If you’re working in the world of affiliate marketing, competition is something you will be familiar with. In order to stay relevant, affiliate marketers have to outrank their competitors at every turn. This includes being highly visible on Google and other search engines.
Google visibility comes with a range of ranking factors, one of the main ones being the number of links pointing to a website. Studies and careful monitoring of web traffic has shown that there is a direct correlation between an increase of inbound links and the amount of inbound traffic sent to a website.
We can then safely say that acquiring inbound links should be a focus point for affiliate marketers wanting to gain momentum online.
Google’s algorithm is constantly being changed or updated. This generally means that anything to do with gaining visibility on the web needs to be met with explicit scrutiny to ensure that it complies with the latest algorithm updates. Building an affiliate marketing link building strategy in 2020 could well be very different to 2019. The future of work around website visibility will always be ongoing.
We have put together five strategies for building backlinks for your affiliate website in 2020. You don’t need to be a professional SEO copywriter to implement them either. These are based on the most up to date information available – though make sure you keep an eye on any changes Google may make.
Challenges With Building Backlinks To Your Affiliate Site
Trying to build links as a website owner comes with a fair share of obstacles. Google is extremely strict about the quality of links and where they come from. They will penalize websites that make use of low-quality links. In order to avoid this you need to put a lot of thought and effort into acquiring inbound links.
Many website owners with decent authority on the web are now demanding money for links. They know the potential their site can offer, and are capitalizing off its strength. This makes it increasingly difficult for affiliates to make an impact in terms of acquiring links.
Don’t let that make you turn to black hat practices (unethical SEO practices) such as making use of comment spam or link farms. The last thing you want as an affiliate trying to gain exposure is to get action taken against you by Google. Keep it ethical. Keep it clean, and you will generally find that you are rewarded for your endeavors.
Here are our five tips for building backlinks
1. Create Content That People Want To Link To
Website owners will only link to your content if it has something to offer their users. If it’s relevant, engaging, and interesting, you have a better chance of acquiring inbound links. Each piece of content that attracts links is called a linkable asset. You want to increase the number of these on your website in order to garner as many links as possible.
A linkable asset needs to be a few things before anyone will link to it:
- It needs to be high quality content
- It needs to be about a topic that users are likely to link to
- It needs to be highly searched for already
- It should be an authoritative voice in the topic you choose
Finding content that people want to link to can be done with a little bit of investigative work. You can do a simple Google search for topics in your niche. Let’s say you offer omnichannel retail software. Have a look at the sort of questions people ask – things like ‘what is omnichannel’ or ‘omnichannel customer experience’.
Once you have an idea of the type of content you need to publish that users will be likely to link to it, you can do competitor research to determine who is already commanding the niche. Use a tool like Ahrefs to get the most benefit out of this process. Tools like this let you search for “Best by Links” on your competitor’s website to see which piece of content has the highest number of backlinks.
Having found linkable assets that your competitors are getting loads of attention for, take that content idea and do it better. In your own way, with your own research, and your own unique spin on it.
Some examples of linkable assets include:
- Whitepapers and reports with original research into a topic with minimal coverage
- A round up of persuasive statistics for a niche that is well searched, these can be covered using analytics automation or services like RingCentral’s virtual switchboard
- Downloadable resources with highly relevant, sought after content
- Online tools or calculators
- How-to guides, or interesting blog posts
Make lists of the topics that your competitors are acquiring the most links for. Prioritize them according to the number of links attracted per piece, and the relevance of the content for your audience. This will give you plenty of inspiration for the creation of your linkable assets.
2. Create Guest Posts For High Profile Websites
We know that a number of existing websites charge big money in exchange for guest posts or links. But there are web owners who would rather have unique, interesting content. Remember that they have their own audiences to engage. If you can write commanding, high-quality copy for their audience, they will be more than happy to return the favor with a link to your website.
So, how do you find guest post opportunities? It requires a decent amount of research, but the rewards can be worth it.
Firstly, you need to identify the websites you want to approach and offer guest post writing services to. Look for websites that accept guest posts and offer do-follow links in return. If they only offer no-follow links, you will not receive even close to the same amount of benefit.
