Author Archives: Perrin Carrell
Author Archives: Perrin Carrell
I’ve been keeping this tactic a secret for a while now.
And honestly, I couldn’t decide if I should write about it or not.
I could be wrong, but as far as I know, I’m the only one doing it (or at least writing about it).
And here’s what happens when we write about a new link building tactic on a blog: a small percentage of the people reading it--the black hats looking for shortcuts--immediately start cooking up schemes to abuse the living sh*t out of it.
One of the only reasons I’m doing it is because I don’t think it’s remotely scalable. I also don’t really think there’s a black-hat way to do it (although, if history tells me anything, I’ll be eating my words later).
But it is dead simple.
Amazongeddon… March 1, 2017… a day that will live in infamy.
Kidding. Don’t be so dramatic. And this post is not about Amazongeddon. It’s about affiliate programs.
People are freaking out, though, and it’s important to understand why so many affiliates are currently scrambling to find new programs.
So here’s what happened.
The Amazon Associates program has historically awarded affiliate commissions on a volume-based model. The more you sell, the more you earn. It started around 6% and went up to 8.5%.
Amazon is a general goods retailer; they sell everything. And among general goods retailers, 8.5% is pretty high. Hell, 6% is pretty high. It’s been high on purpose because if Amazon attracts the most affiliates, it makes the most money.
However, some categories have significantly lower margins than others. Electronics, for example, are far less profitable than luggage. The margins are simply just slimmer.
I want to show you something that on the surface defies logic.
Let’s look at the keyword “christian mingle reviews,” a good keyword with solid search volume.
Definitely in the “doable” KD range, but would take a bit of effort, especially since higher-volume keywords tend to be slightly tougher to rank for.
...which is why this might be a surprise…
Of course, there are plenty of people who use hidden PBNs and the like to rank for these kinds of keywords, but I don’t think that’s the case here.
My site was only getting 400 visits per day when one of the biggest brands in my industry sent me a cease and desist and ordered me to hand over my domain.
By pure chance, I’d picked a brand name very similar to a major company in the space. And it really was an honest mistake; when I first started my site, I literally named it after my own dog.
Needless to say, the lawyers were not nice. And I was freaked out.
But it really wasn’t that big of a deal (of course it would have been more painful if I’d done a ton of marketing under that domain, but I’d only been marketing for a few months).
In this post, Perrin goes into a pretty long rant about how inefficient / lazy most people trying to trade money for links are and points out the real life mistakes that puts their business at risk.
It's a read many people need, but not a read many people want. It will not bring us lots of search traffic or links but hopefully it will create the mind shift needed for long term success in the heads of those who pay attention.
However, if you just want the actionable part of building system that trade links for money, just click here, we've prepared a copy/paste process for you ;).
Know what I hate? The shortcut mentality people have when trying to reach a goal.
Especially in SEO. I hate them because SEO is not a short game. It’s a long game. And taking shortcuts, to me, represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the business -- particularly for authority site builders.
Yes, there are proud black hats out there who use short-term tactics on purpose to make “churn-and-burn” sites. More power to them.
That’s not us, and if you’re reading this blog, it’s likely not you either. But I still see it: people seem to be drawn to shortcuts like moths to a flame.
And do you know where I see it the most? Link building.
It’s no mystery that people hate link building, but it’s still weird. Because here’s the thing: link building is a core competency. It’s one of, like, maybe three fundamental skills you have to learn to do SEO and/or build an authority site.
Here are just a few of the thousands -- yes, really, thousands -- of things I’ve written and published in my life:
In fact, the last time I took stock, I’d written and published close to 1,500 articles on various websites, all of which I’d classify as “SEO copywriting.” That’s not an exaggeration.
Here’s the crazy part, though: of those 1,500 articles, only about 200 were ones I wrote for myself -- for my own websites -- to make myself money.
The other 1,300 were written mostly for one giant website.
If you know me now, that probably sounds crazy. I’m a site builder. I hire writers. I don’t write stuff for other people.
Would Perrin really write 1,300 articles to make someone else money?Continue reading
How many times has this happened to you?
You sit down to write a blog post and... nothing.
You know your blog needs content to grow. You know your audiences.
Maybe you even have a little traffic. But no matter how long you sit there it's still just... nothing.
Here's the good news: there's a much better way to come up with blog post ideas than just staring at a blinking cursor and waiting for a miracle.
More importantly there are methodical, efficient, ROI-driven ways to come up with blog post ideas that can drastically increase your odds of doing well with Google or with your existing audiences.
Of course, what follows certainly are not the only ways to do it.
These are just some of the best ways we've found for our businesses to keep the content machine churning out quality articles.
Let's dive in.Continue reading
In the time it takes you to read this sentence, hundreds of hours of new video will have been uploaded to YouTube.
Altogether, 6 billion hours of video are viewed on YouTube every month - close to 1 hour/month for every single living person on the planet.
So, of course, affiliate marketing on YouTube is a thing - and a wildly profitable one at that.
Who does it? How do you get into it? And is it actually worth investing in YouTube affiliate marketing?
Let’s find out.
YouTube affiliate marketing is the process of creating videos and placing affiliate links in the actual videos (via annotations) or in video descriptions.
That’s as simple as it gets. Just as you might write a blog post on “how to install WordPress” with an affiliate link to ThemeForest, for example, you can create a video showing the WordPress installation process and include an affiliate link in the description:
Here’s an example of a link in the video description:
And here’s one in an annotation (sometimes called an overlay):
Whatever methods you use, the objective is the same: redirect traffic to an affiliate landing page.
(Or you can also direct users to an email sign-up form if you have a more nuanced funnel that promotes affiliate products).
If you’re a serious content creator on YouTube, there’s a good chance you have at least one affiliate offer somewhere in one of your videos.
