If you’re a full time SEO then it is likely you track a huge range of metrics on your site.

Most people tend to focus on where they rank, the amount of traffic they are getting and how much money they are making.

SEO’s are usually very busy people managing lots of sites so it’s logical to focus on the core metrics.

But there is another much more important metric you need to focus on which could be costing hundreds/thousands in commissions every day.

Conversion Rate Explained

The conversion rate is the percentage of people that visit your site compared the amount of people that complete a specific goal.

A Goal can be anything from a newsletter signup to clicking your affiliate link.

converstion rate explained

For example if 100 people a day visit your page and only 1 of them finds and clicks your affiliate link you have a 1% click through conversion rate.

There is a case study at the end of this article that shows you how I increased the overall revenue of a site by 20% just by changing the colour of a button.

Why Is This Important?

Well let’s assume you have a 1% click through conversion rate which earns you £10 per day. 99% of the traffic goes to waste which leaves an awful lot of money on the table.

If you could increase it to just 2% you could double the amount of money you earn instantly with the same amount of traffic.

Let’s face it, getting a website ranked in Google is hard work so once you have a steady flow of traffic you need to maximize the earnings per visitor as much as possible.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

This will vary depending how you push people through your affiliate link. Some people just use straight text links while others will use price comparison tables, buttons or banners.

We can setup tests to measure how effective your affiliate link placement is and then test it against other variations to see which gets the better response from your traffic.

It sounds complicated but here is how it works, let’s assume you have a blue buy now button-

  1. Create a red version of the button
  2. Show half of your traffic the red button and the other half the blue button
  3. Measure which one gets the highest click through rate
  4. Take the winning button and setup another test to improve conversion further

You can literally test anything from link placement to the colour of the link. Even testing the headline of the page can reduce bounce rate and improve click through rate.

I would recommend you start by optimising your affiliate links though.

Conversion Rate Optimisation Case Study

The best way for me to illustrate this is with one of my own conversion rate optimisation tests.

I have a website and the sole purpose is to get the user to click on a banner with my affiliate link.

The original banner had a 41.5% click through rate and looked like this (I have removed the text)-

original banner

Original Banner

I then create 4 variations of the banner which looked like this-

blue banner version

Combination 1 - Blue

red banner version

Combination 2 - Red

purple banner version

Combination 3 - Purple

orange banner version

Combination 4 - Orange

I setup a split test for all of the banners which would rotate them evenly to my visitors. With 5 banners in the test they were each shown 20% of the time.

I use Google Website Optimizer for most of my conversion rate experiments which is free and easy to use.

I let the test run for a week to collect enough data to make a decision on. You might need to run your own tests for longer depending on traffic volume.

The Results

The results are actually quite interesting-

banner colour split test results

As you can see the original banner had a 41.46% click through rate and was actually the worst performing banner out of all of them.

The best performing banner was the Combination 2 which had a massive 52.25% click through rate. That is a massive improvement to the overall click through rate of the page.

In total I ran 7880 visitors through this test, if they were all shown the original banner I would have gotten 3,267 clicks to my affiliate link.

If I had shown them all Combination 2 then I would have gotten 4,117 clicks to my affiliate link.

That’s an extra 850 clicks to earn potential commission from with the same amount of traffic. Just from changing the colour of a button!

So this test simple test achieved-

  • An Improved click through rate to 52.25% from 41.46%
  • That is a 20% improvement over the original
  • An extra 850 affiliate link clicks

ALERT: Instantly Increase Your Conversion Rate With My Personal Case Studys!


I hope you can see why you should be paying more attention to how many people actually click on your affiliate link once on your site.

We work hard to get traffic to our pages but many of us don’t pay the same care and attention to converting that traffic into cold hard cash.

How much money is your site leaving on the table every single day?

38 Responses

  1. 2.20.2012

    Good Case Study. Red color always get more attension than other colors.
    It's the WARNING

    • February 22nd, 2012 at 9:21 am

      As a rule red is usually the best attention grabber but not all the time :)

      • September 11th, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        Well; red and yellow. The only problem is that yellow is usually too light for buttons. I like using orange-ish colors (closer to read than yellow) so that it doesn’t look like a “warning color” and that had been fairly good for conversions

        • September 11th, 2013 at 10:43 pm

          Strange how colours associated with warnings convert better =\

          • February 12th, 2014 at 9:14 am

            Hey Matt, I guess the playing with conversion rates is a never-ending game. Audience will change their preferences throughout the time. Today they like red, tomorrow they prefer orange.

