Affiliate Marketing Tip of the Week: Competing with Amazon in SEO

In this week’s Affiliate Marketing Tip of the Week  we tackle a situation faced by countless affiliates and affiliate managers – that of competing with Amazon’s stellar search engine rankings.

Amazon, the company whose affiliate marketing program is in many ways exemplary of leveraging affiliates for growing a business, is crushing many brands’ affiliate marketing efforts, making their SEO-centric affiliates suffer revenue loss the very moment that the brand starts selling on Amazon.


Last year, U.S. online sales reached $395 billion [source]. Out of these, alone collected $136 billion [source], accounting for 43% of US online retail sales [source]. Who wouldn’t want to sell in a marketplace that owns 34.43 cents of every 1 dollar that Americans spend online? For many businesses adding their product(s) to Amazon translates into a substantial exposure and additional revenue. Thus, many brands go this route – in fact, millions do [source] and, of these, as many as 100,000 sellers reap “$100,000 or more in sales” a year from this channel alone [source].


Now let’s look at a real-life situation – one that, lately, has been coming up on our radar too frequently to ignore.

A brand with a well-established affiliate program, whose significant chunk of sales is driven by content-producing review-oriented affiliates, starts selling on Amazon. Shortly thereafter, Amazon’s organic search results start outranking those that were previously “owned” by the aforementioned affiliates. As a result, the performance of the latter drops (quite significantly, I must add).

Here’s a very generic Google example to illustrate how powerful Amazon’s content may be on the search front:

Google SERPs

And here is a Bing example involving a brand-specific key phrase:

Bing SERPs

In both of the above cases, the number of search results is in millions. Yet, it is Amazon that owns the topmost positions, and should you wonder around “67% of all clicks go to the top five listings” [source] out of which the first one claims some 30% of all traffic [source].


There are numerous ways to deal with the above-described situation. In our today’s affiliate marketing tip of the week, we’ll look at one of the things you could do… Whether you are facing this problem as an affiliate (whose earnings dropped due to similar circumstances) or as a brand (scratching your head trying to figure out how to continue marketing through such affiliates), the answer is: (a) more keywords and (b) more content.

Ideally, the brand should help with the former, while affiliates in turn focus on producing the latter. Life, however, is not perfect and when an advertiser just passively observes your revenues crumble, rather than “wallow thyself in ashes,” affiliates can turn to keyword discovery tools and find new keywords around which to optimize their new content. There are numerous alternative key phrases to be discovered, among which many are wide open for you to conquer.

If you have other ideas of how to deal with these situations, please do chime in with your comments using the respective area under this post. Your contribution will be appreciated by many (affiliate managers and affiliates alike)!

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