Raw SEO – the 3 basics you should know

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of driving traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results as opposed to search engine marketing (SEM) which involves paying for traffic.  The higher a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine.  This is pretty self explanatory.

There are 3 main factors that impact how high a site will rank in a search engine (thanks to Smaxor for the lesson):

1. Domain weight
a. Keywords in the domain – does your domain contain keywords that match the search query?
b. Age – how long has your domain been around?  the longer the better.
c. Time in the search engine – how long has your domain been indexed in the search engine?  the longer the better.
2. Link weight
a. Domain weight – if your friend links to your domain from his world of warcraft blog that gets like 2 visitors a year, it won’t mean much.  If an article on CNN.com links to your domain, it will matter a lot.
b. Number of links – how many quality websites link to your domain?
3. Content – does your domain contain relevant and fresh content?


Generating broad keyword lists

All affiliate marketers should have a solid grasp on this topic, especially anyone running traffic on search engines.

There are a few points you should keep in mind when creating a keyword list.  Pay attention to the depth as well as the breadth of your keyword list.  A deep keyword list basically has a root keyword with many variations of that keyword (including misspellings, etc).  A broad keyword list has related and lateral keywords, and this is the key to finding less saturated keywords that will cost less per click. When you first launch a campaign, its more important to go broad – this is how you will find sub niches.  Once you find a few keywords that convert, go deep on those keywords.

Let’s say an affiliate is running a female diet campaign.  If he developed a deep keyword list, he would have one keyword with many variations, for example:

Lose weight, lose weight fast, lose weight now, how to lose weight, easiest way to lose weight, tricks to lose weight, etc…

If he developed a broad keyword list it would look more like this:

Lose weight, alli diet pills, diet tips, low fat recipes, cellulite reduction, biggest loser, acai berry diet, fat flush, stomach staples, etc.

I just came up with these words off the top of my head, but I hope you get the idea.

An affiliate running a diet campaign might do his broad keyword research by reading women’s magazines like Cosmo or watching shows like Oprah.  Or, talk to some girls and find out what products they know about 😉

How to cut adspend in 1/2 and get the same traffic volume

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet.  In a few words, you can utilize ad coupons to stretch your ad budget to its max.  I once knew a guy who ran all of his campaigns with cheap traffic by creating multiple accounts at different traffic sources and burned through coupon after coupon, creating more accounts as needed.  In essence, he was spending $100 of his own money to get $200 worth of traffic.  Pretty cool, eh?

To get you started, here are a few coupons you should check out:

myspace.com – MYADS50 ($50 free coupon code – I think this one ends 12/31/09)
myspace.com – 50MYADS ($50 free coupon code – good till 1/31/2010)  – isn’t myspace SOOO creative?
sem.smallbusiness.yahoo.com/sign –
USDM0384A ($75 free coupon code  – not sure when this one ends)

Colors and landing pages

I asked my friend to do a guest post on the role colors play in a landing page.  His name is Jon and you can check out his site at jongougeon.com.

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Hey everyone, I’m a friend and co-worker of Mike and he asked me to do a brief post about design and its implication in affiliate marketing. I think it goes unsaid that good design and copy can be the difference between a good CTR and a poor one. Your design can communicate the facade of a well-respected company or a dead-beat scam. Choosing a good color for the theme of your ad can help conversions immensely. In the spirit of the holidays I’m going to focus on three specific ones – red, green, and white. Although running your own split tests with different colors for your campaigns is always the best way to find the right color for the job, this small list can help guide you in the right direction:

Red: Possibly the most vibrant color in the spectrum is known to incite thoughts of power, energy, passion, desire, and/or love. It is known across cultures to symbolize importance and action. What does this mean for your ads? For one, these associations are deep in the audience and using a color besides it to imply emotions of love or anger simply won’t convert. Take a look at the market, how often do you blue dating ads that work? Red is also a popular color in the Biz Op space, used to try and incite the user into acting quickly on the offer.

Green: Often a sign of growth, green is universally seen a positive sign. Physically it is the easiest color for the eye to associate with and can relax the audience through thoughts of calm and rest. Looking at our current situation and the thunder the word “green” has behind it these days, it can be a powerful marketing tool. From promoting sustainability to encouraging the thought of money – green can be extremely successful.

White: It’s power might not be obvious, but white can be amazingly powerful at highlighting content in an ad or on a landing page. Whitespace allows the reader of your ad eye’s time to adjust and digest content at a comfortable rate. This is especially true in line spacing for text. A pure white background can signify credibility because your product appears to stand alone.

Color can be a great mechanism to provide subconscious messages to your audience, and its power shouldn’t be underestimated. Next time you run a campaign, pay special attention to the colors used in your ads and on your landing pages.

Till next time,

Jon