Let’s say I save the affiliate pin for my favorite Pinterest affiliate marketing course to a general group board called ‘Bloggers Share Your Best Pins.’ In the group board, there are pins about parenting, DIY, recipes, fashion, weight loss, and all sorts of topics. Because the board is a free-for-all, there are no relevant keywords for, well, any topic. How is the Pinterest algorithm supposed to determine that my pin is about affiliate marketing? Sometimes you have to put yourself in the Pinterest algorithm’s shoes, as strange as that sounds. How can you make its job easier? Signal exactly what your pin is about by using the right keywords and posting ONLY to relevant boards.
I’ve read a lot of horror stories where Amazon has randomly closed people’s accounts for different reasons. Fair enough – many of these are due to breaches of their terms and conditions (e.g. failing to properly disclose links, not using the appropriate images and links provided in the affiliate dashboard, buying from one’s own affiliate links, etc.) but yes, if you fail to comply by their rules, you’re at risk of being shut down (and losing all the commission you’ve racked up). SO, don’t be a dummy, read the terms and conditions thoroughly and make sure you’re not breaching them.

Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.


If you’re scratching your head wondering what affiliate marketing is, no worries! I, too, had never heard of affiliate marketing until about 9 months ago. Now, it’s one of my main sources of income. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is when you promote the products of other companies to earn a commission on sales. Let’s say you love MAC Cosmetics and run a makeup blog. You can sign up for MAC’s affiliate program and get a unique link you’ll use to promote your favorite foundations, brushes, lipsticks, and so on. If someone purchases some lipsticks through your link, you earn a percentage of the sale. Affiliate commissions typically range between 3%-40%.
One keyword will be your main target keyword and the other(s) will be supporting keywords. You want to make sure your main target keyword appears in your blog post title, pin title, blog post URL, and pin description. That means you’ve optimized your pin to rank highly for that keyword. In that case, Pinterest is more likely to show your pin to someone who searches for the keyword. As you can see, Pinterest is a lot like Google. It wants to deliver fresh, relevant content to users. You can help the Pinterest algorithm do that by telling it exactly what your pin is about using keywords. That’s why Pinterest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important!  
Great post, Sean! I have been using Adsense for the most part for two years now and each year, due to great content, my income has doubled. Thanks for all the great content, and this is sure to open my eyes a bit more to the likes of Amazon, which, I will admit, I have been ignoring due to the way they treat their affiliates. But, maybe it’s just me being a turd….
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on May 25, 2018, is a set of regulations governing the use of personal data across the EU. This is forcing some affiliates to obtain user data through opt-in consent (updated privacy policies and cookie notices), even if they are not located in the European Union. This new regulation should also remind you to follow FTC guidelines and clearly disclose that you receive affiliate commissions from your recommendations. 
Keep in mind that it’s important to promote affiliate product links authentically. Refrain from being salesy and remember that your primary job is to help readers or customers find products that are useful, inspirational, and beautiful. Focus on sharing products that make your audience members’ lives easier, and you’ll naturally increase clicks and sales.

Thank you for the insight, it did set straight some of the things that seem to be left out in the sales pitches from those selling their affiliate programs. I’ve been looking for a couple of weeks now, and while some of it is starting to sink in, one of the key factors appears to be the creation of an informative blog. It seems there are other ways to operate as an Affiliate Marketer that don’t require a blog or a website, but, it appears that content and traffic to it, are the preferred methods.
For example, I have a post featuring 10 Affordable Headboards on my blog. Now, instead of just pinning the “pinnable graphic” you see below, I pin that PLUS individual images of each headboard featured within the post. That exponentially increases the chance that people will click on the pin and through to my blog post, which in turn increases my chance of making affiliate sales from that post. Plus, it also boosts traffic to that post, which translates to more ad revenue as well–it’s a win-win!
One other positive about the Ultimate Bundles affiliate program that your readers may not have realized… They actually offer second-tier commissions too, meaning you’ll earn a share of the sales from any affiliates that you refer to the program. In this case, it’s 10% of their bundle sales during their first year as an affiliate which could be a nice earner!
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