Keywords are the Key to Affiliate Sales

Getting your affiliate website or blog ranked in the search engines can be a struggle. You post regularly, write good, informative content, participate on Twitter and Facebook and forums related to your niche, and still you languish near the bottom of page three. The problem may be how you used your keywords.

The only way the search engines know what your page is about is by finding keywords, and where you place these keywords tells the search engines how relevant they are to the content of your page. One of the most effective affiliate marketing tools is to place your keywords where they will have the most impact. Here are five places the search engines look for relevent keywords:

1. Sub-headings. It's a good idea to break longer articles or blog posts into sections using sub-headings. This not only makes it easier for your readers to scan for the information they need, but it also provides a good place for you to tell the search engines what your page is about by using keywords in the sub-headings.

2. Permalinks. A permalink is the complete URL to a specific page. Most WordPress sites use the post's title as the permalink, so as long as you've used your keyword in the title, you're all set. Otherwise, the permalink structure can be changed in the Settings area or when you write the blog post or page.

3. Description tag. This has no direct bearing on your rankings, but given a choice between two articles, most searchers will click the link that actually contains the keyword on which they searched. Most search engines will pull the description from within the page itself if you don't create one, and the description Google constructs won't often make sense, so it pays to take this added step. WordPress users will need to install a plugin such as All in One SEO to add this functionality.

4. Anchor text for incoming links. One important aspect of Google's algorithm is a measure of how many other sites link to yours and the text they use to build those links. When you can control it, always use your keyword in the anchor text of incoming links.

5. ALT attribute of images. When you hover your mouse pointer over the images on your blog, do you see something like this: [DSC000045.JPEG]? What you're seeing is your browser's interpretation of what your picture is about. If you don't provide the ALT text, your browser will simply use the file name. Why is this important? Because search engines read the ALT text and use it as a measure not only of what the image is about, but what the entire page is about. Instead of allowing your browser to determine the ALT text, give it your own meaningful description using your chosen keyword.

When it comes to getting noticed by the search engines, using keywords effectively is your most powerful weapon. Most top affiliate programs provide a list of keywords relevant to their products, so do your research and use the best ones in the right places in your marketing content. Just don't get carried away. Remember, overuse is more likely to get you banned than promoted.

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