Competitor Research Masterclass

Competitor Research Masterclass

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.

On-Page SEO Tips: Optimizing Your Affiliate Content

On-Page SEO Tips: Optimizing Your Affiliate Content

Today I’ll let you in on a little secret. I used to be a massive nerd for the SEO tactics and strategies that push web pages up through the ranks of Google and other search engines. The thrill and journey of taking a website that had either low grade rankings or was brand new and getting on the Google leaderboard (Page 1) for my targeted keywords was a pure satisfaction that not many people can understand.

It adds gravity of the accomplishment when money starts to correlate with those rankings. As an affiliate operator I would be looking to rank pages that help promote my product offers and have web traffic on my pages where I am running display ads. This all adds up and makes it highly valuable to focus on SEO instead of paid advertising for clicks.

So now let me take you on a journey to the depths of Search Engine Optimisation.

Title tags   

These tell both search engine spiders and human visitors what your page is about.  Your title tag should definitely include your main keyword.

This is what goes into your <title></title> HTML. Also known as your Title Meta. Most people use the popular WordPress Plug-In’s “SEO Framework” or “RankMath” to create individual titles for each page. 

You want it to be readable to the user and you want to use the keywords sparingly 

# Example: Apple Computers – Buy Them Here

Keep your title short, and to the point and each page should have a unique title.

Meta Description 

This specific html element falls under the category of a “meta tag,” and gives specific infomation about what your page is about.  You should use the meta description to convince people to click through your site.  Here’s what a meta description looks like in the Google search results:

Meta tags – these html elements live in the <head> of a web page, and basically tell the search engines what you page is about.  Meta tags can also entice people to choose your page, over another page in the SERPs.

H Tags 

These tags are used to structure the information on your page.  The search engines definitely use this as a ranking metric.  These are better known as “heading” tags, like <h1>, <h2> <h3> these are used to classify the topic h1 and sub topics h2 OnPage.

My preference is to use the plurals of the keyword example Hairdresser & Hairdressers

and use the one with higher search vol in the critical spots with the lower search vol in H2, image titles, content.

Here’s how to take advantage of H tags:

H1 – The role of the H1 tag has changed over the years.  Previously, “best practices” would tell you to always put your main keyword in the H1 tag.  But now, it depends on whether or not your are doing any link building.  Let me explain.  If you are NOT doing any link building (such as, you’re not using our RankBOSS service), then you should put your main keyword in the H1 tag. 

If you are doing link building (a.k.a. using our service), you should Not put your main keyword in the h1 tag. 


This will likely lead to an over-optimization penalty. 

So, with that being said, the rest of this email will be under the assumption that you ARE building links.  For the examples below, I’ll be using the “Apple Computers” keyword example. 

–back to that H1 tag… since you are building links to this page, you want to keep your H1 tag generic.  Use “branding” or “generic” keywords in the H1.  For example:

<h1>Check Out Our Full Selection Below</h1>  — notice there is no mention of “Apple” or “Computers.” 

H2 Tags – These are for the main sub-headings within your content.  This is where I’d recommend using your main keywords.  For example:

<h2>Our Apple Computers On Sale</h2>

<h2>The Macbook Air</h2>

<h2>Macbook Pro Retina</h2>


H3 Tags – Sub-sub headings.  Examples:



Other tags – You don’t really need them, but feel free to use them if you have an actual need for the structure.  If nothing else, they look good!

Here’s how you might structure a page targeting the “Apple Computers” keyword.


Use Heading tags to organise the ideas in a page of content. The overall idea of the article can be expressed in an H1. Then major “sub-ideas” in H2. Ideas that are part of an individual H2 Topic can be expressed under an H3 heading, and if that idea goes more granular then that sub-topic can be titled with an H4 and so on

I always imagine it as a folder structure. Here’s how I visualise it:

The red box is H1

Yellow folders are H2

Blue folders are H3

Green folders are H4.

You can arrange these in a visual way, then make them linear as you put them down the page, planning your article.

