Generally speaking, when you create an article for your affiliate website you should use as few affiliate links as possible. That doesn't mean you can't use them as you see fit though. It just means as few as possible. Why?
It pretty much just makes sense that from the perspective of both search engines and human users that fewer affiliate links are better.
From the perspective of search engines, content which is overly promotional has a high probability of being low-value. In other words, the content appears to be written purely with commercial intent, and not necessarily to deliver value to the reader.
From the perspective of the user, having reading a page with tons of advertisements and multiple links to the same page doesn't make sense either. People come to learn something, not necessarily to buy.
Despite this, many pages with lots of affiliate links do rank well, and in my opinion, that's OK. Lots of affiliate links doesn't necessarily guarantee poor user experience, and doesn't necessarily mean that the content creator didn't put in an immense amount of effort to create unique, helpful, engaging, accurate content.
Just by accident, I happened to publish an article on my homebrewing website that contained 27 affiliate links on a single page. Oddly enough, it ranks #1 for its intended keyword phrase. Is this something that's repeatable?
What Ranking #1 For A Keyword Despite Using 27 Affiliate Links Looks Like
Why So Many Affiliate Links?
The use of all those affiliate links was somewhat of an accident. I'm usually pretty careful about not getting too crazy with affiliate links, but this time I just wrote the post naturally, and what came out was a ton links. This was a list-style post, or “roundup” as some people call it. It was a list of 1-gallon kegs, and pretty much every style of Keg was available on Amazon or another website with an affiliate program. Most links were to Amazon, and I was using the Amalinks Pro plugin.
How Was The Content Structured?
This post was done in the list style, or listicle format. The structure was very basic. It followed my basic SEO checklist.
- Title with keyword
- Shortened URL
- Pinterest image with optimized file name and alt text
- Introduction paragraphs with keyword
- H2 with keyword
- H3 for each item in the list
- Image & content written naturally for each item
- The total word count was about 3100
- Included relevant internal links
Is This Content Making Any Money For Me?
Unfortunately, this content is consistently making me $0. It hasn't even made a single sale despite taking the #1 position for a keyword I would have considered relatively close to the end of the customer purchase lifestyle. It's a niche item, and I clearly have the best content available on the topic.
What isn't the post making money?
This post is getting some traffic, but not a whole lot. It's averaging just 2-3 visitors per day, so even after the post is up for 3 months, that's still not even 100 visits total. Lack of interest would definitely be a reason for not making sales.
However, there are people visiting the post, and they are spending time on the page. In fact, the average time spent on page is over 18 minutes. Wow! I've never had a page where people stay on for so long. So people are reading the content. They just aren't taking action to buy.
One suggestion put to me is that I may have too many options to choose from, and I should choose a #1 pick to make the “best choice” more obvious. That's a good strategy, and I may try that some day. For now, it's not enough traffic to really draw my attention to the page at this point.
Would I Recommend This Strategy?
Personally, I wouldn't recommend choosing this as you main strategy for affiliate marketing. This was an extremely low competition phrase, and a highly niche item without a lot of interest in writing about the topic. It's beer nerd stuff, and even among beer nerds, it's really not all that common to need a single gallon keg. Most people use 5 gallon kegs.
Still, it doesn't hurt to try. As I outlined in my article about ranking for “buy” keywords, doing things outside of the box of typical affiliate recommendations is where you end up discovering nooks and crannies where large profits live. If you follow the pack, you are always going to be subject to the same trends and downfalls from them as well. By forging your own path forward, you can make create something that's truly your own.
However, it's probably not that smart to invest in creating 100 posts with a massive amount of affiliate links as the basis of your content. Try this strategy from time to time as you discover keywords which would be a good fit, but my advice is to not focus on this technique just because you can get a lot of affiliate links on the page.
Issues To Consider
One of the main things that may be at play here is that Amalinks Pro nofollows links by default. I've always been a laissez faire affiliate marketer. I don't build backlinks. I don't nofollow affiliate links. I don't do outreach. I don't worry about keyword density. Somehow, I still make pretty damn good money, but that's besides the point. My point is that I think maybe if I didn't nofollow all these links that I might not have ranked as well.
As mentioned above, this was also an ultra low competition keyword. If you look at 1-gallon kegs, there is some interest in it, so it's not a complete dud, but it's just not something a lot of people are going to compete for. That being said, isn't that ideal for micro niche sites? Isn't that what a lot of people have been doing for a while now, i.e. targeting ultra low competition product keywords to easily rank and earn Amazon commissions?
For now, this system is working pretty well, but I'm just not sure I could repeat this with any kind of consistency with more competitive phrases or products. When I have more time, I'll continue to experiment and report back. You can try it yourself with the Amalinks Pro plugin. This is my go-to plugin for creating images of Amazon products the legit way (not breaking TOS). It's not a perfect plugin since it's difficult to set up and the “buttons” featured doesn't work very well, but they make frequent updates to the plugin and it definitely works to get affiliate sales (I use it on other sites which actually make good money).