Successful affiliates, like Mario, are always improving.

Successful affiliates are the ones who never stop improving on a good thing. Finding something that works well isn’t good enough for these top dogs and they always ask themselves, “What could I be doing better?”

Between the potential for legalized online poker in the United States and the continued rise of social media and mobile devices, 2012 is going to be a year filled with changes and challenges for the affiliate business. Whether you’re an experienced affiliate partner or just getting into the game, here are five areas that affiliate marketing experts agree you should be looking to improve on in 2012.

1. Content

There’s no getting around, quality content is now a mission critical task. Google Panda updates are hitting low quality content farmers, scrapers and directories very hard and will continue to do so until content quality improves. Besides quality, search algorithms are placing a very high value relevancy of a site’s content and its frequency, too.

Over at Affiliateprogams.com, Nicole Young offers up some content tips for affiliates that pretty useful for affiliates. Young, like a lot of experts, points out that the more 300-500 word postings you can get up, the more traffic you’ll generate. Remember that the whole point of Panda is to improve the quality of search results. Be prepared to get hit over the head the head with call for quality content over and over in 2012.

2. SEO Best Practices

Because search engine algorithms are constantly changing, so are SEO best practices. Keeping a close eye on which SEO techniques are still working and which ones should be scrapped can keep webmasters ahead of the curve. As we’ve mentioned, quality is the biggest and most affordable SEO technique any publisher can implement.

Google is emphasizing the importance of authority sites and social media in 2012 and publishers would be wise to keep that mind. Over at SEOAndy, blogger Andy Kinsey points out that the human element is becoming a much bigger factor in SEO than it once was and most industry insiders agree. No matter how you rate your SEO skills, you need to keep current with best practices by reading sites like SEOmoz and CAP.

3. Design

The biggest design improvement any webmaster can make is adding simplicity. Between mobile devices, multiple tabs, multiple monitors and every other modern distraction, grabbing a reader’s attention is tougher than ever. So why add to the chaos? A well thought out site with a clear call to action is your best weapon against a deeply distracted Internet audience. If this is an area you just can’t handle on your own, take a look at affiliate specific themes for WordPress from companies like Flytonics.

Web masters and development teams need to also make their sites social media and mobile device friendly in 2012. We know that these two market spaces are exploding, so why alienate that audience at all? Mobile applications and clear links to your Twitter feed can seriously boost your overall traffic.

4. Social Media

In a recent blog post at Affiliateprograms.com, Jeff Greer points out that in 2012, “Social media will be just media.” That’s a great way of thinking about your overall social media strategy in the year ahead, especially considering the importance Google is placing on social media these days.

Given the opportunities to display content in a cross platform format that includes everything from a traditional web site to Twitter to Facebook, content is increasingly comfortable in a number of different spaces. Affiliates that hesitate to implement social media strategies risk missing out on one of the biggest potential igaming booms in years, should in site gambling come to Facebook.

If you don’t have a social media strategy in 2012, get one. If you’ve already got a social media strategy, keep improving it.

5. Mobile Applications

It’s hard to think of a device that’s friendlier towards affiliate marketing than the smart phone. These devices keep players close to the action no matter where they are or what else they’re doing. If predictions turn out to be correct, almost half the U.S. population will be on smart phones by the end of 2012.

Do you really need any reason besides that to improve on your mobile device strategies in 2012?

This year we’re likely to see the line between PC, phone and tablet become very blurry so mobile strategies will be essential. All that improved smart phone technology is also leading to improved mobile marketing and advertising. Mobile devices are only going to get better and fast so the sooner you start understanding the difference between mobile and static web marketing the better off you’ll be moving forward.

What areas of improvement do you think affiliate publishers should be focusing on in 2012? Let us know in our Affiliate Tips, How To’s, and Training Forum.


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