Stressing about on page SEO?
You need to stop!
You can get by with basic on page SEO that’s easy to implement and works.
I’m going to highlight the exact strategy I use for all my affiliate websites which is working right now, and will continue to work for years to come.
I’ll also explain 1 advanced tweak which may help you get even more website traffic.
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Rant: The Most Important SEO Rule to Remember for Affiliate Marketers
You want more website traffic right?
Well you need to stop wasting your time with small on page tweaks or fancy new SEO plugins.
Better Google rankings, which leads to more website traffic, which leads to more affiliate commissions, comes down to quality backlinks and good content.
When you're building a website for affiliate marketing, this is what you should be focusing on: Getting backlinks, and building content. That's it.
You should not be focusing on analyzing and tweaking your on page SEO strategy.
It's not a good use of your time.
Get your strategy in place, so you can focus on more important things.
Obviously we need some strategy.
I have a basic one in place, and it works.
So I spend all my precious time doing the tasks which really matter, such as building links and getting more good content up on my websites.
What I'm sort of talking about is the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule:
80% of your website's results come from 20% of causes.
I would say that this is pretty true for all my successful affiliate sites. The bulk of the success comes from the quality backlinks and the quality content, not things like keyword density, meta tag descriptions, or image alt tags.
What I'm trying to say is that you need all those other things, but they shouldn't be something you focus your attention on. I hope that makes sense.
So let's get our strategy in place, and move on to more productive tasks!
The On-Page SEO Factors I Consider When Publishing Content
My on page search engine optimization strategy for affiliate marketing websites consists of 9 sections:
- Sub Headlines
- Content (text)
- Image Alt Tags
- Internal Links
- Outbound Links
1. The URL is Super Important So Get it Right
The URL is important for two reasons:
Firstly, when Google analyzes your site, it probably reads this first. It tells Google exactly what a page is about.
Secondly, it's not something you want to edit in the future.
So we need to get this right.
A good question to ask:
How specific do you want to get?
Generally, the more specific you make a URL, the more targeted you are for that term. This can be ideal if you're trying to just rank for that particular term. But you need to be careful because you may limit yourself as well.
If you're working in WordPress, you will want to make sure your Permalinks are set to Post name.
The reason is that we want a nice clear URL that just has our keyword or topic in it. We don't want any dates or weird numbers.
You will want to include your keyword in the URL, and generally you will want to keep it short if possible.
Shorter URLs are generally better, but if the topic of your content is very specific, then going a bit longer is fine. Basically you want to get straight to the point.
- Spelling errors are bad here so always double check this.
Remember Google is a computer and will read your URL to try and understand what the page is about. So setting up your Permalinks to anything but the Post name is not good for affiliate marketing.
- Very long URLs are generally not ideal.
Here are some examples:
Let's take a look at this page that you're reading right now.
The URL is:
In my opinion, this URL is perfect.
It tells Google exactly what this page is about.
Here's a key point as to why this example is a great one to look at:
With this particular page, I'm trying to target affiliate marketers who are looking for on page SEO information. My ideal visitor is someone who does affiliate marketing.
I'm not really talking about "On Page SEO" in general terms.
I really want to target people who are searching specifically for SEO and affiliate marketing. My strategy is to rank this page for search terms like: "on page SEO for affiliate marketing". I'm less concerned with competing for the big search term "on page SEO", as it's way more competitive and it's not 100% aligned with my target audience.
So you need to choose a URL that is ideal for the content you're going to create, and the ideal "customer" you want to attract. Shorter is better, but being specific works well for affiliate marketing terms.
So you might be wondering, why didn't I set up the URL like this:
The main reason I did not do this, is because my domain name already has the term "affiliate marketing" in it: AffiliateMarketingThatWorks.com.
Google knows my website is about affiliate marketing, so I don't need to include that in the page URL.
However, it's not terrible if you do. Both of these options work:
I chose option 1 because it's shorter, and because my domain name already has the term "affiliate marketing" in it.
I would strongly consider option 2 if my domain name was something like this:
This would be more appropriate because my domain name does not have the term "affiliate marketing" in it. Keep in mind it does make this page very specific for affiliate marketers, which I would be fine with.
You can argue that either one is correct. But you can also waste a lot of time analyzing and worrying about it too.
But the reality is, choosing between option 1 and 2 is not going to be the deciding factor in ranking for this term. They're both good options. It will boil down to how engaging this content is, and if Google believes my website is an authority on affiliate marketing. And that always boils down to your backlink profile.
