from accepting blog comments on your site.
- Cheap SEO outsourcing. I know it's really tempting to try and outsource the "boring" bits of SEO on the cheap, either by paying an overseas outsource contractor peanuts OR paying for multiple Fiverr SEO gigs. However, if you pay peanuts you always get monkeys, especially with SEO. My rule of thumb is that an SEO service is only worth paying for if you're actually getting stung a bit by the high price. No top-tier SEO contractor is going to hire themselves out for $10 per day. Cheap outsourcing is handy for building links and traffic to Web 2.0 properties and micro niche sites - but for any money site that you would like to become an authority site, please avoid going el cheapo.
If you want to succeed with affiliate marketing and SEO in 2013, then make sure you've really absorbed the concepts in this blog post. Focus on quality, and stick to a simple plan and work at it until you start to see serious results. Don't fall victim to shiny object syndrome - the basics are almost always the best.
Remember these key points:
- Write lots of quality content
- Avoid bulk links - focus on link quality instead
- Build a real presence in your niche
Thanks so much for reading, and remember that I'm here to answer any questions you might have - just leave a comment below!