Authority can be a difficult concept to grasp for some people, but I find the people who struggle most are those who are already successful using another strategy. Here is my expertly executed whiteboard diagram I whipped up for some successful affiliate friends over the weekend.
Before I describe it, let me give you some background.
Today I am traveling down to the big smoke and staying with my big bro while I spend a few days hanging out with affiliate folks at A4UExpo in London. On Wednesday I will be on a panel. This show is going to be jammed packed with affiliates and those who want to be. Of course while talking to friends who might meet me there I have had a lot of discussions about the right and wrong ways to build affiliate income.
It used to be that affiliates were SEOs or PPC people, but a good number are now looking at blogs. On the other side are the bloggers who might have traditionally looked to Adsense and banners for monetization who are now looking to affiliate stuff.
You will find the smarter affiliates are building blogs, and the more advanced bloggers are dabbling in PPC, but why?
Authority Builds Protection
The standard route for an affiliate is:
- Find a profitable niche
- Create a search-friendly site
- Build links
- Grow traffic
- Convert traffic
Seems like a good plan? Yes, it is, and it can be very profitable. Some folks use PPC instead of SEO, but it comes down to the right products, for the right audience, and sending a ton of traffic at well converting pages.
So what’s the problem?
As I described in my article about how Authority sites can survive an economic downturn better than others, there are two ways an Authority site beats a pure play SEO/PPC site.
The issues are with #3 in the list above, and the fact there is no #6!
Authority Link Building Versus Affiliate Link Building
How does a traditional affiliate site build links?
- Article marketing?
- Emailing for swaps?
- Buying links?
These tactics work, but they are not particularly sustainable and they create a very clear and fragile link profile. Ask yourself if Google wants to reward this kind of profile or punish it. I’m thinking the latter.
Compare this to an Authority site.
For a start, if you are going to do linkbait then a blog is a natural place to put it. Secondly, a good blog will attract links naturally, they will be voluntary, organic, and spread over time.
What do you link to? The landing or sales page of a commercial site with no reader value, or great articles that you readers would really love? Are there sites you link to more often than others?
Build a really good blog, an authority blog, and the pattern becomes self-reinforcing. You start to attract more links because you are an authority, and whatever shifts take place in search algorithms, if they don’t rank you then they are not doing their job. What would you think if you couldn’t find Techcrunch or Copyblogger in searches?
You Don’t Just Want to Generate Traffic
The second big issue is with the focus on traffic. Traffic at any cost. It is what I describe as “hits thinking”. Got to get those hits up. No, wrong!
A healthy business doesn’t just attract people through the door, you have to think longer term. As well as selling now, what are you doing about life time value?
Where those traditional affiliate sites go wrong is they have a cycle of constantly trying to create new customers, while abandoning their old ones. You need to have a strategy for keeping your visitors, to create loyalty. An authority blog is a natural solution to that.
Look at the Diagram Again
If you take another look at the diagram you will see on the left the Authority north sea oil platform, and on the right the good ship “Paris Lohan”. Further to the right a huge wave about to come crashing down.
Above sea level is what I describe as “visibility”. Both the Authority and Paris have good visibility. Under the surface though you can see that the Authority has “depth” and substance. Instead of “Expertise” you might say “talent” or “value”. Under “Personality” you might have “Loyalty” or “Community”. It doesn’t matter which definitions you use, nothing is supporting Paris, she is getting by on pure visibility.
North sea oil platforms are structures built to withstand waves 50-80″ in height. They can face the worst the environment can throw. Authorities are the same when faced with search shifts, competition, economy and other harsh market factors. Unfortunately the little ship looks likely to sink at the first big splash.
Build Authority, Build Your Defenses
By building authority you create a defensible structure that can grow sustainably, fight off competition and can survive the highs and lows of your market.
If you want to build your defenses and be an Authority Blogger, you know where to go 🙂
What do you think?
Agree? Disagree? How would you explain it? Let me know in the comments …