YouTube is so massively popular - among creators and consumers - that it just doesn’t make any sense not to.
However, it’s probably worth making a distinction here between casual marketers and professional marketers.
In the first category are serious content creators who happen to place the occasional affiliate link in their videos. For them, affiliate marketing is one more way for them to make money, not the only way (these folks often make money with ad views, platforms like Patreon, and sponsored content).
For instance, the StartUp Survival channel usually shares useful survival tips. In some videos, however, it includes affiliate links directing people to reviewed products.
In the second category are channels that exist solely to earn affiliate commissions. For such content creators, all content development revolves around its ability to earn affiliate commissions.
For example, this channel only has BlueHost review videos to earn affiliate commissions:
Fortunately for everyone, YouTube seems to have a lot more of the former than the latter (or, perhaps, their algorithm filters out the spammier content). And because of YouTube’s immense reach, it is possible to be a serious content creator and still make solid affiliate commissions.
For instance, Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) has high quality tech review videos where he frequently adds Amazon affiliate links:
Worth A Buy is another channel that reviews gaming products and tells viewers if the game/accessory/console is “worth a buy”.
The videos are high quality and make great money without being spammy.
Millions. Or nothing.
It all depends on your views, your offers, and your funnels.
For example, a video on “setting up BlueHost” will never go viral. All the traffic it can get will be from search engines.
This means that while this video won’t get a lot of views, it will make a ton of money (if it ranks well) because:
You might even be able to further maximize revenue further from this audience by capturing their emails and upselling other services/products.
On the other hand, a “reaction video” - like those created by the Fine Brothers - may be shared heavily but won’t make much money because neither the traffic nor the offers are targeted.
So to truthfully answer this question, I’d say that you can make tons of money with YouTube videos, provided you pick the right topic, have the right offer, and the right funnel.
For example, this video on “BlueHost review” has over 188k views.
Assuming a CTR of 10% to this YouTube affiliate link and a conversion rate of 3% for the final offer ($65 referral fee), for every 1,000 views you can make:
At 188k views, this video could have made around $12,200 in commissions.
Not too shabby.
Tons and tons:
Just as every rose has its thorn, every pro has its con.
For YouTube affiliate marketing, these are:
Yes and yes! If you can create good quality videos regularly, YouTube affiliate marketing is one of the best things you can invest your time in. YouTube’s audience is only going to increase in the coming few years. And because of the lower competition, you’ll have a hard time getting viewers.
The only caveat is that you must have your content game on lock if you want to succeed at YouTube marketing. Stay miles away from any tool that claim to turn articles into videos “automatically” and avoid spammy content at all costs.
If you can do this, YouTube can be a potential goldmine.
Want to know what people ask me about more than almost anything? Outsourcing content.
It’s a major pain point for lots of marketers, and it’s one of the most difficult hurdles to jump when start to seriously scale a site.
For most people, one of the most crucially important things to get right when building a content machine is finding a good, reliable source for content that allows you to scale.
I did, and my site took a massive jump forward (I’ll tell you which one of these I use for most of my content below).
Of course, not all content agencies are created equal, so we put them to the test. We gave 5 agencies the exact same assignment and let them duke it out. How’d it go? Let’s find out…
The easy answer? No. (I’m going to give you a more qualified answer below…)
There are lots of ways to do affiliate marketing, and you certainly do not need a website for all of them. Hell, you don’t even need to be on the internet for all of them.
Most of the time, it only matters that you’re sending targeted, qualified traffic to your vendor’s; it doesn’t particularly matter how you do it.
You could send people to an offer via Facebook or Pinterest or any other social platform. You could send them to the offer directly from an ad. If you were a spammy, inefficient businessperson, you could also schlep around the web dropping links on forums and in blog comments (obviously not what we recommend).
Of course you can.
In general, it just requires a lot more testing and a lot more money before you see a positive ROI.
But there are plenty of examples of people making it work. Perhaps the most successful is Charles Ngo from charlesngo.com.
Charles makes a lot of money. Like, a lot. He’s been banking hard for several years now, and he’s one of the most respected and well-known names in affiliate marketing.
How’d he do it? Primarily by sending paid traffic (via ads) to affiliate offers. I’m sure he’s created a website or two in the many years he’s been doing affiliate marketing, but as far as I know, most of his business model is sending ads directly to affiliate offers.
You don’t need a website for that.
You do need a fairly big budget. Charles typically says newbies should expect to spend a few thousand dollars trying to find their first profitable ad campaign.
Why so much?
Because this kind of marketing requires lots and lots of testing. You might test ad copy, images, audiences, and any number of other factors you before you find an ad that “clicks” with the target audience.
In my view, this kind of affiliate marketing is a lot more like jumping in the deep end; there’s just a very steep learning curve, and it takes a lot more money to even give it a try.
...which brings me to my more qualified answer…
Building a website has so many benefits, there’s no real reason not to do it.
First, I think it’s safe to assume with this audience that most of us are coming from an SEO background. If that’s the case, building a website is the only way to leverage your existing skills.
Second, websites are one of the few assets you can create that will generate truly passive income. You can’t do that with non-website forms of affiliate marketing. Ad campaigns require near-constant testing and optimization. Websites take lots of work to set up but can then generate money on their own.
Third, websites can open up into other business opportunities. If you have a profitable website that is already generating sales for someone else, you’re really only a couple steps away from creating your own product and simply selling that instead.
So, can you do affiliate marketing without a website? Sure.
But there’s no real reason not to--unless, perhaps, if you’re running through a massive amount of affiliate marketing campaigns in a bunch of different niches.
But when you find that industry you really like--or that offer that’s just knocking it out of the park for you--building a long-term asset is almost always a smart business move.
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