I've recently come to the realization that Google officially hates affiliate marketing. And that it's just a matter of time before it becomes impossible for affiliate marketing to be a viable business model for folks like you and me. Google has been bringing the algorithmic heat when it comes to penalizing affiliate website. And it's not just me that thinks that, according to this recent poll I took, 63% of affiliates have been negatively affected by Google algorithm updates in the last 12 months. And just check out the chatter in the Facebook groups. This guy said that one of his sites got murdered. This guy said his keyword positions just straight up disappeared. And this poor guide lost 90% of his traffic. What does this type of carnage actually look like? It looks like this complete obliteration of nearly all your traffic. These traffic graphs fell off a cliff into the bells of hell. When it comes to why this is happening, there's a lot to unpack. In this video, I'm gonna explain the reasons for these massacres and what I'm doing instead. But before I do that would you please massacre the like button. A lot of time in research goes into making these videos, and if you appreciate that, it helps my channel out if you destroy the like button, thanks. Now there's a few reasons why affiliate marketing on Google has entered hard mode. First we have Google's product reviews updates that are specifically targeting affiliate websites. On April 8th, 2001, Google released the first of their product reviews update. In the release notes, they list off a slew of bullet points at 10X of complexity of writing affiliate product reviews, such as being an expert in the field of review. Do owners of fitness sites need to be personal trainers? And showing what products look like physically. Do you need to buy each product that you review? The second product reviews update released on December 1st, 2021, where they doubled down and explicitly said, you should supply evidence of your experience with the product. And to me, evidence implies physical evidence. And then a third product review update came out on March 23rd, 2022, when those specifics mentioned but you can be sure things didn't get easier for affiliates. Aside from affiliate focused updates affiliates still have Google's general core algorithm updates to worry about. It was the May core algorithm update that "murdered this guy's site." Core updates can target any number of SEO factors, content, quality, backlinks, mobile experience, et cetera. But I have indeed seen them go straight after affiliates in core updates. Like in December, 2020, when they smash sites like GearHungry and Best of Machinery, and these core updates are getting more and more frequent. Two to four times per year is the norm. Another reason affiliate marketing has gone into hard mode is that many of the lucrative search terms are already covered by mega sites with tons of back links. And this is happening in all niches. For the keyword best wireless router, we have PCMag with a DR of 91, Tom's Guide DR 81, CNET Dr 92 have fun with that. The fitness niche key word best protein powder has DR 92 Healthline locked in at number one, ever heard of them? And how about finance best crypto exchange with a DR 90 NerdWallet dunking on everyone. So there we have it, SEO is dead. Affiliate marketing is dead, but is that true? Well, yes. (upbeat music) The old way of doing affiliate marketing on Google is definitely dead. I started affiliate marketing in 2009 and the thing is people have been saying SEO is dead or affiliate marketing is dead the whole time. The fact is that affiliate marketing on Google is still very possible. It just requires a different strategy than what used to work before. And don't worry, I'll get into strategy very soon. Now here's the thing. If you know what you're doing, affiliate marketing on Google actually becomes easier over time. Now, before you get your panties in a bunch let me explain every day your competition is getting frustrated and quitting. How many people do you think just watched the first part of this video and nearly through their laptops out the window. On the contrary, this is a rank tracker snapshot of the six main affiliate sites in my portfolio after the last update. These sites experience between a 16 and 377% increase in share of voice. Successful affiliate marketing is indeed possible. So let's get into what I think are the five essential Google affiliate marketing strategies that are working today. The first is topical authority. Topical authorities, when you don't just dabble in a topic on your website, you completely cover every single article that can possibly be written about a topic. It's a major ranking factor. When the Google algorithm can see that you didn't just write two to three articles on VPNs but instead you wrote on every VPN topic possible. They have no choice but to consider you a subject matter expert. And the thing is the big websites like the Washington Post, for example will only write articles on keywords, like best VPN service. They won't get into router, technology or troubleshooting. To achieve topical authority starts with mapping out every single topic that needs to be written. This is called building a topical map, and here's how to create one. Go to the website answer the public.com, and type in your main topic keyword would here. You're gonna get a report of essential questions that pertain to your niche, such as how VPN protects you , and can VPN change your location? Next we're gonna use Google itself to tell you what it wants to see answered. Google your keyword and click around in the people also ask section. These questions are great for both standalone articles, or subsections within existing articles. I'll show you how to decide which later. Use the free tool SEO Minion to automatically download hundreds of these questions to an Excel file in one go. Then go to the Google search bar and use the auto complete feature to get even more content ideas. Type a seed keyword like VPN and then put your cursor at the end and see what Google gives you. Then go down to the bottom of the search results and note down these related searches. Spend time clicking through to other keywords to go down a rabbit hole of new topics. And lastly, the big one is to reverse engineer competition to figure out all the subtopics they covered in order to get them to the top of Google. A clever way to do that is to open up their site map, and then doing a fine for your main keyword. The problem at this point is that you just generated a bazillion keywords and you need to figure out which ones belong together in the same article or perhaps separate articles. That's where a tool like Keyword Cupid shows it's worth. It organizes and maps all these keywords in the proper articles. I left a coupon code for Keyword Cupid in the description. If you want some help with generating a topical map my company Leads Spring has it done for you service at leadspringing.org/topical-map-service. Now that you got your topical map sorted out it's time to start producing content. Which leads us into the second strategy that needs to be followed, and that's creating well written quality standalone articles on each of your topics. Not only do you need to cover everything but you need to cover everything well. The writing strategy I'm about to share is getting great results for me but also my students at the Affiliate Lab. Katrina here said she's become unaffected by Google core updates by writing content with my process. And