Podcasters Fitbit Battle and the Best Kind of Affiliate Marketing
One of the things that I’ve been doing may not sound quite related in the beginning, but I guess the big affiliate marketing thing I want to get across to you today is to talk to you about my own personal fitness. For those of you that listen to either Pat Flynn or Cliff Ravenscraft, the Podcast Answer Man, you know that those guys and I are in a death match over this device called a Fitbit.
A Fitbit is a really cool piece of technology, it’s basically a pedometer that counts your steps. It’s considerably more sophisticated than that, it’s electronic and it wirelessly communicates with a base station and it can upload your steps.
One of the things that I’ve been trying to do is get down from my weight of 235/240 pounds down to around 200. I’d actually like to get underneath that, maybe 190. One of the cool things about the Fitbit is you can count your steps during the day, it gets you to be more active, it’s an “eat less, move more” kind of device and it works on the “move more” piece.
It’s really motivating; you can earn badges and compete with your friends. That’s the interesting part that we’ve been doing with Pat and some of us over on Facebook have been talking about this competition between us that you can do on Fitbit.com. The idea is that you can friend each other and you can see how many steps your friends are walking and try to beat them.
Cliff and Pat are just out of control. Cliff has had over 100,000 steps in the last week, which is just amazing. So shout out to Cliff.
This is an affiliate marketing podcast, right? Not a fitness podcast. One of the things that Cliff did is he wrote a really good helpful article over at GSPN.tv – his network is the Generally Speaking Production Network and he has many episodes of many different shows over there. I think he’s done over 3,000 podcast episodes in his career, Podcast Answer Man is only one of them.
A lot of times what he does, as I do, is he shows glimpses into his life. If you go over to GSPN.tv/fitbit what you’ll see is an article there by Cliff that’s all about why he loves the Fitbit. Then of course on Facebook he’s been talking about all the fun we’ve been having with the Fitbit, kind of like I’m talking about it now, he mentioned it on his podcast.
You’ll notice that in that Fitbit article all about why the Fitbit is great has some affiliate links to the Fitbit. To me, this is sort of the highest form of affiliate marketing. It’s what affiliate marketing ought to be. It’s often not, but this is what it ought to be. Basically what’s going on here is Cliff is road testing this $100 product so that people can understand what the product is all about and not have to use their hard-earned money to test this product.
Cliff uses the product, he gets value out of it, he talks about what he likes about the product, if there’s something that he doesn’t like about the product, which I haven’t heard him mention yet, he would probably tell them that too, because that’s the way Cliff rolls. At the end of the day, people can get excited about the product and buy it through Cliff’s link. It helps people, it adds value to them, and it helps Cliff because he gets a commission from the sale. To me, that’s really what affiliate marketing should be about – it should be about affiliate marketers helping people make buying decisions, adding value into the purchasing process.
I think with your affiliate marketing you can do exactly the same thing. I can’t think of any reason that you can’t find products in your niche that you believe in, talk about those products, promote them, maybe even make relationships with manufacturer, get discounts for your audience in some cases, all these kind of things that add value into the affiliate marketing process.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the things that you can do to really help people that are following you to whom you’re trying to market affiliate products is figure out what the gap is between what the product is and what people need and fill that gap. In the case of Cliff, let’s say he wrote a short report that was 42 Ways to Use Your Fitbit, or maybe 7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Fitbit. He could simply say something like, “If you decided to buy a Fitbit, send me your receipt and I will forward you this free report all about the Fitbit.”
If he was focused on Fitbit marketing, which he’s not – but let’s say he had a fitness blog – he could require an opt-in for that. When Fitbit came out with new product updates or when related products or perhaps software that interfaces with the Fitbit he could help keep people informed on that and actually genuinely try to help them get the most out of their $100 investment.
When you add value to people’s lives then what happens is eventually reciprocity takes effect and you can profit from that in a way that allows you to sleep at night. I think that’s a really important idea and I love the way Cliff is handling that. As I said, I think it is the highest form of affiliate marketing. You can check that out at GSPN.tv/fitbit.
Feedback from Facebook Messages and Getting In Touch with Mark
I wanted to talk to you a little bit about Facebook. We had some feedback on the Facebook fan page. Actually, what we had was not exactly feedback on the fan page, but we had some feedback through Facebook Messages, so I want to talk about that a little bit too.
I love Facebook, I think it’s one of the most awesome things out there. I love interacting with you guys on Facebook, in fact I’d like to interact with you more. If you have a question or you want to touch base with me, check it out at MasonWorld.com/facebook.
I’ve been having this cool conversation with this guy named Jeffery and I absolutely love these kinds of conversations with people. There are two problems with these kind of one-on-one conversations. One is they don’t scale. As the podcast is getting more and more popular I’m having more and more trouble keeping up with these kind of things, which should make sense – I hope it does.
