There is always a debate amongst the webmasters whether they should increase their spending on their affiliate programs or on their SEO efforts. The argument of those who prefer affiliate programs is that, the money you spend on paying your affiliates is not really paid from your pocket but it is part of the profit that is being shared. In other words, it is pay given for the performance. On the other hand when you spend your money on SEO efforts, it is more like a gamble. You may or may not get the desired sales. Even if the SEO company manages to increase the traffic level, there is no guarantee that it will increase the sales level. While, their argument may sound reasonable, you should also have long-term goals in mind. On the long run your SEO spending will start decreasing on the other hand you have to constantly keep increasing your spending on your affiliate programs to attract more affiliates who will promote your products aggressively in the midst of heavy competition.
Though initially, it may look like you are spending a lot of money on SEO of your website with no tangible results. However, it is only a matter of time and once you are on the roll, you just need to take minimal efforts to retain the rankings and to make them better. You can also consider the following option, instead of offering 20% commission to your affiliates for every successful sale, you can drive traffic to your website through proper SEO and make your price more competitive. Here the money you spend on the affiliates is transferred to your end users who may be happy by the end of the day because you are offering them quality products at an affordable price. What we need ultimately is happy customers and not happy affiliates. Besides that, we need to manage the affiliates and many companies use third party affiliate management services such as Commission Junction. You need to remember that you will also be spending a certain portion of your earnings on the affiliate management service that you are using.
Therefore, SEO tips the balance. With little patience and strategic planning you will be able to get the desired results and sales through your website. You don’t have to stop your efforts on sales and promotion through affiliate programs completely. You can make use of affiliates when you are waiting for your SEO to bear results and you can gradually reduce your spending on affiliate programs.
Most webmasters these days have started realizing the importance of SEO for their websites because the quality of online promotions done by the affiliates are often substandard and they sometime affect the reputation and the image of the brand. There is no way you can monitor each affiliate website and how they are promoting your website. If the affiliate marketer who is promoting your product engages in any unethical practices to promote your product to earn more money then it will affect your brand reputation directly. Therefore, trying to improve your revenue through SEO efforts is much preferred option. However, this is not to disqualify affiliate marketing completely; looking at the pros and cons, SEO seems to bring in more long term benefits and safer.