Did AI Just Kill Affiliate Marketing?

Greg Elfrink February 27, 2023

Did AI Just Kill Affiliate Marketing

Something scary slouches and scurries on the horizon.

If you’re an affiliate marketer building content sites, you probably have just gone through an abridged cycle of emotions. First, you were indifferent to AI tools coming onto the scene. Then they got decently good, and you started implementing them.

Then they got surprisingly good. You started scaling with them.

Now, you’re wondering if the very same AI tools you’re using are going to kill your entire business.

What happens when the language learning models (LLM) such as Chatgpt take over search engines? This is the primary traffic source after all for content businesses. They rely on organic SEO every day to bring in revenue. If AI takes over search engines, what is even the point of someone clicking on the results to the actual websites writing content about the query?

Doesn’t AI answer faster, better, and in a way the end user likes more?

Faster? Yes.

Better? No.

AI doesn’t know when it is lying or telling the truth, but it’s going to be confident in its answer regardless.

There are many issues with AI killing search engines that people aren’t thinking about outside of the actual honesty of the answer AI gives us.

We’re going to explore all of it in this article, but if you’re curious what the “TLDR” of it all is on whether SEO is going to die or not… here are the cliff notes:

  • SEO as we know it will change… after a while. At lightning speed, we might see a significant shift in 2 years, more than likely we’re over 5 years away from a significant shift
  • LLM AI can’t replace current search due to the astronomical economics of deploying an AI in this way.
  • LLMs as they currently are, are already failing in search queries. They’re failing so hard that they’re spinning into existential crises while berating the user as per Bing’s LLM experience.
  • Content sites owners have a huge opportunity in front of them if they embrace AI
  • Now, perhaps more than ever, is the best time to buy an affiliate site IF you understand what you can truly do with an affiliate site.

Alright, let’s get into it.

To Those Who Think AI Isn’t Good Enough

AI is better at writing than people think because AI can be trained to quickly produce content that is on-brand, on-message, and on-time.

It can generate content with a fraction of the time that a human writer would need, and it can be programmed to produce content according to specific parameters. This makes it ideal for writing content that is repetitive or predictable, such as product descriptions or basic blog posts.

AI can also be used to supplement the work of human writers, providing the structure and inspiration for a piece of writing. It can analyze customer feedback and provide insights that can help guide the writing process, resulting in content that is more relevant and effective. AI can also help to identify areas of improvement and suggest changes that can help to make a piece of writing more effective.

In addition, AI can be used to automate certain aspects of the writing process such as research, fact-checking, and grammar checks. This allows writers to focus more on the creative aspects of their work, allowing them to produce quality content in a shorter amount of time.

Despite the potential of AI, it is important to note that it cannot yet replace the creativity and insight provided by human writers. AI still has a long way to go before it can produce content that is on par with the work of experienced writers. However, it can certainly help to speed up and improve the writing process, making it an important tool for writers in the future.

My copywriter friends may be worried about AI replacing them, but there is still a need for human creativity and insight in writing. AI can help to automate certain aspects of the process and provide valuable insights, but it will never completely replace the work of human writers.

A Quick Confession… Did You Notice?

Everything at the start of this subheader until I said “A Quick Confession” was written by AI.

That is the raw output of this prompt:

Explain why AI is better at writing than people think. Tell the reader I have many copywriter friends in my circle and they are vocally against AI being able to replace human writers. But the thing is, AI can already replace low-level human writers. And with some editing, AI can likely replace mid-level writers too. Finally, not every piece of writing needs to be good to sell a product or service. There are many services such as in the local market where people barely even read the site content before calling up their local plumber.

It took less than 1 minute for this output, and less than $0.10.

I left it raw to demonstrate a point.

What is above could be vastly improved with a good writer.

But as my prompt suggests, AI is already enough to replace low-level writers.

Your local business websites, dry instructions on how to assemble something, or any other piece of boring repeatable content is better in the hands of a robot. Not all content needs to be written by Hemmingway, in fact, it doesn’t make business economic sense to have that level of writing quality on every single thing you do.