For example:

  • H1. How to write an article
  • H2. Intro
  • Content 
  • H2. Section 1 – Folder A
  • Content 
  • H3. Folder A1
  • H4. Folder A1a
  • Content 
  • H4. Folder A1b
  • Content 
  • H4. Folder A1c
  • Content 
  • H3. Folder A2
  • Content 
  • H3. Folder A3
  • Content 
  • H2. Section 2 – Folder B
  • H3. Folder B1
  • Content 
  • H3. Folder B2
  • H2. Conclusion

Adding some structure helps readers and Google bots read and understand the hierarchy of your articles. This makes the experience on the front end more enjoyable and easier to follow along with.

keyword map

Optimise Pages For Multiple Keywords:

When it comes to OnPage optimisation, certain places are more valuable to have your keywords in than others. Based on my tests, in order of impact, from most valuable keyword real-estate to least valuable: 

  1. URL 

  2. SEO Title Tag (i.e.: <TITLE></TITLE>) 

  3. H1 (i.e.: Page title) 

  4. H2, H3, H4… 

  5. Content 
  6. Alt text

We can use this knowledge to our advantage, if we have multiple keywords that we want to target on a single page, which in our profession is standard operating procedure. 

Let’s say we have the following keywords we want to target on the homepage in order of importance: 

  1. dog training 

  2. dog obedience 

  3. puppy school 

  4. potty training for dogs 

  5. dog walking training 

We’ll start with our URL, making a branded domain, with an inner page targeting however many keywords we can fit in the URL without looking spammy. The following URL covers our two most important keywords. 


Now for the SEO title tag. Again, let’s try to get as many keywords as possible in there, remembering the rules  from the above. 

SEO Title Tag: Dog Training and Obedience School | Pet Pros 

Next comes our Page Title. Definitely get our top keywords in there, and lets also try to get some of the words that we haven’t included so far. Additionally, we’ll use a synonym “Canines” to get some semantic advantage. 

Page Title: Dog Training School for both Puppies and Adult Canines
Whatever we can’t fit, whether it be to length issues or it just not making sense for our sales copy, we can fit on 

H2’s and H3’s.
H2: Potty Training 

H2: Walking your Dog
Lastly, in the event that we have a long list of keywords, make sure to put them in the content somewhere. 

Pro tip: Let’s say you’re trying to rank for the keywords “____ review” and “____ reviews”. You’ll need to include both ‘review’ and ‘reviews’ somewhere on your page. If these are important keywords, then definitely drop them in the URL, SEO Title Tag, or Page Title. 

Keyword Density:

There is varied opinion about the exact number to aim for. My thoughts are between 1-1.8% for your main keyword. There is no magical number that is and represents the secret sauce every niche and keyword has competitive values that differ from others.

  • Pro Tip: Individual words of a keyword phrase matter too 
  • Many people come to me and ask if they’re over-optimised. They only have “dog training” on their page 4 
  • times, but “dog” is used 40 times and “training” is used 30 times. This has Panda-penalty written all over it. 
  • Pro Tip: Keep keyword phrases down to only 2-3 occurrences: 
  • once in a <header tag> and 1-2 times in the body of the content on the page.
  • Pro Tip: Keep individual words down to less than 15. What to do instead? Use synonyms. 
  • (The above recommendations are for a 500-word article.) 

I also suggest writing naturally and  for humans not Google robots.

Using Synonyms

Synonyms are the most under-utilised tool in the OnPage arsenal. 

Use synonyms to establish semantic relevance for a page without risking over-optimisation. 

In the dog training example, we can use the following words instead of “dog” and “training”: 

  • canine 

  • k9 

  • puppy 

  • pooch 

  • obedience 

  • learning 

  • instruction 

  • Since our page is going after “dog training”, we can use “canine” and “instruction” with no worry. 
  • We don’t care if we’re over optimised for these keywords because hardly anyone is searching for “canine instruction.” 
  • But ninja tactic is to  use these words to establish a high degree of relevance for the page. 

Content Word Count:

People debate over how many words per page is optimal. No one has the exact number, because this matters on a per-niche and per-keyword basis. 

For example, pages in the health niche (competitive), typically require more words to rank than others. 

However, based on my testing experience and recent studies, the minimum amount of words you want on a page is: 

  • Regular page: 500+ words 
  • Product page: 500+ words & Bullet points that highlight features
  • Competitive term: 1,500+ words
  • To be safe, I’d recommend writing any page you want to rank with 1000 words or more helping your cause.
  • This can not be achieved every time, some clients may have highly graphical pages.
  • Stuffing pages for the sake of it won’t look right, think of the UX stick to the rules above.
  • There are limits on how many words you want on a page and it depends on the niche. 
  • Imagine you are working on a local landscape clients website.
  • You have 3,000 words on the keyword target page, but every other competing ranked page has 700 words.
  • You my friend, are in overkill mode. Google likes content that is concise & to the point.