But this option highlights the importance that your actual domain name plays in your entire site.
Check out my guide called: How to Choose a Domain Name - 3 Golden Rules
Because my domain name has the term "affiliate marketing" in it, I don't feel it necessary to include that in the inner URL on certain pages. I wanted to highlight that point for you.
- Don't include dates in your URLs.
Say you have a review website about a product such as Roller Blades, and you want to create a page targeting "the best roller blades".
Here are examples:
I would choose option 1: ...com/best-roller-blades
Option 2 is fine, however you don't need the words "this year" in the URL. You can put those in the title of the page, and in some headlines, and keep the URL shorter.
Option 3 is not good. Never put dates in your URLs. In 2021, 2022, and beyond, this page's URL won't be relevant.
2. Optimizing Your Titles Can Have a Huge Impact on Your Rankings
Here's an example for the title of this page:
At the time of writing this, the suggested length for having your full titles show up in Google is under 60 characters.
I remember when 70 characters would show up in the search results. So this something you will want to keep an eye on, as it changes from time to time.
You can paste your titles in this tool and see their lengths: https://www.lettercount.com
Keep it under 60 characters and you should be fine.
You should always include your keyword in your titles.
Your keyword should be near the beginning of the title.
If you have a keyword variation, or a secondary keyword which applies to the page, you can sometimes include it in the title as well.
Or your can opt in for including something which may get a high click through rate.
So in the example for this page, the main keyword is "On Page SEO for Affiliate Marketing".
The only other terms which I might be able to include would be perhaps "website".
So I could make a title like this:
So the keywords for this title would be:
"On Page SEO" - this is the broad keyword.
"On Page SEO for Affiliate Marketing" - this is our main keyword which we want to rank for.
Adding the term "Websites" creates another longer keyword, and including it in the title may help us rank for this.
This is where you can put in dates as well. Now that 2020 is long gone, I can easily just edit the title and change the date every year.
But I would prefer the title with the "9 Rules for Rankings", as I believe that will get a higher click-through.
The most important factor is that our title has our main keyword near the beginning, is enticing to click, and is the appropriate length.
And lastly here's what you don't want to do:
Don't repeat keywords in your titles. No "keyword stuffing" please!
This is a bad example for this title:
In this example, I repeated the broad keyword twice which is not ideal.
It's better to include it just once, and leave room for related terms, or for a call to action.
If you have any specific questions regarding your own titles, you can always reach out to me on Facebook.
Here is a link to our Facebook Group:
3. Headlines are Very Important, and Very Easy to Get Right
Don't make this harder than it has to be.
Your headline is your H1 tag <h1>.
Make sure it includes your main keyword, or a slight variation of it.
If your keyword was "Best Roller Blades", then maybe your headline could read: "The Top Roller Blade Brands of 20--"
I personally like to use a keyword variation in my headlines if I can, but if you don't have any good variations, by all means use your exact keyword in your headline.
4. Sub Headlines Must Be Optimized Correctly So You Can Get the Most Traffic Possible from a Particular Topic
Headlines and sub-headlines are a great place to include keyword variations, or secondary keywords.
They can be used to answer common questions related to the topic of the article as well.
Here is an example I could potentially use for this page:
You can see that in one of the sub-headings on this page, the keyword "On-Page SEO Factors" is used.
This is a longer keyword from the route keyword of "On Page SEO" which is searched a lot. So it's good practice to include it in a headline somewhere on the page.
Apart from that, you don't want to stuff your keywords in every sub-headline on the page. You can see that I've only included 1 variation in a sub-headline which is highlighted above. That's all you need.
Use your other sub headlines to answer related questions to this topic, and keep your reader scrolling down the page.
In terms of SEO, that's about it for headlines.
Obviously you can improve your writing style and create sub-headlines which include a benefit perhaps. But that's a copywriting topic we won't get into here.
5. Make Your Content Sound Natural, and Leave it Alone
Less is more.
The longer your keyword is, the less you should use it on your page.
What I mean is that if your keyword is something like "weight loss programs for women over 40", you should not repeat this often throughout the content. It wouldn't sound natural.
You will have it in the URL, title, and maybe the headline, but that's probably it. Perhaps once in the content but maybe not.
However, if your keyword was something shorter like "affiliate marketing", you would naturally use that more often in your article.
Go to Google and test this out for yourself with random keywords. See what the top 10 pages have done.
Don't stress over the keyword density of your content.