As you can see, low-level writers will have a lot to worry about in the future.

A good editor coupled with an AI writer can likely replace even a mid-level writer with far less associated costs.

Now you might be thinking… well…

Doesn’t Google Punish AI Content?


Google is against low quality content, but even then there is often little Google can do if you got your SEO game on point. Several of my friends have made a running contest with each other ranking for a variety of queries using Lorem Ipsum text combined with solid on-page SEO and backlinks.

Google doesn’t want spammy content, but it will still rank it against its own policies.

Now, the real question is can AI content last the long haul in terms of maintaining rankings or is this a burn and churn kind of scenario where you rank a site for a month and get crushed the second month?

In my view, as long as your content is genuinely helpful in solving the query of the user, your AI content will be safe for years to come.

By the way, this is also Google’s view.

This is why I recommend not using raw AI outputs but augmenting AI written content with an editor.

Ideally, an editor that is passionate about the niche you’re writing about.

There’s been a lot of talk in my SEO circles about AI content detection too.

Many people are worried about this and have changed their content production process to include running their content through AI detection tools.

And yet, AI detection tools are incredibly inaccurate.

Whether you’re using these to prevent writers from submitting AI content to you, or making sure you can pass Google’s AI detection systems, these tools at least right now are largely a waste of time.

Even OpenAI’s AI detector tool has failed to detect raw AI output despite all their talks of their watermark system.

Some SEOs are afraid that Google’s detector is far better and will retroactively punish content publishers who use AI down the road. This could happen, but considering Google is ambivalent now towards AI content, it is unlikely.

If Google did go through with this, it would be similar to when Google railed against people using private blog networks (PBNs).

They’ll shout from the rooftops about punishing people with it so they can watch SEOs quickly destroy their backlink profile so Google can “catch” the actual offenders since they can’t rely on their algorithm effectively to do it.

AI, especially as time goes on, will be a far harder challenge to tackle than the old PBN days too.

If you’re on the other side of the fence and want to cash in on AI right now, then follow this advice.

How to Cash in On AI Right now (Warning: Short Window)

You can use AI right now to get a huge unfair advantage over everyone.

This window will only last for a short period of time.

Once every entrepreneur starts using these tools as a natural extension to their marketing tech stack, you’ll be on an equal playing field again.

Right now, if you push hard, you can scale this advantage to grow far faster than your competitors. If done right, you may get such a big leap that you’ll be able to maintain the lead even when everyone else starts using AI tools to their full advantage.

Let’s look at a few areas in a content business where you can use AI.

Content Creation at Scale

The most obvious way to grow your business quickly with AI is to create massive amounts of content with it. Most AI writing assistants struggle at creating long-form content, which makes writing articles pretty tedious unless you’re a non-writer.

For example, I write fast enough and well enough that using an AI tool would actually make my production slower in most cases.

This is no longer the case.

There are new tools popping up that use OpenAI’s API (pretty much all of them use OpenAI) that are specifically trained now to create long form blog posts. You can even set them up to repeat keywords to give you a headstart for the on-page optimization.

A recent solo-deved side project called Zimmwriter for example can produce 6,000 word articles in about 7 minutes for around $0.20. It’s full of fluff that you need to edit and is a bit too wordy out of the gate, but all of this can be taken care of in the 2nd draft edit.

Ironically, the first things replaced by AI won’t be humans but rather other obsolete ways of using AI.

Right now the behemoths of AI writing software charge you a markup on each OpenAI token you use as part of their monthly subscription fee. Majority of the big AI companies are really just running on OpenAI’s API.

As more prompt engineers and developers make AI where they have you buy your own OpenAI tokens vs paying a monthly subscription that is just a markup for OpenAI tokens, it is not a great stretch of imagination to see many of the larger AI companies that popped up over the last couple years start to tumble down in a flooded marketplace of better, cheaper and faster AI tools.

You as a content creator can take advantage of this swathe of new tools being handed to you.

While you still need a human editor (unless you want to gamble a bit more), you’ll need far less in actual content creation costs than you used to.

