Updated: Aug 23
We asked 60 different marketing experts about the methods they use for driving traffic to affiliate sites. We listened to their answers and made a list of every SEO tactic that they mentioned. Every time one of our experts voiced support for a tactic, that tactic received a ‘vote.’
In addition, we took the time to investigate each of our expert’s credentials by ranking them according to the Alexa rating of the website they managed.
For anyone unfamiliar with Alexa ratings, Alexa is a web-based SEO analysis tool that evaluates every website on Earth in a head-to-head comparison by assigning them a rank that reflects their overall popularity.
Even through Alexa went out of business in early 2022, this research is still valid and meaningful. We would refer any of their old customers to SEMRush for cutting edge Internet research tools.
The most popular website on Earth (Google) is #1, and - like a golf score – the higher your Alexa rating, the less popular your website. This means that when a website gains traffic, its Alexa rating decreases.
The Alexa ratings of the marketing experts we spoke to range from 9,011 to 8,094,064.
Only one of those experts had an Alexa rating below 10,000. Four of them had Alexa ratings below 100,000. Thirty-four of them had Alexa ratings below 1,000,000; and nine of the marketers we interviewed worked for sites that didn’t have enough traffic to qualify for an Alexa rating.
The average Alexa rating among the participants was 1,349,973.
When multiple experts with low (good) Alexa ratings all agreed on something, we took note. When particular tactics were only endorsed by marketers with high (bad) Alexa ratings, we also noted those instances.
After collecting all the data, we broke the SEO tactics into three groups: General Consensus, Honorable Mention, and Questionable at Best.
The General Consensus category contains all of the tactics that our best marketers all seemed to agree were beneficial. These are the tactics we consider to be proven and fall within the scope of ‘best practices.’
The Honorable Mention category contains the more unique or creative tactics marketers have used to cater to their niche. While these tactics may not be universally applicable, they still seem to yield positive results under the right circumstances.
The tactics in our Questionable at Best category are not tactics we can rightfully endorse. These are the tactics that were only recommended by marketers who worked for websites with high Alexa ratings; and – in some cases – no Alexa rating at all.
Although some of these tactics may still result in traffic if done correctly, other tactics in this category may go as far as to hurt your Google page rank and thus result in less traffic and a higher Alexa rating.
The Most Recommended Off-Page SEO Tactics
These are the tactics that our best marketers all agree will result in increased traffic. We have listed the tactics according to the number of times our marketers mentioned them.
1. Social Media
It should come as no surprise that the most commonly mentioned tactic among our experts was social media. It received 30 mentions overall, and 22 of those mentions came from marketers with Alexa ratings below 1,000,000.
What was surprising was the platforms that our experts recommended.
Rather than voicing support for the big three - Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – our marketers all seemed to agree that investing energy into newer and more video-based platforms like YouTube & TikTok appeared to yield the best results.
“YouTube ranks second in the world after Google,” says Rahul Vij, CEO of WebSpero Solutions.
“More than 2 billion registered users visit YouTube every month, and YouTube videos appear in the top search results on Google. Therefore, YouTube is a great source of traffic,” says Vij.
Informational platforms like Pinterest and Quora also appeared to be heavy traffic drivers for particular audiences.
The proliferation of infographics on Pinterest makes it easy to disseminate product information. Plus, people find visual information very easy to digest.
Pinterest Expert Laura Rike of LauraRike.com was particularly vocal on this matter.
“So many people misjudge [Pinterest] as a simple bulletin board online for recipes and inspiration,” says Rike. “But it is so much more than that - a powerful search engine with robust ad capability. Additionally, taking advantage of new features on Pinterest and best practices makes a huge difference.”
It’s worth noting that several of our other experts also identified Pinterest as being the platform with the most significant potential for a message to go viral.
Eddie Chevrel, Founder of The Pet Savvy, explains why:
“[Pinterest] is one of these few social platforms where your pin can be found in a matter of hours if you optimize it properly,” says Chevrel, who went on to suggest making pins attractive by adding quality images, videos, and by including an enticing title.
Although Facebook isn’t as popular with the younger generation, many of our experts reported having tremendous success with Facebook Groups.
One such expert was Gregory Golinski of LiveStorm.co, who also had the lowest (best) Alexa score of any expert we interviewed.
“A great idea to drive traffic to an affiliate site is to register to Facebook Groups related to what your website is selling,” said Golinski. “You should not spam these groups because you’d risk being banned from them. But once in a while, you should share an article from your affiliate website that is helpful to group members and which can send free traffic to your website.”
Three of the experts we spoke to suggested Quora as a vehicle to establish oneself as a thought leader in a particular field.
“People are more likely to believe you as a trustworthy source of product recommendations if they know you are an expert in your area and your reviews are based on your expertise rather than on a hunch,” says Erin Zadoorian - CEO and Executive Editor at Ministry of Hemp.
“Answer other people’s questions on a platform like Quora to demonstrate your competence in your industry. This way, people will see that you know what you’re talking about, and they’ll be more inclined to visit your website,” said Zadoorian.
It’s worth noting that only two of the experts we interviewed mentioned Instagram, and both instances were in the context of Instagram Reels.
In addition, it bears mentioning that none of the marketers we spoke to had anything encouraging to say about Twitter.
2. Valuable Content
They say that ‘content is king,’ and 24 of our marketers agree. Having content that adds value to the user experience is one of the few ranking factors Google has made public about its algorithm in their SEO Starter Guide.
By considering metrics like bounce rate, time-on-page, bookmarks, and shares, Google can know whether or not users found information on a particular page valuable or not; and Google will take that information into account the next time someone enters the same search query.