URL Structure (Permalinks):

Whenever possible, keep short and simple URL slugs, and have your keyword in the URL of the page.  For example:

This part is pretty dependant on your site and your CMS, but optimally you want your URLs as short as possible with as much keyword stuffing as possible.

go with /%postname% 

the shorter the URLs, the better – This also remove the trailing slash from every post and page. Make sure to set your custom URLs in your posts and pages though and don’t just use the title of the post/page or you’ll end up with massively long URLs. 


Types of breadcrumbs. I like to use location based.

Location Based Breadcrumbs

show the user where the current page is located relevant to the whole structure of the site.

example: See All Departments > Electronics > Auto Electronics >

In-Dash Stereos

Path Based Breadcrumbs

visualise the user’s path which brought him to the current page. These breadcrumbs are dynamic and are usually based on the search results. With this type of breadcrumbs one and the same page can be accessed through several paths:

Consulting > Services > Implementation > Service A

Consulting > Services > Optimisation > Service A

Consulting > Services > Upgrade > Service A

Attribute Based Breadcrumbs

list the attributes of the current page

Best Uses of Breadcrumbs

  • Only use breadcrumbs when they help a user: for large, multi-level websites. These are for user first of all; if they also help SEO – that’s an additional benefit. Don’t add breadcrumbs just for the sake of adding good internal anchor text.
  • Do not link the current page to itself (the last step in the breadcrumbs should be un-linked);
  • Do not replace main navigation with breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs visualise your website structure horizontally while the main navigation shows its vertical structure listing its other categories and content types);
  • Use breadcrumbs consistently (this makes the user browsing your website feel safer and allows him to faster familiarise himself with how the site is structured)
  • Do not use breadcrumbs in the page <title> tag (this makes the title too long and untargeted)
feeding the birds breadcrumbs

Here is a cheatsheet for building well structured web pages that will help your affiliate products get some traction with Google.

Elevate your SEO game by implementing the following advanced techniques that not only sidestep spammy practices but also leverage Google’s sophisticated semantic synonym recognition to enhance your page’s relevance to a specific topic.

  1. Mastering URL Structure:
    • Incorporate your primary keyword once within the URL.
    • Prioritize brevity while ensuring keyword representation.
    • Recent experiments indicate that shorter URL slugs deliver superior results.
    • Opt for concise, impactful URL structures both for homepage and inner pages.
    • Effective:
    • Less Effective:
  2. Strategic Title Tag Placement:
    • Embed your keyword in the title tag, positioning it towards the beginning.
    • Optimize for conciseness and relevance.
    • Recent studies highlight the superiority of shorter title tags.
    • Delay the use of “click bait” words until achieving higher rankings (#1-#5).
    • Optimal: Dog Training Guide for Beginners | Obedience Tips
    • Suboptimal: Dog Training – How to train your dog – Dog Training Tips
  3. Maximizing Meta Description Impact:
    • Leverage the meta description to enhance click-through rate (CTR).
    • While Google doesn’t directly rank meta descriptions, they indirectly affect rankings by influencing CTR.
    • Craft persuasive descriptions that entice clicks from search engine results.
    • Employ curiosity-invoking strategies to engage users and prompt clicks.
    • Experiment with capitalization and trigger words to stimulate interest.
    • Aim for a meta description length of no more than 156 characters.
    • Compelling: These sneaky Dog Training Tips will work on ANY dog. You’ll DEFINITELY want to check out our FREE …
    • Bonus Tip: Enhance intrigue by adding a “…” (dot dot dot) to incite curiosity and drive clicks.

As you wield these advanced techniques, remember that your affiliate marketing journey is an evolving process. By harnessing the power of precise URL structuring, impactful title tags, and enticing meta descriptions, you equip yourself with the tools to amplify your affiliate efforts and rise above the competition.

fast virtual servers

Page Speed 

Fast sites rank better.  But even more important, your visitors will not stay on slow sites for very long waiting for the page to load.  There are many things you can do to increase your site’s speed.

