The Rules of Affiliate marketing from a fresh Beginner

I recently purchased 2 affiliate sites because of my love for digital marketing and I’ve really wanted to get into drop shipping business for some time now.  I am now the proud website owner of Wee Foot Childrens footwear and Shop Babies.  I am working on these sites with an awesome friend of mine who has been a big help and we are both learning a lot of things about affiliate marketing in the process. Here are the top 10 things I have learnt since I’ve been working on both sites.

1. Never Join an affiliate program that does not pay for returning customers:

I learned this the hard way after generating a particular selfish retailer over £300.00 in sales and not getting  a single commission off of it.  That really gets on my nerves. Believe me I am leaving their program and am in the process of removing all traces of their products from my affiliate site.

2. Always have a paid advertising campaign to drive some clicks and then sales: 

When I first started with both sites I thought I needed to grow the content and increase visits that way. Whilst that is very possible it would have taken me longer to do and so I am still doing that whilst focusing on paid advertising tactics to generate those clicks which could potentially lead to more sales.

3. Set up Google Analytics: 

Google analytics is a Godsend honestly,  it helps me understand what pages people are visiting the most on both affiliate sites. It also helps a great deal to know what marketing channels work best and the ones that don’t.   My favorite thing to do on there is open the real time report tab and track visitors as they on the site

4. Remove spam referrers on Google Analytics: 

When I first set up Google analytics I would check every day to see who had been visiting the site and where they had been referred from.  I noticed a lot of referrals from random spam sites ending with .xyz.  This data was so misleading as it gave me the impression that many people were being referred to the website and spending time reading specific pages. This article explained how I could exclude the spam sites from showing in Google analytics.

5. Facebook adverts do work despite what others think, you just have to target the right people:

Aside from blogging and adding some really useful content on both sites I really needed to find another way of getting some traffic over to both sites.  Since I’ve always known Facebook is a great place to get the word out, I hadn’t really made use of their adverts so I decided to give  it a shot.  After watching many useful YouTube videos from small businesses and sites that have used it  successfully,  it gave me the courage to post the first advert up. It took a lot of trial and error but I managed to get people clicking through to the products I wanted to promote.  I initially promoted products  that were already getting some clicks on the site. Later on,  I added in some more products based on search volume and popularity for the London region.  After a few days I started noticing some sales which was perfect. From no sale at all to some sales in a few days. I kept fine tuning the ad to target where most of the clicks where coming from.

Take a look at the advert below:

Facebook advert

6. Have a weekly segment running:  

It’s always important to have something that remains consistent on an affiliate site whether its weekly top picks, or a segment that will keep people engaged.  I added a ‘top weekly picks’  and directed the marketing towards this page. I noticed it generated a lot more visits  even after the promotions stopped.  I will add in a weekly content section too to get some engagement on the sites. So watch out for some competitions and giveaways.  These are the kind of things that really reels in the target audience.

 7Upload an automatic product feed – with allimport download by URL option: 

I have just figured out how to do this and I must say it the most I can do now is upload the updated price of existing products that are on the csv file. Right now I am using ‘allimport’  which I heard is not for beginner affiliates. Well no wonder I struggled to get it right! Now I have managed to download by URL and it is a lot more reliable than CSV option as it updates the product feed according to the retailers current product stock automatically.

8. Add in more information about products in addition to the ones the retailers provide:

I am dealing with all sorts of problems with this part of things. I am starting to manage it well though as I discovered an article about how to import   As the ones the retailers provide needed to be imported in a what that makes it user friendly, ?      

9. Check products that are no longer in stock and remove or replace them with reliable information: 

I’ve lost many a sale by not heeding to this rule.  When I saw the clicks that said product was generating I just had to replace this with another retailer link that sold the product and was fully stocked. I realise now that If I download the product feed automatically using all import I wouldn’t have even had to deal with this issue.

