The internet – it’s getting old
It is almost 28 years since little-known computer manufacturer Symbolics registered the first ever .com domain on the internet and since then millions upon millions of other companies have followed suit. In this time, billions of pages have been indexed by top search engines and many more backlinks have been sent back and forth between webmasters all over the globe. Whilst I don’t want to provide a mundane history lesson on the origins of the World Wide Web, I do want to begin by reiterating the obvious point that the internet is no longer a novelty from a marketing and branding point of view.
Every man and his dog now has a website which ipso facto makes it so much harder to get ahead in e-marketing these days especially with the myriad of competition we all have to face. The sad truth is, entering an industry such as affiliate marketing or gaming at such a late stage is always going to be an uphill struggle, especially if you decide search engines such as Google are going to be your number one source of traffic.
Starting an affiliate site in 2013, with many more sites around you that a) have been around for longer b) have more authority on the search engines and c) have a bigger marketing budget at their disposal makes SEO essentially fruitless. Trying to play catch-up with the big boys will only leave you tearing your hair out and force you to quit three months down the line with only a #52 position for the search term ‘bet on a really, really boring sporting event that barely anyone is interested in’ to your name.
Explore new ways to gain traffic
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother altogether, there are of course ways to topple the old guard and make your mark in the turbulent world of affiliate marketing but in order to do this, you have to start exploring other avenues. Whilst Google is unarguably the most powerful web property on the internet these days, companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and many more aren’t far behind. And with the concept of ‘Social Media’ marketing barely a decade old, this is the route new affiliates should take to get ahead.
Good, targeted traffic should always be your number one goal in order to achieve results and with the vast majority of people all over the world with at least a Facebook account or Twitter profile at hand, there isn’t a niche out there that you couldn’t target using Social Media.
Whilst you may at this point be arguing that Social Media marketing isn’t exactly a walk in the park either, it is nothing when you compare it to its bigger, nastier, more established older brother Search Engine Optimisation. The number one rule for SEO is that ‘content is king’ and this very much applies to Facebook fan page owners too. The viral nature of sites such as Facebook and Twitter means you absolutely must send out great content on a regular basis and as a result you will see the fruits of your labour eventually.
Treat Social Media like it’s real life
At ComeOn! we always try to be unique and interesting when we communicate on our social channels. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people fail to do this! Treat conversations on Social Media the same way you would treat conversations with people in real life.
When making general chit-chat with a work colleague over morning coffee you would more often than not (unless you have the social skills of a toilet seat) realise that he/she does not want to know what you had for dinner the previous night or the knowledge that your electricity bill is due and it is in fact £5 more than you thought it would be.
You may however, decide to include a mention about the hilarious video on Youtube you saw of a monkey performing magic tricks or choose to discuss the prospects of your beloved football team and their chances of staying up in the Premier League this season. It really is simple; if you have something interesting to say, people will want to be your friend. But if you contribute less to the conversation than your neighbour’s cat, then people will probably want to stay clear of you.
A picture tells a thousand words
Countless studies online have proven that people are more engaged with content when images are put in front of them.
It’s the exact same reason why people would rather watch TV than read a book. Images and videos are great for sharing and can be a great tool in getting your point across to your followers. At ComeOn! HQ, time and time again we’ve seen that social updates with images or videos easily outperform updates with just text alone. So get scouring your favourite news and video sites for great content or even better…create your own! All it takes is a camera and a creative mind, so if you have either of those, you’re already half way there.
Why Social Media is better than SEO – an example
Let’s say some lucrative sugar daddy hands you £1000 to invest in promoting your new online sports betting site. You have two options, you can either invest in SEO and buy some relevant links or you can use the money for advertising on your social channels and build yourself up a very impressive following.
Should you decide to take option one and buy links you’ll probably find after months of waiting you will begin to rank for some of your chosen keywords and as a result Google will start sending you a slither of traffic your way. However just to sustain this traffic and further grow it, it’s likely you will need to invest more in the future just to keep up with your competitors who are no doubt doing the same as you but to a higher degree. £1000 in Social Media however can get you a lot further. Whilst PPC rates in Facebook ads fluctuate, it’s likely that this amount of investment could garner you 3,000 likes on your newly created fan page.
And with excellent content that will be liked by your fans and as a result show up on their friends’ news feeds, you could quite easily double your number of likes within a year if you stick at it and be patient. Let’s not forget with 3000 fans, if you were to feed your latest articles directly to your page,
all you’d need is 1% of these followers to engage with the content and click it and that’s 30 unique visits to your site straight off the bat.
It’s obvious then that the more fans you have, the higher the average number of visitors per article you will bring to your site. If the content you post on your site is just as engaging as the content on your page, people will want to stick around and know more about you and your business and this is when you can start converting your traffic into hard-earned cash.
The benefits don’t stop there however! Having a great social following automatically benefits you from an SEO perspective. Great content, seen by plenty of people will almost always get linked to. Whether it’s a betting news article that a user wants to discuss on their favourite forum or a slot guide a niche blogger feels would be useful on their blog, these types of links come along Scott-free and are simply a positive by-product of producing great content that engages with people.
So to save disappointment and stress so mind-numbing you’ll want to tear your hair out, this year I strongly advise you to put SEO on the back-burner. Online business, not just in gaming but everywhere is shifting towards a fresher, more vibrant social platform and it’s not too late for you to be a part of it.
“This article was written by Andrew Macfarlane who works for online gaming company ComeOn! To find out more about Andrew or ComeOn! visit their website at www.comeon.com and follow them on Twitter @comeonpulse.”
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