First, check your site’s speed.  Go here:, or  Get a baseline of where you’re at, so you’ll know how much you’ve improved.  You really want to see your site loading at least 80% better than other sites (as measured by Pingdom), and a total loading time of less than 2 seconds.  You can work hard to make your site even faster than < 2 seconds.

If your site is slow, Pingdom will give you suggestions on how you can improve it.  If you’re on WordPress, you’re in luck!  There are some dead simple steps you can take to get some massive speed improvement within three minutes. 

How to drastically improve your (WordPress) site speed in 3 minutes or less:

First, do basic site clean up, ie empty the trash, delete duplicate or unused images from the media library. Install a good caching plugin like W3 Total Cache. Install a great compression plugin (I use G-Zip Ninja Compression, which is free and works great). Literally install and activate, nothing more to do for this. 

1. Install the W3 Cache Plugin & Activate it.

2. Once it’s been activated, in the WordPress dashboard, go to: Performance > General Settings

3. Enable “page cache” and “minify”  Save it.

4. Now check to make sure your site is working properly.  “Minify” can sometimes mess up a site.  If it DID, deactivate “minify” and the problem should be solved instantly. 

5. Check your page speed again to see your improvement, and how quickly your site is loading.

Pingdom Tools or GT Metrix will show what is causing the latency and is good to run before and after to gage results. 

If your site has a lot of images, they could be really slowing your site down.  Here are some things to consider:

Image Size: 

Make sure your image file sizes are compressed (not necessarily the size of the image, but the file size.  This will make your site load fast. 

Use to compress the size.  Or use for .png images. 

Alternatively install a great image optimiser (ideally, images should be optimised before uploading to the library but let’s face it, not many of us do that). I use Tiny PNG plugin, free for up to 500 compressions per month, and it works awesome. Install, activate, leave the default settings as they are. Register as a user and insert the API code that is emailed to you into the plugin settings. 

Hover over the media library in the dashboard, select “bulk optimise” and let it do its thing. I’ve brought sites down from 22 seconds to under 3 seconds with just these 3 free plugins that take maybe 5 minutes to install and run. 

Something to remember: using smaller images (the size of the image, not the file) will help with load times as well.  Huge images are just SLOW.

If you have a lot of images, check out the “lazy load” plugin (  This plugin will delay the loading of an image until a visitor scrolls toward that image.  So, say you’ve got a nice, long post, filled with images.  By using the lazy load plugin, the page will load quickly, displaying only the images at the beginning of the post. As the visitor scroll down the page, those images further down the page will load.  This means that the page can load quickly, and will load images a few at a time, instead of trying for all at once.  


Adding alt text to images is often overlooked but we know better and can use these to take advantage of the extra room to describe our website images. 

Important – Alt text keywords DO contribute to overall page word count and  keyword density.

For example, if you had the word “dog” in your content 10 times, and “dog” was in two alt tags as well, then your total count is 12 times.

Use alt text as if you were describing the image to a blind person. Don’t keyword stuff but you can include long tail or synonyms into the description.

Avoid having images that have “_” or “|” and instead look at using “-“ to seperate words.

What are alt tags actually for? Alt tags were designed for screen readers that help visual-impaired folks read webpages. 

When the screen reader comes to an image, it reads the alt tag to describe what that image is. 

Essentially, Google wants us to simply describe the picture. 

If it’s a picture of a girl smiling, then label the alt tag “picture of girl smiling.” 

Using the alt tags as intended is another reason I mostly choose not to optimise them. Think about your SEO strategy if you do optimise alt tags or not.

Geo Tag Images:

In local search we want to provide our clients with the best local relevance that we can. Using geo tags to add location points into the exif data of images will help us do this. 

There is a significant amount of traffic that comes from google images search, and google maps images just look at the GMB insights of your clients. Don’t be surprised and instead act on this as a source of traffic others may not be exploiting. In some cases 5% or less traffic will result from images so in that scenario you can de-optimise the alt text so you only worry about keyword density OnPage and not on two fronts.

The bad news is geo tagging will be stripped when you compress images, a choice needs to be made to have more geo tagged images or faster loading websites.

Tip: add geo tagged images to Google my business and maps and leave compressed images for the website. 

Process > Geo tag images then upload to GMB > Then compress and upload to the website.