she has two clients at double traffic and Keywords in the last update. It's a simple three step formula. Step one is a research phase. Step two is determining the target word count. And step three is to write the content in the research phase. You're filling in the blanks on what you need to address in order to fully answer a search query. This starts with determining the search intent. This part is crucial because if you get it wrong you will not get results on Google. There's basically four different types of searches. Informational search queries represent when people are just looking for information such as how to guides on how to do this or that like how to grill a steak. Then we have navigational type queries like Twitter logging, or Matt Diggity contact. Then transactional, like buy ping pong table or car insurance quotes. And lastly, comparative such as Affiliate Lab review, or best electronic screwdriver. Let's do a search for best electric screwdriver, a comparative keyword. For this particular search, if you were to open up any of these articles you'd see a listicle. Here's the number one screwdriver, the number two screwdriver and so forth. So in order to match the search intent your article format needs to be the same a listicle. Also part of the research phase is determining your content outline. Google expect to see a certain structure in your content. There should be one H one for each of your articles. This is the main topic or title of the article. Underneath the H1, the content is broken up into H2 subsections and underneath the H2s we have the H3 subsection and so forth. Using the example, informational keyword how to grill a stake. It's clear that this should be part of an H1 but what H2 subsections are you gonna write? And how do you figure that out? Google, how to grill a stake and open up the top ranking pages. Using the free detailed plugin you can see right here what their heading structure looks like. Ignore this H4 junk, that is actually an SEO full part, and get down to the H1 where that a real outline starts. You should have a section on reviews of your recipe and obviously sections on ingredients and directions as well. And this one is super interesting, my private notes. The Google helpful content update specifically ask content creators to not regurgitate what's already on the web, specifically they say does your content clearly demonstrate firsthand experience and a depth of knowledge, for example, expertise that comes from having actually used the product or service or visiting a place. A private note section checks off this requirement. Now, while you're at it, you can also use the detail plugin to check the word count of the articles in the top positions. This particular article is roughly 1,300 words. So Google thinks this is about the right length of content to answer the query. Many people think that the more you write the better. But wouldn't you hit back on your browser if you ran into a 10,000 word steak recipe - Wow. - Other people incorrectly think that there's a magic length of content that Google just love like 3000 words. But Google's helpful content update guidelines specifically say this isn't a thing. The last step in writing quality standalone articles is to actually sit down and start writing. For this I recommend a tool like Surfer's Content Editor. Just like you've looked at the competition for your research inspiration, Surfer is gonna do the same thing and determine what key entities, words, and phrases need to be in your content, and at what frequencies. Google's algorithm is smart enough to know that an article on grilling steak should have words like temperature, season, and cook. Now, if you want a deeper dive into producing content for today's algorithm check out my video, how to write content that ranks number one on Google. The third strategy that affiliates need to follow is to get your ratios of commercial to informational content correct. In the December, 2020 update, Google snuck in a massive attack on affiliate sites. This was a final nail in the coffin for many affiliate sites, including beasts like GearHungry. Now this got me curious as to what the algorithm found wrong with affiliate sites. Did these sites have too many affiliate links above the fold, a high proportion of affiliate links compared to non monetized resourceful links that are supposed to help the reader. Or maybe there were too many ads above the fold, a random correlation study analyzing thousands of websites, and none of the above factors seemed to correlate with the higher drop in traffic. But this fourth item did, if you have a high proportion of monetized commercial content in comparison to your helpful informational content, this is what the graph looks like. Of the thousands of sites analyzed the higher, the imbalance the more traffic these sites stood to lose after this update. Now, what is the threshold? How much commercial content is safe to have on your website? Well, it's niche specific. But if you check out my video titled, all affiliate websites need to do this, you'll get that magic number. Once I made this adjustment, this is what the sites in my portfolio have looked like. You can see, I got hit here in December that made the adjustment and it's been all uphill since then. And it's not just me that's turned things around. For example, Martin here saw the same type of recovery. When someone makes their affiliate ratios more conservative, in my experience, they always make a turnaround during the product reviews updates. If I'm being dead honest here, this might be the main thing that these product reviews updates even do. I mean, how can they truly know if you're qualified to review a product, or if you've really bought a product like a VPN. This is what I mean by being in the know. Genius alert, look how smart you are. And that succeeding today on Google is really just a strategy show. Next we have backlink authority. Google has shown its colors that they still value links more than ever in their algorithm. In fact, Marie Haynes reported that Gary Illyes said that the whole E-A-T thing is largely based on links. When it comes to links, they provide two different types of signals to the algorithm, power and trust. Power falls back to Google's bread and butter page rank algorithm. If you get links from websites and webpages that have a lot of links that provides you more ranking power than if you got a link from a website with few links. For power links I recommend getting link insertions, that is links placed in existing articles that already have links going to them. To source these links, I have two recommendations, run outreach campaigns yourself with link insertions as the ultimate goal, or you can outsource the work by getting them from Authority Builders, which is great at the service. Alternatively, you can get guest posts from websites with high amounts of backlinks going to them. The internal linking of those websites will feed that power to each individual post. And again, Manual Outreach or Authority Builders would be my suggestion. Trust is what Gary and Marie were referring to earlier. If you get a link from the Washington Post, that's gonna say a lot about the trust of your website. The Washington Post doesn't just hand out links. So the name of the game here is to get links from trusted websites, also known as seed sites. You wanna get links from these seed sites or the very least a few backlink hops away from them. The most common option here is to get links via help a reporter out or HARO.