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How To SEO Like A Super Affliate

18 October 2011 BY

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The session “How To SEO Like A Super Affliate” at this years A4U Expo was a solo session done by Patrick Altoft of Branded3 / Blogstorm.

Patrick started the session by defining that a Super Affiliate was:

- Any affiliate site that was now recognised as a well known brand
– Any affiliate site that employs 20+ people
– Any affiliate site that has ‘real’ offices
– Any affiliate site that is making a substantial revenue and profit

Examples of current Super Affiliates include moneysupermarket.com, gocompare.com, confused.com, comparethemarket.com, lastminute.com, laterooms.com and vouchercodes.co.uk.

Patrick argued that Super Affiliates (SAs) were fantastic at two things – digital marketing and sector expertise. Because Google only wants to rank the very best sites at the top of the SERPS, SAs need to become great at business and be the very best in the world at what they do. Essentially, they need to build a site that’s better than all the other sites ranking above them and that includes other affiliates as well as merchants.

SEO

When it comes to optimising a potential SA site you need to remember two things:

1/ If the site is relatively new you will need to show Google that you are a trusted site before you become too aggressive with your link building campaign – so stick with editorial and content links rather than footer and sidebar ones. Optimise for brand rather than keyword targets and keep everything as natural and controlled as possible. Google won’t forget any initial mistakes with linkbuilding so start slowly and build quality rather than quantity.

2/ If the site has built up good trust then you can afford to be a little more bold with your link building campaign.

SEO isn’t enough….

Although SEO forms a large part of a SAs online marketing campaign, they in fact do everything they can to drive traffic and brand awareness to the site. That includes PPC, social media, PR, banner adverts, forum posting etc. Google sees SEO as part of the marketing mix but is also acknowledges those sites who are utilizing all other forms of communication and will compensate them accordingly when it comes to rankings.

Methodology

Patrick argues that when it comes to online marketing, the SAs employ teams of specialists to focus on a particular area to get the very best out of each team and allow them to do what they do best. SEO should be separated from content, design etc. as a standalone discipline.

The big SA sites will have teams of SEOs, PPCs, conversion experts, analysts, content writers, developers, designers and link builders and although they will all need to work together and support each other, they all bring a unique site of skills and experience to the project.

Build links like a SA by using brand rather than keyword rich anchor text, write great content, issue press releases, use press release and article syndication sites (but rotate them reguarly)

Keyword Rankings

Focus on the short tail – the mid and long tail will look after itself.

Concentrate on 10 or so keywords only at one time – get them to rank and then move on to the next set

Keyword Research

The SAs carry out keyword research based on extensive opportunity analysis and will do this again and again with hundreds and thousands of keywords.  Google Analytics is great for finding keyword traffic based on broad match queries.

Competitor Research

To SEO like a Super Affiliate you will need to learn what they do and how they do it. That means following their performance very closely by:

Reading their Year End financial reports

Setting up Google Alerts for mention of their brand

Following them on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn etc

Using Searchmetrics, SpyFU, Google Trends, Open Site Explorer and Majestic SEO to track their metrics

Takeaways:

Read ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins

Raven Tools are excellent if you do not have the budget/time to build your own inhouse tool

Super Affiliates are a breed apart – they have the teams and skills in place to leverage all possible channels

The coverage of A4U Expo on State of Search in part made possible by a sponsoring from Majestic SEO who have the largest Link Intelligence database in Search. To get your free trial, give a card to this blogger or Bas van den Beld in person at the conference or drop us an e-mail.

AUTHORED BY:
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Carla Marshall is Director of SEO at ReelSEO.com.
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