Before, you may have had 1 editor per 2-5 writers that might be able to produce roughly 10 articles a week. Now, you can have an editor reviewing 20-30 articles or more in a single week easily when you take out the writer management time.

The one caveat to this is if you’re writing something groundbreaking and new, or something deeply technical, nuanced or niche. In those cases, you likely won’t see the same goldmine as I’ve described above.

You’ll still be able to use these tools to speed things up, but the process will be a bit different and not as massive.

AI may replace writers, but the need for editors is likely to stay the same or rise because of just how useful they’ll become in taking the raw output of the AI and turning it into something truly awesome.

Topical Map Creation at Scale

Creating a topical map that outlines every single query in a search cluster is incredibly helpful. In normal situations, these topical maps can represent over a year’s worth of content you need to create for your website.

The benefits in terms of authority, internal linking and ranking at scale with topical maps is too good to not do. Now with AI, you can crush out a topical map at lightning speeds. In the past what may have taken a year to finish, may only take a month to finish at 1/5th of the cost.

The ability to finish topical maps so quickly allows you to let your authority site truly dominate the SERPs as you publish one cluster after another.

Obviously, this isn’t a “set and forget” type of strategy. You’ll still need editors, it’ll take time and a lot of hard work to refine your process, but when you embrace AI it’ll become far faster than the old way of creating a topical map.

Outside of Pure SEO Articles

The new AI revolution is more than just article creation too.

You can utilize a whole suite of new AI tools to power up your authority site in all kinds of interesting new ways.

If you decided to branch your site into an ecommerce store based on your organic brand, you could use AI to write a slew of product listings for example.

But why stop there?

You can use tools like Dall-E or Midjourney to mock up entire new branded products you want to sell, from the physical to the digital.

You could use a tool like Descript to create an AI voice that can read all of your blog posts. The AI has gotten good enough where you don’t even need to know how to do traditional podcast editing. And with an AI voice recorded, it’ll never say things wrong (unless you’re writing a weird word, a problem that can be solved by writing the word out phonetically).

You can take this audio version of your blog posts and throw them into a tool like Pictory next.

Pictory’s AI will turn your blog posts into videos with B-Roll playing, and makes editing a breeze in comparison to the overwhelming prospect of learning Premiere Pro.

Throw those videos up on Youtube, now you can start augmenting your authority website traffic with the second largest search engine in the world in addition to Google.

These are just the start of what is already possible of what you can do with your authority site if you fully embraced the power of AI.

But, the elephant is still there in the room.

What is the point of doing all this amazing AI enhanced SEO work if SEO truly dies?

Will Artificial Intelligence Eat Google?

The truth is, no one knows.

That includes Google and Bing.

It is too new.

The dust from Chatgpt taking the world by storm hasn’t even settled yet. There is a lot to unpack with this subject. What we do know is there is a case for Google search as we know it dying, and a more solid case in my view against Google search dying.

The Case for Google’s AI Fueled Doom

If all queries on Google are replaced by AI such as the likes of a Google ChatGPT (LAMDA most likely), what will happen?

Overnight, pretty much all website publishers will have their organic SEO traffic destroyed. They will be usurped by an AI that gives the user all the answers they need.

From a user perspective, this could be amazing.

Instead of having to filter through a hodgepodge of websites to find an answer, the user just gets an answer in front of them. If they need to understand that answer better, they can just ask Google or Bing to elaborate more.

You can go as in depth as you want or just get the surface level answers.

The ball is in the user’s court.

If this is truly solved and people prefer this way of searching, then it is very likely that the content site business model we know today will die. The business model itself will not die, simply how the business model works right now will change.

That is important to point out, as many content sites owners trick themselves into thinking the only traffic their website can get is SEO traffic.

That is far from the truth.

There are tons of organic and paid traffic channels you can tap into.

You’d just need to change your traffic strategy.

If this case is to come to pass, the timeline of it actually happening is worth talking about. The overnight destruction of content websites as we know it won’t happen in the span of weeks.

