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How to find other affiliates’ most successful content

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At TPAS2020, Patrick Stox, Product Advisor, Technical SEO, and Brand Ambassador at Ahrefs, shared actionable tips on how to find successful affiliate content created by your competitors. Also, Patrick explained how it can help you rank high in search results, what factors determine the success of your content, and what you need to do to boost your content’s performance.

The traditional way of doing keyword research is trying to find a golden keyword no one is targeting and rank for it. Though this strategy may work for some, it turns out to be pretty time-consuming and rarely effective. Patrick highlights that over 90.63% of websites get no organic traffic from Google.

To reverse the trend, the speaker suggests taking a different approach. The backbone of the strategy he offers is to define what is successful for your competitors and how they are getting their traffic. 

How to discover the most trafficked affiliate content

How can you identify what content performs best for your competitors? To this end, Patrick recommends using the Site Explorer tool by Ahrefs as it allows you to get an in-depth look at SEO traffic and the backlink profile of any website or URL. The tool also helps digital marketers explore what money-making content other affiliates are creating and emulate the most successful strategies. 

To give an example of competitive content analysis, Patrick dissects [3:55] the backlink profile of Booking.com. The platform’s top pages that drive loads of traffic contain tools like search forms or widgets. 

Another group of top-performing pages mostly focuses on where to stay or top hotels, which is logical for Booking.com. However, the topics can vary depending on the site you’re exploring. For example, if the website is about trains, the top content is likely to be about different routes or terminals. 

Categorize successful content

To create top-notch content and make it your powerful traffic-driving tool, it’s important to take a systematic approach and categorize blog posts that can help you earn money with affiliate marketing. To that end, there is no right or wrong way. In the video [9:40], Patrick offers one of the ways to categorize content driving traffic to Booking.com. He breaks it into several categories:

  • Best/top lists, for example, The 25 best places to visit in Mexico. These lists are easy-to-make and can be created from existing content. Though a little overused, they can still be effective if you take a less common angle and focus on luxury places to stay, budget places to stay, boutique hotels, etc.
  • Weekend getaways, for example, The 19 best getaways from New York City. People like going away for a few days, so create content to help them find top-notch places to spend their weekend breaks in.
  • Skiing, beaches, cruises content that helps people figure out what they can do and where they should go, for instance, The best ski trips near NYC.
  • City vs. city content that outlines the pros and cons of different cities and helps travelers pick the destination that suits them most.
  • Cost-sensitive content that helps money-savvy travelers get the best value for their money and reduce travel costs, for example, The 20 best places to visit in Europe on a budget.
  • Content for certain types of travelers: Couples, kids, honeymoon, backpacking, pet-friendly, etc.

Also, content that helps people find a solution to some of their pain points proves incredibly powerful for digital marketing in any niche, including travel. Here’re some examples of useful content that can drive you tons of traffic:

  • Places to stay in
  • Terminal guides
  • Events
  • Things to do
  • Route plans
  • Specific experiences
  • Maps (make sure you place your logo on them to boost brand awareness and visibility)
  • Guides on places to eat or shop, and what things to buy, etc.

What makes this content so successful?

Why does this content perform well and drive tons of traffic? Several factors determine the success of your content and make it more visible in search results.

First, top content covers items relevant for your audience and what they are mostly searching for. So, you need to do research, identify the needs and problems of your audience and offer them a viable solution.

Second, there’s a strong correlation between the internal and external linking and how high your content ranks in search results. So, to make your content more visible, it’s vital to pay a lot of attention to SEO link building and create top-quality external and internal links.

External links

Search engines consider external links as third-party votes which prove that your content is trustworthy and reputable. Though the travel niche is uber-competitive, travel affiliate content is fairly well-trafficked and there’s not a ton of links needed to compete in this space. 

Here’re some types of links that perform well and can help you boost your visibility and get a higher ranking: 

  • Groupon/Coupon
  • News and magazine sites
  • Information references
  • Other travel sites
  • Forums/Reddit
  • Niche-specific 
  • Local (city-specific newsletters, podcasts, newspapers)
  • Photos

Internal links

Internal links can also help Google discover your content and improve its ranking. Fortunately, internal link building is within your control, so make sure you harness it properly and create internal links to relevant content. You also need to focus on the things that your audience is searching for and build your content around these topics. For instance, when writing city-specific content, you can create and interlink content about places to park, the best city beaches, kayaking, etc. 

What else can you do to stand out from your competitors and rank higher in search results? Add some expertise and experience about a location. Knowing the location like the back of your hand can set you apart and draw more traffic. In the video [32:49], Patrick speaks about a landmark in his home city to illustrate this point and shows how your expertise can boost online marketing efforts.

Also, placing your own photos and videos can help your website garner more attention and set you apart from the competition. 

Another tip Patrick shares is to write a lot of articles on the same topic and interlink them to make your pages stronger and get a higher ranking.

To sum it up, to rank higher in search results and get more eyes on your website, you need to understand what content performs well for other affiliates. This will help you tweak your content marketing and link building strategies for success and stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Presentation

You can download the presentation from the webinar at this link.