What lays between them is utility and sensationalism (for the publisher) and satisfaction (for the end user) if the combination of traffic and the offer is compatible. Regardless of the economy, trends or time of the month, there will always be consumers “in search” for something.
Similarly, like most dynamics (such as supply and demand) there will always be “someone”, “selling something” – to complete this self-perpetuating cycle. The key is to know what consumers are searching for, what traffic sources or which keyword modifiers they use and then intersect that traffic with an offer. This synergy of opportunity and commerce is the perfect breeding ground for the middleman / or woman to leverage opportunity to make a commission (by referring targeted traffic to a landing page) to facilitate conversion.
This is the crux of the affiliate marketing. The SEO Mindset SEO’s are from another strain of marketing entirely. Consider it a driven ego-centric personality type that thrives on competition, competence and naturally being #1.
The concept of understanding how to impact search algorithms has an enticing appeal, yet that appeal must be grounded in reality and have tangible benchmarks capable of measuring the impact of a campaign, its ROI and overall effectiveness.
SEO is great for the client, but in reality, the better the job you do at SEO, the more the client learns and becomes less dependent. So, ultimately if providing SEO services is your monetization model, one of two things must occur.
- As a service provider, you have to make a profit (so competing on price is not the best solution) as more and more competition is bred daily from cheap labor, automation or implementation of sub-par optimization tactics (which may have short-term value, but lack long-term longevity). And…
- On the contrary, if it works too well, your client hits their target and they learned all of the tips, strategies and tactics you provided along the way – then you are essentially making your sever model obsolete (or so they think until the next algorithm update).
This typically means that to create value, you have to tackle a more competitive and specialized (bigger) keywords and key phrases which have the trappings of a higher ROI yet (2) if you achieve your rankings and conversions have not improved, the client may never see the real value of a higher search engine position.
Affiliates also have to emerge on the victorious side of traffic and conversion, for them its more about how much that traffic cost, and what it the immediate ROI (so they can make their margin off the spread.
SEO’s should envy affiliates in the sense that “affiliates only get paid if it works” and they too have various obstacles to overcome which require, ironically in some cases “SEO”.
However, affiliates also have the arsenal of multiple traffic sources at their disposal, representing a broader base of variables in which to funnel traffic “to see what sticks” to their various sponsored endeavors in order to see that ROI of invested money or time. Both are valid, but one is more firmly rooted with benefits to the publisher (the one offering the commission) as a no risk model (since if they do not have to fulfill any sale, there is no commission.
As the other usually involves an up front fee (to provide the work) such as on page and off page optimization, grooming and cultivating various metrics, which typically take more time to see the fruits of those labors (SEO). To be successful as a publisher, you need SEO (for some consumer types) as well as affiliates (if you want to benefit from multiple traffic sources).
Sales are the bottom line and the more lucrative the traffic sources (such as search engine result page positioning) or paid traffic does not matter – only that the traffic converts. The quandary is not SEO vs. affiliate marketing so much as it is the proof of the monetization model.
SEO works, but it takes time, and affiliate marketing works but there is more risk, exposure and funding required to pay for traffic to jump start the conversion funnel.
Both have advantages and disadvantages but those who understand what each has to offer and can benefit from their virtues is less dependent on the weaknesses of either performing SEO or trying to get paid as an affiliate and virtually putting all of your eggs in one basket or falling short from having marketing / tunnel vision.
The takeaway here is both are dependent in some form. for example, without great offers affiliates cannot thrive (as the time invested does not correspond to the ROI) and without clients SEO essentially turn into affiliates.