Are you looking to move the needle for your affiliate site?

Do you want to boost your keyword rankings and traffic without having to do a ton of backlink outreach through posting or building PBNs?

If so, then this affiliate SEO case study will be a real treasure for you.

In this case study, I’m going to reveal a secret trick you can use for any new affiliate site that can help increase the rankings for all the keywords that you’re targeting.

And the best part is that anyone can do it, and it only costs about $5 if you want to outsource some of the work involved.

So what is this secret trick you’re about to discover?

It’s using the power of local citations to build authority and trust for your affiliate site. And once the juice kicks in, your affiliate pages can start ranking higher for their target keywords.

And if you’ve ever had an affiliate page audit from me, then you’ll know first-hand that it’s one of the top tips I suggest that you try to increase your overall site traffic.

What is a Local Citation?

A local citation is any mention of a business online and it includes the name, address, and phone number (i.e. NAP) for that business. The most common place for citations on the Internet is on local business directories; however, citations can also be referenced on websites, apps, and social media platforms.

Some good examples of citations are Yellow Pages, Yelp, Four Square, Manta, etc.

Citations are beneficial because they impact local search engine rankings and help people discover local businesses in their community. Therefore, citations are an essential component of any successful local SEO campaign.

But citations are not only useful for local business.

Local Citations Can Work for Affiliate Sites Too

Not many people know this, but citations can also help improve the rankings for an affiliate site. These types of backlinks are not just for local businesses to take advantage of to get better rankings.

I originally came across this idea by reading a Case Study on Sending Local Citations to an Affiliate Site by Diggity Marketing. So I had to give it a try.

I also made a few tweaks to the strategy which you’ll learn in the “how to” section below.

For new affiliate sites, especially, citations can be just the thing to kick start the ranking boost for your target keywords in order to get more traffic.

The reason this can happen is because citations help establish trust and authority for an affiliate site. If an affiliate site is considered to be a “real” business in the eyes of Google, and there are external websites confirming that it’s true, then Google will often favor your site over your competitors.

Business directory citations are a common link source that real businesses use. Therefore, these natural backlinks send a strong trust signal to Google that your affiliate site is not just some fly-by-night company that could be here today and gone tomorrow.

And that credibility can be the one extra thing you need to bypass your competitors in the search results.

Did You Know That I Had a Book?

Book Cover

Before we get into the rest of this post, I wanted to make sure that you knew about my new book, Affiliate Content Secrets: Proven Affiliate Marketing Tips & Strategies You Can Use to Maximize Your Earnings.

It’s jam-packed with 27 “SECRETS” on how to create better content that improves your click-through rates and conversions on any affiliate site in any niche.

If you want to find out how to make more money as an affiliate marketer, then check it out!

Affiliate SEO Case Study and Results

I’ve had a lot of success using this local citation trick on affiliate sites. However, the best ranking improvements I’ve seen are on new affiliate sites that don’t have a lot of other types of backlinks built.

I suspect that the power of local citations is more impactful when they’re the first backlinks sent to a site.

Now every affiliate site’s ranking increases will vary with this method, but here’s an example chart below showing you how quickly this affiliate marketing backlinking strategy worked for one of my sites after all of the citations were indexed.

A total of 16 citations were created on March 2, 2020 for this site. I used Fiverr for this service. And by March 31, 2020 the website traffic increased by 733%. No other link building was done during that time.

Many of target keyword rankings went from around #30-50 to the #3-10 on Google.

Here’s one example below of a buying keyword that jumped from #33 to #14 in one day after the citations were delivered and indexed. Then by the end of the month, it increased to #3.

Ranking Chart SERPS

Pretty exciting isn’t it?

Here’s another example from that same site that jumped from #14 to #5 for a buying keyword and then settled at #3 by the end of the month.

Ranking Chart SERPS 2

And finally, here’s an example from this case study that shows a buying keyword that was at #4 increasing to #2 and then #1 by March 30, 2020.

Ranking Chart SERPS 3

Now here are some results from an established affiliate site that already had a wealth of backlinks created. The site was also many years old.

As you can see in the image below, the citations were created on March 5, 2020 and by March 31, 2020 the traffic didn’t increase by much. I attributed the slight increase to seasonal searches.

