a4u Expo Live Blogging: How to do SEO like a Super Affiliate w/ Patrick Altoft
His definition of a “super affiliate”:
An affiliate business that has made the transition into being one of the following:
- A well known brand
- A business driving substantial revenue & profits
- A business with perhaps 20+ employees
- A business with real offices
Some examples of these would be Money Supermarket, Go Compare, Confused.com and Sky Scanner.
Characteristics of a Super Affiliate
Become a great business. You have to have a USP. If you want to rank at the top of Google for lots of keywords, how are you going to do that if your site isn’t very good, and is not doing anything different?
Figure out how to make a site that’s better than the people ranking above you.
Patrick recommends reading the book “Good to Great”.
What are Super Affiliates Great at?
Digital marketing and sector expertise. The difficulty with any big affiliate site is that you’re likely to be competing against a lot of other similar sites. You need to have a strong grasp of both digital marketing and sector expertise to succeed.
The barriers to entry are quite low – unless you’re doing something particularly unique. Anybody can launch an affiliate site, which means more competition. You need to show Google you are a trusted brand before you get aggressive with SEO.
If you have a new affiliate site, you are competing against big brands with authority, links, PPC campaigns etc. You need to find the balance between natural growth and aggressive marketing (i.e. link building).
Any SEO that is building links needs to understand the types of link building that needs to take place. If you’re working with a trusted brand, then you can be quite aggressive with your link building. If you’re working with a new site then you need to be very careful. The same type of link building doesn’t work for all types of websites. Understand the type of website you’re working with, in terms of authority, competitors, etc.
SEO is Not Your Marketing Strategy; Super Affiliates do Everything
Spend money where you are getting returns. You shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket with just SEO (i.e. relying on organic keyword traffic). Integrate social media, PPC and online PR.
Multi-channel funnels now lets us attribute conversions to the correct channels. We can now understand the channels that we might have thought weren’t particularly valuable, and the budget for those can be allocated based on success.
High Level SEO is about Rankings
Long tail traffic is great, and everybody should be doing it, but you need to be ranking number one for all of your major keywords.
Ideally an SEO team should be separated from the commercial team. Have people that don’t have to worry about content, conversions, etc, simply have them dedicated to ranking number one for the main keywords that the site needs to be ranking for.
Clients will always want to look at rankings for big keywords – not long tail traffic. Don’t shy away from the major keywords – this needs to be the absolute focus. Link building should purely be focused on big keywords – ensuring they get to number one.
Select a keyword, rank for it & move on to the next.
If you chose the wrong keywords, you’re not going to make as much money. Simple as that.
Patrick uses an automated tool to get organic + PPC keywords from a site, then run this through the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (API) to find volumes. They then look at the maximum CTR for each keyword (around 20% for nr 1 ranking, taking into account people who may click PPC ads). Finally, they then look at the conversion rate (either non-brand site avg, i.e. 1.5%, or specific conversion rates for particular keywords if they are abnormal), and revenue per sale.
- Opportunity = Search Vol * Max CTR * Conversion Rate * Revenue per Sale
All of the keywords need to be rank checked. They currently rank check over 100,000 a day at the moment.
An excel doc with “Maximum Opportunity” and “Current Revenue”, along with the keyword rankings, will allow them to see which keywords should be focused on (i.e. to push from 8th to 1st).
If you can do this on a monthly basis, you have some great data to work from. This will allow you to see in more budget, etc, to a client, showing them the exact opportunities that are available.
When you see a big affiliate site ranking at the top of Google – this isn’t by accident. They have dedicated teams (for content, etc) to ensure every area is covered.
Link building and content writing should be separated. Don’t make your link builders write articles every time they want to get a link – it will slow them down and make them less productive.
To SEO like a super affiliate you have to learn what they do, and how they do it.
If you have competitors that are releasing information (i.e. financial, press releases, even SEO specifics), then you need to be reading it. Setup alerts and monitor what your competitors are doing.
Patrick proceeds to show us a screenshot from Searchmetrics – he highly recommends using it. Another good tool is spyfu.com/uk/ – this allows you to see competitor AdWords spend, etc. Another tools worth using are Open Site Explorer and Google Trends.
Link building like a super affiliate:-
- Press releases every week
- Pitch to bloggers, give quotes, etc
- Writes guest content for blogs
- Pay for links (ensuring they look 100% natural)
- Become an authority by being a voice in your sector
A typical link building process may look like this:-
1. Competitor analysis
2. Search Google
3. Shortlisted Sites
4. QA process (quality control)
5. Story ideas
6. Pitch stories
7. Content production
8. Place links
9. QA process (quality control)
10. Promote links
11. Track links
The above needs to integrate all of the teams (i.e. link building & content).