After you have found a niche and want to determine who the Super Affiliates are, there are a number of extremely simple SEO techniques you can use to find out which offers, competitors and/or referrer sources are worthwhile to pursue.
Applying Commercial Tact
It’s not like your competition is going to say, “these are the products we are pushing as affiliates and here are our most cherished traffic sources that make us money“. But if you have a little “SEO know how” and a few minutes to spare, then it’s not too difficult to put on the sleuth cap and figure it out yourself.
While there are many ways to identify successful products – like using broad level search phrases, refining search signals from gleaning the most active PPC, organic and blended search results ( including reviews, videos, etc.) and in turn acquiring a pulse in minutes to determine which products are moving the most volume.
Since websites like Google and Amazon has sophisticated algorithms to determine freshness, trends, traffic spikes and popularity, you may as well use them as barometers to weed out the lackluster performers from the start.
For example, you can (1) ask Google using search operators or (2) find which products are the “best sellers” at Amazon.com. We will use the Google method for now and save the other tactic for another post.
Using Targeted Search Operators
I have covered tactics like this in the past, but you can never underestimate the power of search operators or using a wildcard * search and letting a search engine fill in the blanks and feed you THE most relevant data, based on the topic of your choosing.
The SEO tip is simple, for the straight forward-method (cutting to the chase), type in the keyword you want to find a program for:
I used “Plasma TV” as my search phrase, which I could use later to triangulate data in SEM Rush (more on that in a minute).
Google knows their search engine better than I do, and since they are after all the Master Affiliate of the web (the traffic broker of epic proportions) why not let their algorithms tell me which product have the most PPC, organic or affiliate value.
The first brand I see in PPC makes an impression, so I make note of the make and model – which I can use later to zero in on competitors (to once again reverse engineer metrics to determine what percentage of traffic or which referrer sources are passing them the most traffic, and business).
Next, I look at the blended search result a little further down the page and “low and behold” it has more information on this brand “which means there is lots of citation” and this brand/make model is hot and Google knows it (making it an opportunity worth pursuing).
Now, I want to find out who is the king or queen of traffic for that model number. So, I conduct another search and (1) use the Make and Model Number AND “affiliate program”
(2) After I found the affiliate SERP champion from “Sears” for the keyword, I dug in even further with.
Sears AND “affiliate programs”
And within 10 results I have several opportunities to (1) sign up with the 500 pound Gorilla on the block and (2) start marketing the make, model and brand on high traffic authority sites that allow me to create landing pages, build a site tailored to the topic using a “premium or keyword-rich domain” or use other traffic sources to pre-sell this product.
Now, after I found the offer, settled on the product and signed up, when I am building a website, I need to know which topics are floating to the top regarding the conversation “what people actually type in” and not what a keyword research tool tells me – I use this method.
Using the Wild Card Method for Trend Analysis
Add the Make / Model and then type *
In this case it was:
Panasonic TC – P50C2 *
After typing that in and clicking search, what showed up next prominently were the keyword modifers “deals” and “reviews” as primary modifiers (that were the theme aside from the keyword) on the page.
Assessing Competitors Referrer Traffic
It used to be as easy as using www.compete.com to view the referrer percentages for traffic sources, but since they upped the price on that data to over $400 for a PRO subscription per month, you have to find other ways to find accurate representations of referrer traffic sources to assess the foothold of your competition.
A few alternatives are:
One of my favorite multi-purpose tools SEM Rush using the (competitors in) feature (such as competitors in organic search) or competitors in Ad Words. Alternatively, you can look at Alexa.com and use the “sites linking in” link to look at sites linking to the affiliate’s site.
Conducting an old fashion link sweep never hurt as well using Yahoo Site Explorer. Unless someone is cloaking, then their links will show up in a traditional backlink search (using the tool of your choice). You can also do the same for the commercial landing pages (in this case for Amazon or Sears) or whoever is moving the most product (based on the product and market).
Other quick takeaways to find smaller players are (1) look for the reviews or sites ranking in the top 10 from article sites, sites like Hubpages, Squidoo, Xomba, EzineArticles, etc. then look at the author name and find the author’s box to see which site they are promoting.
You could also use the same tact and run those sites through a battery of tests to (1) find their highest percentage of Traffic (SEM Rush Again) or find other phrases they rank for that have relevance to your theme.
As a final tip, you can also use Technorati to do some Trend Tracking and subscribe to the RSS to check the stats.
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