Working within a
niche industry as an affiliate marketer is very much a system of give-and-take
that comes with potentially huge rewards. But it does not come without extraordinary effort on the part of the publisher.
When affiliates operate in highly targeted
industries, some of their most useful instruments are long-tail
keywords – those more obscure words and phrases that focus on smaller volumes but
yield more qualified search results.
Affiliates tend to target these keywords for two reasons: 1) There is less competition for them, and 2) They appeal to users searching for
more specific products.
In other words, long-tail keywords emphasize quality over
quantity, and finding the best long-tail keywords for your Web property can be a rigorous process of research and testing. Fortunately,
there are a multitude of free keyword testing tools widely available on the Web.
Tools for success
Google’s free AdWords keyword tool is used by Web professionals looking to optimize their search engine
rankings, but it’s especially useful for affiliates looking to uncover the best
long-tail phrases available for their websites. Publishers can use this
tool (or others like it, such as Wordtracker, Keyword Discovery, NicheBot and
many more) for research, which any successful Web worker will tell you is crucial to
To find long-tail keywords with these tools, start by conducting a general search using the two or three keywords that are
the most relevant to your site. After getting the results, re-order the “Global Monthly Searches” column so that the lowest number is at
the top, and then work down the list to identify all of the long-tail keywords
that were returned, and note any that may have special relevance to your particular niche.
Identify your goals
research can only go so far if you have a clearly defined
goal. Typically, it is to entice visitors to click on a merchant’s ad, meaning that you want to create copy geared towards actively helping users achieve their own goals. For example, if advertising coffee mugs, effective content might include information about why one type of mug is better than another, or how much money your website visitors can save by making their own coffee as opposed to buying it every day.
Once you have established the purpose you want your keywords to convey, it’s important to pay attention to the search volume of
each of the candidates to figure out which options will be worthwhile. The tail
of a broad keyword can have hundreds of thousands of potential matches but,
realistically, few will actually be searched for often enough to actually help
drive a significant number of relevant consumers to a website.
Do the research
What you want is to
research how often people are searching for specific
content related to the general topic of your website, and then select those long tails that are pertinent to the site’s goals.
Once you have determined the best long-tail
keywords for your website, the process just becomes regular SEO. You need to find ways to include these long tails in your URLs and
page titles, naturally integrate the phrases directly into the copy of your
Web pages, use them in anchor text and add them into a page’s HTML using
headline tags (i.e. <h1> and <h2>).
Long-tail keywords are a big part of the
successful affiliate marketer’s arsenal because they allow you to reach out to
users when their reason for conducting a search aligns closely with the goals
of your website. While it can require more work on the research end
of things, the time spent is usually well worth it.