What is SEO in Affiliate Marketing

The goal of this What is SEO in Affiliate Marketing Guide is to help you understand how to get free traffic to your affiliate websites.

Although you can get traffic to your website with other marketing strategies, SEO proves to be one of the most popular ways to generate website traffic among affiliate marketers.

Here is what you will learn for Affiliate Marketing SEO.

What is SEO in Affiliate Marketing Guide 

Here’s everything you need to know about Affiliate Marketing SEO!

What is SEO

what is SEO in affiliate marketing

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization is the act of optimizing your website content to appear within unpaid search results. SEO is a type of website marketing that is also referred to as organic or natural traffic. 

What is a Search Engine?

A search engine is a software designed to search the web and find information. The end goal is to return useful information to the person who is doing the searching. 

Search engines are designed to help people discover content that lives on the web. And Search Engine Optimization helps search engines discover, understand and present your content to these people. 

A few popular search engines today are:

  • Google – Owns 70% of online searches today. The Leader and King of search engines. Who doesn’t search on Google?
  • Bing – The 2nd most popular search engine in the United States. Owned and developed by Microsoft.
  • Baidu – The most used search engine in China. Looks very similar to Google but in the Mandarin language.
  • Yahoo – A search engine with lower usage and popularity. Owned by Bing. 
  • Yandex – A search engine popular in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Belarus. 
  • Ask.com – Formerly known as Ask Jeeves, this search engines provides some unique features in question and answer format.
popular search engines today

A few popular media search engines are:

  • YouTube – A video search engine and social network. Owned by Google. YouTube videos are commonly featured in Google search results.
  • Google Images –  A image search engine. Search for images only. Google Images are also commonly featured in Google search results.
  • Twitter – A popular social media network that is used for search. Twitter tweets commonly featured in Google search results.
Google Twitter Tweets search results

How Search Engines Works

Let’s look at how search works on Google. The more you understand workings behind search, the better SEO affiliate marketer you will be. 

How Search Works for the Searcher

  1. You go to Google.com
  2. Type something in the Google search bar
  3. Hit return to enter in your search topic
  4. Google returns related content results 
  5. You review the content to learn more about your search topic
how Google Search works for searcher

How Search Works for the Search Engine

 Now, let’s look at what Google is doing behind the scenes as search engine software.

Watch this video by Google:

Google uses three basic steps to generate search results from web pages:

  1. Crawling – finding out what pages exist on the web
  2. Indexing – understanding what the page is about
  3. Ranking – serving the best user experience and most appropriate answer

So, when you enter search words into the search bar, Google is:

  1. Analyzing the meaning and category of your search keywords
  2. Crawling web pages with information related to your search keywords
  3. Ranking web pages based on how useful the content is to your search topic
  4. Striving to serve you with the best useful results (in order)

In most cases, Google will show you MILLIONS if not trillions of results. All of these results are pages that Google *thinks* is related to your search topic. 

Search Engine Optimization Goals

You want Google and other search engines to consider your content the best result for specific search topics and keywords. The benefit is free targeted traffic to your website, which can lead to product sales and affiliate commissions.

The ultimate goal of SEO is to appear high in the search rankings. Ideally, you want your content to appear on the first page of the search results. Even better, strive for the very first result

Google search result featured snippet

When you do optimization correctly, you may even appear multi-times on the first page. Your content can appear in different content types such as normal text snippets, featured snippets, videos and images.

Google Videos search engine results

But how do you rank your content # 1? We review ways to achieve rankings below.

What is SEO in Affiliate Marketing

When it comes to affiliate marketing, search engines help people discover your affiliate products and services. Affiliate marketing SEO is that act of optimizing your affiliate content for high results in the search engines. 

In reality, applying SEO to your affiliate website is not much different than other types of websites. Your end goals are the same –  to appear high within the search results so you can get traffic to your website!

Affiliate Website Differences

Nowadays, it is very hard to distinguish an affiliate site from a regular company site. But there are subtle differences that you will see if you know what to look for. 

Different Flow To Buy Products

One subtle difference of an affiliate website is the steps it takes you to buy a product. 

For example: If you were to buy a blender from Vitamix.com, your buying flow is this:

Company Website Flow

Company Product Page with Buy Button > Checkout Cart

company website buy flow

But if you were to search for Vitamix reviews and land on an affiliate website, your buying flow will look like this:

Affiliate Website Flow

Product Review > Affiliate Link > Company Product Page with Buy Button > Checkout Cart

affiliate website buy flow

website that is built for affiliate marketing will usually contain a number of affiliate links to various products and services. Affiliate product links are embedded within the content to capture sales to a product referred by an affiliate. But when the customer clicks on the affiliate link, the customer is passed on to another website to actually buy the product. 

Now, let’s look at how search engine optimization works for you, as the affiliate marketer.