As we already saw with Google wiping out a hundred billion dollars of their stock value, the tech giants need to figure out a good way to actually execute on the promise of AI search first.

Not to mention Bing’s absolute mental crisis ever since “Sydney” came online with their AI integration.

Instead of an overnight onslaught, the real timeline will be at least 2 years away in my view. These kinds of changes take time, execution, and data to understand what is or what is not working. And 2 years is when things go lightning fast.

Everything goes perfectly planned. Perfectly executed. No hiccups or speed bumps.

Highly unlikely.

The last couple of weeks between Google and Bing we’ve already seen just how hard it is to make this work even partially.

The real timeline of an AI search going mainstream is likely closer to 5 years away than 2 years. In practical terms that timeline could easily be extended to 10 years from now.

And when it does happen… it probably won’t be in the way you think of search today (more on that later).

The Very Realistic Case Against AI-Led Search Engines

While everyone is dreaming about an AI future happening today, there are many deep problems with an AI search engine.

Of course, these problems can be solved, but not for a long while.

Let’s first talk about the user problem.

If a user types in a query and gets an AI answer back, that answer might come faster but also completely miss the query’s point. What if it is a time sensitive query?

What if it is a product that just got updated thus the AI’s information is outdated?

The AI response, especially if out of date, can lead to leagues for frustration by the actual end user. The exact opposite of what a good search engine business wants to do.

Then there is the fear of biases within the actual query responses which is a whole other can of worms to open up.

If you look at AI in action on Bing in its current state, it is not that impressive or user friendly even when it is working correctly. It is hardly revolutionary in terms of user benefit. It is a neat parlor trick at most.

A very expensive parlor trick.

The keyword here is expensive. Because that is where the real rubber meets the road when it comes to an AI search engine.

AI Will Gut Google’s Profits

If Google went full throttle in implementing AI-only, they would crush their own business.

They would lose up to 16% of their revenue.

The 16% would be from the Google Display Network (GDN) which is roughly around $23 billion in annual revenue (Note: GDN is thought to be mixed in with Youtube ad revenue too but unsure of the split).

Despite the split, GDN is still connected to over 2 million publishers.

These publishers for the most part are customers to Google just as much as the actual search users are customers.

Many of these sites don’t even get their primary traffic from Google, such as Buzzfeed in its heyday with viral social traffic. But by eliminating the possibility of Google search traffic, many of these publishers will likely flee from Google’s predatory gobbling up of their industry.

Not to mention potential legal pitfalls if those 2 million publishers banded together to rise against Google for Google using their content to train the AI in the first place.

It’s not so far-fetched to think that could happen either.

There are already stirrings of this with other famous AI tools like Midjourney and Dall-E.

This is just GDN ads too!

I didn’t even mention the additional search costs involved, but we’ll get into that later.

There is also the huge swathe of Google search ads that will either die or will have to be heavily reimagined as to how they can work in an AI-only search engine that replicates something akin to Chatgpt.

The chance that Google will destroy their army of publishers (content site owners) for the opportunity to be first to market with a technology designed to gut their profits… is… well, unlikely.

Now, there isn’t zero danger of this happening.

There is, after all, a dusty competitor to Google that recently got a new layer of paint.

And it might be thrilled to lose money and kill affiliate marketers at the same time.

Come Out and Dance Google. Bing is Hungry.

“This new Bing will make Google come out and dance, and I want people to know that we made them dance.” – Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.

Those are some fightin’ words.

In a surprising twist of fate, a search engine that holds less than 3% of the global search market share is in a better situation to disrupt search than Google is.

Microsoft has much less to lose by going full tilt into AI iteration and innovation than Google does.

If Microsoft plummeted Bing’s profits to zero, it would represent only 5% of Microsoft’s overall revenue. In 2021 Microsoft brought in $168 billion dollars, during that period Bing brought in right around $8.53 billion dollars.

Microsoft’s CEO makes it clear he wants to lock horns with Google.

At this point, any press is good press for Bing whereas the same is very much not true for Google.