10. Keep on top of emails from the retailers you are working with: 

This is super important as retailers are constantly adjusting their affiliate programs according to their current situation.  Just today, I received an email from one of the retailers I have been working with informing me  that their commission rate has now changed to 0%.  Now imagine if I continued promoting their products what a loss that would be for me.  All that hard effort for nothing.

Learning about Affiliate marketing has been quite a journey and I am glad I am learning so much by doing this.  Hopefully it turns out to be a successful venture.

Insights to gather from the Most Googled Searches in 2014

This year has gone by in a flurry hasn’t it?  Every year Google rolls the most search terms for the year along with a background story of each one.

Take a look at this year’s most search trends. I have summarised the ones that struck out to me as interesting.

Here are some of the most popular search terms

It was quite a year for Pharell Williams with his chart topping song ‘Happy’,  even his hat sparked a lot of searches alongside this.

pharell william search

It was also interesting to see that the top countries that searched for the song ‘happy’ are; Bolivia, India, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. I am pretty sure Pharell’s marketing team would be all over this and suggest some of these for his next concert appearance.

pharell william

Most searched games in 2014

Now those of you into gaming will know about Flappy Bird.  The game was so addictive that the owner took it offline and then later on searches for this started to peak. Then in March searches for ‘Flappy Bird’ stated started going head to head with ‘2048’ which is another popular game.

Most searched games

Doesn’t this go with the saying that when you can’t have something it makes you want it more!

Here is the final list of top games;

Most searched trending games in 2014

Trends from Offline that also made it online

Isn’t it interesting to things trending offline that also go online.  Loom bands became a big hit from schools all over and had children and adults alike (even my sister, who is a teacher) making hand bracelets out of loom bands and to be honest it looked amazing. People also searched for ‘loom band tutorials’ and ‘loom band designs’.

There were so many more interesting insights  that were expanded on from Google Trends.  Did you search for any of these trending topics this year?  What do you think should have been mentioned.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Thanks for reading and wishing you all a happy new year.

Brighton SEO – You’re so Super, You don’t even know it!

My last blog post was about what I learnt from the recent Brighton SEO conference. Guess what, it helped me get some more meaningful stats in Google webmaster tools. Check out the graph below. I am rubbing my hands with glee because I have even more to waffle on about.

Webmasterstat1

Looking at the graph it’s not much to be excited about but bare in mind, I have been trying to record the amount of clicks I received so far.

Looking at the stats for Google Webmaster tools this week I can safely say writing about conferences that are relevant to this blog is a great thing. I’ll surely be putting this into action for future posts.Webmasterstat2

Within the past week of posting this article, it has received 5 impressions of which one of that resulted in a click. If I had analytics data for this blog I could easily check how long each visit lasted. Even if this is pretty low it is a starting point & shows that I am finally getting a hang of this blogging thing.

Going into the ‘top pages’ data, I can safely say that the Brighton SEO post is among the top pages that were seen in search results.

Displaying even more clicks than the search queries data, this post is on its way to becoming one of the performing blog post I’ve written this year.

Anyway, thanks to Brighton SEO Cenference, it inspired me to write a blog post that also helped me get some useful stats.

Have you carried out some experiments on your blog? Or have you written about a new topic that finally made you re-think your content marketing strategy? Feel free to leave your comments below.

What I Learnt from the Brighton SEO Conference

Yesterday I made my way to Brighton for the Brighton SEO conference.  I learnt a few new tricks and spoke to some amazing people doing some ground-breaking work within SEO.

brightonseo-conference

The first session was about predicting the future of Google by I an Miller. It was really insightful and explained the importance of following Google & the fact they are no longer just a search company.

Once the talk had finished, I went out for a mini break and came across a PR and SEO roundtable discussion taking place in one of the smaller rooms.  I am so glad I came across this talk because I have developed an interest in merging PR and SEO tactics together. Here are some of the tactics that were discussed.

