Competitor Research Masterclass

Make money or do right thing

In the ever-evolving landscape of affiliate marketing, the key to triumph lies not only in your own strategies but in the insights gleaned from your rivals. Welcome to the realm of competitive affiliate research, a dynamic and powerful approach that unveils the hidden strategies, untapped opportunities, and potential pitfalls within your niche.

Just as ancient explorers navigated uncharted waters to discover new lands, affiliate marketers today embark on a thrilling journey of discovery, delving deep into the tactics, trends, and triumphs of their competitors. Join me as we chart a course through this captivating world, revealing the compass that guides your path to unparalleled success in the affiliate marketing arena.

Was this too much of an intro? 🙂 if you cant tell I’m excited to share my strategies for competitor research for affiliate markets. Competitive research is a crucial aspect of affiliate marketing that can help you gain a competitive edge and make informed decisions.

Make money or do right thing

As we delve into the nuances of competitive market research for affiliates, prepare to equip yourself with a comprehensive toolkit for success.

My competitor research stack

  • Google Sheets (Free)
  • Google Search (Free)
  • Ahrefs SEO tool (Free trial or paid accounts)
  • Similar Web (Free trial or paid account)
  • WayBack Machine (Free)
  • SimilarMail monitors domain email newsletters

Depending on the task at hand I usually have a web browser profile for different use cases loaded up with important bookmarks, browser extensions and presets so I can use laser focus to learn the dirty little secrets about my competitors websites and web traffic.

  • Affiliate Marketing broswer profile
  • Ecommerce & Dropship broswer profile
  • SEO and Paid Advertising browser profile

Each browser profile should have some key bookmarks of places and tools that you are monitoring and using. Maybe you also assign a different gmail identity to each browser profile for real segmented monitoring of these competitors.

affiliate profiles for broswer

Things That I look for in competitor websites

  • Web traffic and demographics
  • Placement of products
  • Linked products and networks used
  • Product pricing and review count
  • Marketing tactics like Google Ads, Facebook Ads etc and SEO
  • Do they use marketing pixels, tag managers and other code snippets
  • Any hidden subdomains

One of the most powerful command for Google search is *use their actual domain without the https:// parts or www. This will reveal all indexed pages and show some often forgotten pages where you might see a bit more than they want you to.

Take it a step further and use site:* to show any subdomains or landing pages they could be using for paid advertising campaigns. See below where the popular ClickFunnels software has several subdomains in use that you can not navigate to, this shows you more than they want you to see.

google search operator for sub domains

Discover how to decipher your competitors’ conversion strategies, unveil the nuances of their content creation, and strategically position your brand for maximum impact.

Here are the key topics to focus on when conducting affiliate marketing competitive research:

  1. Understanding Affiliate Marketing Competitive Research:
    • What is affiliate marketing competitive research?
    • The importance of competitive analysis for affiliate marketers.
    • How competitive research influences your strategy and tactics.

When we do competitive research on affiliate niche sites we want to be looking for tell tale signs that the niche site is successful. We want to know that this affiliate blog belongs on our competitor shortlist. If its just a rinky dink blog with less than 1,000 monthly web visits we dont bother monitoring it.

What you learn you can use to adjust your strategy and avoid targeting niches that are too small or just do not convert. Watching successful affiliates in action will help you see what they do, what they say, how they present the offers and how they close the sale. Never sleep on successful competitors.

2. Identifying Your Competitors:

  • Identifying direct competitors in your niche.
  • Analyzing both established and emerging competitors.
  • Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor.

You have to know who is a competitor and who is a bottom feeder. There are people who are successful and theres people who are not. Spend time assessing the successful people. You can find them by following this guide on affiliate market competitor research.

Keep tabs on the big players in your niche and any new up and comers. They may teach you new strategies and ways to promote the offers. Don’t hate on TikTok its worth a look, new tech and AI will help evolve your affiliate game to new levels.

