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Affiliate Site Definition & Meaning

What Is an Affiliate Site?

An affiliate site is a website that promotes affiliate products to earn commissions for each visit, signup, or sale they generate for a merchant. Affiliate sites allow website owners to make money without having to sell their own products or services.

Affiliate sites are a popular business model because they are easy to set up, have low ongoing costs, low risk, and have a high return on investment (ROI). Affiliate site owners use any combination of search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to drive traffic to their affiliate offers.

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There are five common ways affiliate sites earn commissions:

  • Pay Per Lead: This method refers to generating leads for a merchant through a sign-up form, phone call, or another lead collection method. The affiliate receives a flat fee for each lead. No conversion is required.
  • Pay Per Click: This method refers to affiliate sites earning money each time an advertisement or link is clicked by a user. The affiliate receives a flat fee for each click. No lead or conversion is required.
  • Pay Per Action: This method refers to a user taking a specific action, such as joining a newsletter, submitting a form, making a contact request, downloading a file, installing software, etc. The affiliate receives a flat fee for each action. A semi-lead and/or conversion is required.
  • Pay Per Sale: This method refers to earning a commission for each sale that is made after clicking on an affiliate link. Each merchant’s attribution policy and cookie period are different. It may include first-click attribution where credit goes to the affiliate whose link was first clicked in the buyer’s journey or last-click attribution where credit goes to the affiliate whose link was last clicked before the sale is made. As for cookie duration periods, they can range between 7 days to 60 days or even a full year. The affiliate either receives a flat fee or a percentage of the total sale. A conversion is required.

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Go to the SEO Glossary to find more terms and definitions that relate to the field of search engine optimization.