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255 Characters to Success

“We must develop knowledge optimization initiatives to leverage our key learnings.”~Adams

In the month of March for the blog series on #RealLife, one of the commonly asked questions addressed in a blog post was ““How can I make sure Affiliates can find our program?” The solution was to ensure the Merchant program has utilized keywords.  With this post, I am going to expand upon that idea, as it is one of the number one questions asked of me by agency partners.

Like any search engine, there are certain strategies that can be used to ensure a Merchant program is listed higher in search rankings.  Essentially, it could be called SEO for ShareASale.

Merchant Search Page

The image above shows the Merchant search page in the Affiliate interface.  This is where Affiliates can either search for a specific Merchant or product by inputting keywords.

In the Merchant interface under My Account –> Edit Settings up to 255 characters can be used to add in keywords that describe the Merchant program and it’s products.

For some programs, it can be difficult to come up with a total of 255 characters, especially if the program has only a hand full of products.

One great tip here is to fill up remaining spots with things like your URL (domain name), misspellings, and/or your company name or abbreviations.

In the Presenting Your Best Self series, Sarah breaks down the various factors used to produce search results in this blog post.  This information is helpful, as it allows for a greater understanding of what types of keywords should be included.  

Another simple shortcut is to ensure the Merchant program’s name, if it includes a special character, is included in the keywords without the special character to ensure all variations of the name will show in the Affiliate’s search.

Affiliate Search Results

In the example above, I did a simple search for “Nike.”  As a result, I received more than 44,000 products spanning across 81 different Merchants.

This is a pretty massive amount of products to search through, so I like most Affiliates began to think more specifically about what type of product I might want to display on my page.

At this point, I could get very detailed, such as looking for a black “Nike” shoe or something similar.  This more detailed keyword search  resulted in only 2 products showing up in the search as shown below.

This more manageable list of potential products practically ensures I will choose to promote one of those products.

Narrowed Merchant Product Search

This search is much more reflective of how a majority of Affiliates navigate through  Merchant products on the ShareASale Network.

As such, it is imperative that in addition to Program Keywords that the Merchant program also has a datafeed that includes search terms.

SearchTerms for a datafeed can be added into column 12 in the datafeed.  There is a limit to 255 chracters just like keywords.  The full specifications for the datafeed can be found here.

Including specific search terms, such as the brand, style of item, size, color, gender, and numerous other descriptors will increase the likelihood of being ranked at the top of the search results for Affiliates.

A great tip here is to ensure the Merchant name is included in the search terms in addition to any other brand names.

This will also eliminate a lot of the work for Affiliates when searching for products and ensure they begin promotion of a product instantly versus sifting through thousands of Merchant products.

These are just two steps that are highly recommended to help optimize a Merchant program by increasing Affiliate participation and also streamline the experience for Affiliates.

BethanyMinor

By BethanyMinor

Bethany is the Agency Relationship Manager at ShareASale, specializing in working with agencies to operate multiple merchant programs and streamlining the ShareASale experience for affiliates. She has worked at ShareASale since 2010. Follow her online @Bethany_Minor. Bethany is a native of Tennessee, relocating to the Windy City in 2006. She loves watching and playing sports, as she can be found on softball fields around Chicago during each summer. She is a self proclaimed nerd, who spends an inordinate amount of time switching between tech sites like Engadget and The Verge and playing video games.

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