How Search Engine Optimization Works for Affiliate Marketers

  1. Create useful content for specific search words.
  2. Get your website indexed with the search engine.
  3. Generate a website sitemap to help search engines crawl and index all content on your website.
  4. Create good titles and summary description information to appear in the search result.
  5. Get backlinks to your content by sharing your content on social media and guest blogging on other websites.

Typical Content on an Affiliate Marketing Website

The goal of an affiliate marketing website is to refer sales to other companies products. But in order to benefit from Search Engine Optimization, you will need to produce good content that people will want to read, watch and interact with.

Here is the type of content that commonly found on affiliate marketing websites:

  • Product Reviews – Individual review on products related to your topic
  • Multi-Page How To Guides – In depth how to “help” guides for products and lifestyle tips related to your topic
  • Best of Reviews – Long content posts with multiple “best of” products, training and solutions 
Vitamix review search engine optimization

#1 SEO Benefit

The number one benefit to SEO (high search result rankings) is the ability to get free, targeted traffic to your website. The traffic is targeted because they are clearly interested in your topic when they search for it. So, to have your website content show as a relevant search result sends relevant and interested people to your content. 

The amounts of traffic can be very large depending on how popular your content topic is and how much content you publish. You do not pay for organic traffic. But you do invest time into content and different content strategies to increase your traffic.

#1 SEO Disadvantage

The number one disadvantage to SEO is the time and commitment it takes. SEO doesn’t happen overnight. Optimizing a website for search requires a good deal of content to rank above other websites who are targeting similar search topics. 

On average, SEO can take 6 – 12 months to generate enough traffic for sales. Some affiliate marketers achieve faster results by publishing 5 content posts a week and average of 20 – 30 posts a month. 

There are plenty of affiliate marketers who only focus on SEO to drive traffic to their website. Give this strategy time and commitment. And SEO will pay off in the long run for years to come because search engines are not going anywhere : )

How to Rank Affiliate Marketing Sites

When it comes to ranking your affiliate marketing website, you can’t just add a bunch of affiliate links and expect search engines to rank you. You have to build out a useful content website and add value for your target audience (i.e. niche). 

Search Engines like Google will penalize websites that are too promotional or even considered spammy. The penalty means that these websites will not rank high in search results, which results in no traffic. 

Here is what Google says about promoting affiliate programs:

Our Webmaster Guidelines advise you to create websites with original content that adds value for users. This is particularly important for sites that participate in affiliate programs. Typically, affiliate websites feature product descriptions that appear on sites across that affiliate network. As a result, sites featuring mostly content from affiliate networks can suffer in Google’s search rankings, because they do not have enough added value content that differentiates them from other sites on the web. Added value means additional meaningful content or features, such as additional information about price, purchasing location, or product category. Google Webmaster Guidelines

The key point is that you have to create original content that adds value to others. You can’t just copy product information from the company site, add an affiliate link, and expect to rank. This is why product reviews, best of guides, and how-to guides are good content strategies for affiliate sites. These content strategies work and search engines will rank this type of content. 

SEO Ranking Tips

Here are tips to apply to help your content rank within search engine results:

1. Choose low competition topics to write about

First, you want to choose to write about topics that people are searching for. The idea is to find highly searched keywords with low competition. Low competition keywords mean that not many other people have written about the topic. 

2. Don’t include too many affiliate links

Secondly, you do not want to have a website full of affiliate links and no content. The idea is to provide more content and value, than affiliate links. One strategy to maintain good content to affiliate link ratio is to create one page with your affiliate links and then create informative guides that point to this page with your product (and affiliate links).

3. Publish frequent content, each targeting different search topics

To appear in search results, you need to write frequent content about specific topics. These topics are also referred to as keywords. The goal is to write about various keywords and topics that your audience is searching for. The more topics you write about, the more chances you have for appearing in search results. So, ideally, you will publish frequent content on specific topics. 

4. Incorporate different types of content within your content 

Google search images results

As mentioned above with Google search engine optimization, different types of content can rank within search results. Blog posts, Videos, images, Tweets, etc. The goal is to create different types of content to incorporate within your blog posts. The more related content you have, the higher chances you have of appearing in search results more than one time. Multiple results can increase your SEO traffic. 


In conclusion, what is SEO in Affiliate Marketing is the act of optimizing your affiliate content within search engine results. Ultimately, page 1 and the number 1 position. If you write helpful content and optimize this content to show search engines you have the best content for this topic, you will experience success with SEO! 

Want an SEO checklist? 

14 Steps to Search Engine Ranking Cheat Sheet

For every page of content you create, there are steps to take to increase the chances of ranking within search results. I created this checklist and cheat sheet to help you remember all of the optimization steps. This list guides you through 14 steps to do with every piece of written content you create. (e.g. product reviews, how to guides, best of posts, etc.)

Grab the checklist here: SEO Page Optimization Checklist

Additional Resources

Got Questions?

Feel free to leave feedback or questions below. Thanks for reading!