3. Analyzing Affiliate Programs and Offers:

  • Researching the affiliate programs your competitors are promoting.
  • Understanding the commission structures and payment methods.
  • Evaluating the attractiveness of their affiliate offers.

Every affiliate niche blog guru will point you towards the Amazon Associate/Affiliate network as a starting point. But truth is you should avoid that steaming pile of monkey poop and unsubscribe from that guru asap. Look for more reputable networks.

Related: Ive written about the frequent drop in commission rates on Amazon previously.

Instead look at networks like JVZoo, Share A Sale, CJ (Commission Junction) and Max Affiliate. Theres plenty more but I spend time here with positive results. Get familiar with the payment rates, dates and any nuances about each program to stay compliant. I bookmark these and organise everything in a Google sheet with my affiliate links and all related details. Thats a good starting point

amazon affiliates dissappointed at commission reduction

4. Studying Affiliate Marketing Strategies:

  1. Invesring your competitors’ content marketing approaches.
  2. Analyzing their use of email marketing, social media, and paid advertising.
  3. Identifying the keywords and niches they target.

5. Evaluating Affiliate Websites and Landing Pages:

  • Reviewing the design and user experience of competitors’ websites.
  • Analyzing their landing page elements, such as headlines, call-to-action buttons, and testimonials.
  • Assessing the quality and relevance of their content.

If a niche site pops up on my radar and at first glance its structured well and has good content and CTAs Ill usually crawl it (using Screaming Frog SEO software) to understand the structure and linking patterns. Ill also take a look at the traffic and estimations on revenue.

Assess how the website is presented, words, headings, button text, colours and links. You can reuse their placement and wording if you have product offers that are not converting well. The benefit of monitoring others is that you can test and learn fast, they may be using conversion strategies and you can see them play out in the space of a week.

It’s also worth understanding if they use their website or a landing page strategy. Some promotions are best place on landing pages and with conversion funnels to help get that sale.

Related: How to Improve Conversions.

structure of internal linked website

6. Assessing Conversion Funnels:

  1. Mapping out the customer journey on your competitors’ websites.
  2. Analyzing their conversion funnels and sales processes.
  3. Identifying potential areas for improvement or optimization.

7. Understanding Audience Engagement:

  1. Monitoring your competitors’ social media engagement.
  2. Analyzing their audience interactions, comments, and shares.
  3. Identifying the types of content that resonate with their audience.

8. Exploring Affiliate Product Reviews and Recommendations:

  • Examining the products or services your competitors are reviewing or recommending.
  • Analyzing the tone, format, and depth of their reviews.
  • Identifying gaps in their coverage that you could address.

9. Using Competitive Insights to

  • Incorporating learnings from competitive research into your own affiliate marketing strategy.
  • Identifying opportunities to differentiate yourself from competitors.
  • Implementing improvements and optimizations based on your analysis.

10. Staying Ethical and Authentic:

  1. Avoiding unethical practices such as copying content or mimicking strategies directly.
  2. Using competitive insights as inspiration for your unique approach.
  3. Prioritizing authenticity and adding value to your audience.

When you set out its your mission usually, to provide the voice of reason in the affiliate space, never promoting scammers or bad quality products. And you can stick to that for a while but its very easy to assess products by their payout figures and ignore the rest. Stay true to you and keep your ethics and values. Highlight them in your product reviews and niche sites. Its refreshing to see people with values.

Some successful affiliate have used their stern beliefs and values to carve out a niche of followers that align with them and they use that to promote to some levels of success. Don’t sell out for the mighty $, stick to your beliefs.

I like buying products that I review. I enjoy taking my hobby a step further and helping others find solutions for their problems. I don’t mind getting paid to do that but I really at the end of the day just want a high quality product for a reasonable price.

11. Leveraging Tools and Resources:

  1. Exploring competitive research tools for affiliate marketers.
  2. Utilizing keyword research tools to uncover competitor strategies.
  3. Gathering data and insights from affiliate networks and forums

Bookmark interesting sites, people who are in similar topics as your market, and any cool creative or copywriting that you come across. Save it to your own mood board or swipe file of things that stopped your scroll on social media, online or in the real world. Secret sauce right now is I look at catalogues and bus signs for copywriting inspiration. You can too, the brands spend millions making ads why cant you leverage that tried and tested formula.

