We interviewed 30+ of the industry’s leading affiliate marketers. After reviewing their interviews, I was going to write a post on the myriad of tools and software they use to succeed in affiliate marketing.
It wouldn’t have been a very good post.
Because nine out of ten affiliate marketers recommended similar tools to do the very same thing – generate more SEO traffic.
I was expecting a long list of answers about SEO, social, creative, landing page optimization, and affiliate tracking. Nope. That did not happen.
Just about everyone recommended SEO tools, most notably Ahrefs.
So after spending a few weeks staring at my heavily biased post, I decided not to write about the myriad of tools affiliate marketers use to get their job done.
Instead, I’ll try to write about why SEO is likely the most critical activity for the majority of affiliate marketers. Then, I’ll spend a little bit of time digging into Ahrefs and why it seems to be such a popular tool. First, let me start by hypothesizing a bit of why SEO plays such a vital role in the arsenal of affiliate marketers.
1. Skill and elbow grease outweigh scale and budget
The reality is that most successful affiliate marketers didn’t get to where they are today because they’re operating with significant scale or a massive budget. The path to success tends to stem much more from hard work and skill. Doing the things others don’t want to do, or don’t know how to do. Our superpower is hard work, done smartly, and SEO tends to be one of those fields where good strategy, combined with hard work, can overcome big budgets and scale. But, that’s only possible when you have the right tools to do your research, which is why tools like Ahrefs are in such heavy rotation for affiliate marketers.
2. Affiliate Marketing is a long-term game
Most successful affiliate marketers own digital properties (websites, apps, e-mail lists, social media accounts) built over a long period of time. These properties are created over years and decades, not weeks or months. People who’re getting into affiliate marketing to make a quick buck, tend to either disappear quickly or hinge to questionable and sometimes unethical tactics that will lead nowhere soon. It takes time to build an audience. It takes time to build trust. And you know what else takes time? Good SEO. Time that a corporate player trying to optimize for the next quarter’s earnings call might not have. So while SEO is far from easy, it aligns very nicely with the long-term focus of an affiliate marketer.
3. Passive income and results tend to be a key outcome for affiliate marketers.
Passive income is the holy grail, not only for affiliate marketers but for most web entrepreneurs. There is way too much content out there that tends to oversimplify what it takes to build passive income greatly. This post won’t be one of them. But rest assured, the principle of passive income is valid and rightfully pursued by many in the affiliate marketing space. The idea in itself is simple. You work really hard building what hopefully will be a self-sustaining digital property that then continues to earn revenues even as you scale back or even discontinue your efforts. Now, while great SEO is likely a task that never ends, the reality is that while there is a fair amount of energy necessary upfront when done correctly, it will continue to bear fruit (aka organic traffic) for a long time to come. In a best-case scenario, that is how both SEO and affiliate marketing works.
So we really shouldn’t be surprised that most affiliate marketers we interview reference some SEO software (other than Geniuslink, of course, duh) as an essential tool in their affiliate marketing toolbox. It simply makes sense.
Moral of the story, if you’re an affiliate marketer who is looking to be successful for the long-term, SEO needs to be a critical activity for you. And if that’s the case, here are the favorite tools used by many of your peers.
Oh and by the way, this is not a sponsored post for Ahrefs. Even though, we too love and use it.
“Ahrefs all the way. A great tool that helps me find topics that our visitors would find helpful and interesting. We aim to be a top educational resource on life insurance, so covering all the important topics is key.” – John Holloway
Ahrefs is my favorite tool, ever. It makes me save so much time and makes me a more efficient marketer. The second tool I use the most is Lemlist to send outreach e-mails for link building.
Ahrefs hands down. That service is magic. It’s x-ray goggles for the internet. It lets you see where your competition gets its traffic, its links, and what it ranks for. It’s what I use to monitor my site’s health and look for new content opportunities.
Ahrefs.com is probably my favorite service. It’s a platform that helps monitor organic rankings, growth, and overall SEO performance. It also allows you to quickly research competitors, keywords, and content. It’s incredibly fast and easy to use and is useful in virtually every industry.
Aside from Geniuslink one tool that I use every single day is Ahrefs – a site that has an immense database of internet links, mentions, keywords… It helps me understand who talks about us (links to us) and what topics are most successful, not only from us but from our competition as well. Google is some kind of a “black box”. Ahrefs helps me understand that black box a little better, and act accordingly.
Of course, I’m a big fan of Geniuslink but If I had to pick another tool, it would be Ahrefs. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard the name. It’s a very popular tool. It’s really become an integral part of our operations. Not only is it a great tool for keyword research but it’s also extremely helpful in tracking backlinks, monitoring rankings for articles/posts and analyzing competing sites.
Oh and just in case, you’d love an alternative to using Ahrefs, there are a few.
I use Google Analytics and Search Console to know what the readers are searching for, which words and links are they interested in, and I will create more of those topics or types of posts.
Google Trends is a fantastic tool and can come in handy when researching niches, topics, and keywords. If you are dealing with a topic, niche, or an area that emerged within a single state or region, you can use Google Trends to help predict how that niche will emerge nationwide and that’s a trick I’ve found pretty useful.
One piece of software that really helped me as an affiliate marketer was the Google Ads Keyword Tool. Being able to see exactly how many people were searching for a given keyword each month was invaluable, and when, as a hypothetical example, “Dragon Fantasy Books” and “Fantasy Books with a Dragon” have a few thousand search results different, it really shapes how you create your descriptions and landing pages. I even went back and changed titles for some old articles! I was frustrated with the lack of software for Amazon search results, which is why I custom built the Amazon Kindle Keyword Store Scraper on my website, and am giving it away for free.
I really like SEMrush.com for its keyword research and link research capabilities. It has been a go-to tool for me since the early days of my site.
Should you be thinking hard about integrating SEO into your affiliate marketing gameplan?
Yup, most definitely.
Is Ahrefs probably the best possible tool to use?
Probably yes. Definitely yes, actually. But it’s $100 per month, so maybe see if you can partner up with a buddy to share the account.
If you have any questions about how to use SEO as part of your affiliate marketing strategy, we’d love to help or connect you with some folks who can help.