The Microsoft CEO has mentioned that from now on the profit margins of search will continue to drop as AI becomes more widespread and implemented. It could be the case that Microsoft is positioning themselves to disrupt all of search simply by making search companies incredibly unprofitable endeavors.

Microsoft can destroy the entire status quo, while gaining massive marketshare, and then making up that revenue by getting more of that marketshare fully plugged into the Microsoft ecosystem across their suite of products.

Effectively, this could make Bing the single biggest loss leader in history.

Bing could hemorrhage money without worries as they suffocate Google to death. Making Bing unprofitable is a 5% hit to revenue, but making Google unprofitable would lead to bankruptcy.

As Microsoft integrates Bing into the rest of their now fully AI-enabled ecosystem, they might view Bing more and more as a weapon to destroy an old competitor once and for all.

Of course, this could only happen if Microsoft’s execution is perfect and Google’s response is dismal.

Why Bing Won’t Eat Google (Most Likely)

Microsoft has already done massive damage to Google with their OpenAI partnership.

Despite that, it is unlikely they’ll be able to dethrone Google in the long term considering just how massively dominant Google is.

As I mentioned above, Microsoft would have to coordinate everything perfectly and Google’s response would have to be pretty dismal to truly lose this battle.

After all, Google already has a better AI.

LAMDA’s open sourced white paper could be argued as the initial genesis of the OpenAI project.

Google’s massive resources make it more likely that LAMDA has not only kept up with what OpenAi has built, but likely has a far superior version of it waiting within their language learning models.

So if that is the case, how did Google get slapped by OpenAI?

It really comes down to Google being the incumbent.

OpenAI is a far more nimbler organization than the tech behemoth of Google. It makes sense that execution would be quicker and even smoother by OpenAi. It also doesn’t surprise me that Google’s rollout response with Bard was turbulent at all.

Something to consider about Google’s Bard rollout is that they were far less prepared for a public interaction with their LAMDA systems than OpenAI was with ChatGPT. Google likely had no real pressure on making their systems public facing anytime soon, it may not even be something close on the horizon.

The only reason Google even released Bard was due to investors pressuring them to respond to OpenAI. They really didn’t want to release Bard as not near enough work had been done for public consumption like OpenAi’s ChatGPT. Those investors may have learned a valuable billion dollar lesson with that move.

The story doesn’t end in the roll out of this technology though.

Long term, this landscape will change.

Google’s resources are excessive and AI is a primary focus of theirs, if not their main focus nowadays outside of search itself. The behemoth has many tricks up its sleeves yet surely, and this opening salvo might be a loss for them but by no means is the war over.

It’s barely begun.

The amount of resources OpenAI and Microsoft will need to pour into to beat Google long term just might not be a tenable position.

Speaking of untenable positions, let’s talk about economics.

The Economic Infeasibility of AI Killing Search Engines

Training a LLM is a staggering economic effort.

The costs, the infrastructure, the labor, all of it is overwhelming.

Now talk about deploying an LLM as an actual search engine and you’ve reached a formula for economic suicide.

If we look at ChatGPT as an example you’ll quickly see what I mean.

ChatGPT’s training costs to actually build the LLM are dwarfed on a weekly basis by just people using ChatGPT.


OpenAI spends more money in a week of usage than the entire cost of building ChatGPT.

This is one of the biggest speed bumps as to why AI won’t kill affiliate marketing in SEO.

AI cannot kill off all content websites if there is literally no profit incentive for a company to do it. Microsoft could plummet Bing into the red to make Google dance, but they’ll still need to be able to stomach the daunting costs of running such a gargantuan LLM.

At the moment, there is no real profit in moving a search engine entirely to an AI.

The main reasoning to even put the AI on the search engine amounts to little more than a marketing ploy to display some cool new parlor tricks.

Will this change? Absolutely.

Will this change soon? Unlikely.

AI’s use cases are hundredfold. It seems every day there is a way to create a better mousetrap using an AI tool.

At the moment, a true AI-only search engine isn’t one of those use cases.