This 5 day lead challenge by ClickFunnels team is one of their most successful campaigns. They have x6 different creative banner designs and styles for this. The one below was one of the winners that they went on to scale spending millions on Google and Facebook ads. It’s worth analysing what they said, what they did, and what they presented to get the clicks that they did.

12. Continuously Evolving and Adapting:

  1. Recognizing that the affiliate marketing landscape is dynamic.
  2. Regularly revisiting your competitive research to stay updated.
  3. Adapting your strategy based on changing competitor behaviors and market trends.

13. Ethical Considerations and Best Practices:

  1. Respecting the intellectual property and copyrights of competitors.
  2. Avoiding unethical tactics and focusing on ethical competitive analysis.
  3. Complying with legal and industry regulations in your research.

By delving into these key topics, you’ll be equipped to perform comprehensive and effective competitive research in the realm of affiliate marketing. This knowledge will guide your decision-making, optimization efforts, and strategy refinement, ultimately leading to a more successful and impactful affiliate marketing journey.

keyword map

Market Research: A Guide

At its core, competitive market research is about peering beyond the surface and into the heart of your niche’s dynamics. It involves meticulously analyzing the playing field – from the affiliate programs your rivals endorse to the keywords they target and the platforms they dominate. This exploration provides a panoramic view of what’s working, what’s not, and, most importantly, the whitespace you can capitalize on.

Keyword Competitive Analysis

Keyword competitive analysis is critical if you want to earn money with SEO. If you want your website to rank highly for the top competitive search terms, you need to use every resource available to you. Keyword competitive analysis is an important step that needs to be addressed early on if you want to avoid missing out on future opportunities.

First, you need to decide what industry you are working in. These are the topics that your customers or clients will type into the search engines. Where you are working in is important to your keyword promotional strategy. The seller of anchor square widgets can sell the top ranking engine optimization company a dozen of handcrafted ranking powerhouses in their industry. What you are trying to do is find where a keyword based SEO opportunity can be realized in the competitive domains.

For example, “Suits” is a fairly vague keyword phrase. There are plenty of competitors for that word already. In contrast, maybe “Suits for people who like to shop around for the best offers” is a highly targeted opportunity. Now let’s look at the other group of keywords, like “nuggets”. Now fill in the other round of the criteria checklist. Which of the keywords is an industry specific term for “nuggets”?

Are each of the words in the keyword phrase formed into a sentence? Is the phrase in any way rhyming or overlapping?

Now start looking at the sites and pages indexed by the major search engines. If you aren’t already there, which keywords would you expect to be found there? Is it the general term for your business in your industry? Does the landing page of the organic result for the specific keyword phrase describe the URL in any way? If the site does not meet the keywords for which you are optimizing, you have a lot of work ahead of you. Include the URL in a Google ad word and you might be on your way to converting a visitor into a paying customer.

Related: Deep Dive Into SEO Fundamentals for Affiliates.

Once you have the keywords, it’s time to start analyzing the rankings of the major search engines. Keyword competitive analysis is a thorough process that requires onsite and offsite optimization. You need to consider any necessary changes for the visible content and structures of the site. You’ll need to create the content for the tags you need, write the page descriptions, evaluate what target keywords are being used quickest in the search engines, and find creative ways to pass these competitive pages.

Now you are ready to begin your keyword competitive analysis, which should be performed monthly or as often as you wish.

Once you know which keywords are in demand in the search engines and getting the right kind of traffic, your site will commence enjoying measurable improvements. You will also be able to figure out what type of competitive keyword is your future goal and which keywords to fine-tune-up on the fly, based on what works.

