Affiliate Marketing Review

I have been asked by a mutual friend to look at an affiliate website to see what I think of the way the site works in terms of making money. The website is called Best Bingo Apps and is nothing more than a website built with the sole aim of making money by sending people to other company’s websites.

This is the basis of affiliate marketing and is one of those things that I’m not sure I totally agree with, adding more content and websites to the internet just to make money from someone else. I guess the likes of Tombola, Sun Bingo, Foxy Bingo or Sky Bingo would mind, they get pre-qualified leads that they only pay for if the visitor signs up and deposits money to an account.

What bothers or worries me is why the companies themselves aren’t creating the right content to mop up these people themselves? Why don’t they cut out the middle man, let’s face it affiliate marketers are just that, middle men, and do it for themselves?

I think it is probably more to do with the time vs reward scenario, it takes a huge amount of time and effort to rank websites for high ranking keywords such as bingo, so the affiliate marketers will look to longer tail keywords to create traffic and rankings, for this example the website is targeting keywords including bingo apps as well as the company name followed by bingo apps.

I guess that this technique for an affiliate marketer will bring in traffic and allow users to look at a range of bingo apps. If a company such as Mecca Bingo tried the same tactic they may get the traffic but not the amount of sign ups that justify the cost and effort of going down a niche path rather than dedicating their SEO budgets to the main keywords including brand and full product specific keywords (Bingo not just bingo apps in this example).

There is a place for affiliate only websites in helping companies to attract more visitors and customers, but if the affiliate websites take over the internet to the determent of the main company websites I think there is a problem.

Like I said earlier, I think there is a place for affiliates and after all for companies it is a great way of knowing your cost per sale, but some industries and keywords are just saturated with affiliate based or comparison websites where we as customers should be searching for and getting results for the website that we ultimately end up at. That however, is down to the internal marketing team of those companies that the affiliates are targeting to do something about it and create an SEO strategy to keep their websites one step ahead of the affiliates. After all, if you get the customer yourself through your own SEO you don’t have to pay anything to the middle man affiliate.

To sum up, I think there is a place in the market for affiliate websites such as Best Bingo Apps, they provide a way of getting customers from niche or long tail keywords outside of the core SEO strategy of the companies that they target. It’s when the affiliate overtakes the companies in the market in which they operate that I have concerns.

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The Power of Links

You may not know this but links have become one of the most important weapons in the armory of the SEO specialist, why you may ask, well here is an example I have been using for a few years now.

Search for the term ‘click here’ in Google, and you will find the ‘Adobe Acrobat’ download page as the number one result, even though the page doesn’t mention the phrase ‘click here’ or the words once. This is because many websites use PDF downloads with a link to Adobe Acrobat – usually saying to download Acrobat Reader ‘click here’. So how does this happen and what does it mean.

There are two parts to this. Firstly the text click here is used as the link, referred to as link text and used by Google to match the link text to the content of the website.

But this doesn’t explain the click here scenario as there is no mention of it on the Adobe Reader website. For years people have spoken about the value of content, so if the Adobe Acrobat website doesn’t mention or talk about ‘click here’ why is it ranked first?

Here’s how it works. Someone once described the internet as one big voting system, the more votes you have the more popular you are, see links it to your website as a vote and you can see that the more links you have the more popular you are. Google likes popular websites so ranks them higher than others for specific phrases even if the website doesn’t have the content on their website.

Now unless you know millions of website owners who can put a one way link to your website with the link text of your choosing, it will be a little more difficult to get rankings purely on link text alone – it has been done for terms such as miserable failure for the White House website when George W Bush was president and is often referred to as Google Bombing.

Links are very powerful, there is little doubt about that. However at the end of the day, if the content of your website isn’t useful (Adobe Reader), or the subject of interest to a large number of people (George W Bush) then you are unlikely to have enough people to vote for (link to) you to make a difference.

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