Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.

In the past, many affiliate marketers focused on a catch-all approach, offering traffic up to hundreds or thousands of sites, even if they had little authority or traffic to give. But in 2018, advertisers will laser their focus into smaller groups of highly credible, targeted, and popular influencers. To map your strategy, focus on a few key influencers in your industry. Start with them, then nail your niche before expanding outward.
If my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).