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The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing Keyword Research

March 30, 2021

7 Min Read
affiliate marketing keyword research

Affiliate marketing gives brands the opportunity to push their products into more places. It also gives individuals the chance to earn money from promoting products, rather than having to run a headless commerce site themselves. These affiliates are responsible for generating brand awareness, and to do that, they need to attract consumers to their site.

One important part of the affiliate marketing process is keyword research. This includes finding potential audiences and which are the best keywords to capture their interest. After all, you want people to reach your content and find the brand naturally.

So, what is keyword research and how do you best approach it? Read on to find out more!

What Is Keyword Research?

Keywords are important because they’re picked up as search engines crawl your site. When you populate your website content with these keywords, the search engines (like Google) will pick up on this. It will then rank your site in its listings when a user searches for that keyword. The higher you are in Google, the more likely you are to be noticed by a buyer. Then you can squeeze them down your marketing funnel.

Keyword research is the process of searching for keywords frequently used by your target audience to find the product you are trying to sell. If you already have a product you’re an affiliate to – for instance, personalized phone cases – you’ll want to look at appropriate keywords to target. This could be phrases such as ‘personalized phone cases iPhones’ and ‘customized phone cases.

google search page

– Source: Google

If you’re still in the research phase, your focus might be a little different – you want to compare products and niches, and work out which have a lot of keywords you think you can capitalize on.

It can be highly competitive. Especially when you are trying to target popular keywords. That’s where keyword research can help. You can find alternative keywords that can be just as effective or find niches that don’t have much competition.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Affiliate marketing is all about getting a brand noticed through affiliate links or product placement on another website or platform. You want to ensure you are targeting the right keywords to get people clicking on your site.

The better quality your content is, the higher it can rank on Google. If you have keyword-rich, engaging content, your site is more likely to rise up the ranks. In turn, this gets you more traction and a better chance of people purchasing through your affiliate links. Let’s face it, how many people really reach the second or third page of Google search results? If you’re not on the first page, generating traffic can be challenging.

How to Find Keywords for Affiliate Marketing Campaign?

Here’s a look at how to find keywords that will work for your affiliate marketing campaign:

1. Use a KeywordDiscovery Tool

Given that keyword research is such a big business, it’s no surprise that a couple of tools have popped up to make the process easier. Some platforms are designed to specifically find out what people are searching for around an idea.

Keyword Planner, for instance, is Google’s tool to help you investigate who is searching for what, and how often these searches are conducted. If you also want to bid on these keywords in order to advertise, it will also tell you how competitive they are to target. Google Analytics then allows you to analyze the traffic to your website from these keywords.

Quora is another handy tool. It’s a Q&A platform that can also be used as a way to find keywords. Just type in your key term, and wait for Quora to scour its site and bring up all the questions related to that keyword. If users are searching for ‘What is direct to consumer (DTC)?’ Quora will provide all relevant questions and answers for that term.

quora homepage

– Source: WordStream

2. Focus on Your Niche

The first step into affiliate marketing is deciding on the niche you want to focus on.

A niche is usually a subgroup of a larger target audience – for instance, mobile gamers are a niche within the entertainment industry. If you have a product in mind already, take a look at who the marketing team for your affiliate product is targeting.

If you don’t, have a look into the audiences for those you’re considering, and choose one that looks like it has room for growth.

When you have a niche, it can be beneficial to aim for long-tail keywords. These are phrases with more than four words and are typically more specific. Answer The Public is a great website for long-tail keyword research. You type in your keyword and it will show you questions from the public surrounding your keyword.

Let’s say you type in ‘video conference’, it will bring up questions such as ‘what is video conferencing?’ and ‘how does video conferencing work?’

answerthepublic homepage

– Source: AnswerThePublic

3. Conduct Keyword Analysis

Conducting keyword analysis gives you a better idea of how keywords are being used by your competitors. Draft a list of your top 5-10 competitors. Make a note of their Google ranking and the keyword density on the page you’re competing against. Keyword density tells you how many times the keyword is used within the text. Yoast has a plugin that scans the text and tells you the keyword density.

Once you have this competitor information, you can then look at your competing page.

Ask yourself:

  • Does it have a similar amount of text?
  • Are you using too many or too few keywords?
  • What are the main keywords your competitors rank well for?

The Best Types of Affiliate Keywords to Target

Now you know how to find keywords, let’s look at what keywords you should be using.

1. Phrase Match

Sometimes the obvious choice is the better choice. People often search for “best…” –  think searches like “best internet provider” or “best HD webcam”, typical searches for those working from home. Knowing this, you should match this phrase in your content. Use it as the headline for a landing page, or as the title of a subpage on your website. You can even use it in the title of a blog post. Then, when people search for the keyword, your page will appear in the search results. It’s a direct approach and one that is often very useful.

You can use Ahrefs to find phrase match keywords. Just head to their keyword explorer, type in your keyword, then click on the ‘phrase match’ option.

2. Branded Comparisons

Branded comparisons are where the user searches for two brands or products they’d like to compare. Some examples of what they might type into the search bar include:

Although these keywords may have a lower amount of searches, they’re likely to be easier to climb the ranks for. As they’re less competitive, writing some great, search engine optimized content can serve you well here.

As with the ‘phrase match’ option in Ahrefs, you can search for a phrase and then add ‘vs’. This will bring up all searches with ‘vs’ in and your brands.

ahref keyword ideas

– Source: Ahrefs

3. Trust and Authority (T&A) Keywords

Trust and authority keywords are less immediately commercial. Instead, they give you an opportunity to educate the reader. You may be wondering how this benefits you. Firstly, when you write about more specialized topics, it creates a sense of trust between you and the reader. They’ll see you as an authority, and when you recommend something they’re more likely to listen – increasing the chance of them following those affiliate links.

Secondly, people are more likely to link back to your website if it’s one of the only places doing so, and doing so well. This non-commercial content is great for building backlinks as it’s not pushy sales talk. Imagine you write a piece about Quality of Service (QoS), with genuinely interesting content. There just happen to be a few affiliate links scattered in there. Other sites are far more likely to refer back to this than if it was just a piece about how great the brand you’re affiliated with is. The outcome? More chance of people following your affiliate links!

4. Product Reviews

You may not have considered product reviews to be a way to generate great keywords. Yet, product reviews are something people are actively searching for when they’re interested in a product. For instance, if you’re buying a new laptop, you’ll conduct research into the laptop. More jobs working from home require full office equipment. If you’re affiliated with, say, a computer keyboard brand, reviewing laptops can still draw people into that related niche.

In this instance, you might target something like ‘Apple mac reviews’. Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to search for reviews relevant to your product.

google keyword planner

– Source: Google Keyword Planner

Put Your Techniques to the Test!

You now have a greater understanding of affiliate marketing keyword research and how to apply great keywords to your content. Remember to use a mix of phrase match keywords and long-tail keywords to target more niche audiences. Also, be sure to use a variety of keyword targeting techniques. You may find some work more than others, so it gives you a chance to refine your methods.

Don’t be afraid to switch up your technique if your current keyword research isn’t getting you where you want to be. Most importantly, don’t forget that excellent content is at the heart of it all. Keyword stuffing is difficult to read, and search engines will penalize you for it. Keep content authentic and real, and let the traffic come to you.

Note:  This article was published in collaboration with Sam O’Brien from RingCentral UK.

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Yawer Malik

I am Yawer Malik, a digital marketing pro with more than 7 years of experience in promoting and marketing brands in the digital world. I love reading and sharing digital marketing techniques with the general audience. When I am not working, I travel to exciting places, play Foosball and swim.

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