The new Google updates are going to be amazing for affiliates and for small brands. There’s multiple reasons for this, and not just the AI aspects. If you’re a blogger, YouTuber, social media personality, or niche site owner, you should be excited. Same with smaller brands and service providers.
Before I jump in, go here and watch the video, then look at the layouts for the new search interface. The new layout for AI generated responses is a little past half way down. I was originally going to post them here and mark them up, but one of the best ways to learn and really see what I cover is to look at what Google is displaying and listen to the reasons why. As an affiliate, you can meet most of the needs much more easily than a large brand, and this gives you the power to not only compete, but beat them in the traffic and monetization game.
Helpful content is looking for hidden gems
There’s been an update to the helpful content algorithm. It’s now going to be finding and sharing “hidden gems” which are often the niche and lesser known sites. If you do more than just write copy about a product or keyword stuffed text, you now have the opportunity to get rewarded. But this update impacts your entire site, not just one or two posts. The entire site must be “helpful”, I have a post about it here.
Go back and look at your content and see if you share solutions with hands on experience. If you don’t, update the copy and add in photos, videos, and references with how you achieved a specific result. This applies to blog posts, videos, your forums, responses to debates in community portals, and other pieces of content where your website can highlight hands on expertise, knowledge, and provides actionable solutions. More important, if the solutions are buried under paragraphs that are nice to have, but don’t give an answer, delete the fluff or move it to the bottom of the page.
Pro-tip: Turn these into dedicated posts and content. If people are asking, responding, and debating, it is something that is interesting enough to create an emotion and conversation.
If you insist on keeping fluffy content or topically irrelevant content in the post (a recipe blogger sharing about their family and grandparents vs. a recipe first) then add in jump links/anchor links via a table of contents so people can skip the fluff and find the needed information. Unless you’re at the prestige level of The Pioneer Woman, Bobby Flay, or Barefoot Contessa (she’s one of the few celebrities I follow), you need to give solutions first, then talk about yourself.
Perspectives feature real experience
All signs are leading to video and social experiences having massive exposure opportunities. There’s a literal option to go to just personal experiences that answer the question. And all of us can create video content with our phones or computers, and video cameras are not that expensive anymore. The trick is to prove you actually have the product or did use it. And as an affiliate you can do this more easily than an independent person building a channel.
Reach out to your top merchants and ask for product to feature. If it is expensive, or you want a lot of product, sign a contract that you’ll film and then ship the product back and cover any damages. You can also let them know they can set up rotations with other top partners to ensure new content is being created and this could look good for their bosses. Now there is a bigger value add. And when you write to ask for product, make sure you arm yourself with data points that make a strong case.
- Show how Google is going to be featuring perspectives predominantly in organic search.
- Display the authority, trust, and expertise that your niche website, social media channels, and audience provide you with. This may qualify you for features in perspectives.
- Let the affiliate manager know that the one missing piece of the puzzle is the experience, and that is where they come in. If they send you the product, you’ll feature them and them alone in the content with the affiliate link. This gives them the opportunity to gain traffic and sales for the long run. And don’t stop there.
- Include the estimated search volumes.
- Your stats per new video, pageviews, etc… within a week and a month to show you have an active audience.
- Conversion rates for similar products, and the AOV.
- This way you can forecast a potential ROI for the store if they provide you with the product, even temporarily.
If you’re a store or service provider, look at your product inventory, think about the future ones, and look at the solutions your product provides. Now begin creating hands on experience videos, reviews, and solutions. Next look for local, micro, and national influencers within the niche and the space, and begin recruiting them into your affiliate and ambassador programs. Now have them feature your store or products from your store in the solution oriented and non-branded content or product reviews.
Pro-tip: If you’re a hardware store, don’t have them review the wrench from XY hardware store. Have them do a video review of the wrench but feature your store as the place to buy. Have them create a video about replacing or tightening a pipe, and share why the specific wrench available at your store is the one to use, and only one to use. The title should be “How to fix XY pipe” and not “Fixing an XY pipe with Store’s Wrench.” The first title is a solution for anyone and everyone looking to fix the pipe, the second title is only for people who shopped at the specific store and for that specific wrench. There is a big difference here in the size of the opportunity and meaning of the video. This is why you should rarely have affiliates do branded reviews or use your store in the title, description, keywords, etc…
Authoritative sites (destination sites) will get featured in the snippet and the traffic
Successful affiliate sites are ones that become destinations. Not the reviewers, listcicles, etc… TripAdvisor, Expedia, BankRate, Healthline, etc… are all great examples of active affiliate websites. People go for solutions and they’re household names. And when you build a topically relevant website or app that people come back to as a resource, you build a community and become an entity. You don’t have to be huge to do this either, some destination sites are niche sites with smaller followings, but lots of trust and some recognition. It is this recognition and trust that may help you become an authoritative entity in the search interface.
If you looked at Google’s new layout for AI answered search queries above, (its about half way down the page here), they’re actively showing thumbnails with the source and website. This is how you can grow your audience, build your brand, and drive traffic even though the answer is right there.
Make sure your title, blurb, thumbnail, etc… have some form of non-clickbait hook that makes the person want to learn more than what AI or a featured snippet answers. Use thumbnails that are descriptive and enticing, and something someone would want to click on to learn more. Relatable situations, people, pets, foods, etc… are all great ways to do this when combined with a CTA. Big brands struggle with this because they have branding red tape, legal compliance issues, and multiple people that want their say but don’t have the knowledge or experience in the channels (i.e. office politics). I hate saying that, but for the most part its true. You control the shots as an affiliate, and you control how much authority your site can build. This is your big opportunity to shine.
There’s a ton of other opportunities with the new Google layouts and updates. I’m only sharing three of them and we’re updating our affiliate newsletters regularly with findings and opportunities. If you’re in the affiliate programs we manage, you’re already getting them. Don’t be afraid of the new Google updates, look at how you can build your platforms including YouTube, blogs, and social media into authoritative and trustworthy solutions. And then use your affiliate links to monetize them. This is one of the biggest opportunities in a long time, and Google is handing you the keys to the kingdom on a silver platter. Go on and get your share of it by doing what you do, creating amazing content that provides solutions, expertise, and knowledge.