Images OnPage:

Opinions differ about the specifics that there should be a specific ratio of HTML code (namely images) versus raw text, in order to make the search engines happy. 

Based on my tests, I have never concluded on a magic number of how many images should be present per a given word count. But I do indeed recommend a simple rule of thumb that I’ve garnered from extensive conversion rate optimisation and split test experiments: 

Never have a wall of text on the page. 

There should never been a segment of your page where all the reader can see is simply a top-to-bottom block of text, with no graphics or structured markup (e.g.: table or list). Following this rule will keep you within safe bounds regarding both: 

  • 1)  Keeping the search engines happy 

  • 2)  Keeping your visitors interested in your page
the sitemap for a house


the Google XML Sitemaps plugin on WordPress sites. 

To keep it simple create a sitemap, if you can go advanced then split the sitemaps into into categories, priorities & frequency aren’t a must but make sure you use change dates.

Make sure once you’ve setup this plugin, that you submit your /sitemap.xml to Google’s Webmaster Tools – This is the main sitemap, and Google will then index each sub-sitemap on it’s own, you don’t need to submit each sitemap this plugin makes. 

You’ll find the settings for this plugin here: 

/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=google-sitemap- generator%2Fsitemap.php 

Crawl Rate Optimisation:

Googlebot is on your site for a couple of seconds at max at a time. Remove any unnecessary files that don’t need to be on your site – You want the pages you want ranked to be crawled, and having files like backups & unused PDFs just hurts your crawl rate.

Each website has a crawl budget per month and its important that if a client makes a lot of updates and changes that the crawl budget be spent wisely. This means fetch and render only when you need too. 


Don’t Use The Default Robots.txt 

Here’s the WordPress Robots.txt file that I use to keep these pages hidden.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /wp-admin/

Disallow: /wp-content/

Allow: /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php


You can also add in any link checking bots you want to block via this pastebin. 

You’ll have to manually upload a robots.txt file with this code in to overwrite the default WordPress one. 


Turn On Pingbacks 

Don’t allow people to post pingbacks to your site, but notifying other blogs when you link to them helps get traffic and visibility. 

Go here: /wp-admin/options-discussion.php  for WordPress.

And check the “Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article” box. 

Link Functions:

An essential way to establish relevance for a page is to link out to an authority page in you niche. 

What’s an authority page? Think,, etc. Something with Domain Authority 70 or higher. 

The ranking benefit of linking to authority sites is in the user reading enhancements. You are providing more value. 

Pro tip: Don’t use Wikipedia for your authority links. This is what every other SEO on the planet is doing. Remember, Google doesn’t like SEOs, so don’t look like one. 

For every page that you’re trying to rank, throw up an authority link somewhere past the fold. Putting it anywhere above the fold increases the chance that the reader will actually click on it and bounce from your page. 

There’s considerable debate about whether or not to make the link dofollow or nofollow. The nofollow team wants to keep all their link juice on their site and refrain of leaking it off the page. 

Since it hasn’t been empirically proven which one works better, I opt to keep it dofollow since the disadvantage of having no authority link on the page wouldn’t be worth it. If you’re worried about ranking another page, simply link to an authority page (DA 70+) that doesn’t rank higher than you already, or isn’t on the first page. 

Pro tip: Create your authority links to open in a new window. This keeps your bounce rate low; in case the reader decides to click on the authority link. Example: <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a> 

Using a Macro vs Micro OnPage Focus:

Macro – This refers to what you’re doing at the site level, such as your site structure, levels, links etc. This is the overview of your site from a crawlers perspective, as well as the perspective of the user.

Good Macro on-page revolves around making good decisions for both UX and SEO. You can use data to back up a lot of your decision making here, and it’s often THE MOST overlooked aspect of on-page with some of the bigger sites.

When we’re working with eCommerce clients, this is often what we’re spending hours and hours on in the first few months.

When auditing the macro level you need a human eye to find areas that are weak, and need improvement.

Micro – This refers to what you’re doing on the page level, this is what most on-page tutorials, articles etc talks about. Using the right markup, longer content – you know the drill. This is often where most people get things right, however there’s a tendency to focus on the wrong things.

At the micro level you can improve rankings for a specific page and linked pages, opposed to macro level where you’ll often see sitewide ranking improvements.

When auditing the micro level you’ll often use tools to achieve this such as ScreamingFrog.

Broken Links and 404’s

Use browser extension (chrome) broken link checker to check your pages for broken links. 404’s and broken links are a negative ranking factor as the user experience is not enhanced but disadvantaged by the browsing problem.


Double check index with Screaming Frog

Finally, check your site for major errors by running a search using the Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool.  It’s free, and an awesome, powerful tool.  There’s TONS of things you can look for, but the most important will be making sure the status codes say either “200” or “301.”  If you see anything else, then you or someone you know more knowledgeable should take a look at getting those fixed.  They can cause really big problems.

Ninja Tip – Embed google properties on your client website, Google loves Google and embedding a Google property on a website is one way to tell Google the page/site exists. Think Youtube videos and Google Maps.



Check your plugins.  If you have a plugin installed that you’re not using (even if it is deactivated), delete it.  Plugins can slow your site way down. 

For some recommended plugins (WordPress) see the resources at the bottom of this document.

Content Delivery Network

If you’re not afraid of something slightly more involved, then looking into a content delivery network (CDN), such as CloudFlare or MaxCDN.  Using a CDN can give your site a big speed boost right away.  Here’s how: a CDN distributes your content to multiple servers around the world.  When someone visits your site, a server closer to their location can serve the page. 

CDNs are not complicated; I really recommend you set one up.  Seriously, the set up time will be like five minutes.  If you’re running a media rich site, switching over to a CDN can cut your load time in half.  HALF!

Managed Hosting

If you’re using WordPress, you absolutely should be using a service like WP Engine to host your site. 

Why?  An all-in-one managed WordPress host can speed up your site instantly.  Caching and CDNs are built into the hosting service.  It’s also completed managed for you, so you’ll never have to deal with another WordPress upgrade again.


Should your website have SSL – Secure socket layer

If your client website takes payment online or collects personal data of its users then the answer is yes.

Note: October 2017 Google will show all http websites as insecure in the search results to add to the update from March 2017 where they began to show the browser URL as “Not Secure” for http websites where the https websites were shown with a green “Secure”.

Review Stars:

Another type of rich snippet is the review star. Having review stars on an affiliate product review page, for example, can be a significant factor in stealing clicks from the SERPs. 

Example of review stars: 

Getting review stars is extremely easy. I simply use the WP Structured Data Schema for WordPress. As of the time of this writing, review stars are only available for inner pages. 

Warning: Google has been passing out manual penalties based on spammy structured data. As of now, most of the reports I’ve seen have been about manipulating location using schema, but I’m sure using fake ratings is a hot spot too. 


I’m a big believer of testing and having test “sandbox” sites to test techniques on that mimics real world client sites. Creating a mirror site to test on, not an exact replica but very similar but more lightweight.

BONUS: How to Rank Images in Google (Step by Step)

Ranking images in Google is very similar to ranking a Youtube video.

In fact ranking images is actually easier because the competition is lower (not many people are intentionally aiming to rank photos).

Here are the steps to rank an image…

  • 1) Alt text: The alt text of the image needs to match or be a partial match keyword to what you’re aiming to rank for.
  • 2) Content: The content surrounding where your image is hosted needs to be closely related to your target keyword.
  • 3) Authority: This is relevant to the competitiveness of the keyword you’re trying to rank.
  • 4) Syndication: Taking your image and embedding it on a network of websites, social media sites, image sharing sites and other web pages helkps boost the relevance of your keywords and image topic. This has helped me drive thousands of extra eyeballs to my product offers and view my display ads on my niche blog.

Think of sites like Flickr, Pinterest, Diig, Google Images and many more that all help push the relevance of the image. Monitor your progress and don’t stop with 1 image. If you can blanket Google Images search results with your image target thats a big opportunity that you should not waste.

SEO is a powerful strategy to use for your affiliate niche blogs, ecommerce websites and dropship stores. It might sound technical and a bit spammy but it gets results and it takes less money to start than advertising. Don’t sleep on SEO.

Increase Website Traffic The Dummies Guide

Increase Website Traffic The Dummies Guide

Unless you’re Scrooge McDuck swimming through your gold vault, there are few good reasons to ever stop trying to boost the number of unique visitors your website attracts. The logic is just too obvious to ignore—the more eyeballs on your site, the more business you generate.