Here’s an example keyword that bounced up and down some but ended up in the same spot after using this method. This keyword started at #18 and was at #19 by the end of the month.

This is an example keyword that only moved up one spot from #8 to #7 but was mostly flat in the rankings.

And finally, here is one keyword that went up one spot from #6 to #5 by the end of March with minor fluctuations in rankings.

Even though this local citation trick didn’t work to boost the traffic or keyword rankings for that well-established affiliate site, as you can see it didn’t do any harm to it either.

So this backlinking trick seems to be safe to try on any site.

How to Create Citation Backlinks for an Affiliate Site

1. Create an Address for Your Affiliate Site

If you only have one affiliate site and you’re comfortable using your own address for this step, then you don’t have to read the rest of this section.

But if you do own multiple affiliate sites or don’t want to use your own address for some reason, then you can still take advantage of local citations by creating a fake business address.

To do that, just go to Google Maps and find a building in your local city or some other part of the country that has offices in it.

Next, choose a suite number that’s not being used by any business in that building. Otherwise, you won’t be able to have a unique address for your NAP (name, address, phone number) listing.

For example, let’s say I found a building on Ripley Street in Silver Spring, Maryland without anyone in Suite 700. My fake address would then be:

123 Ripley Street, Suite 700
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

2. Create a Phone Number for Your Site

You’ll need also phone number for your affiliate site’s business profile.

Similar to the first step, you can use your own phone number here or create a fake one. It’s up to you.

3. Add the Address and Phone Number to Your Site

There are two places on your affiliate site that you’ll need to add your business address and phone number (NAP) in order to make things legit: the contact page and site footer.

The Contact Page:

Wrap the NAP with an <address> tag in the HTML so it looks like this:

<address>
123 Ripley Street, Suite 700
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
555-555-5555
</address>

The Site Footer:

Make the necessary adjustments to this code snippet below for your affiliate site’s name, logo, phone number, email, site URL, and address. Then add the code to your footer.php file or inject it with a Header/Footer plugin.

You can use this Schema Markup Generator Tool to create the code. Just choose “Local Business” in the drop down box and then fill out the fields.

4. Create the Local Citations

Once your affiliate site is set up with the NAP information in the right locations, you can now create the local citations that prove that that information is true.

You can do this step yourself by signing up for the various business directories and submitting your NAP information, or go to Fiverr and pay someone to do it for about $5.

Here are some Fiverr Local Citation Providers.

You don’t need many citations to get this trick to work. I’ve had success with as little as 15 citations. So start with a small package, then work your way up if you need to.

A good list of initial citations to get include:

  • Manta
  • Four Square
  • Yelp
  • iGlobal
  • Tuugo
  • Merchant Circle
  • Hot Frog
  • Tupalo
  • EZ Local
  • Mapquest
  • Brown Book

5. Get the Citation Backlinks Indexed

After your citations are built, you’ll need to get those backlinks indexed in order to see ranking improvements for your affiliate site.

Citations that are not indexed don’t provide any ranking power.

An easy way to get those citations indexed is to add them as links to your “about” page.

Next, go to Google Search Console and submit your about page for reindexing. You do this by putting the URL of the about page in the “inspect” field at the top of Google Search Console and click “enter” on the keyboard.

After Google retrieves the URL, click on the “request indexing” button.

Next, check Google each day to see if your local citations have been indexed. And once a citation has been indexed, remove it from your about page. It’s not necessary to keep them on that page. The only purpose was to get them indexed.

You can check if a citation is indexed by going to Google and searching for the URL with site:

For example:

site:citation-url.com/xyz123

If a search result appears, then the citation is idexed for your affiliate site. If not, keep trying each day until it does get indexed.

Unfortunately, some citations will never get indexed and I don’t know why. So don’t worry if that happens to you.

Just keep resubmitting your about page to Google Search Console every couple of days until as many of your citations are indexed as possible.

Did You Enjoy this SEO Case Study for Affiliate Marketing?

Hopefully this secret affiliate marketing strategy gets you excited.

And I can’t wait to see what it can do for you.

If you’d like to see more affiliate SEO case studies like this, then let me know in the comments section below. Also, share your results here if you do give this trick a try!

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