A lot of people who think about becoming an affiliate marketer begin to get discouraged almost immediately. By reading around in many blogs, forums, and affiliate related websites, it might seem as if the best time to become an affiliate marketer has passed. On first glance, it appears as if the competition is too strong or it takes too long to rank a website in Google. Truth be told, there are a LOT of affiliate marketers out there who were once successful but no longer are. These former affiliate marketers are very vocal about how affiliate marketing is not possible anymore. Maybe you’re even one of those formerly successful affiliate marketers and are thinking about jumping back in the game, but you still feel discouraged? Hopefully this article will help show you that it is definitely not too late to become an affiliate marketer.
To start off with, I’d like to go over how affiliate marketing used to work and how it has evolved into the industry that it is today. Once we get that cleared up, I’ll explain why now is probably the absolute best time to become an affiliate marketer.
By the way, if you don’t have a good understanding of how affiliate marketing works, check out this below video.
The Affiliate Marketing Industry Is Always Changing
One of the reason many current and former affiliate marketers complain is because the affiliate marketing industry has changed drastically over the years. Affiliate marketing has existed long before the internet came into our lives, but of course, using affiliate marketers to help monetize the web happened very quickly. The very first affiliate programs on the web were actually pornography sites, which of course were the most popular sites on the web when the internet first existed. But how exactly did affiliate marketers earn money by promoting porn sites? Can we say SPAM? Back in the 90’s, the most successful affiliate marketers were very tech savvy. They used techniques such as automatic redirects, fake sites where every link was an affiliate link, and black hat SEO methods to rank websites in the very first search engines easily. Whoever was the best programmer and knew the latest and greatest black hat SEO trick would end up receiving a nice little paycheck each month.
Eventually, affiliate marketing evolved and other industries besides just porn sites began offering affiliate programs. Amazon.com really got things going when they announced their affiliate program. Many other online retailers were quick to follow and soon after that, individuals began offering affiliate programs to help sell their own products and services. That’s when ClickBank and some of the other major affiliate sites came into existence. During the early 2000’s, though, black hat SEO methods still ruled the day. With that said, you no longer had to be a programmer or computer code wizard to rank a website highly in search engines and promote affiliate products and services. Things actually got EASIER!
The cat got out of the bag. You see, search engines including Google use an algorithm to determine which websites should be ranked for certain search phrases. Well, affiliate marketers found out that a HUGE part of that algorithm was the number of links to a site. So what affiliates would do is create little 10 to 20 page site, then use “link building services” to drive thousands or even hundreds of thousands of links to their site. Eventually it would start ranking highly in Google until the site would eventually get penalized in search engines for “unnatural link building tactics”, at which point the affiliate marketer would just start over with a fresh new site and repeat the process. These were called “churn and burn” websites.
Unfortunately, many affiliate marketers would use these link building services on large and high quality sites. However, using such link building services is against the terms and conditions of all the major search engines, so many of these affiliate marketers ended up seeing their quality sites being delisted in search engines. Not good.
Back in 2010, Google began releasing changes to its algorithm and really shook up the affiliate marketing industry. No longer could you manipulate the search engines to rank your site highly. Thousands upon thousands of websites, including affiliate marketing sites, were reindexed and removed completely from search results, destroying businesses overnight. These search algorithm changes are now known as Google Panda and Google Penguin.
So, where does that leave us now?
We Are Now In The Golden Age Of Affiliate Marketing
Have you ever heard people talk about “the good ol’ days” in an industry? The good ol’ days for affiliate marketing is right now! Why? Because competition has never been lower and you don’t need to be a computer programmer or do unethical things to succeed anymore.
When Google released the Panda and Penguin updates, the competition tumbled. People gave up and have deemed affiliate marketing to be dead. For those of us who use the new tactics required to succeed with affiliate marketing, our competition is extremely low and our profits are extremely high.
These days, all you have to do is build a site that provides high quality information to people. So, what’s so hard about that? Well, it takes time. Most affiliate marketers are not willing to put in the amount of time and effort required to succeed online. Back when you could create a 20 page site and then use black hat SEO methods to rank that site, things were easy. That’s why there was so much competition. These days, you can’t cheat the system or use shortcuts. You actually have to create something of high quality, which of course takes time and effort. That’s created the perfect storm for those of us willing to go the extra mile and actually build a quality site that provides value to others. Those of us who have the patience end up succeeding. Those who don’t have the patience give up before they ever have a chance to provide competition.
Affiliate Marketing Will Change Again – Roll With It
From ad blockers to new devices to all the things we can’t even envision yet – affiliate marketing WILL change again. In fact, it’s always changing and it’s changing as I type this. Those who will truly succeed are those who are willing to roll with the changes. It is also important to diversify as much as possible. Have may different affiliate sites in many different industries with many different promotional strategies. This is one of the very few ways to truly protect yourself against the future changes that WILL occur in the affiliate marketing industry.
One thing is for sure though – it is not too late to become an affiliate marketer if that’s what you want to do. The competition is the lowest I’ve ever seen even though the opportunities are still there. It just takes some work, patience, and determination.