This is part four of my multipart Affiliate Marketing 101 series. Part one explained the different types of affiliate websites you can choose to support your online affiliate business and how to set up those websites; part two elaborated on how to set up the foundation for displaying your site on search engine result pages (SERPs); and part three discussed how to handle traffic once it arrives at your site.
It's been often said that opening up a business is easy; keeping it from failing is the hard part. That's not to say that real work isn't involved in starting a business, even an online one. Before the doors of your business even open, a lot of time, effort and money has already been invested in making sure things can go smoothly. But now that you've gone through all the necessary steps to establish your online presence (i.e., your affiliate website), the hard work of building your business begins — driving traffic to your site, achieving and maintaining your search engine rankings, and, ultimately, making money. The steps to achieving that return on investment on all your preparations, however, suddenly become very unclear.
Having a domain and website doesn't qualify you as an affiliate marketer. People aren't going to flock to your site because it has the most ads. In fact, even if they find your site, they'll most likely be put off if they feel ambushed by advertisements. Even worse, search engines target these kinds of sites, known as ad dumps, and give them a low rank in the search engine results pages or block them entirely. This post will focus on search engine optimization best practices to position your site to get ranked by search engines and for visitors to find you.
Just as one doesn't open a store without first identifying the kind of merchandise to be sold or the location of the business, an affiliate marketer doesn't just build a presence on the internet without knowing what audience to target or what to offer visitors who come to their website. There are four basic steps a person must take to start the journey toward affiliate marketing: