How to do keyword research for affiliate marketing

Miles Beckler says that the only product he pays for is a keyword research tool. Others are optional, that’s beside the domain name and website hosting fee. He’s been doing affiliate marketing for several years.

I can’t ignore his advice, nor should you since he is successful at it. Keyword research can single-handedly make or break your online campaign.

Your target audience uses keyword phrases to search for information online. If your blog posts do not contain these phrases, how will they find your website?

Background into keyword research for affiliate marketing

Every decent affiliate marketing course out there has keyword research as one of its main lessons. Consumers use search engines to gather more information on their topics of interest.

Most of the time, the research also leads to purchasing products and services. Look at it as window shopping in the digital world. These solve some needs or gaps they lacked in their lives. It is what led to the research in the first place.

Once a search engine user feels confident enough to make an informed choice, they draw out their credit cards.

And that’s where you, as an affiliate marketer, come in to fill the void. You provide a solution to the users’ pain points through the content you publish. It can be through blogging, YouTube video, Pinterest infographic, or otherwise.

As long as you provide a solution, the reader is likely to take action on your recommendations. And the recommendation is usually an affiliate link to a product or service.

But not in all cases will you be publishing commercial intent content. Sometimes it’s about connecting with your audience and empowering them. For example, how to use a tool you recommended more effectively.

If all you do is push salesy material, you will alienate the audience.

Now think of the opportunity all these search engines use provides. Around the world, users perform millions of searches in a single day only! As an affiliate marketer, this is a market ripe for harvesting.

How to do keyword research

There are different schools of thought on keyword research. Some believe the use of Google Suggest is enough. Others believe deep analysis using keyword tools is the way to go.

Both groups have results to back their criteria up, but it’s up to you to decide. Doing the actual work and testing scenarios is the only way to find out what works for you.

Using Google Suggest and SERPs to pick keywords

If you are a frequent Google search engine user, you’ve come across this feature. As you type into the search box, Google autocompletes the search term. A drop-down list with various phrases appears.

Google suggest
Google suggest

This list gives you an idea of the terms users frequently search on Google associated with what you are currently typing. The list narrows down as you continue typing more letters and words.

Some SEOs consider this the horse’s mouth and live by it. But the downside to this is that there is no data on search volume and keyword competitiveness.

To counter this, these content marketers check the SERPs for these terms if dominated by authority websites. But if you have an established blog, this is not an impediment.

Rinse and repeat using the other search terms from the suggestion list.

To uncover even more keywords, there are two features within the SERPs to check. These are the People also ask and Related searches sections on the results pages.

how to do keyword research for affiliate marketing - Google search results
Google search result

People also ask

  • The People also ask section appears towards the top of the page. It includes questions searchers type into the search engine to get answers to the queries.
  • Since Google’s goal is improving the user experience, it provides this section to further guide a user’s research. And besides this, bloggers create more insightful content informed by users’ intent.
  • The Related searches section is at the bottom of the results page. And as its name suggests, it’s a collection of terms related to the keyword or phrase searched. As a keyword researcher, this is an open goldmine of keywords to target in your content.

Also, note worthing is the selection of keywords to use for new websites. Not all keywords are the same. Some are more difficult to rank for than others. Pay attention to Google’s first page results to determine if you can rank.

If it is full of high domain authority websites, you are better off targeting other less competitive keywords. That’s until a later date when your blog grows in authority.

Another option to perform keyword research is using keyword research and analysis tools. These are software tools that assist in the role of uncovering keywords and providing related data.

And the latter is the advantage of keyword tools over using Google Suggest. Each keyword has data points on traffic volume, ranking difficulty, ad costs per click, related terms, etc.

You have to pay a subscription to access the features of these tools. However, some have free but limited searches you can utilize as a beginner before committing to a paid membership.

Examples of keyword research tools

There are many. Therefore, I’ll only mention the popular ones (non-Google). These are not in any particular order.

  1. Semrush
  2. Ahrefs
  3. Ubersuggest
  4. Moz
  5. SpyFu
  6. Jaaxy
  7. KWFinder

The range of features and membership costs vary from one to the next.

How to use keyword tools

All keyword tools have a search function since the primary role is to get information on a search phrase. Once the keyword tool spews out the results, it’s time to go through and analyze.

Despite the many data points returned, you only need to narrow down to two of them. At least to create searchable content.

These are search volume and keyword difficulty.

how to do keyword research for affiliate marketing
  • Search volume – For this, you want a keyword that receives some level of traffic every month. Search traffic above 50 per month is good enough. Zero traffic means you will not have people viewing your blog content.
  • But note that usually, the higher the volume, the more competitive it is to rank for that term.
  • Narrow down on long-tail keywords as they are more commercially biased. They might have lower search volume but are more targeted. The user is much further down in the customer journey and more likely to spend.
  • Keyword difficulty – This attribute relates to the level of difficulty of ranking a piece of content on the search engines. As mentioned earlier, keywords have varying levels of competitiveness.
  • Different tools have different names for it. In Ubersuggest, it’s called SEO Difficulty. Whereas in Jaaxy, it’s Keyword Quality Indicator.
  • The higher the difficulty, the more domain authority and backlinks you will need to rank well for such a keyword term.

Affiliate marketing as an income source

Affiliate marketing provides a profitable opportunity to make money online. But what honest, successful affiliate marketers will tell you is that it is not an overnight undertaking.

An entrepreneur like Pat Flynn has made millions with affiliate marketing. It looks very enticing until you know the time and effort he has invested over the years.

Some will tell you it is easy because they want to sell you a course.

But don’t get me wrong either I’m not saying it’s rocket science.

It just takes time to generate a sustainable income you can live on. At a minimum, you might need six months to see results. As a beginner, it takes even longer as you need time to learn new skills like writing effectively.

As long as you can put one foot in front of the other and not stop, you can build an affiliate marketing business. And if you stop, it’s only to catch a breathe and recompose yourself.

As an exercise to assess if it is worth your time, check out Wealthy Affiliate‘s FREE ten lesson Online Entrepreneur Certification course. It teaches you what an online business is and how others make money with it. How to create a WordPress website, how to create content, and how to publish it.

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