This is only a short post, but it’s prompted by a couple of fairly big questions that I’ve got relating to affiliate marketing, which in turn have been prompted by my recent trip to Think Vis.

Following some keyword research (or should I say, SERPS research!) I got thinking about the ‘money’ keywords, and how you’d know which ones are the ones you should be targeting. Sure, I might have a website about plastic tupperware, but how do I know what keywords I *should* be targeting with my content to the the right kinds of visitors? Ok, I understand that I won’t necessarily know until I’ve done a lot of testing, or have a lot of data to work with, but then how do I even begin to know what I should be targeting at in the first place? Logic would say target “plastic tupperware” initially, which is fine in a low-competition market… But in a market such as credit cards, or concert tickets, these initial keywords are very competitive and would require lots of work and money thrown at them to start seeing any results. So in short, how do I know what I should be targeting?

Secondly, being a software developer I like to make my life easy in the long run by automating everything that I can, and getting the computer to do the repetitive work. If I have an affiliate site with hundreds of products, such as different t-shirts, then updating these from a feed is straightforwards. If, on the other hand, I have a site in an atomic niche, such as cat scratching posts – what would be the best way to keep a small number of prices up to date? Using easy content units is one way, but it’s not necessarily the ‘neatest’. Using price tapestry is supposedly another, but is it flexible enough? Do I need to resort to scraping the merchants site myself, or scraping the datafeed?

And finally, approaching sites for links is a lot harder than it seems, especially when they don’t respond! I sent out over 2 dozen link requests this weekend, and have yet to hear back from any of them. Why, I wonder? Do I come across badly in my emails? Do internet people not work weekends?!? (can’t say I blame them given the lovely sunny weather we’ve had this weekend!)

Who knows! If you do, please let me know! Answers on a postcard (or in the comments would do nicely please.)

8 Responses to “Questions…”

  1. Darren Singleton March 14, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Hi Rich,

    Are you offering the website owners anything in exchange for adding your links to their sites? I get link requests all of the time and just delete the majority of them because they look ‘spammy’ or computer generated (not including my name at the start and being incredibly generic).

    In my mind, the ‘money’ keywords are the ones where people are searching Google with the intent to buy. Using your example of plastic tupperware, you’d be better ranking for ‘buy plastic tupperware’ than ‘plastic tupperware sizes’ because people are already in the ‘buying’ state of mind.

    Hope this helps,

    • Richard March 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

      Umm no – I did for some, but then others I didn’t. Have yet to get a response from any though. Not looking good! I guess I should’ve built a relationship with the site owners first, but it’s hard to know where to start with that.

      I guess I see what you mean, but in that case, why would “buy xbox” not be more competitive than “xbox”, for example?

      Thanks, Rich

      • Darren Singleton March 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

        People searching for xbox could be looking for any number of things and you may get marketers attacking it from all angles. So people selling the consoles, the games, relevant forums etc may all be trying to get to the top of Google for XBox. I’d personally focus on the ‘buy’ or ‘store’ key phrases if I’m looking for people to sell to as I’d presume a greater percentage of the traffic you receive would be people in the mindset to buy.


        • Richard March 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

          Ok so I guess ‘xbox’ was a poor example :) I think you’ve kind of answered my query, but in more general terms, if I was to produce a website for a local bespoke furniture carpentry workshop, who produce bespoke fitted wardrobes, or custom staircases for example, how would I know which keywords I should be targetting? Obviously the aim is for ‘bespoke fitted wardrobes’ but would ‘bespoke fitted wardrobes birmingham’ get a better ROI? Does that make it clearer?

  2. Ian March 15, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    Hi Rich, just found your blog from the link on

    Thought this link may be of use – it explains a good way of approaching site owners to get backlinks.

    The main thing that strikes me is the ‘why’. Why should the site owners link to you. At the moment the site looks like a very thin site set up to sell tours and provide nothing of value along the way. I’m not being nasty with that, the site looks great, just doesn’t offer anything linkworthy at the moment.

    Maybe a gallery of the shirts over the years or some facts and statistics could offer something more linkable?

    • Richard March 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

      Hi Ian, thanks for the comment. I can see that you’re right – there isn’t anything ‘link-worthy’ as such, but I was hoping that based on the other links in the sites they would link back. Perhaps very naive of me really, unless the other sites are providing lucrative financial incentives to get them to link!

      I’m not sure that any form of link-bait would necessarily work with the site – although anything is worth a go! Many thanks again Ian. Cheers for the link too – interesting reading!

      • Ian March 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

        Without seeing the sites I can’t really comment.

        Don’t get confused between being linkworthy and being linkbait.

        Linkbait is a page/url which is designed to be passed around and get links, an example I saw today

        Something that makes people go OMG and post it around (check the URL – not the BBC website, just a clone, purely to get links)

        Being linkworthy is different to that. It can just be having interesting or informative content that was written to be interesting or provide information. Writing content purely to rank in the search engines usually isn’t of any interest to anyone and therefore people are very reluctant to link.

        If you ask yourself ‘why should a webmaster link to my site rather than the merchant direct?’ and you can’t think of a reason, then that means you aren’t adding any value. If you aren’t adding any value then you’re reliant on spam links, articles, blog comments, web 2.0, directories and buying links to get traffic and rankings.

        I have several sites which use crap links and several with decent authentic links, it’s just about knowing which you can use in which

        Good luck with it

        • Richard March 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

          I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there – linkworthy/linkbait are so easily confused, and I think I was getting confused. It’s certainly made me question what I should be doing more – concentrate on quality sites rather than short-term gain ones!

          Thanks Ian :)

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