But running a company is hard work, and it’s easy to get distracted by other, equally important, tasks and strategies.

This article is for those business owners who want to get back to the basics—business owners who are ready to throw some money and effort at the top end of their marketing funnels.

Illustrate topical authority

Google loves serving pages that are likely to satisfy its users’ needs. The search engine is on a neverending mission to find ways to separate good content from bad.

Over the years, Google has used many techniques to do this. Keyword density and quality backlinks have traditionally been two of the biggest drivers here. But now, a new metric is starting to become increasingly influential in SEO: topical authority.

Topical authority is the ability to show expertise on a specific subject. Google is increasingly favoring sites that cover a specific topic in great depth over a series of posts rather than a single article.

More and more SEO experts are encouraging site owners to show Google that their site is an authority on a specific topic by publishing several posts on it.

In practice, Google likes seeing “depth” of coverage. For example, a single post on “The Benefits of the Keto Diet” may use keywords brilliantly and also have tons of backlinks. But if this topic isn’t covered elsewhere on the domain, Google is likely to penalize it in the rankings.

To prevent this and also see your articles get a ranking boost, write as many other meaningful articles on this topic as possible. Think about what other information readers may want about the keto diet and publish as many posts on it as you can.

The key here is not to replicate content or to create “fluff.” Use Google to see what questions people are asking about the keto diet, and answer the top five in a highly detailed article.

When displaying search results for the term “keto diet,” Google also shows some very handy content under the heading “People also ask.” For instance, “What can I eat on the keto diet?” and “Is the keto diet bad for me?”

Don’t answer this question inside your main article. This is an amazing opportunity to show topical authority by publishing a dedicated article for every single one of these questions.

Build backlinks through outreach

Backlinks are still important.

Sure, SEO tactics like “topical authority” (we’ll get to this later) may have started to hog the spotlight over the past 18 months. But, that doesn’t mean Google has completely forgotten how big a signal of quality it is when external sites link to one of your blog posts.

But how can you increase the chances of your content being referenced by a reputable third party? I’ll share two crucial tips.

It’s worth noting, though, that all of these tactics will have benefits outside of increasing the chances of landing a backlink. So try not to think about them purely from this perspective.

Create new knowledge

Websites aren’t going to link to your content if you don’t give them a reason to do so. And the best reason of all is if you’re the only site that offers information they can’t find anywhere else.

If you’re sitting on an email subscriber list or social media following that’s big enough to mine for new knowledge, consider conducting surveys and building data from responses.

Reach out and ask your followers questions about your industry. Convert their feedback into blog posts or infographics that shine a new light on an existing topic. This information could be extremely valuable for one of your peers looking to make a specific point in one of their own blog posts or marketing material.

Data is immensely referenceable – a fact evidenced by the WyzOwl domain having close to 20,000 backlinks, according to Uber Suggest.

video marketing statistic 2020

Another way to create “new” knowledge is to interview reputable industry experts and thought leaders. Get them to weigh in on an issue closely related to your industry.

These articles, often called “expert roundups,” take a lot of time to complete and require a ton of legwork, but the payoff can be immense. A well-populated roundup post is packed with highly referenceable quotes that support claims made by your peers.

In most cases, you’ll also score backlinks for roundup posts because the person being quoted wants to show their contribution.

Make the right people aware of your amazing new knowledge

If you’ve spent weeks creating a 4,000-word blog post packed full of awesome referenceable material, you’d be crazy to just sit and wait for people to find it organically.

This is where “outreach” comes into play—the assertive, diplomatic act of suggesting to someone that a link to your data would benefit them.

A word of warning: this is not a simple undertaking. It’s not rocket science, but it’s also not something you’re going to implement over a long weekend.

There’s a ton of great content online about the finer points of outreach, but a quick summary of the process won’t go amiss:

  1. Use Google to find blog posts that cover the same keywords as your blog post. These are your competitors’ posts.
  2. Using a tool like Ahrefs Link Explorer, find the sites that have backlinks to your competitors’ posts. These are your prospects.
  3. Prepare and make email contact with your prospect. Your job here is to make a solid case for them to link to your content. This is a delicate process that needs a lot of preparation and communication. Do your homework before taking this step.