            I’ve seen several conversion rate experiments with colours and they are all different and individual. What works on your website will not necessary work on mine,

            The strategic conclusion that I made about conversion experiments is to find what works well, then stick with it for a while, and then experiment again.

          • February 13th, 2014 at 9:13 am

            Well the general rule of colour is any call to action should be in contrast to the main theme.

    • January 8th, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Well, if you put a red banner in a red enviroment (all links and elements in the website being red) it won’t work. In my experience it’s usually a matter of choosing a colour that is very different from the rest. Taht will focus the vistors attention on that element.

      • January 8th, 2014 at 11:43 am

        Yup – make it ugly as h*** and stick out like a sore thumb

        • January 8th, 2014 at 2:52 pm

          Sorry, my english in not good enough. I’m not sure if your are being sarcastic because you didn’t like my comment. If that’s the case, I intended no offense.

          • January 10th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

            No no sarcasm – the truth. Make things ugly and people click them!

  2. 10.17.2012

    This definitely works with banners/button, however have you tried this experiment with anchor text? Conventional wisdom says that native blue gets the highest CT % because people recognize it as a link.

    • October 17th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      No I haven't done but would love to see the results if you have

  3. Nick

    Recently, I have started paying more attention to the conversion. So far, my only goal was to get traffic. Now, I am trying to maximize the conversion rate on that traffic. Everyday I’m trying new changes to improve the conversion rate :) I’m looking into tutorials to see if you have mentioned anything about how to track/monitor your visitor activities in more detail.

    • March 27th, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Hi Nick,

      If your using Google Analytics you can integrate event tracking to measure when people sign up, click an affiliate link etc

  4. 5.29.2013

    Another awesome post Matthew I have been trying different ad placements and background colors, I will try changing affilliate link colors and see how that works out. I have been trying things from your other tutorials and they have been giving me good results. I look forward to your next post :)

    • May 30th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      Cheers Gene – I’m going to setup a split test changing all the link colours from pink to the ‘classic’ blue soon as well

      • doof155
        June 6th, 2013 at 3:18 am

        looking forward to the results! should be interesting…..

        • June 6th, 2013 at 7:47 am

          results will be published within a couple weeks!

          • Umee
            July 20th, 2013 at 2:31 am

            First of all thanks Matt for awesome posts.

            I really appreacite if you will share link color experiment with us.


          • July 22nd, 2013 at 7:56 am

            No worrys :)

  5. 8.8.2013

    I ran an Indonesian mlm site which incorporate the ‘red-buy-now’ button. Statistically agree with you = )

  6. 9.25.2013

    Great article, I agree with what you have said and have also found similar results with my own tests. I tested Luminous colours with contrasting text and discovered Yellow with red text converted highest.

    Would you mind if I re-post this article on my blog?
    I think my readers would really appreciate it.


    • September 25th, 2013 at 9:16 am

      Hi Onur,

      Its strange what works sometimes 😛

      Yes feel free to republish, drop me an email and I’ll send it you with all the formatting/html markup

  7. 11.23.2013

    Excellent tips, I am trying to increase my conversions and this is definitely a help. As an affiliate marketer with limited traffic it is important that I increase the conversion rates.

  8. 1.29.2014

    Good case study you got here. I always think that green is the best color for button.

    • January 30th, 2014 at 11:13 am

      There is no ‘best’ colour – it depends on the site. A green coloured site with a green button won’t convert very well etc

  9. 3.5.2014

    Hi Matthew,

    I always say to clienst: The best marketer? The market decides what works. So the best marketer truely should be the best tester.

    Why don’t you add a video tutorial to this post how to setup Google A/B/C?

    Just a thought :)


    ps. You have inspired me to pick up affiliate marketing again (I stopped in 2010 and switched to local clients). Thanks.

  10. vdvvv

    looking forward to the results! should be interesting…..

  11. 9.30.2014

    very interesting… colours can make so much difference…. i thought red creates anger in people but maybe it also provides a sense of urgency…

    ı’ve started my website with blue, lots of whit and black text… i dıdn’t want ppl to get angry when they see my website but perhaps this theory is not true…

    • October 1st, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Haha in that case I would use red for any calls to action/links/buttons

  12. 2.4.2015

    Incredible! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Michelle

    Learned something new again.

    Thanks Matthew,

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