Read your content out loud and if it sounds natural, it's fine. You should be able to notice if you're saying your keyword too often.
Check your competitors and see how many times they're using a specific keyword on their pages.
Again, less is more with the body of your content. In my opinion it's way better to dial it back then stuff your page with your keyword.
6. Follow Google's Guidelines for Image Alt Tags
I would advise you to follow Google guidelines for image alt tags, especially if you feel your website would attract a lot of visitors who are searching for images.
But just to share some personal results, I’ve had a website which at its peak was getting 20,000 daily visitors, and I did not put in any image alt tags.
So optimizing your images is not going to make or break your website, but it's just better to follow Google’s guidelines and do not stress about this rule. Adding alt tags will not suddenly boost your SEO rankings, but it's not hard to do, especially if you start from the beginning with this optimization.
There are other image guidelines that are important as well, such as naming your images with a keyword when you upload them to your website. Check out Google's image guidelines here.
7. Internal Links Can Help Google Find Your Important Pages
The last two rules have to do with the links on your web pages.
Numbers 7 and 8 are internal links, and outbound links.
Internal links refers to the links that go from one of your website pages, to another one of your website pages.
Internal links can benefit a user who’s reading your page, and they can help Google find and understand what pages might be connected, or what pages might be more important than others.
For example, if you have an article on the best electric shavers of the year, and you mention a particular model, you might want to link to that specific electric shaver’s review page.
Or if you have articles all about how to use electric shavers, and the differences between them, you might want to link to your “Top 10 List” from these how-to guides to tell Google that that particular page is important.
8. Outbound Links are the Final Thing to Consider When Building Your Pages
You should probably have some outbound links on some of your pages.
An outbound link is a link on your webpage, which links to someone else’s website. So it’s an external link.
The other type of external link is an inbound link. That’s a link from another website which links to your website. So those are super important, but I cover those in other link building tutorials.
So outbound links are links you control on your website, and that link to someone else's website.
Now you’re going to get mixed messaging when it comes to whether outbound links help you rank better on Google.
Here's the bottom line:
If you have a keyword in your title, it most definitely helps you rank for that term. That is obvious and there’s enough valid info and testing to prove that. From what I’ve seen, I think it’s harder to claim that outbound links on all your pages are a must do in order to rank on Google.
But relevant outbound links help improve a user’s experience.
An obvious example is when your page makes some type of claim. If you link to a study which backs up what your page is talking about, that can help the website visitor trust you.
Further up the page you will notice that I linked out to Google's Image SEO Guidelines. I made a reference to them, and linked to their website. This link is relevant to what I was discussing, and if the reader wants more information on image SEO, they can reference that guide.
So if you think your website visitor would appreciate an outbound link, then use one. It’s also worth mentioning here that outbound links are in your complete control. Therefore, only link to reputable websites. When Google scans and evaluates your outbound links, if they are all good respectable websites that are relevant to your website, that’s a good sign.
Never link to a questionable website which might not be in Google’s good books. You don’t want to be associated with sites like that.
9. Lastly We Have the Bonus Rule
I called this a bonus rule because it’s not really a fundamental rule in my opinion.
The above rules we’ve covered are all you need to rank. This bonus rule is more of a consideration that changes from time to time.
So I’m talking about Featured Snippets.
In the past there have been specific things you could do to your pages which can actually help you get into the featured snippets. However, these tend to change from time to time.
So once you have mastered all the other steps, you might want to do a Google search for featured snippets, and follow the most recent guidelines.
But remember, you can't get into a featured snippet unless your page is already ranking very well, usually on the first page of Google's search results. This is why this rule is not very important.
There are certain situations where if you're ranking say in position 7, you might be able to tweak your content in order to rank higher. In the past I have personally done this through creating a table which lists various products and services.
So my advice would be to focus on the other rules, and when your pages start to rank, consider examining some which may be able to get featured in a featured snippet.
Final Thoughts and Moving Forward
As I say in almost every SEO tutorial I make, just keep it simple.
Follow this basic checklist when building your pages, and keep publishing content and building links. Just rinse and repeat.
Obviously there are a few other things which you need to get right. You need to build a business around a profitable topic, do proper keyword research, link building, and so on.
If you're interested in learning how I personally build all my successful affiliate marketing websites, then grab a copy of my 5 Step Blueprint.
This is a blueprint on how you can actually get started right now.
It explains the easiest way for beginners to make money with affiliate marketing and free traffic from SEO. Download it now.