Create evergreen content

Forget, just for a minute, the marketing industry’s understandable preoccupation with creating content that ranks on Google.

Sure, it’s madness to completely overlook this aspect of SEO-focused content marketing. Your blog post means very little if it’s never going to be found using a search engine. Having said that, Google rankings shouldn’t be your only concern. When you publish a post that offers exceptional, evergreen value, you’re creating a marketing asset that will attract visitors for as long as it’s on your blog.

SEO concepts like keyword density and search volume should heavily influence your marketing strategy. However, it’s fine to occasionally put these aside in favour of creating content that delivers extremely helpful, evergreen information.

Certain subjects are just always popular amongst the citizens of the web. People always want to get healthier. They always want to find interesting things to entertain themselves with. Business people always want to find strategies to become more successful.

EachNight’s detailed blog post titled “Sleep Calculator: What’s the Best Time to Go to Sleep” is an excellent example of evergreen content.

sleep calculator

Everyone wants a better night’s rest. It’s a matter of mental and physical health that affects literally everyone on the planet. Sleep isn’t a “seasonal” activity either. It’s an unavoidable part of the human experience. Until people evolve out of their need to sleep, this is as evergreen as content gets.

Focused Niche Down Approach

The internet is a big place. It’s everything—all the information.

When fishing for traffic with content, casting your net wide means you’re trying to attract hundreds of millions of people. If you succeed… fantastic. You’re going to see an overwhelming influx of traffic.

But success here means you need to beat some pretty stiff competition for Google’s ranking. And the average small business website has virtually no hope of doing something like that.

A feasible alternative is to throw several smaller nets into very specific areas of the digital ocean. In practice, this means aiming for smaller niche audiences with your content’s topics and keywords.

Finli demonstrates a great example of this approach with their blog post “How to Grow Your Martial Arts Business | Ultimate Guide.

How to Grow Your Martial Arts Business | Ultimate Guide

Rather than aiming for the biggest possible audience pool with a topic like “How to Grow Your Small Business” or even something slightly less ambitious like “The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your E-Commerce Business,” the blog post aims for a very specific audience.

By creating information in this specific niche, Finli is making two outcomes very likely.

Firstly, their chances of ranking on Google are much better than if they’d aimed for a more saturated topic.

Secondly, the chances of their content being shared on social media are higher. That’s because online communities typically form around very specific topics, like the business of martial arts.

Worth noting is that you won’t achieve these two goals simply because you choose a niche topic. Even a very specific subject is still going to have a ton of competition. You’ll still have to apply the fundamentals of SEO to ensure your content ranks. And to increase the chances of your content going viral, focus on delivering genuinely exceptional information.

Use Social Media to Promote Your Website

Some brands have done an excellent job at building an audience on social media. This isn’t an easy thing to do. Like generating traffic for your website, you face tons of challenges when growing a following on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

But persistence and following proven strategies will pay off in the long run. People are hungry for excellent content on social media, and if you deliver, they will come.

But that’s not what this section of our piece is about. We’re here to talk about how your social media presence can be used to channel traffic to your website.

Skillcrush usesits Instagram account brilliantly to direct traffic to its website. The brand uses a super simple, highly effective tactic. Directly above the website link on their Instagram bio, the folks from Skillcrush were smart to tell users about the benefit of visiting their home page: “Take our free 3-minute quiz to find out if tech is right for you!”

skillcrush's ig

They’ve attached a compelling hook to their website link.

Sure, some Instagram users may click on your website link purely out of curiosity or because they want to find out more about your company. But if you give them a solid reason to go down the rabbit hole, you’re getting the most out of this element.

On Facebook and Twitter, Skillcrush chooses to adopt a slightly different approach. Instead of using a functional CTA (the quiz), the brand opts to appeal to users’ emotions.

skillcrush's twitter

“Digital skills are job skills. Learn the web development & design skills you need to get the money and freedom you deserve.”

“Skillcrush is an online platform and community for learning coding and design skills to change your career.”

Both of these passages aim for the visitor’s heart by using emotive language. More than half of workers in the United States are unsatisfied with their jobs. Skillcrush leverages this fact to channel traffic to their product—a product capable of changing lives.

When creating your company’s social media profiles, make sure to give compelling reasons why followers should click through to your site.

How to Dropship on Facebook Marketplace (Free & Paid)