PR and SEO Roundtable

There are some awesome agencies that already do this well.  Digital PR and SEO is really the next step but it must be done well. Building relationships with journalists is essential to gaining their trust. If PR professionals and SEO practitioners can work together they have the potential to get amazing results.

During the break session I went into the main hall and spoke to one of the speakers from the PR and SEO roundtable.  She explained some of the tools she currently uses and has had success with.  Some of them are listed below;

ResponseSource – this is a great tool for finding journalists that are looking for sources.

Yesware – a great tool to track when journalists have read an email you sent them.

End of Session Tips:

At the end of the day there were a number of tips shared from each of the speakers.  Here are some of the tips shared.  These tips are not in order as I could just about pen them down whilst the speakers were explaining each one.

Tip 1: Use Versionista to keep up to date with Google Best Practices because you never know when something will change.

Tip 2: Keep the emails of those who have bought from you in the past drop them into Facebook and remarket to them.  Facebook will then find a replica of that audience (i.e. interests)  and you can market to them too.

Tip 3: Take on the roles work colleagues you work with the closest (when they are on their annual leave). It will help you understand their daily work stresses in a typical day. This will also help you understand what you can do to better support them in your role.

Tip 4:  When creating an infographic, hire a research specialist and ensure that over 2000 people are interviewed. This will make it newsworthy so it can also get featured on mainstream media sites.

Analysing SEO Performance with Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools Guide

I have been so busy lately but I have used my spare time to get acquainted with Google Webmaster tools.  Take a look at some of the things it has helped me to understand about my blog.  You can also use this as a guide to analyse your site too.

Understanding the search queries leading to your website: 

When you log into webmaster tools and select the search traffic tab then go to the search queries box.

You’ll come across a dashboard showing all the keywords people are looking for to get to your site and how many times your webpage is displayed in search results when people enter in those particular keywords in Google.  This is known as impressions. Clicks are recorded when people actually click your webpage within the search results.

I have selected Impressions because I want to see the keywords that are showing up more in the search results.

Impressions do not mean that people will click on your link but it’s a good way of figuring out what people are searching for within your market.

search queries

 

 

 

Key insights:  Do these keywords reflect what my blog is about?  Why am I not getting enough clicks? Why am I not getting enough impressions for more than relevant keywords like link building tactics?  How can I optimise my pages further?

 

Further analysis: The post on Google’s flight comparison is getting some attention.  The actual blog post is located in the social media category. It seems like the data is showing that this is not very relevant for the blog as people reading it want to read about SEO not about a flight comparison tool error.

Possible Solutions:

  • Blog more regularly & write more about SEO. Post more SEO related ‘hot topics’.
  • Pay attention to keywords that people actually search for in real time. What is going on now?
  • Pay attention to the posts that gets the highest number of impressions. Write more posts on these themes.
  • Research thoroughly & write from a new angle on topics that people are discussing in the Digital marketing sphere.

Positive points:  At least the most relevant post is showing as keyword unavailable and this has a great deal to do with the current issue with Google Analytics & how SEO is measured.

Top Pages & Getting some social media love:

You can also select from top pages and date range to see where your impression led to clicks.   From here I can see that a lot of these posts actually did get clicks but wonder why these weren’t recoded in the search query section. I’ll look into this and report it in my next post.

 

Top pages

 

I also did some digging and looked into what posts received some social love on twitter.   Take a look at the tweet below directed at my post about the PC world logo error on Google which happened a few months ago. It goes to show that writing about real time events is the way forward.  I’ll try and do more of this.

Google Index: 

Find out about the number of pages Google have indexed.  As you can see less pages are being indexed compared to last year because of an update. In this update Google now focuses on indexing the non-secure pages of the site.  These are the pages people can access without having to login.

Index status

You can also remove URL’s that you don’t want to display in search results.  Find out more about how I removed the tagged pages and category pages from search results.

