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8 SEO Steps to Affiliate Marketing Success in Nigeria

What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing

8 SEO Steps to Affiliate Marketing Success in Nigeria

Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways to monetize your website and make money online. It gives you much more control over the monetization of your website than you’d get with some AdSense banners.

You can earn between $100 to $300 a day as an affiliate marketer. It’s a fundamental aspect of digital marketing that pays you faster. You can make the amount you paid for learning the skill in two days. This is why I will not stop talking about affiliate marketing to you.

With affiliate marketing, you can choose and focus on a particular niche that you’re most comfortable with and passionate about.

It’s simply an avenue to promote the products or brands you truly believe in.

You’ll agree with me that affiliate marketing success heavily relies on SEO. So today, we’ll look into how you can blend ethical SEO practices and affiliate marketing best strategies in the most efficient way – and that will keep fuelling your site.

Here are what to expect in this piece of the article:

  • Pick an affiliate niche to focus on
  • Choose a domain name
  • Start with long-tailed keywords
  • Create logical internal linking structure
  • Nofollow your affiliate links
  • Utilize user-generated content
  • Make use of vendor’s special deals
  • Follow SEO best practices

What’s affiliate marketing?

Most brands that sell their products (including services) online in Nigeria and worldwide, such as Jumia, Konga, Amazon, etc., often partner with bloggers in their selected niche. These bloggers are called affiliates. An affiliate blogger or affiliate marketer helps companies promote their products and services while getting commissions for every client they referred.

Let’s consider the Jumia affiliate program as an example. If you become an affiliate partner with Jumia, they will give you a unique affiliate link that you’ll place on your website. When someone clicks on that link and purchases any products from the Jumia store, you get a certain percentage as commission.

Now, it’s entirely up to you on how you promote your partner’s products. One way is to recommend the product to your existing audience via email, blog posts, or social media posts. Another way is by attracting new audiences on behalf of your partner, like building a dedicated website and driving SEO and PPC traffic to it. You could organize training courses or launch promotional sales.

Whatever way you choose to promote the products, the idea is still affiliate blogging: affiliate marketers refer new clients to a partner’s website and get paid for that.

Does SEO work on affiliate websites?

Google thus frowns upon affiliate websites. And sometimes, they get penalized. Affiliate websites get frowned upon by Google, not because of their affiliate (business) nature, but because they are often created with minimal effort.

Here’s what Google’s John Mueller said in his Google Webmaster Hangouts session:

“Of course, affiliate sites can have a lot of really useful information on them, and we like showing them in search. But, at the same time, we see many affiliates who copy and paste the feeds they get and publish them on their website. It’s not something where we say that an affiliate site is bad; we just see many bad affiliate sites. And if you have affiliate links on a website, that’s not going to be something that we would count against a website.”

John Mueller

Taking a step to participate in an affiliate marketing program is a good idea, and it doesn’t hurt your website’s SEO rankings. If you handle SEO seriously, you can turn the organic traffic on your site into a key source of affiliate earnings.

Pick an affiliate niche to focus on

Affiliate marketing is about narrowing down to a specific niche and, at most, plus a few “shoulder niches.” Then select a topic that you are passionate about.

Let me simplify this by giving you the three basic steps to follow before settling into a specific niche and product.

Step 1. Pick a niche within a niche.

Say you are running a blog on social media marketing, and so the most obvious niche for your affiliate efforts is tools and services. But the topic of social media marketing is huge, and you are unlikely to be able to cover all of it with high-quality content. And even if you do, you will become just another generic social media blogger.

The best affiliate success tip is to narrow down on a niche (don’t worry, you can carry on with a shoulder niche as you build reputation and trust within the niche), establish a reputation as an expert in this specific area. You can focus on Facebook advertising and Instagram. You can review social media management tools, collect case studies, among many other things. Over time, your blog will become the place to go to learn about this particular area of social media marketing.

Step 2. Check traffic potential.

Choosing an interesting topic is not enough. It has to be interesting to other people as well. To know if the topic is interesting to other people, do a bit of research on the topic to discover keywords that relate well and that people are searching for it.

You can use many tools to check keywords to know the search volume – the number of searches the keywords have, but in this article, I will focus on Ahrefs. Other tools are SEMrushMoz SEO ToolkitSEO Powersuite, keyword everywhere, keyword.io, and even the popular Google keyword planner, which is entirely free.

Step 3. Size your competition.

It is most likely that some of the keywords in your list are probably already targeted by the big and powerful websites. You won’t be able to rank for this type of keyword – with high competition in good enough positions to attract visitors to your site. So, to check which keywords are too competitive, go to the Keyword Explorer in Ahrefs and check Keyword Difficulty for all discovered keywords as a group or for each keyword:

SEO Steps to Affiliate Marketing Success in Nigeria

Now that you have keywords for your potential topics, it’s time to select the ones to work with.

It would be best if you aimed for low competition topics but high in search volume.

Choose a domain name.

If you’re planning to build your affiliate website from scratch, here are a few SEO considerations you might want to take into account when it comes to choosing a domain for your site.

Don’t be obsessed over exact match domains.

Exact match domain names used to have substantial SEO benefits some years ago, when they were a significant ranking factor. But today, having keywords in your domain name is largely irrelevant. Google looks at your content and not your domain name when ranking your site on a search engine result page. So don’t be too obsessed over exact match domains. Paying a huge sum of money just to purchase a keyword-rich domain name isn’t worth it because, at the end of the day, your content is what Google will use.