Keyword Competitive Analysis

Finding products with related keywords is one of the best ways to market a product or service to a targeted market. In information marketing, you are the one who provides a solution or information, and carrying relationship with them and finding out what they want is the key to a successful campaign. You have to know how to market this much (and if you’re not completely aware of it, then it might be time for a keyword competitive analysis).

If you are an online entrepreneur, then the first step you must do is to research for companies that can provide the commodity, particularly online, to a targeted or specialized market. You get your competitors by typing a keyword (the action one is typing the word into a search-box like safelists, Google, Domains etc); again directed at your target audience.

If your keywords are too broad, you start to hit up with a ton of pages of results; each optimizing their own page to put their advertisements out there. If your keywords are to specific, you will find people looking for that. The drawback of a broad search is that your target audience will fail to find what they are looking for mostly because they are using the word to search.

When you are designing a keyword focused campaign, you have to put yourself in the minds of your market, and imagine whom they are, what they want, what words they will use to search for what they are going to find, and how they are going to get to you. Now, here comes the keyword competitive analysis and the two best keywords that they use to search.

Scrape your competitors URLs with a software like ScreamingFrog SEO analysis scraper.

After collecting a list of keywords, then take a close look at your list; you need to do some of your brainstorming and grocery list so you your organization. What are some of the broad keywords you have collected (you just typed in the word computer, so you have some competition for that already), next, how many people search each day, what rate of conversion are you getting, and what cost per conversion for the advertisers is this a profit?

The competitiveness of your keywords and your competition is very important to know, because it is important to find keywords that are easy to rank for, but that you can be profitable on too, because it is more hard to gain more traffic. One easy way to analyze your competition is to go to the source url of your competitor’s website; and look at how they are trying to get better page rank with Google. Look those over, where exactly do they rank to get page rank, what is the keyword rich title for their page, and how are their html meta tags?

Look to see what they are doing with content on their website. If you are interested in finding out what they are doing, and making sure that you are not doing the same thing, then do an analysis, look for the keywords they are using to get their page rank, and compare it to the keyword you are using to find the appropriate keywords. Be careful to run a free analysis as not all the good tools are going to carry. Even if it is the free kind, you always have the option to upgrade.

8 Quick wins for OnPage

1 Fulfil the searchers goal and satisfy the search query intent

2 Speed wins, if you aint first you last.

3 Keyword Targeting 

  • Title
  • Headline
  • In content
  • External anchors
  • Alt tags
  • URL
  • Img names
  • Internal links

4 Provide a positive UI & UX & boost trust and engagement

5 Review popups, side bars, banner ads, chat boxes and distractions

6 Targeting related topics

7 Optimise for the rich snippet – format, schema, publish date, instant answer

8 Unique Value + Amplification 

  • what makes this page better than others?
  • what value does this provide that other pages in the SERPs don’t?
  • why will this be hard for others to replicate or beat?
  • who will help amplify the and why?

Closing Thoughts

In the realm of affiliate marketing, success is intricately tied to your ability to outmaneuver competitors and capture the attention of your target audience. Throughout this guide, we’ve embarked on a journey into the dynamic world of competitive affiliate research, uncovering a treasure trove of strategic insights that can shape your path to excellence.

Competitive affiliate research is more than a mere observation of your rivals – it’s a calculated exploration that sheds light on the strategies and tactics driving their success. By dissecting their affiliate programs, content strategies, and engagement approaches, you’ve gained a comprehensive understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and unique selling propositions.

Throughout our exploration, you’ve learned how to strategically decode your competitors’ messaging, pinpoint high-impact keywords, and capitalize on untapped opportunities. Armed with this knowledge, you now possess the tools to refine your affiliate approach, innovate your content creation, and position your brand for maximum resonance within your niche.

As you navigate the ever-evolving landscape of affiliate marketing, remember that competitive research is not a one-time endeavor, but a continuous process that empowers you to adapt, refine, and excel. By harnessing the power of competitive insights, you’re equipped to steer your affiliate endeavors toward new horizons of success, leaving an indelible mark in the world of digital marketing.