The Costs of an AI Search Engine

A great breakdown of the technology and costs can be found over at SemiAnalysis.com.

The basics of what they’re saying though is this:

  • Google operate at a 34.15% margin.
  • Allocating COGs/OPex you arrive at 1.06 cents per search query that makes roughly 1.61 cents in revenue.
  • An LLM based search engine needs significantly less than <0.5 cents per query to be realistically used.

If you can’t get below that 0.05 cents in a big way, then the additional costs of deploying such an LLM would make Google bleed profit hand over fist.

If you look at the SemiAnalysis breakdown of ChatGPT query cost, you get 0.36 cents.

That is significantly higher than 0.05 cents.

If you push a ChatGPT model to overlay Google’s existing search business, you’d see a $36 billion dollar reduction in operating income.

Of course, this is all at today’s standards of costs and these costs likely will go down and the technology will become optimized more.

Still, this puts things in perspective at how far away we are from an AI only search engine.

The $36 billion dollar reduction in operating income doesn’t take into the account the other hits to revenue. If Google takes the $36 billion dollar hit they will go from $55 billion in operating income in 2022 to $19.5 billion.

Still amazing but…

What about that $16 billion in revenue they get from GDN?

A big portion of that will be slashed.

Then you have to look again at search ad revenue getting sliced and the profits get thinner and thinner.

If you look at just the total costs of the servers, networking and other hardware functions you’d need to pull this level of AI off in every single search, you’re looking at a whopping $100 billion in CAPex.

That’s a big pill to swallow.

The Truth of the Coming AI Search Engine

The truth is, search engines are going to change forever.

There is no doubt in my mind about that.

It is just not going to happen right now, nor right away, nor likely anytime soon.

The costs to switch everything over to an effectively zero-profit business model is just too much risk for Google to take.

Microsoft Bing is far more likely to eat up your affiliate sites than Google in my view. Yet, even if Microsoft does decide to make Bing the world’s largest loss leader ever, it will be years before we feel the true effects.

Don’t get me wrong, the search engine landscape will never be the same thanks to AI. But you won’t be seeing those changes anytime soon.

This is great news for you. It gives you years to prepare.

What can Affiliate Marketers do in an AI Enhanced World?

I’ve already pointed out several things you can do with AI at the top of this article so I won’t repeat those.

Yet, there are many other lucrative business decisions you can make that can take your affiliate site not only to the next level but help protect you against the potential futures described in this blog post.

Thinking Beyond SEO

My biggest go-to recommendation is almost always to focus on building a robust emailing list.

Your email newsletter can be the first of many steps to creating a walled garden. Consider your website no different than what Microsoft is trying to do or what Apple already does.

Make an ecosystem of value.

You can start with your newsletter, then branch off into courses and even paid communities. These assets can help you grow other organic traffic channels too. You can send people in your newsletter and your communities to engage with your Youtube content, Pinterest pins, Tiktok shorts, Twitter following, etc.

Seeding these organic channels can help speed up organic growth and help make a flywheel effect for building out a big audience.

Seek to go beyond SEO.

Transform your affiliate website from a one-visit-and-done brochure to a magazine of value that keeps people coming back for more time and time again.

Create a Margin Maximizer

If you’re doing all the work above, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be doing everything you can to increase your profit per offer. It is no secret that ads pay very little, and that the real winner of profit with affiliate marketing is the owner of the product, not the affiliate.

There is nothing stopping you from creating a digital or physical product within your niche.

This can be as simple as the classic $7 tripwire, a small recurring community monthly fee, or something else along these lines.

Even at just a $7 tripwire you might be able to open up whole new traffic sources now with paid ads. As long as you are breaking even, you can always realize profit on the backend of the funnel while building out a long term audience.

This will set you apart from the typical affiliate site and will also put you on a path to far greater growth potential than if you only relied on ads or affiliate revenue.

A Walled Garden of Untold Riches

I’ll end this section with just a reminder of how important it is to treat your affiliate site as more than just a throwaway website. Consider it like a real business, real scaling potential, and a real brand that could be meaningful to people.

