SEO Tips for your affiliate siteAs an affiliate marketer, you know the importance of getting traffic to your website. When you’ve got traffic, and lots of it, it’s more likely that you’re earning healthy commissions.

But when you don’t have traffic, you don’t earn anything. And that’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important. It keeps you focused on doing all the right things, and a lot of them, to get more traffic to your site.

Even though you’re probably doing a lot already, it never hurts to do more, or to adjust your focus, to get better results.

Today, we’re going to focus on a few simple things you’ll want to keep in mind in order to keep your SEO strategy up to date and effective.

Use dashes instead of underscores

A frequently held debate over the past few years has been whether you should use dashes or underscores to separate the words in your URL. In a recent video on Search Engine Land, Google’s Matt Cutts discussed why the search engine prefers dashes in URLs.

According to Cutts, Google joins words together when they have underscores. And when they have dashes or hyphens, Google separates those words.

This means that when Google reads a URL and sees the phrase affiliate_programs, it interprets it as affiliateprograms. While this works for a site’s primary keywords, it would be much more effective if the keywords could be separated. When you write the url as affiliate-programs, the search engine will see it as “affiliate programs.”

Use an SEO plugin for WordPress

Of many SEO plugins for WordPress, two that stand out from the crowd: All-in-One SEO and WordPress SEO.

All-in-one SEO is the established SEO plugin. It’s been out there for a while, it’s popular, and very effective. What I like best about it is how easy it makes it to optimize each post/page title, an important tactic for getting your pages to rank well. WordPress SEO is an upstart, created by WordPress guru Joost de Valk. Even though it’s young, it shows lots of promise. In addition to matching many of the SEO features of All-in-One SEO, it adds functionality for creating XML sitemaps and testing keywords.

Scribe is another plugin designed to monitor and guide the keyword density of your content. Use it if you work within WordPress and need help monitoring your use of primary and secondary keywords.

Use Social Media

Don’t forget that Social Media tools such as Facebook and Twitter can get you traffic and backlinks at the same time. If you need help figuring out how to use Twitter, check out this post.

Stay Focused

As an affiliate, it’s important to remember that building an affiliate business with SEO is not a get-rich-quick proposition. (But on the other hand, it is very low risk.) Over the upcoming weeks and months, you’re going to have to dedicate hundreds of hours toward creating great content and adding value for your visitors. If you do this, and you can get your readers to share your content, search engine rankings, and traffic, will come.