Content Keywords:  This is something I have found useful to use.  It shows how many times I’ve mentioned a specific term on my blog and how significant it is to the blog. (or how significant Google sees it anyway)

 

content keywords

 

Search Appearance

Data highlighter:  Now this tool is very interesting as it affects the way your pages show up in the search results. If you have an events page on your website you can add the information into Google highlighter within Google webmaster tools and your event will be displayed in a different way from standard search results.   I haven’t done this before but I’d sure love to. I am pretty sure Cinema outlets use this.  Take a look at the search for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.

Search Appearance

These are the tools I’ve used within Google Webmaster Tools.  There are still a few more I am yet to use extensively.  I’ll explore that at a later date.

Thanks for reading.

I’d love to hear know your thoughts about Google webmaster tools.  Have you used it to monitor your website or blog?  Leave your comments below.

 

Greggs Logo Blunder On Google

Earlier on this afternoon, I was sent an email from a work colleague prompting me to search for ‘Greggs’ on Google.

When I did so this is exactly what it read; the phrase ‘providing shit to scum for over 70 years’ comes up underneath the logo. Something like this has happened before to PC world  and I was quick to blog about it too.

Here is what was shown in the search results when I typed in ‘Greggs’ into Google;

Greggs Logo mistake on google results

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a closer look at the logo below;

Greggs Logo Blunder on Google

 

 

Greggs then responded to this by asking Google to sort out the embarrassing error and offered them a tray of donuts.

A lot of supportive tweets from customers that were pleased with how Greggs handled the matter also commented;

 

 

 

 

Personally,  I think Greggs have handled this matter very well and I am sure Google are working and hope this never happens again.  Read more about this and why it happened from Buzzfeed.

Thanks for reading.  Feel free to leave your comments below

Some SEO Fundamentals – For One Page Websites

How to Optimise One Page Websites

Recently, I was helping out a friend who has a one page website and wanted to know how to optimise his website effectively.  Have a look at my thought process when I was helping him out with this.  whatithought

I visited his website and checked if he could at least do without a one page design. Sites that could do with a one page design must be dynamic and could be using a one page design for a reason.  For instance a dynamic FAQ would be great for a one page design because instead of generating a new page each time a new question is asked one can just scroll down to find the answer.

On the other hand, if your website has the potential to be rich in content, why not include separate pages so that you could elaborate on content people would like to see. In doing so, you’ll be able to concentrate your efforts on the keywords that want to optimise your content for each page. You’ll be able to optimise the title of your site,  h1 tags and much more.

However, one page websites can still be optimised effectively.  Watch this video by Matt Cutts, explaining how to optimise a one-page website;

I’d love to know your thoughts on this.

Do you have a one page website? Is it working for you?

Managing SEO for my blog Part 2: Removal Request for tagged pages showing up in search results

On the 9th Of March there was an update from Google Webmaster tools which made an impact on how many pages of a site is indexed.  I noticed this just today when I did some analysis for this blog (i.e. click through rates vs.  Impressions compared to when I first started blogging and much more). I did a bit more nosing around and I noticed the following in the amount of pages indexed as can be seen in the screenshot below.

Google Webmaster tools 9th march update

 

Last year, I blogged about wanting to change my blog to a .org version as the tag pages were also being indexed and this was causing traffic to go to the tags and categories as opposed to the actual blog post.

One blog post I had written a while back about  Ego bait link building started ranking well on Google and then something annoying happened.  The actual blog post  started ranking on page 2 or 3  whilst the tagged page was ranking on the first page but I’d rather people got through to the blog post as opposed to the category or tag as you do when you write something compelling.

Later on the tagged category pages started ranking in the 3rd page on Google for the search term whilst the actual blog post was further in the search engine results pages.

As can be seen in the image below the tagged category pages were ranking well instead of the actual blog post.

tagged page result

With the update on the 9th of March showing fewer pages being indexed, one would think this would have been rectified but this was not the case.

