top of page


An Insider View of Profit-Led Money Hat SEO with Jamie I.F.

  • X
Jamie I.F.

Jamie I.F., SEO Affiliate and SaaS Marketer at

Jamie I.F. is not your typical marketer. At 27 years old, he's a dynamo in the SEO and affiliate marketing scene, boasting a portfolio that hums to the tune of $32,000 per month. Jamie's journey into the labyrinth of online marketing began somewhat serendipitously. Starting his first website in 2018, he initially juggled it as a side project while completing his university degree. It wasn't until 2019, post-graduation, that Jamie pivoted his focus towards the digital realm full-time, diving headfirst into the intricacies of affiliate marketing and SEO without a roadmap.

Before Jamie became synonymous with SEO success, he cut his teeth in the world of entrepreneurship with a streetwear brand at the tender age of 18. Despite a whirlwind of social media success, the venture stumbled where it mattered most: converting followers into sales. This setback, however, planted the seeds for his future in digital marketing. It was during an internship in France, while working for a publisher, that Jamie stumbled upon the concept of SEO. The realisation that web pages could gain 'free real estate' online without the relentless need for social media engagement was a game-changer for him. This epiphany, combined with his innate desire to find a more passive income stream, set Jamie on his current path.

Armed with nothing but determination and a fresh perspective on how to make money online, Jamie started to build his portfolio from scratch. His early days were marked by a trial-and-error approach, dabbling in various projects, including a pseudo charity aimed at addressing homelessness in London. However, the financial pressures of these ventures quickly taught him the value of a more sustainable income source, leading to a full commitment to SEO and affiliate marketing.

Today, Jamie's portfolio is a testament to his resilience and innovative approach to online marketing. Generating upwards of $32,000 per month, he has mastered the art of creating high-quality websites that leverage affiliate marketing to its full potential. Despite the potential for a hefty payout—his websites could fetch over $1.4 million if sold—Jamie's passion extends beyond personal gain. He is driven by a desire to share his 'secret sauce' with others, motivated by the belief that making money online can dramatically improve lives, offering more time for family, leisure, and personal fulfilment.

Yet, Jamie is no stranger to the realities of the digital marketing world. He openly admits that the path to success is fraught with hard work, sacrifice, and a slow start. But it's this very challenge that excites him, knowing that persistence in the face of adversity is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful.

In essence, Jamie I.F. is a blend of entrepreneur, educator, and digital marketer. From his early failings with a streetwear brand to becoming an SEO aficionado, his journey is a reminder that the route to success is often a winding one, but with perseverance, it's always within reach. Now at the helm of, Jamie is not just about amplifying his own wealth; he's equally invested in guiding others towards their best possible life through the power of SEO and affiliate marketing.

The Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast with Jamie I.F.

Watch the interview

(click on the 'cc' icon to view subtitles)

Listen to the podcast

(58 minutes long)

Unscripted Money Hat SEO Q&As with Mark A Preston and Jamie I.F.

Who is Jamie I.F.?

Jamie I.F. is a 27-year-old entrepreneur who ventured into the world of SEO and affiliate marketing approximately four years ago. His initial encounter with SEO emerged from a previous endeavour—an attempt to launch a streetwear brand at the ages of 18 and 19, which achieved rapid social media growth but struggled with sales conversions. Jamie's journey took a significant turn during an internship in France, where he was introduced to the power of SEO through a work conundrum involving unexpected page views. This revelation, coupled with his frustration over the demanding nature of social media engagement, led him to explore the potential of generating passive income through SEO. After graduating from university in 2019, Jamie faced financial challenges, prompting him to fully commit to making money online. Despite early failures, he discovered the greater profitability of affiliate marketing over display ads, pivoting his focus and successfully building a portfolio that significantly increased his income.

What differentiates a successful affiliate from a failing affiliate site?

