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Building a Referral Network For Affiliate Sites

Day 9 of 1095

· niche site

Last night I took a couple hours to dig into google webmaster tools and check the health of my sites. I got a lot of information, but it's clear there's going to be more nights digging around till I find out what's really going on.

The confusing stuff is that CTR is 4-8% for my primary earners, which is great, but what I can't wrap my head around is how this is happening with an overall lower average rankings.

My sites rank lower, but Impressions and CTR keep increasing.

This could be a couple of things:

  • Featured snippet traffic, which doesn't factor against rankings, but would account for higher CTR
  • Ranking high for few high volume keywords, and low for lots of low volume keywords
  • Bot traffic, which is bad, because this means someone is seeking out my site in search results
  • Bad data, which is bad, because I rely on google webmaster tools to get ranking info

I'm hoping the unusually high CTR for the lower rankings is because my sites are in featured snippets, and not because of bot traffic or bad data.

On the other hand, I'm also seeing that it's high time to find other traffic sources. I don't want to have to rely on something that is getting more difficult to understand. And also, the biggest reason is that all it ever takes for what little I make to disappear, is for google to make an update that finds me out of favor.
So, to build a referral network I'll be putting more time into creating graphics and media, to post to social media and Web2.0's in an attempt to build up a following which can be used as a traffic source to my affiliate sites. This will be a long process, but that's how it goes.

This extra work in diversifying traffic will cut into my goal of building out more niche sites, but I'm already having doubts on whether it was a good goal to have anyway, given how little focus it leaves on what's actually making me money now.

This is the battle I face every day. I set diversity goals when I need safer income, and then drop diversity when my primary sources of income come under threat.

So what's safe?
I guess the biggest difference between my diversity goals of yesteryear and now, is that my 300 niche site goal comes with an end date of 3 years... which gives me plenty of time to flip, flop, and flail in between.

As long as I eventually make enough so that I can actually afford to diversify... that's the hope, that's the goal.

Today's step of batch producing 14 graphics that will be used on my primary earning site and on it's socials is a step towards increasing social traffic and conversions.

Because, I need that money.

P.S. - Forums are a popular way to grow referral traffic, but if you don't use them right you'll end up wasting more time than you should. In the past I swore off forums because they are time-sucks, but with this strategy now I won't have to, and now you won't either.

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