Having keywords in the domain doesn’t guarantee that you’ll automatically rank for those keywords. And that’s something that’s been the case for a long time.

John Mueller

Avoid brands in the domain name.

One of the affiliate program rules clearly states that using the name of the brands you’re promoting in your domain name is strictly prohibited. So, unless you have explicit permission from the company, a branded domain name is no going area. You can face a lawsuit for infringing on a brand name if you do.

Check history if purchasing an existing website.

If you’re buying a website, it’s very important to check the history, such as the spam scores, because you don’t want a domain that had spammed Google with bad content or bad links in the past.

Archive.org is a website that logs past versions of the pages on a website from all over the web. If you enter a few key URLs on your website, you’ll see what they looked like in the past, and you can check for obvious signs of spammy content.

how to use wayback machine to check history of affiliate website in Nigeria

You can take it further by checking the backlink history and overall backlink profile. And you can do this on Ahrefs. On Ahrefs, go to the domain explorer and click on backlinks. This will give you the history of the link, where the links are from, the referring pages, when the links were acquired, and dofollow vs. no-follow links. 

SEMrush has a straightforward function that gives you the spam score penalty risk level of each link pointing to the website.

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Start with long-tailed keywords.

Now it’s time to create some content, and you’ll need to decide on the exact keywords to pursue.

Since you’re competing with big brands in your niche, a long tail keyword would be a better target than the short tail keyword.

Long-tailed keywords are longer, more specific search phrases with lower search volumes. The big brands regard this type of keyword as not attractive. For them, it’s just too much effort for too little gain because of the low search volume. But, for a small or new affiliate website, these “abandoned” long-tailed keywords are a perfect opportunity to start ranking in search. And we called them low-hanging fruits; that is, they are easy to rank for.

To find long-tailed keywords, go back to Ahrefs, open the keyword explorer, click on view all keywords and then click on the filter icon above the table of discovered keywords. Set the length to three words or more. Additionally, you may want to set the parameters for keyword difficulty and search volume:In this example, I set the word count to a minimum of 3:

inage explaining keyword difficulty check - SEO Steps to Affiliate Marketing Success in Nigeria

Now you’ll see your initial list of keywords filtered to include only the keywords with matching parameters. Scroll through the list and pick the keywords that you think will fit your content best.

Create logical internal linking structure

Logical internal linking follows a good site structure or architecture and should be a top-to-bottom approach. That is, where your homepage and your category pages are directed towards individual blog posts because this is where your content is – it’s where people discovered you on search engines and it’s where the conversion happens.

So, proper internal linking of your pages is crucial. And don’t forget to use appropriate keywords as anchor text while linking the pages. 

John Mueller says this will help your visitors, as well as Google, understand what the linked pages are about:

If you’re updating anchor text internally to make it more easily understandable by users, then usually that also helps search engines to better understand the context of those pages. So I would definitely go for that.

John Mueller.

Nofollow your affiliate links

Google sees your affiliate links as a means of earning affiliate commission. Or, simply put, another type of a paid link.

Google is way smarter to automatically identify some affiliate links built via popular affiliate networks like Amazon, Jumia, Konga, and the rest. And “nofollowing” them is a good practice because Google frowns upon links that are not naturally obtained to point to URLs. 

You can use the “sponsored” link attribute to tell Google that’s part of an affiliate link. That way, it doesn’t affect how Google calculates your link authority and overall domain authority of your website.

We handle the vast majority of affiliate stuff correctly because if it is a large enough affiliate network, we know about it, and we handle it on our side. Even though we handle the vast majority of affiliate links appropriately, if you are at all worried about it, I would go ahead and just add the nofollow because you might be earning money from that.

Matt Cutts

Utilize user-generated content

Having too little content on your website or re-using the vendor’s product descriptions and landing pages is likely to bury your SEO efforts under a Google penalty. Yet producing enough content might be an overwhelming task that you, as a small business, simply have no resources for.

A solution? Here is our beloved affiliate marketing tip. Try delegating some content creation to your users. Blog commenting, writing product reviews, testimonials, or any other option for users to express themselves on your website can charge your SEO campaign with additional content.

Furthermore, enabling user ratings lets you earn those nice-looking stars in your search engine snippet. This, no doubt, makes you stand out in a crowded SERP and create the image of a successful digital marketing company.

For you, as an affiliate marketer, it means easy commission to grab since these special deals see doubled and tripled conversion rates. For instance, for SEO PowerSuite affiliates, these events mean three times the income they get on average.

So, by no means neglect to ask the vendor about the upcoming deals and prepare your digital marketing campaigns accordingly.

Follow SEO best practices

Since this article is all about affiliate marketing success in Nigeria rather than the SEO tutorial itself, here is a list of various aspects of SEO you should consider when starting an affiliate website in Nigeria.

SEO Ranking Factors

SEO checklist for launching a new website

Technical optimization checklist

Keyword research guide

On-page SEO guide

HTML tags for SEO

Off-page SEO guide

Backlink profile audit

Link building

Email outreach

If any of this sounds strange, I recommend you enroll in our digital marketing training class, where you’ll learn how to build and scale up your affiliate website.

P.P.S. Want to learn how to make money with affiliate marketing programs in Nigeria?

Join our digital marketing professional class today. We introduce students to affiliate marketing and go in-depth on all other digital marketing aspects needed for a successful affiliate marketing program in Nigeria. Click here to join our next class.

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