Recent shifts in the SEO landscape have posed challenges for content-focused sites, necessitating a strategic pivot for affiliates aiming for success. Insights from industry research suggest that search engines may prioritize sites differently based on their content type and platform, potentially disadvantaging purely content-driven affiliate sites. Successful affiliates in 2024 and beyond will likely need to diversify their approach, incorporating stronger brand signals and engaging in partnerships to enhance their visibility and authority. Additionally, adopting a model that includes alternate offers—such as high-value digital products, services, or even white-labelled e-commerce—could be crucial. This strategy not only helps circumvent the limitations imposed by search engines but also positions affiliate sites to better meet evolving criteria for ranking. Emphasizing a shift towards quality and brand integrity could prove essential for those navigating the increasingly competitive landscape of affiliate marketing.

Does the mindset of an affiliate marketer need to change regarding content production?

The changing dynamics of SEO and content marketing are prompting a significant shift in the mindset of affiliate marketers. Instead of focusing on quantity, there is a growing need for marketers to produce bespoke, high-quality content that genuinely meets user intent and adds value. The current SEO environment, which places greater emphasis on the source and authority of content rather than its volume, requires affiliate marketers to be more strategic in their approach. This shift aligns with the practices of marketers like Jamie, who prefer quality over quantity but acknowledges the challenges this poses in a competitive market. The pursuit of high-quality, authoritative content is increasingly important, not just for standing out but for ensuring longevity and credibility in the affiliate marketing space. Unfortunately, the efforts to clamp down on less scrupulous practices have inadvertently made it harder for legitimate content creators, highlighting a paradox in the current digital marketing ecosystem.

Do you have a set structure when starting a new affiliate website?

Currently, I am not focused on launching niche sites in the traditional sense. My strategy revolves around building sites with an undeniable competitive edge, something uniquely advantageous that others cannot easily replicate. This approach often necessitates a multifaceted marketing skill set, extending beyond basic content creation to include social media, lead generation, and paid advertising. For instance, initiating with a strong presence in a newsletter community, a Facebook group, or an Etsy store has proven effective. My aim is to establish a solid, real-world brand presence first—perhaps launching an e-commerce site on Shopify or utilising Etsy to build trust and a subscriber base through cost-effective digital product sales. This foundation allows us to direct traffic to our sites and grow from there. However, this method demands a hands-on approach and a deep understanding of quality and system building that not everyone might possess, making it a challenging path for many.

What do you mean by 'being in the club'?

'Being in the club' refers to the recognition and prioritisation of real businesses and brands by search engines, even in instances where their content might not be the highest quality. This notion has been echoed by industry professionals, highlighting that even well-regarded content sites can suffer in traffic due to over-optimisation or content quality issues. Nevertheless, entities with significant real-world presence, such as brands with substantial search volume, product sales, and active community engagement, seem to retain their standing despite these challenges. This club includes manufacturers, SaaS products, e-commerce platforms, and exceptionally authoritative content sites within their niches. The current trend suggests a diminishing emphasis on topical authority, shifting the competitive advantage towards those with tangible products or services and substantial brand recognition. The landscape is increasingly favouring those with the ability to cross into adjacent niches with lower barriers, benefiting large content conglomerates ready to capitalise on these changes.

Can a new affiliate site still drive significant traffic by building a big content topic hub?

For new affiliate sites aiming to garner significant traffic, starting with a YouTube channel and reverse-engineering into a content site might be the most viable strategy. This approach capitalises on the observation that entities with substantial YouTube presence tend to sustain lesser hits in terms of traffic losses. The rationale is that the inherent quality and engagement found in video content often surpass that of written content. By leveraging the high-quality video content as a foundation, affiliates can produce written content that resonates more effectively with their audience. This method not only enhances the content's quality but also aligns with the evolving preferences of users and search engines, making it a strategic move for affiliates looking to establish a lasting presence online.

How significant is the risk when developing your own sites?

