The Not-So-Secret Link Between SEO and Monetization


Last week I talked about how I've been monetizing my site through Google Adsense, rewardStyle, and ShopSense.  One aspect I didn't touch on that deserves to be talked about is how SEO impacts monetizing my site.

We talk about SEO (search engine optimization) a LOT on IFB (probably as much as monetization), and many bloggers have expressed they don't understand the importance of SEO.

First, here's a few posts to help you brush up on SEO:

Okay. After all of those, hopefully you don't have any questions about SEO. (If you do, re-read those posts. If they STILL don't answer your questions then tweet me @Oh_Ashe).

Now we're going to talk about the link between SEO and monetizing your site.

Below is a comparison of the top ranking terms for my site (from WordPress Stats, StatCounter, and Google Analytics). If you compare all three, there are several terms that are repeated often: Miz Mooz spring 2013 shoes, plus size little black dresses, plus size swimsuits, and (another that doesn't make it quite to the top 20, but receives a lot of traffic is the Marc by Marc Jacobs petal to the metal purses).


Unfortunately due to rewardStyle Terms of Service, I can't show you a screen cap of my site's commissions.  But for the year of 2013, my commissions and sales break down with:

  • 6 sales from Modcloth utilizing swimsuit links
  • 2 sales from Old Navy utilizing swimsuit links
  • 1 sale from ASOS utilizing a black dress link
  • 2 sales each from Piperlime and Shopbop for Marc by Marc Jacobs purses
  • and a whopping 23 sales from Nordstrom for Marc by Marc Jacobs purses

So… What does this tell us?

First, that the people coming to my site have a specific need in mind, and that they're searching with the intent to buy.  This is good news for me, because it means that my links are yielding a commission.

Next, I know I should keep these pages constantly updated with new, active affiliate links.  It does my visitors no good if they land on a year old swim-suit post… and all of the links lead to invalid, dead pages.  If they continue to shop the site, it may still yield in a commission for me. But if it goes to a dead page, there's just as much of a chance that they'll leave the site immediately and I'll earn nothing.

Similarly– I have posts that are bringing in a lot of traffic but lack affiliate links. And that's lost revenue.  Miz Mooz Spring 2013 brings in a lot of traffic, but it's just a lookbook post.  If I'm smart (and I am!), I'll be going back to edit that post.  I'll be linking to the shoes and where they are now available in stores… increasing the likelihood of making money and keeping visitors at my site longer.

Now I know what it helps me do: develop new content.  What ways can I spin those posts?  Can I update them each year?  I like to think of this as niche specific evergreen content.  We talk about evergreen content as being timeless, pillar content that will always be useful.  But that doesn't mean that every blog needs a “Women's Wardrobe Essentials” post. For my site, maybe having posts on plus-size swimsuits and plus size little black dresses is my evergreen content. There will always be plus-size women, and they will always be looking for swimsuits and dresses.

Lastly, I've learned that SEO is a huge source of and has a direct impact on my monetization.  As you can see, at rewardStyle, the majority of my sales are directly related to what people are searching for on the web.  It means when producing content with affiliate links, I need to maximize my SEO in that post. I need to address the needs of my visitors and provide an easy way for them to buy.

All aspects of blogging are delicately related to one another, and here I've found the ways that developing SEO-rich posts has directly contributed to my site's ability to earn money.  The trick, of course, is making sure that what you're creating is also valuable for your readers and is natural for your site.  These posts are all successful because they're personal to me.

So tell me– have you analyzed the way your search engine traffic impacts your ability to monetize? Have you seen profit come from your most popular posts?

[Image credit:]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

13 Responses

  1. Melissa

    There are definitely a lot of keywords I should be optimizing on my blog, but haven’t had the time. This is on my-to list this week as I’d love to start seeing some revenue come in with my rewardStyle.

    Also, as far as creating new content goes, I would take a look at the Google Adwords Tool for similar keywords to the ones my site is currently ranking for. I’ve noticed that I have visitors coming in for “The Bachelor” so it would be smart to have a new post on “The Bachelor Winners – Where are they now?” for example.


  2. maddie

    Because my blog is mostly an informational blog – my selling point are my tutorials. But that doesn’t mean I can’t use SEO to help me. All of your tips were great and I’m going to sit on them. I’m trying to find a way to make my informational posts also earn me money. SEO could help me with that.

  3. Barry

    That’s is so true, SEO is the key to success in monetizing your blog. you must remember that growing your commission is only by product of SEO the main thing about SEO that if you do it right it can help you increase your visitors at the site.

    After 3 years of working as SEO manager at commercial company, I recently decided to start a new blog that is all build and planned in SEO in mind, you can jump to visit and maybe take some ideas for you…

    (PS. I am also looking for writes/bloggers to join my new site’s team, so feel free to contact:))

  4. Rachel

    It’s so important to include the product’s FULL name instead of just linking to “1” or “dress”. It always baffles me that people don’t do this!

  5. Nathan Whitaker

    SEO really helps you to better understand your target market by identifying and then optimising your site and content for search phrases they are using. Not utilizing SEO is like driving in the dark with no lights on 🙂

  6. Luke

    Great read Ashe, cheers for sharing!

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when stating the key to driving business through SEO, there’s gotta be a relevant affiliate link for the visit to be worthwhile for the webmaster and customer alike.

    I’m setting an early strategy in place on – would love some feedback on how best to monetise it!



  7. Charlotte SEO

    Good job and glad that you’re seeing results from your effort. While what you’re saying is kind of basic, a lot of folks miss their target audience and wonder why a site isn’t making money.

    Lately I’ve noticed that naturally written onpage content that is written to lead your target audience to buy is actually working rather well for on page SEO. It’s not like in the days where you had to sort of “hit all your marks” with on page SEO to get pages or sites to rank… just a tip and keep up the good work! 🙂

  8. Tianna Sicilia

    I always find SEO pretty confusing, but this makes it a bit easier to understand. Thanks for sharing this with me – I have been looking into affiliates and things, but it all sounds really complicated!