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Why Affiliates Should Use Long-Tail Keywords

Sometimes it can be tough to make sales in affiliate marketing. Of course, you can’t expect everyone who sees your offer to buy the product. You have to get clever to get conversions.

Getting clever is a combination of knowing machine logic and human logic. And since any marketing campaign involves cost, it’s about finding the cheapest way to reach the most number of the right people.



Often, in the world of affiliate marketing, the battleground is for keywords.

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Consider this: what is the first thing you do when you get on the internet? Most of the time, it would be doing a Google search for something.

Let’s take the example of fitness enthusiasts looking for a good brand of protein powder. Often, they’d go for the straightforward search by typing in “protein powder” on the Google search bar. That will give them lots of generic search results, with many brands popping up:

affiliate marketing UK conversions


But what if some of them narrow down their search to a specific brand, like “GNC Protein Powder”? They would get more specific results:

affiliate marketing UK keywords conversion


Let’s say you’re an affiliate for GNC, and you’re promoting exactly that kind of product. Knowing the search volume, your affiliate marketing “common sense” would tell you to target the “protein powder” keyword, just because more people search for it. However, you’ll run into a problem right away – and that is competition. A whole lot of marketers are already vying for the top spots; it’s going to be a cutthroat situation for you.

Imagine spending £100 for your affiliate ad campaign and only having £1 worth of conversions. That’s a 99% loss – in other words, a total disaster.

Looks like even common sense can be wrong.


Therefore, the wiser choice is to target long-tail keywords, which have lower competition.

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They’re called long-tail keywords exactly because they’re longer (I don’t know where the “tail” came from though). It will be a lot easier for you to rank for less common long-tail keywords, and it will cost you a lot less.

Just look at the bid amounts in AdWords for the two keywords:


affiliate marketing UK longer tail keywords

affiliate marketing UK longer tail keyword
The suggested bid for “GNC protein powder” is just 1/4 that of “protein powder”. Also, the average monthly search volume is lower, so there’s less competition to deal with. So, ranking for “GNC protein powder” is the more cost-effective solution for you.

Now I can tell that your train of thought is going like this: “I should go for much longer keywords to boost my conversions!” Again, be careful, because this will be another case of common sense gone wrong.


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Longer tail keywords have even less competition and cost, but may have very little search volume.

For example, let’s consider the keyword “GNC whey protein powder”. Much longer, yes, but what does AdWords have to say about it?

affiliate marketing UK longer tail keywords


Only 100-1,000 monthly searches, and it even has a higher bid amount than “GNC protein powder”. Clearly, it isn’t worth spending more for this longer tail keyword. You may not get your target number of conversions from it.


Moral of the story: Longer isn’t always better.

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In the battle for keywords, it’s all about finding the right balance between cost and conversions. Long-tail keywords are always good ideas, but there isn’t a foolproof tactic that will work for everyone. Thus, you should always test different methods. Once you find out what works best for you, stick with that and maximise your profits.


Speaking of which, you may want to watch this video to know the best spots on your site to put affiliate links.

DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored by GNC or any of their affiliates.


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