Odds n’ Ends: Google Shopping Affiliate Program, KW Research & Funny SEO Outreach Tactic

It’s Friday. I had some spare time so penned some odds n’ ends.

Google Shopping Affiliate Program (FOLLOW THE RULES)

Recently I mentioned I’m now in the Google Shopping affiliate program via CJ.com.

It looks promising. I’ll proceed slowly since affiliate stuff is a fairly small part of my revenue mix.

However, I’m sure many of you are interested in this. It’s Google after all and Google knows how to make money (that’s not to say they haven’t had failures in the past such as the long lost Google Affiliate Network and of course Google+).

Today I received an email from Google Shopping which gave a stern warning to all affiliates to not use any images or media that is not in CJ.com. This means you can’t simply yank a product image from Google Shopping and put it on your site.

The warning basically said if in breach, you will be kicked out. And we all know Google is super forgiving about breaches, right?

Wrong! Google is not forgiving. Google is draconian; severing accounts en masse. Think you can appeal? Probably not.

The bigger issue here is that if you jump into Google Shopping, know the rules and follow them. It isn’t your mom and pop merchant where “anything goes.”

Consider this your friendly reminder and warning – fun stuff to ponder over the weekend.

Quick n’ Dirty KW research

Recently, I got the writing bug. Maybe it’s a backlash to recently jumping into YouTube vids and starting a podcast.

While I still find making vids a bit tedious, I must say podcasting is enjoyable. It’s pretty easy. I have no delusions of grandeur here. My stuff is not all that formal or polished. I have no minimum duration (or maximum). I have no set schedule. I podcast when inspired and have something relevant to say. Same with the vids. That’s my style. If I impose all kinds of rules on myself, it loses its luster.

Back to getting bitten by the writing bug.

Two days ago I started writing for a couple niche sites. It was fun. It’s dang good stuff too. I know it’s gonna do well.

How do I know it’s going to do well?

Two reasons:

First, have you ever written something that comes together perfectly? It doesn’t always happen but when it does you know it. Most times when I have that feeling, I hit a top 3 position in Google in due course. When I look at my top traffic articles I wrote, I remember writing the stuff and knowing it was good.

Second, I know something will do well because I targeted an easy-to-rank keyword. My long tail keyword research course sets out many different ways to find awesome long tail, low competition keywords that your competition won’t find (because I approach it differently than most people and certainly differently than your run-of-the-mill agencies).

However, sometimes I just want to find something quickly and easily so I do a quick n’ dirty research session to find something fun to write about.

It’s so darn simple.

It works best with Ahrefs, but can work with any KW research software with a keyword difficulty scoring metric.

What I do is insert any seed keyword remotely related to the niche.

Filter for 0 keyword difficulty. This will list out all KWs with a very easy-to-rank keyword.

Sift through the results until I find something.

Time required: a couple minutes – I almost always find something within a couple minutes. I did it today and discovered 10 great article topics with KD of 0 – all with okay search volume.

1 to 4 hours later I had a literary masterpiece written and published.

6 months later, if all goes to plan, the article becomes a mini-recurring cash machine.

My work being done, I head to the gym followed by two rounds in the sauna.

Give it a shot for fun. It works.

Genius or madness?

Many SEOs crack me up. They always have. I appreciate the lengths they will go to for rankings. I especially appreciate their ingenuity at getting rankings, taking shortcuts and of course, landing links.

Today I received yet another outreach pitch. This time for fatstacksblog.com.

The pitch was decent. Actually it had a nice professional polish to it.

I checked the signature at bottom and then noticed the profile photo. Something seemed odd about it. Too polished. The purported woman was clearly a model posing on a professional photo shoot set.

I’ve noticed this in passing before from other outreach email pitches, but it’s Friday so I wanted to have some fun.

I put the photo in an image reverse search.

Just as I expected, it was a model photo from Pexels.com.

I had to laugh.

It also occurred to me that this approach is either genius or madness.

It’s genius in that outreach data must suggest that profile photos of models get a higher response rate.

However, many of us publishers who receive pitches all the time know about image reverse searches so surely I’m not the only recipient who couldn’t resist doing a reverse image search.

Of course I had to have more fun.

I replied to the pitch with:

Hi Emily,

is this you? [here I inserted url to the Pexels photo).

In response to your pitch, the stock profile photo makes for an interesting article on different approaches to outreach. Thanks for the idea.


And no, I’ve not yet heard back from Emily, whoever she (or he) is.


How ’bout that? That’s right, no affiliate links. The fun I had writing this is all the compensation I want.

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