How to Optimize Underperforming Content for Better Affiliate Results

How to Optimize Underperforming Content for Better Affiliate Results

Catch and optimize underperforming content for better affiliate marketing results.

As an affiliate marketer, you may enjoy writing, but you also write to generate income. The articles you create for your website should have purpose. Whether they are designed to rank for specific keywords or help consumers down the buyer journey towards a purchase or conversion, a well-planned article can help you generate better commissions.

Why focus on your content.

Content remains one of the most important factors in determining SEO rankings. Google consistently publishes posts communicating the importance of content, including this post from August 2019. The post states, “We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.” The Google post also includes a list of questions you can use to assess the quality of your content. Some questions from Google’s list include:

  • Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the headline provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
  • Is this the sort of page you would want to bookmark, share with a friend or recommend?
  • Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?

If your affiliate marketing revenue depends on ranking and generating traffic to your site, it’s important to review your content against Google’s assessment questions. The good news is it’s not too late to make improvements. Make edits and update your content, then resubmit the page URL to be indexed by Google. SERPs prefer fresher content, so making updates to your content can help it get noticed by search engines.

What is underperforming content?

Underperforming content is any content that isn’t helping you reach your goals. That includes your website pages, transactional pages and editorial pages. Underperforming content can be a page that used to receive high volume traffic that no longer does, or content that never ranked or received visits despite your efforts. It can also be content that generates a lot of traffic, but no conversions. According to a report conducted by Ahrefs in 2020, 90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from Google. That’s a lot of underperforming content.

What are some causes of underperforming content?

There are many reasons why your content could be performing lower than you expected or needed. Here are some common reasons why content underperforms and how to improve it.

You didn’t consider user intent.

When you were conducting keyword planning for your content, you failed to consider the user intent associated with the term. While your content may be high quality and relevant to your website audience, the keywords used don’t match the intent that Google displays in the SERP. Before creating content, conduct a search with your focus keyword. Do the articles that appear match the intent of your piece? If not, you will need to either switch the focus keyword or switch your content topic. If the content that is ranking on the SERP is informational, your content shouldn’t be transactional.

For example, if you are attempting to rank for the keyword “What is a payday loan?” you cannot expect a page with a web form to convert without providing a complete answer to the question. To rank, and for your content to perform well, you would need to explain payday loans in complete detail.

You chose the wrong content format.

Another reason why it’s important to conduct a search for your focus keyword before creating content is to determine which format Google is prioritizing. Google may be favoring videos for your focus keyword, so while a long guide may be informative, it’s not what Google is favoring for that particular term.

Your content is too thin.

When you conduct a search for your focus keyword, review the top SERP results. The pages that rank for informational keywords tend to be comprehensive. It’s not necessarily how many words the page has, but the type of information the site provides. You might see a post that ranks for first position that has 700 words, while the page that ranks second has 1,000 words. Review ranking pages to determine if there is anything missing from their content. If you read the content and don’t come away with any questions or believe there is additional new information to share, it’s not worth creating the content.

Your content is old.

Even if your content is informational and useful, but it’s over three years old, it may underperform. SERPs reward new quality content. Even if your older content still ranks, it may underperform if the information is dated. Beyond the SERP, audiences want new content, especially if the keyword is related to a timely topic. You can fix old content by updating stats, providing new tips or linking to new updated resources. Your older content may also underperform if it’s tied to a seasonal topic or past event.

Your page has technical issues.

It may be not enough backlinks, or it might be JavaScript changes or updates to your page’s indexation status that are causing you to lose rankings or traffic. You can typically spot these issues in Google Search Console and Google Analytics. If a once successful piece of content has dropped from rankings recently, check Search Console and Analytics to search for any technical issues.

There was an algorithm update.

Google updates its algorithm regularly. Sometimes they are minor updates, other times they are major core updates that can cause sites to fall from ranking. If you notice a significant loss in rankings seemingly overnight, you could have been victim to a Google core update. Google is vague about algorithm updates, but there are many SEOs and bloggers who will write about major SERP updates. Once you determine what caused the loss in rankings, you can improve the content and resubmit the page for indexing.


Underperforming content can negatively impact your affiliate marketing commissions. It’s important to track your content performance, and constantly optimize it to improve results. Come back and visit the ArrowShade blog for more affiliate marketing tips and best practices.

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