There have been so many changes to online marketing in the last couple of years that it is hard to keep up with them. Google is issuing updates at an unprecedented rate that changes the landscape dramatically.
Which has people asking if they can still make a successful affiliate marketing website lately. The reason for the question is that Google’s recent update seems to have targeted affiliate sites that promote products from e-commerce sites.
The truth is that if you can wade through the hype, myth, and misinformation you can actually build an affiliate website and be successful. But because the landscape has changed, it is not as easy as it once was and the tips and tricks from the last few years are no longer relevant.
In this article, we will go over what it takes now to make sure you can actually make money with an affiliate marketing website.
Everything Google does is to make sure that the user gets the information that they are looking for. If the user is happy, then Google makes more money. It’s as simple as that. This means that you have to satisfy the user first and Google will reward you for your efforts.
It used to be easy to manipulate Google and rank even without giving a thought to the visitor to your site. Getting traffic was far easier than it is now. If you keyword-stuffed your articles and just filled the meta description with lots of related keywords you could generally rank your article on the first page.
Now, it is far more difficult to rank if you are not taking care of the user experience. To understand how important this is to Google, look no further than the rollout of the new metric called Core Web Vitals.
This metric is used to gauge the user experience based on things like how long the site takes to load and if you can click links without them moving.
One thing that drives people crazy and makes them want to leave your site is if the page shifts as you are going to click a link and click the wrong one as a result.
These are things that Google wants to track so if your site is slow and the page shifts then this is going to cause problems when ranking a post.
Besides the Core Web Vitals, you should also think about how easy it is for a visitor to navigate the site. They should be able to get the information they are looking for quickly and in a click or two.
If you’re unfamiliar with some of the common terms around affiliate marketing, there are three basic models to follow. You can go whitehat which is doing everything above board. You don’t take any shortcuts or try to game the Google algorithm.
Greyhat is something that falls into a sort of grey area, hence the name. Nothing is specifically against the TOS when it comes to Google so lots of liberties are taken. This involves things like paying for backlinks or paying for guest posts on high authority sites with a link back to your homepage.
Then there is blackhat which is doing things specifically against the TOS of Google or even some of the affiliate programs you may be in. This ranges from buying up a PBN or personal blog network to direct backlinks or traffic back to your website among many other tactics.
However, this is the riskiest way to go since Google is always refining its AI so it can sniff out the worst offenders. Usually, it is a matter of time before the site gets penalized or even deindexed.
Going whitehat is the way to make this work for the long term and assure that you can actually make a business out of this. Just focus on content marketing and generating traffic and conversions the natural way and you can still make money off of affiliate marketing.
The biggest key to making money with an affiliate website these days is the same as it always was. You need to build a good-sizedemail list. Since Google can decide to do away with any affiliate sites whenever they please, having an email list under your control means it won’t matter.
Every site should provide enough value that people are willing to hand over their email addresses to receive more information and offers.
When you write a product review or there is a sale happening then you can send the people in your list to the post instead of hoping that Google will send traffic to the page.
These people are also very motivated to spend money or they wouldn’t be on your list so the conversion rate can be quite high.
Right now, ad revenue is starting to keep pace with what you could make with affiliate commissions. Instead of focusing on products, you can start building content around helpful information.
In this way, you can target lower competition keywords that will rank easier without needing to buy backlinks. Building up traffic will usually be faster and the right niche can see a very good RPM from ads.
Then, if you sprinkle some affiliate links in where they make sense you can pad your earnings that way.
This may be the best way forward since Google doesn’t have a problem with sites that run ads. As long as the ads don’t negatively impact the Core Web Vitals, your site should be able to run on autopilot and make money.
If you do be sure to share your blog posts with the affiliate links in them vs. just sharing the affiliate links themselves. Now, of course, Twitter does not have a policy against affiliate links but who will click on them is the question!
People love to read the information before making any purchases. So if you promote affiliates on social media be sure to provide information in your posts. Why would someone need the product? What pain points does a product solve?
Those are the things to consider before trying to sell any affiliate products or services.
As you can see, you should stop listening to people who are saying that affiliate marketing is dead. It is alive and well as long as you adapt to the new reality instead of trying what used to work in the past.
There is still plenty of money to be made out there you just have to work harder to get it.
Do you have an affiliate marketing site? I’d love to know more about it in the comments below.