I hope you know I love all of you, each and every one of you, but sometimes it’s really hard to keep up with these personal conversations. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them. In fact, if I could pick the one piece of this that I really like the most it’s answering people’s questions. I’ve been trying to drive the show more and more in that direction and will continue to do that.
The problem with Facebook is I am terrible about actually finding these Facebook emails – whatever they call this Facebook inbox where you can essentially send somebody a private message on Facebook. I hate that, not because of any other reason other than they sit there for a long time. If you want to get a hold of me, Facebook messaging is not a good way to do it. Your mileage will vary dramatically with that, because sometimes I just don’t see them.
If you want to get a hold of me the best way is to write a note on the Facebook fan page. We can have a discussion in public, that will help other people. If there’s some reason that doesn’t work for you, you should certainly feel free to submit a ticket at MasonWorld.com/support. If for some reason you don’t like that, you can try and send me an email to [email protected]. I try to answer each and every one of those, it doesn’t always happen, but give it a try. And if you’re a phone kind of person you can call my voicemail feedback hotline at 214-444-8655.
Enough on feedback. If I ever don’t answer you, never take it personally. That just means you were buried in the landslide of stuff that happens in my life and around the podcast. Keep trying. I’m usually not offended by polite persistence.
Web 2.0 Backlinks
Back to Jeffrey and the Facebook feedback.
He says, “Mark, I’ve been hearing a lot about Web 2.0 Backlinks, but I don’t really understand them. I searched the web trying to find more information, but so far I’m not really digging what I found. Can you help me?” He goes on to ask me a question about Corn Sheller, which we’ll get into in just a second.
Let me say generally about web 2.0 links. I think one of the things that’s definitely true is that Google has recognized that the web has changed from this web 1.0 thing where there were static websites out there that created links into other websites and they counted those links. They’ve recognized a change from that to this thing that we call web 2.0. To me, what web 2.0 has come to mean is things on the web that are interactive.
Facebook is definitely an example of web 2.0, Twitter, Tumblr, Squidoo, all of these kind of things where regular people can put up interactive properties on the internet and create their own presence without actually building what I think of as a traditional one-way communication static website. Even WordPress in its ability to be updated dynamically and to handle commenting is a really good example of web 2.0.
Generally, to me, web 2.0 backlinks which Google has recognized have some value can mean three things. I think there are basically three kinds of web 2.0 links that you can go to.
One type of web 2.0 link that’s very popular is links from web 2.0 content, like Squidoo articles, Blogspot blogs, or other places where you can create quickly a small website on an authority web 2.0 location and link back to your own site. I think a lot of times by themselves those links aren’t all that valuable, but one of the strategies that’s been employed in the past that I still do and I think still works is to create a really quality page on one of those sites and then drive a bunch of backlinks to that site, sort of insulating your site from looking like it has a bunch of spammy links to it and sending those links instead to the Squidoo page or something like that.
What this does is whatever link juice that you can collect up with those kinds of links flows through the Squidoo page and then that link juice comes out of the one or two links that you have on the Squidoo page back to your page. You can think of this as kind of a funnel. At the top the funnel is very wide and you put in all of these links from various sources that really aren’t that great to begin with and that you might worry would alert Google that you were manually building links. Instead of sending those to your page, you send them to a Squidoo page and then the Squidoo page acts as a funnel down to a few links and passes whatever link juice there is onto your page.
We still see that kind of link pyramid sort of approach working. It’s fundamental in strategies like the Backlink Strategy that Actually Works over at the Smart Passive Income Blog. I think this kind of stuff still works.
Is it a one-to-one mathematical relationship that tells you exactly what’s going to happen and whether or not you’re going to have a certain ranking? No. But, as part of a broad linking strategy that helps you get link juice back to your website, I think that still works pretty well. So that’s one kind of web 2.0 link.
The other kind that you’ll often hear about, or that you used to hear about a lot more, is the link from the web profile pages themselves. Usually whenever you set up an account, say something like Twitter, one of the things that you need to specify is what your website is. Since there are thousands and thousands of these web 2.0 sites you can go and create profiles on all these sites and one of the things you can leave behind in the profile is a link to your blog or website.
I think those for a long time have had very questionable value. This is a lot of what Angela’s Links was all about back in the day, for those of you that remember Angela’s Links. You can create thousands of these – and people still do this – and it’s fine. I don’t know what the real value of that is. I’ve essentially stopped doing that. Sometimes it gets done for me by accident or cheaply from a Fiverr gig or something like that.
Because of the way Google is trying to view this, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to me that they would consider that an editorial vote for your content, which is really what they’re trying to get after. Is there some effect? I don’t actually know. I think probably some small effect is possible. Is it worth the effort? That’s not clear to me at all. That’s the second kind of web 2.0 link.
