I'm going to write a series of guides to help those of you just starting out with some of the basics, and some of the not-so-basics. This forum and others have been good to me, so hopefully this series will be useful to those trying to figure out how to get started. I'm going to talk about how I do things, and what has worked for me with affiliate marketing. I've been in the game for a little over a year, and in that time I've built up a full-time income stream that just keeps increasing. The only two tools you will need are the free version of Traffic Travis, and the free subscription for majesticseo.com. I'm generally only concerned with the top 3 results. If you can't get top 3, you probably aren't going to make much money with the term unless it's a huge search volume. Once I see who is ranking top 3, I just take their site URLs and plug them into majesticseo.com to see the number of linking domains. I've found that this crawler finds a lot of links, and generally is the best out there that I'm aware of for replicating what Giggle actually finds and indexes. With Traffic Travis and MajesticSEO, the main things I'm looking for are: 1) # of linking domains shown in Majestic 2) Domain age shown in TT 3) Title/H1/Desc shown in TT I've ordered those in what I believe to be their importance as far as outranking another site. #1 Once I see how many linking domains they have, I have a good idea of what it will take to beat them. What that number is and whether you can beat it will be different for everyone. Since SEO is one of my strengths, I'm comfortable taking on any niche that has less than 1,000 linking domains to the page if the term is valuable enough. For most people starting out, you'd like that to be much lower, perhaps under 100. #2 Domain age is something that most people don't pay enough attention to. I've put it at #2 because it's been my experience that this factor is extremely important in tough niches. In general, if you don't have the domain age to compete with the top sites, you will need MANY more links to overtake them. #3 On-page is important and you should always do well on your own site, but in general it's not incredibly important to judge your competition based on this since links are much more important. Still, if you see every site has their Title/H1/Desc optimized, it's just another factor that will need to be overcome with pure link power. If you guys have any questions about this stuff, I'll answer them here. My next guide will be keyword research, and then on-page SEO and site design. Kinda backwards to write that guide next, but I felt like writing this one now.