If you’re building out a website that only talks about the best red blenders, sure you’re never going to get to this level.

In fact, you should be scared of the AI revolution happening right now.

You’re not really adding anything of value in the grand scheme of things if your intent is to throw up just any content to rank and cash in passively. If you are building out a website that dominates the kitchen niche and you’re starting off with going deep on the best red blenders, that’s a different story.

Always ask yourself what would this business look like at the next level of scale? Then the next level. Another level.

You get the picture.

This is how affiliate websites can go from six figures and low seven figures to becoming eight figure media empires across a variety of business models and traffic channels.

Why Buying Affiliate Sites Makes More Sense Now than Ever

Regardless if AI eats search as we know it, it doesn’t change the opportunity before you.

Buying an affiliate site allows you to cash in on an opportunity that is just as good today as it was yesterday. And if the worst does come to pass in 5+ years from now, this could be one of the final windows for you to capitalize on this traffic source in a massive way.

I don’t think search engines are dying anytime soon nor affiliate marketing combined with SEO.

Still, even if it was, buying affiliate sites makes a lot of sense.

You get to skip between 12-20 months of painful sandbox time.

The first day you’re at profit and traffic. Right away you can put into action a variety of split-tests, new content, on-page SEO etc. to increase traffic and revenue within days.

Because an affiliate site already making money means it already has at least some authority with Google, you can now take massive advantage of AI tools. You buy an affiliate site and speed up content production by 2-5x using AI combined with a human editor to produce top notch quality at lightning speed (not to mention budget friendly).

Of course, you already know the niche works.

The site already makes money.

If the worst case is truly coming down the pipeline, this is the last chance we all have to capture some of the best highest intent traffic in the world – organic search. Now is the time to speed up not slow down on SEO or acquisitions of SEO properties.

Now is the time to maximize your organic traffic.

With one caveat…

Build that walled garden. Grow that newsletter. Make a real brand.

You already have the traffic with an acquired affiliate site to do this. You can test multiple different lead magnets to forge your newsletter on Day 1 of post-acquisition.

As you build an audience based on existing traffic, you can start learning more about this audience by polling them. Want to know what you should sell them outside of affiliate offers?

Ask them.

This is a deceivingly simple way of doing effective customer research.

Don’t let a website’s initial brand or domain name stop you from acquiring either. You can always do individual 301 redirects with a website that has bad branding into one that has awesome branding – often without losing any Google juice or rankings through the process.

The strategy of buying up affiliate websites to merge into a bigger brand is an incredibly effective strategy. It remains the cheapest way I know to get high quality content and backlinks at the same time.

Buying an affiliate site doesn’t have to be viewed as only an income cash flowing vehicle. It is also an incredible traffic asset to a much bigger business you can build on its back.

If you’re an agency owner selling to realtors, how valuable would it be if you owned a content website talking all about how realtors can improve their businesses? If you’re an ecommerce brand selling dog food, how amazing would it be to have a website about taking care of dogs that are gushing with your target audience?

As you can see, many reasons exist to acquire an affiliate site outside of just the pure income angle.

If the worst does come to pass, you will be kicking yourself for not doubling down as hard as you can on organic search during this window of time when we can still generate traffic through organic SEO.

This is one of the best, highest intent traffic channels out there for creating an incredible brand whether it is a media empire, ecommerce store at scale, or the next disruptive SaaS.

As I’ve stated, the chances of search and content sites going anywhere are highly unlikely.

Search engines will change dramatically in the future, but that future is still far away.

The ultimate rendition of what an AI search engine looks like will be as different to today’s search engines as Google was to the Yellow Pages.

So to answer the question, did AI kill SEO affiliate marketing?

No. Not at all.

Luckily for you, many SEOs will disagree.

You’ll have less competition as other SEOs chant the aged mantra, “SEO is dead” and close shop.

All the while you collect the affiliate checks that will create the foundation of your business empire.

If you’re looking to expand that empire, acquisition is by far the fastest way.

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