With the growing popularity of the affiliate marketing, there are more and more people are using them to generate some extra income. Before you start earning anything online, you have to prepare a research of the market you are targeting. That way, you will make sure all the traffic you get to your website is relevant and thus increase overall conversion rates.
The first thing you have to do is to see what are your opportunities for getting traffic from the search engines and what are the other affiliates in the program doing. If you have a lot of competition, you are likely to have hard time getting any traffic from the search engines at all.
The best way you can use to determine the market competition is to start with the main keywords that describe the product you are selling for. For example, if you are an affiliate of a company developing SEO tools, you can brainstorm and come up with a lot of keywords that describe the product. Some of the examples in this particular case are online SEO tools, professional SEO toolkit, SEO toolking and many others.
The tool you can use to determine competition appears to be Google Adwords Keyword Tool. With it, you can get a quick overview of the advertising competition of the particular keywords and their monthly search volume. Although, this tool do not always offer relevant data, you can use it just to get a quick overview of your potential customers and competitors.
What I also recommend doing is creating a list with keywords that contain the product and one of its features, like for example Brand SEO Tool. With all those tools you will actually be competing with the brand that offers the affiliate program and you can get some good traffic from this. It is a good idea to check what are the terms and conditions of the whole affiliate program, since it is possible to violate them.
Once you find out what are all of your main keywords, you should create page for each or couple of similar keywords. With this approach you will find it really easy to rank for your chosen keywords no matter how competitive they are. A tool I use for that purpose is the SEOMoz On-page Optimization Tool, since it allows me to analyze my pages for the presence of more 20 important SEO factors.
A personal tip from me is to try target longer keywords since they usually bring most of the traffic and conversions. Try creating whole keyword phrases and include them once or twice in your landingpages.
After optimizing your website for your targeted market, you can use the search engines to get an overview of what are your opportunities for content distribution. This means creating a couple of keyword phrases and creating some content containing them. For example, you can check whether there is a video on “How to Use SEO Tools” and see what are all the other videos on this topic, check how many views they got and other information that might help you to outrank them.
As a conclusion, I would like to say that all of this takes a reasonable amount of your time, but it is way better than using shady SEO practices and other ways to manipulate the search engines. It is also important to stay in touch with all updates in the affiliate marketing, so it is a good idea to subscribe to some relevant blogs.
George Peterson works for a company specialised in the creation of online CRM systems, called WebCRM. For more information about customer relationship management he recommends reading the WebCRM Blog on regular basis.