SEO Basics for Affiliate Sites
Today’s Traffic Tactics Thursday, I visit the topic of basic SEO for affiliate blogs. Even though search engines are not as powerful as they once were – they still can pack a powerful traffic punch to your site!
Too often, affiliates will set up a blog and then create tons of content – without ever learning the ins and outs of search engine optimization or SEO. As a site owner, regardless if you have your own products or promote affiliate products, it’s important that you at least know basic SEO.
If you use WordPress make sure the settings allow search engines to index your site. Inside the dashboard, you have the option to allow or discourage search engines from indexing your site.
This is under Settings, Reading and labeled “Search Engine Visibility” – so do a quick check to make sure it’s set up correctly as shown below.
Give your blog a memorable title and tagline.
Under the Settings part again, you want to go into the General section. Where it says “Site Title” and “Tagline”, you’ll want to fill these areas out with relevant, keyword-based content that tells people what your site is all about. Be sure to “save changes” at the bottom of that section.
Next, in the Writing category under Settings, go to the bottom where it says “Update Services.” Find a good up-to-date Ping list and paste those URLs into that box. It lets other sites know when you have posted new content. Be sure to save those settings as well.
Categorize your blog and setup a good navigation system. When a visitor lands on your website, you want it to be “sticky.” Here sticky means they stay around for awhile, not clicking out after they read one blog post. This also affects bounce rate that search engines use to rank a site.
With good site navigation, like a list of categories and recent or popular posts in your sidebar (all done using widgets), you can let visitors know there’s more good content they might like.
Also plugins like Shareaholic have related posts that appear at the bottom of posts and pages that increase time on your site.
Go to the Settings section again and click on Permalinks. You want this option to be set for Post Name. This means that after your domain name, the URL will add the name of the post to it like this: yourdomain.com/keyword-relevant-post-title.
This provides more information to the user and search engines than the other options do.
Use both broad term and long-tail keywords in your posts and pages. Some affiliates make the mistake of trying to rank only for the broadest keywords in their niche, like “health”, “diet” or “pet.” It’s much easier to rank well in search engines when you use long-tail keywords, especially when starting out.
An example of a long-tail keyword phrase would be something like this: “the best diet after pregnancy.” Over time, as your blog develops into an authority site, you may find that you’re also ranking better for the broad terms as well.
SEO based plugins
Use a Google sitemap plugin. This plugin helps Google have quick access to your site’s layout, rather than you having to manually create a sitemap instead. A good sitemap helps guide search engine robots or spiders crawl your site for content to index.
Consider an SEO optimizer plugin that will give your blog a boost. There are a number of plugins that can help you maximize your blog posts automatically. Do some research and experimentation to see what works best for your needs. As a suggestion, I would start by trying either WordPress SEO by Yoast or All-In-One SEO both found on the WordPress codex.
Note: I use WordPress SEO by Yoast and found it to be good. Also, the plugin creates a sitemap for your site or blog – so it is not necessary to have a separate sitemap plugin!
there you have it, the basic SEO tips for WordPress blogs. By setting up WordPress correctly to start with and using targeted keywords naturally placed along with permalinks, related categories, and a sitemap – you are on your way to improving the ranking of your site with search engines.
As always, if you have a question, tactic that you have used or a technique that I’ve missed, please share it below in the comments!