The third kind of web 2.0 link that I consider is buzz. It’s definitely true that Google has recognized that social media signals – that is people talking about your content on these web 2.0 sites – those links, even though a lot of times they’re no-follow, certainly are influencing the search engine algorithms. In fact, Matt Cutts has come out and said, “Yes, we are looking at that kind of stuff.”
So if you have a website and it’s shared on Twitter 42,000,000,000 times, obviously people are talking about that thing and it must be important. It makes sense that Google would look at those kind of web 2.0 backlinks.
One of the things that I’ve experimented with are services like TwitterBacklinks.com where you can actually go buy retweets of your content. That’s kind of interesting. You can check that out at TwitterBacklinks.com. That company has lots of services like that and you can check them out, they’re kind of interesting and I’ve done some experimenting with that kind of stuff.
Jeffrey, I hope that helps you. That’s an example of web 2.0 backlink stuff that you can add to your overall linking strategy. Again, I still believe that the more you mix this stuff up, you mix up your anchor text, you mix up the places that the links are coming from, you get really solid quality links to your really solid quality content where you can, and you mix in some of this other kinds of links as broadly as you can so you can compete with everybody else that’s doing it, and that’s the practical way that you rank websites in today’s internet.
Corn Sheller Site Update
There’s one more comment from Jeffrey. He said he took a look at the Corn Sheller site, saw that it dropped a few spots from the new Google algorithm and that he was sorry to hear about that.
How Corn Sheller ranks depends on what keyword you’re looking at and where you’re looking at it from and what sites you’ve looked at before – Google takes all of that into consideration when you look at website rankings.
The keywords that I’m tracking are actually still doing quite well. I’m tracking stuff like antique corn sheller for sale. The Corn Sheller is still ranking really well for those keywords. I’m actually seeing traffic flat to up, which is great. I don’t think I’ve really been affected by this stuff at all.
There was a little dip that Jeffrey is talking about and that went away. The traffic came right back and it was just a small dip. It definitely looked like a trend when you looked at the data, but it seems to be okay now and the site is on track to make another $40 this month. I can post some of that in the show notes to kind of give you an update on the stats.
One of the interesting things is we continue see that we’re sending this traffic to eBay, but people are buying a lot more stuff than just corn shellers. You can see the category breakdown. This is a typical kind of thing that you see on eBay and Amazon.
By the way, a lot of people have asked me and I just recently got another question, “How do you make a site like Corn Sheller?” Again, the plugin that I’m using for that is called PHPbay and you can find that at MasonWorld.com/phpbay. That’s an affiliate link, but if you’d like to support the show that’s a great way to do that. You’re more than welcome to buy that either way, I appreciate the support there.
Jeffrey, I hope that answers your questions and helps you out a little bit. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me on the Facebook fan page at MasonWorld.com/facebook, or on the feedback hotline at MasonWorld.com/feedback.
An Interesting Podcast on SEO
It’s getting close to flight time for me, but I wanted to tell you about this other podcast that I heard this weekend. Often times I search on iTunes and I look for other internet marketing podcasts. If you’re looking for something different, I was really surprised to find a podcast that I hadn’t found before called The SEO Podcast. They claim to be the number one internet marketing podcast on the internet, certainly the number one SEO podcast on the internet.
You can check out their Houston Internet Marketing site here: e-WebStyle.com
Now, I hadn’t heard of this podcast before, so the idea that they’re the number one internet marketing podcast on the internet I don’t know how they’re counting that and whether they think they’re beating Pat Flynn or Jeremy and Jason over at Internet Business Mastery or not, but these guys are really interesting in the sense that they’re kind of “street” and they’re funny, they’ve got shtick. Their audio quality is meh and their shtick is kind of “street gangster,” but I kind of liked it.
The thing that was interesting to me was in the two episodes that I listened to their SEO advice was pretty solid. So if you’re looking at more content to fill in between my content and episodes, give them a shout out and check them out. Tell them you heard about them from me and tell them what you think about their podcast. I think it’s pretty interesting, it’s certainly a different approach than what we’re taking over here at MasonWorld.com. They’re doing some stuff over there that I really like.
One thing that they do each episode is remind you of a tip that they gave you in the previous episode and they say, “This is our actionable tip from the last episode.” It would be like me saying, “Remember the big tip from Episode 38 of the Mason World Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast is that you shouldn’t worry about the exact match domain update, doesn’t look like it’s a penalty. What you should keep doing is building links and remember to vary your anchor text. Don’t worry about it, keep on trucking.”
They do that kind of thing, I think that’s a really great best practice that they’re doing and I want to give them a shout out for that. I definitely plan to just completely steal that from them.
See You Next Week
That’s what’s going on today at LateNightIM.com. I’m out a little early this week, like I said I have to rush off to the airport. I hope you that you have an absolutely fantastic week. I’ll be talking to you from Asia. Until then, peace out.