How can I find my competitors’ affiliates?
When I tell you “it’s easy,” that’s not a hidden way of saying "just do these 11 hacky steps and then rely on your best guess." No, that’s what finding your competitors’ affiliates used to take. We've got a method that makes it push-a-button, ridiculously easy. (Really.)
We’re going to commandeer the backlinks tool built into SpyFu for this job.
How to find Competitors' Affiliates – the Fast Answer
- Search a domain.
- Click the Backlinks tab.
- Filter to "Has Affiliates" on Page Type.
- Exclude pages that already link to me.
- Yell “Done!” to no one in particular.
That was short and sweet to get past being accused of burying the lede. I’ll explain it in steps, but first a word about Affiliates in general.
What are they?
Affiliates promote a business on their own site (with a special link on the page) in hopes of earning a commission for any sales they send through that link. Having Affiliates for your business helps you drive more traffic outside of ads and your own SEO.
If you’re running your own program (or considering it), you can build up your Affiliate group by ganking them straight from your competition. Don’t worry, it’s totally cool. If you have any reservations about stealing them, read below. (*Kindly points out that you’re reading this on the SpyFu blog where we encourage stealing from getting inspired by your competitors.* *Clears throat.* Ahem.)
See here’s the thing about ganking them: Affiliates don’t have to be exclusive to one brand. Sure, we might look at them as a small army of people promoting your product, but the cool thing about Affiliates is that they can be two (or 3 or 57) people at once, selling multiple products on their pages.
The more likely situation is that one Affiliate promotes competing products within the same industry. This is totally legit and often means they are probably sharing unbiased reviews and opinions. This is also why asking your competitors’ affiliates to promote your site/product for a commission is a fairly easy sale.
How to find Competitors' Affiliates – The detailed answer
You know that Inbound Link tool I mentioned earlier? It’s going to find only the links that are Google-indexed. That keeps you safe from connecting with pages that come from link-farms and malicious junk that can backfire. Sites we give you in the results are already organically ranked in the first 5 pages by Google on comparable keywords (to the domain that was searched), so they have domain authority.
1. Start with your competitor’s domain
Type it into the SpyFu search bar. In this example, I’m using airbnb.com. You’ll want to find the Backlinks tab on the results page.
2. Limit the results to affiliate links
These results list the SERP-ranked pages that link to airbnb.com. Since you’re looking just for affiliates, we’re going to use the filter on the left to single them out. By checking “Has Affiliate Links.”
Now we’re seeing inbound links that have affiliate links on them. In all fairness, these don’t guarantee that the links are part of airbnb.com’s affiliate program, though they are Affiliate link pages of at least one seller. However, this next step can help improve your odds of finding the right Affiliate matches.
3. Filter by a relevant keyword
You can type keyword(s) into the filter just above the results, and it limits them to only results that rank on this keyword. Choose one that’s tied to your industry to make sure you’re looking at Affiliate link pages within your niche. Here I used industry (apartment rentals) and a specific category or topic (New York).
Now instead of a graphic design blog (with an affiliate link to software on its page) linking to airbnb.com only to mock its logo, you can be sure to find pages more relevant to your own business. Translation: they’re likely to join your Affiliate program.
4. Cut the duplicates
Remember that since many Affiliates promote more than one business, don’t be surprised if some of these pages are already part of your affiliate program. If I’m (Airbnb.com's competitor) Flipkey, I can enter my domain and the domain of the affiliate program (like ShareaSale.com, cj.com, or Clickbank.com) into the “exclude” box toward the bottom. It takes out any inbound links that I’m already getting.
Proceed with caution. Entering your domain will definitely remove duplicate inbound links that already point to your site, but typing in the Affiliate program domain (ShareaSale.com) will also remove links that don’t necessarily point to you IF they’re pointing to another program that uses the same Affiliate platform. (If vrbo.com was using ShareaSale.com, for example.)
5. Gank Away
You can export this list (export backlinks button) into a handy CSV file, but if you stay on the interactive page, you can click the "add" button on the far right column. This will load these links into a project. The organization that comes with a project is helpful, but the big payoff is that we can find contact information for these websites once they're in a project. It fast-forwards you through the initial steps to reach out to these potential Affiliates. If you haven't set one up set, learn more in this video about how the project manager makes it much easier to connect with other websites (and their owners).
And nowwwwww, high five.