Next, you need to narrow those sites down to ones that cover your field. Don’t go for websites that cover the intricacies of email campaign software if your focus is call recording services. Stay relevant and within your niche.
Then it’s time to pitch your topic ideas to them. Give them a few to choose from, to increase the chances of one being accepted. For example, let’s say you run a recruitment site. You could pitch about how to find the right candidates, implementing HR software, and streamlining the hiring process. If they’re not keen on any of your ideas, you can take the exact same pitch to another website that accepts guest posts.
Make sure to follow their contributor guidelines very carefully and write the content according to their requirements. It needs to be a stellar composition as it’s a reflection of you and your affiliate website. You can make it more appealing by including images and media where necessary.
Lastly, ensure your link is included somewhere in the body copy or within the bio. The contributor guidelines will probably dictate where this should be.
3. Become A Source For News Sites To Lean On
If journalists and news sites link to your content on a regular basis, you will strike web authority gold. You’ll also find that other websites will start to follow suit. Getting into the books of prominent journalists is tricky and needs to be done over time as you start to gain momentum and notoriety on the web. Luckily, there’s a way to speed that up.Take a look at Help A Reporter Out (HARO). With this too, you can pitch to be used as a source for articles to help reporters with their workloads. Journalists listed on HARO are seeking expertise in various different fields, and sources are looking for exposure. Or in this case, links.
Once you win a pitch and become a source for a journalist, your content will be linked to from the news resource, which is generally a high-profile news website. The process is fairly straightforward:
- Register as a source
- Choose your plan – there are three options, with the first one being free
- Scour the request lists for requests that you are equipped to contribute to
- When you find one, send a brief pitch to the journalist to secure the work
- Write the content, gain exposure, receive quality backlinks in return
Pitch on topics that you are proficient in, whether it be launching an affiliate program, running a retail business, or the ins and outs of website builders. The RingCentral team, for example, tends to pitch topics on call centers, communication, and remote work. No-one likes a grifter, so don’t pitch indiscriminately. Select topics in the space that you frequent in order to make a prominent impact.
4. Get Active On Forums
Becoming an authority on forums or sites like Quora will provide impressive returns for your efforts. While links on these sites are mainly no-follow links, you can still build up enough exposure to make an impact on your level of backlinks. Use it as an opportunity to network and build connections that could be of benefit further down the line.
The key is to find the right posts in terms of content and join the conversation. Create meaningful content that has relevance to the topic at hand. Make it thought-provoking and useful. Link to your WordPress website when it is called for. If the link is out of place, you could get marked as a spammer. Think professional. Think helpful, and you can’t go wrong.
5. Source Brand Mentions To Turn Into Links
If your affiliate marketing website is already a prominent source of information on the web, you will find that other people will mention you from time to time. If your content is highly relevant, or you have a product that is sought after, you’ll find that your name is associated with your work.
Use Google Alerts or a brand monitoring tool to find mentions of your business, your brand, website, or anything that’s relevant to you. Create a list of the websites and mentions, utilize RingCentral’s screen share it with your colleagues, then get to work.
- Get in contact with the website owner who has mentioned your business
- You can draft an email template that includes the relevant information
- Page URL
- Where your business mention is located
- The link you would like them to add
- Let them know about the mention and ask politely if they wouldn’t mind creating a link to your website using your mention as the anchor text
- If they are hesitant, explain to them that it will add more value for their users
Because the website in question has already mentioned you, they must already appreciate you or your work. The chances are they will be more than happy to link to you as well.
Time to get started
The trick with building backlinks to your affiliate website is consistency and determination. It’s an admin-intensive process, but the fruits of your labor will be sweet in the end. Start with one of the above listed tactics, master that, and progress to the next. Having as many systems working for you as possible will give you the best round up of backlinks to your affiliate site. Good luck.
Zofia Bobrowicz Cohn – RingCentral UK
Bio Zofia Bobrowicz Cohn is an EMEA Product Marketing Manager at RingCentral, a Global VoIP, video conferencing and Cloud PBX provider. As a strong believer in digital transformation, she thrives by helping organizations find the right technology that supports their business processes. Here is her LinkedIn.