How long will it take?
How long is a peice of string? I am afraid there is no straighforward answer to this frequently asked question in affiliate marketing.
What is traffic?
Traffic is the amount of visitors to your website.
You can start getting traffic on the very first day. You can get thousands of visitors to your blog within days. I have visited my own websites at least 20 times a day to check things so even that is traffic!
The best long-term solution to getting consistent traffic to your blog is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) when I first hear that I was like wtf? I am NEVER going to get my head around this!
So lets take a brief overview of SEO
In a nutshell it is the practice of increasing the Quantity and Quality of traffic to your site through Organic search engine results.
Lets look at this in more detail:
- Quantity of traffic. Once you have the right people clicking from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), more traffic is obviously better.
- Quality of traffic. You can attract 1,000,000, but if they’re coming to your site because Google tells them you’re a local coffee shop when really you’re a coffee wholesaler on the other side of the world, that is not quality traffic. Instead you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in products that you offer.
- Organic results. Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic traffic is any traffic that you haven’t paid to advertise for.
A search engine as a website you visit to type (or speak into some device like siri or alexa) a question into Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or whatever search engine you’re using replies within seconds with a long list of sites that answer that question.
So what’s behind those magical lists of links?
Google (or any search engine you’re using) has a crawler that goes out and fetches information about it that they can find on the Internet.
The crawlers bring all those bits and pieces or content back to the search engine to build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data that they found with your question.
Lets imagine (I’m showing my age here) Geoff Capes the strong man from the 1980’s shown above is the crawler, he’s been out running around google looking for content about the query and he’s bringing it all back in that lorry.
Algorithms are not the mysteries they once were.
An algorithm is a generic term which means a process or rule-set that’s followed in order to solve a problem which determines the order in which they rank the page.
For example if you searched ‘chocolate orange cake recipes’ the algorithm will then weight (in the weighting, hence my Geoff Capes explainer lol) the pages against that search term.
Let’s take a simplified look at two metrics and how they might influence each other.
Metric 1 is the URL. The keywords might appear in the URL, such as: www.cakerecipes.com/chocolate-orange-cake
Google can see the keywords ‘chocolate orange’ and ‘cake recipes’ in the URL so it can apply a weight accordingly.
Metric 2, is the backlinks for the page. Lots of these might have the keywords ‘chocolate orange cake’ and ‘recipes’ in them, but Google would then down-weigh this because if the keywords appear in the URL you would expect them to appear in the backlinks as well. So Google might choose to apply more weight to Metric 2 if the keywords didn’t appear anywhere in the URL for example if I type in ‘mobile phone’ the first organic search results (the ones with out the ‘Ad’ boxes at the top) that come up are www.carphonewarehouse.com (which has ‘phone in the URL’), but also www.giffgaff.com (no ‘mobile’ or ‘phone’ in the URL) so these 2 websites MUST have lots of backlinks internally and externally with ‘mobile phone’ contained in them.
Each one may be worth more or less and the relationship between them is always changing. Google issues hundreds of updates every year, constantly tweaking this. It is most commonly this relationship and weighting that’s changed more than the metrics themselves. When this does happen it is usually in a more major update.
The different metrics are four key sections:
How relevant is the content to the query? The indexer is the first test on this, determining if it should appear in the results at all. However, this is taken a step further in order to rank the keywords. It makes sense that when searching for something, you want to see the most relevant results possible.
Relevance is determined by a mix of on-page and off-page factors. Both of these focus on the placement of keywords, such as in page titles and anchor text. Some metrics are a combination of these. For example, if the domain as a whole is seen to be relevant to the search term, this is going to boost the relevancy score of the individual page being scored.
Authority has its roots in something called PageRank, nothing to do with pages). It’s how Google ranks content. Understanding PageRank is part of the key to understanding how Google works (wohooo I hear you say), but it’s worth remembering that there are LOADS of other factors which can also affect ranking, and PageRank is less important than it used to be.
