Keyword Research for Affiliate
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The majority of people approach affiliate keyword research incorrectly. They look for low-competition keywords, write a blog article, and then stuff as many affiliate links as they can into it.

This method generates a lot of traffic but no clicks, conversions, or income.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution: find keywords with high search volume that you can rank for and that are related to topics where you can organically plug product suggestions.

Keyword Research for Affiliate

The reason this is important comes down to search intent.

For example, someone searching for “best protein powder” is probably looking for a product but also weighing the pros and cons of each alternative before making a decision. As a consequence, they're more likely to click on and purchase the affiliate products linked in your article.

However, someone searching for “what is protein powder?” is unlikely to make a purchase very soon. They're probably simply doing research for a paper or are curious about the differences between powder types. They are unlikely to click on and purchase any linked affiliate products.

This article will teach you about the four types of affiliate keywords to target.


Read our beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing.

1. General comparisons

General comparison keywords will be familiar to you if you have ever visited The Wirecutter. The “best [product name]” format is what they follow.

Since the only objective of these posts is to compare products, and since readers are nearly always looking to purchase that kind of product soon, it's quite easy to propose products in these types of posts. Just assist them in selecting which to purchase.

Start your search for them by using one or two broad keywords in Keywords Explorer. For instance, you may search for “baby” and “toddler” if your site evaluates baby products.

seed keywords - Keyword Research for Affiliate
seed keywords

From here, go to the phrase match report to view all keyword ideas that contain one or more of these phrases, then use the “Include” filter to find keywords that also contain the word “best“.

include filter keywords explorer

This should provide you with a plethora of topic ideas. If there are too many, you may narrow things down by filtering for keywords with low keyword difficulty ratings, say less than 10.

keyword difficulty filter - Keyword Research for Affiliate
keyword difficulty filter

Just keep in mind that you shouldn't exclusively target low-KD keywords since many of them compare low-value products such as baby baths, lotions, and wraps. While these keywords have the potential to create cash, it will be a volume game. As a result, you'll want to target certain keywords related to more expensive products, such as car seats.

Keywords comparing high-ticket items are, of course, more competitive, but you may find relatively low-competition ones by searching for those that target a particular individual or need. These are often in the “best [product name] for [user]” format:

  • best stroller for travel
  • best carrier for a newborn
  • best car seat for a small car

Enter a few high-priced goods into the Keywords Explorer to find them. These may be “car seat,” “stroller,” and “crib” if your site is about baby products.

Go to the phrase match report from here and use the “Include” filter to find keywords that contain the words “best” and “for“. Just make sure the “all words” tab is chosen to include both words.

include filter - Keyword Research for Affiliate
include filter

Then you should see a list of keywords that include at least one of your high-ticket items as well as the words “best” and “for.”

However, these keywords may not necessarily have low KD ratings; for example, “best car seat for a 3-year-old” has a KD score of 22. However, if you click the SERP button, you'll find a mixed bag of search results. Some pages compare car seats for 3-year-olds explicitly, while others compare car seats more broadly.

mixed serp pages - Keyword Research for Affiliate
mixed SERP pages

However, most of the more specific posts have low website authority and few referring domains. The wider posts, on the other hand, have more referring domains and originate from higher-authority sites.

SERP domains - Keyword Research for Affiliate
SERP domains

This may be an excellent topic if we keep our article exclusively focused on car seats for three-year-olds.

2. Branded comparisons

Branded comparisons are keywords with which the searcher wants to compare the differences between two branded products. As an example:

  • AirPods vs AirPods pro
  • galaxy buds vs AirPods
  • beats studio wireless vs bose qc35

These keywords often have less search demand, but they convert very effectively since the searcher has already restricted their purchase choices to just a few products.

The simplest approach to finding them is to input a list of brands into a keyword research tool like Keywords Explorer, then go to the phrase match report and use the “Include” filter to find keywords containing “versus“.

For example, if we wanted to find stroller comparisons, we could look up brands like Bugaboo, City Select, and Uppababy.

stroller brands - Keyword Research for Affiliate
stroller brands

Check the categories and brand names on a relevant online shop if you can't think of any brands off the top of your head. In this scenario, we may check the navigation bar, where there's a “Shop by Brand” area with a list of popular brands.

ecommerce categories
ecommerce categories

Given that both strollers cost from $500 to over $1,000, “uppababy cruz vs. vista” seems to be a solid low-hanging topic based on our Keywords Explorer findings. And, looking at the SERPs, we can observe that many top-ranking pages originate from low-DR sites with few referring domains, implying that they may be easily overcome.

low competition rankings
low competition rankings

SIDE NOTE. If the firm you've entered sells a variety of products, such as car seats and bottles, you may want to use model names like “uppababy cruz” and “uppababy vista” as seed keywords instead.

3. Product reviews

Product review keywords are ones in which searchers are looking for detailed reviews of individual products. As an example:

  • uppababy vista review
  • bugaboo buffalo review
  • babyjogger city select review

These are ideal affiliate site targets since searchers are frequently on the verge of completing a purchase. They've already done their homework, and something about a specific model piqued their interest. They just want to read an in-depth review before making a decision.

However, similar to brand comparisons, search volumes for product reviews are often low. So, if you're going to bother purchasing and reviewing products, make sure you select the ones that people are searching for.

Enter a few brand names into Keywords Explorer, then go to the phrase match report and use the “Include” filter to find keywords that contain the word “review“.

review keywords
review keywords

All that remains is to assess the ranking difficulty and review the products you believe you can rank for.

4. T&A keywords

If you want your pages to rank in Google, you'll need some amount of page and website authority, which implies acquiring backlinks. However, since the keywords we've explored so far are commercial, it's difficult to gain links to the pages that target them.

The approach is to target T&A keywords, which stand for trust and authority. These are non-commercial keywords for which you might generate content that educates and informs your visitors.

Targeting these keywords has two major advantages:

  • Build trust with your audience. If you can demonstrate expertise in the topic, people are more likely to trust your product recommendations.
  • Build authority through links. People are more likely to link to useful, non-commercial content than pages designed to make money.

Enter a few seeds into Keywords Explorer to find T&A keywords, then proceed to the Questions report to view informative topics. If we were doing this for a baby site, we could use parenting, toddler, and infant as seeds.

Next, look for keywords with a high Keyword Difficulty score, such as 40.

T&A keywords
T&A keywords

The reason for this is that Ahrefs' Keyword Difficulty score is based on the number of websites connecting to the top ten pages. As a result, this is a fantastic way to find topics that have the potential to generate a large number of connections.

Finally, look at the topics for those that your target audience would find useful, check the SERP, and then evaluate the backlink profiles of the top-ranking pages to find those with high-quality backlinks.


Even though most visitors to these pages will not be ready to make a purchase, they are nevertheless useful for brand recognition. The Middleman Method may also be used to boost “money” pages by adding internal links to them from reputable T&A pages.

Learn how to do that in this video:

Everything mentioned above should provide you with enough keywords to complete your content schedule, but finding keywords is just half the battle. You must also learn how to assess ranking difficulty to choose the best topics for your site.

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