So I decided to take action and noindex the category tagged pages from Google webmaster tools. For those of you that don’t know what this is, it is the process of asking Google to remove certain pages from showing in search results. As you’ll have noticed ‘https’ pages are usually the ones that are not supposed to show in the search results as they are secure pages such as login pages and check out pages for ecommerce sites.

The tagged page showing in the above screenshot happens to be a https page so I should have requested this for removal a very long time ago.

Anyway, once I had requested the tagged pages for removal I managed to wait for a whole week before continuing this blog post to check that the removal request worked out well.  I am delighted to say it has, I can now see the actual blog post ranking for ‘Ego bait link building’ ahead of the tagged pages. As I didn’t remove all the tagged pages for fear of removing the ones that ranked well, there is one more tagged category page started showing in the search results for that keyword.

 

removal request result

 

I’ll be carrying out some more experiments with this blog. I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you’re having the same problem with your blog of tagged pages coming up in search results ahead of the actual blog posts you’ll now know what to do after reading this post.

Leave your comments below.

 

PC World Logo Blunder On Google

Earlier on today I typed in ‘PC world’  in Google and take a look at what I discovered below.

pc world blunder

Underneath where the logo of PC world should have shown it read;  ‘Like Hell but with worse customer service’. Take a closer look at the picture below;

pc-world-logo-gaffe

When I saw this I thought about it and realised that this could have been the effect of negative SEO. What do you think?  It will be great to read some of your comments on what you think could have caused this.

For more information on the story have a read over here.

Keyword Not Provided on Google Analytics.. Does not mean the End of the World

In December, an update went out which changed Google webmaster tools. This changed the way the keyword unavailable aspect from Google analytic has been viewed ( for myself anyway).  However long before this, Google had already started rolling out not provided for keywords. On account of secure searches (those of you that have are logged into Google+ or even Gmail when searching) they decided to encrypt keyword data.

This means website owners could not tell what people had searched for when they clicked through to a website. A few months ago this was ‘not provided’ for keywords was at 50% for many sites. However, Google have now gone a step further and decided to make keyword data 100% not provided on GA so you can imagine the amount of stress this has caused website owners, SEO practitioners and analysts alike.

This post is about exploring the ways that siteowners and SEO analysts  can use the recent changes to Google Webmaster tools to find out more about what people are searching for when they visit a website.

Using Google Webmaster tools

Google Webmaster tools is a great way of checking into the specifics of a website’s performance in terms of impressions and how many people are actually  clicking through to each page.   Website owners use it also as a tool that shows when there is a technical error with page layout and altering the way each page is displayed on search engines and how it is viewed with search engines.  You can do a lot with Google Webmaster tools i.e. test your site’s page speed, submit an XML site map, and check on the click through rate, impressions and a lot more.  So there is really a lot to do with this tool.

Now here is the exciting part; those who use Google Webmaster tools for their own reporting via the API will be able to show exact data. Now that Google have ruled out their 100% not provided keyword feature on Google analytics this comes in very handy indeed.

Take a look at the current version of Google Webmaster tools;

 webmaster tools

Before the update, Google’s Webmaster tool only showed the figures rounded up to the nearest 100 or 10.  The number of clicks shown below is more precise rather than it displaying ‘<10’ as the amount of clicks and ‘<400’ as the amount of impressions it is displaying the actual numbers of ‘394’ impressions and ‘9’ clicks.

Internal Search

Using internal search to find out what people are searching for within your site and set this up with Google Analytics.

By setting up internal search with Google Analytics  you’ll have more of an idea on what people want to find within your site.  Say you have an ecommerce site with many products and niche pages per product. You can discover the products that people are searching for the most and if you don’t have that particular item type you can make the decision to add new (highly demanded)  items to your stock.   These are the kind of things that will help you to know more about the kind of things people want to know when they visit your site.

Have you any thoughts about this Google Analytics and combating keyword not provided?   Feel free to leave your comments below.

By Ibukun Sodipe

Learn effective SEO tactics that work and increase traffic to your website.