PageRank is often explained in terms of votes. Each link to a page is a vote, the more votes it has the better it should rank. If a page with a lot of votes links to another page, then some of that voting power is also passed on.
Even if a page only has one link, if that link is from a page which has a lot of votes, it may still rank well and pages it links to will also benefit from that.
Relevance is also important in the context of authority. A link with relevant anchor text may pass on more weight than a link which is not from a relevant site and does not have relevant anchor text, and which Google is more likely to disregard in the context of that search result.
This is an anti-spam algorithm, focused on making it harder to artificially manipulate the search results. Google has a love-hate relationship with SEO and the trust mechanism is part of it. On the one hand, lots of SEO is about creating great content and user experience. On the other, it’s also about trying to artificially manipulate what Google has determined as the natural order of the results.
Things like the age of the content, or the domain are trust metrics. If you have lots of links from irrelevant or bad sites these links are not only going to be worthless but will also make Google think twice about ranking your site for that ‘chocolate orange cake recipe’ search. In the same way if the page or domain links out to bad sites it’s going to damage those trust metrics.
Google is actually a domain registrar, meaning they can see all the whois data for different domains. This allows them to incorporate information, such as how often a domain has changed hands or how long until the registration expires, into those trust metrics. These are much more difficult to manipulate.
Trust is also determined by the type of domain or page and what type links to you. With the opposite effect to a bad neighbourhood, academic sites such as .edu domains carry high trust. Other domain types may also have a high trust score, making links from them more valuable.
Google wants the content it displays in its search results to be attractive to humans as well as search engine robots. There is a set of metrics which is dedicated just to these factors. Having great content but then, for instance, covering it in ads is not going to make for a great user experience. This is why Google will down-weight a page where the ad placement is overly prominent so although of course you want clicks on your affiliate links, don’t put too many all over the place and suffocate your website.
Page speed is another important factor; pages that load too slowly are an annoyance to searchers, causing people to click back to the search results and pick another page if its not loading quick enough. As part of Wealthy Affiliate Hosting, all our websites have a speed software as standard already installed.
Results type and personalisation
If you’re searching on a mobile phone its going to display a different set of results than if you are searching on a desktop. The results returned from the indexer will be slightly different. It’s not just device type which affects the results you see though, Google may choose to show results in an entirely different format depending on the search terms you use.
Localised searches are weighted differently and show in a different results page format to, for instance, product searches. You also have mixed media searches where Google may return results including videos and images. Some searches have dedicated results pages for a very narrow set of terms like sports games or news.
Another factor is personalisation. What you have previously searched for will influence the results that Google returns. There is a degree of machine learning at play here. So where someone searches for one type of result consistently Google will assume that future similar searches will be of the same nature. This is especially prominent for ambiguous searches, where a word may have multiple meanings.
What about paying for ads?
Its up to you, but I’ve seen so many people waste their money on ads and still not get the results, Organic results are much more valuable, add good original content and I promise you won’t need to. Invest in training and developing your skills instead by reading up on the subjects and updating your site.
So how long then?
Once again the answer is “it depends.”
It depends on all that SEO stuff, to include how many backlinks you’ve built to your site and even then it depends on how strong these links are. It depends on what keywords you’re targeting with your blog posts (low-competition keywords rank easier than high-competition keywords).
The average time it takes for a new blog to get traction in the search engines is around 3 to 6 months.
For google to take your site seriously you need around 30 posts (this can be easier if you plan 2 – 3 a week or more using a content planner)
In that time, get yourself as much knowledge as you can and like I’ve said you need to chose something that you wont get bored of writing about because to see if its really going to pay you need to give it a good year!
Instead of letting this news get you down think about this, it takes 9 months for a baby to fully form. If you choose something you love, feed it (Posts and Pages), nurture it, feel proud of it (checking for spelling errors and getting feedback on how its looking from friends, family and colleagues etc) and watch it grow!
You’ll then be able to use all the knowledge and practice to do the next website equally as well.