Navigating the digital landscape is akin to traversing a wild, unpredictable terrain where both opportunities and pitfalls abound. I've clinched numerous partnerships, outmanoeuvring even the most seasoned SEOs and affiliate marketers, by offering an ethical, sustainable approach. My strategy is based on transparency and mutual growth, ensuring that any collaboration enhances the site's value without resorting to harmful or short-sighted tactics. This ethos stems from a broader vision I harbour of fostering social enterprise, much like a soup company concept I once envisaged, which aimed at supporting the homeless sustainably. The core of my approach is to ensure longevity and prosperity for both parties involved in a partnership, advocating for responsible and impactful online entrepreneurship.

What criteria guide your selection of affiliate partners?

My primary criteria for choosing affiliate partners hinge on profitability, minimal effort, and strategic advantage. While I strive for lucrative opportunities that promise substantial returns with the least amount of work, I acknowledge experts like Jackie Chow, who excel far beyond my realm, particularly in fostering impactful partnerships. My focus leans towards niches where I can apply my strengths in conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and persuasive copywriting. Over time, my interests are gradually shifting towards direct response marketing, leveraging my SEO background to optimise for conversions without necessarily delving into highly competitive niches. This approach allows for broader operational flexibility, enabling my team and me to excel in less contested spaces while still achieving significant financial success.

How crucial is CRO in the development of an affiliate site?

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is paramount when building out an affiliate site, balancing the dual objectives of ranking well and converting visitors. Successful CRO involves not just attracting visitors but effectively guiding them towards making a purchase. Tools like product boxes and comparison tables can significantly enhance conversion by clearly meeting the search intent and segmenting the audience. However, without comprehensive content that supports these conversion elements, their effectiveness can be limited. The key is to precisely understand your audience, tailor your content to distinct segments, and present a curated selection of products that directly appeal to these segments. By focusing on the most relevant products for your targeted audience and minimising options to avoid decision paralysis, you can significantly increase the likelihood of conversion, embodying the essence of effective affiliate marketing.

Are pages with affiliate links being downgraded by Google?

It's crucial not to jump to conclusions about Google downgrading pages simply because they contain affiliate links. The assumption that affiliate links or display ads lead to negative impacts lacks concrete evidence without single-variable tests to back it up. High-authority sites frequently use numerous affiliate links without facing penalties, suggesting that the presence of affiliate links alone isn't a significant factor in Google's evaluation. Additionally, affiliate links can be easily disguised, and it's unlikely Google would want to encourage practices that incentivize hiding links. While it's tempting to attribute performance issues to a single factor like affiliate links, the reality is far more complex, and avoiding affiliate links for fear of penalties could be an overcautious approach that might not align with sound financial strategy.

Does Google still value affiliate marketers given its own AdSense revenue?

Google's ecosystem is vast, and while affiliate marketing might not represent a major portion of its revenue, it's still a significant component. Even if affiliate marketing contributes, say, 20 billion to Google's earnings, this figure, albeit a small percentage of Google's overall revenue, is comparable to the GDP of a small country. Such amounts are non-trivial and underscore the importance of affiliate marketing within Google's broader revenue strategy. Therefore, dismissing the relevance of affiliate marketing to Google would overlook the substantial benefits it brings to the table, even if it constitutes a smaller slice of the company's overall financial pie.

How would search engine results pages (SERPs) appear if Google eliminated all affiliate sites?

The removal of affiliate sites from SERPs would fundamentally alter the landscape of search results, likely prioritising manufacturers and official sellers at the expense of independent reviews and content creators. Affiliate marketing plays a critical role in enabling independent creators to monetise their content and provide valuable, unbiased reviews that consumers rely on for making informed decisions. This ecosystem supports a diverse range of opinions and detailed product evaluations, offering a counterpoint to potentially biased or unreliable manufacturer claims and reviews. The notion that affiliate marketing solely benefits opportunistic individuals is a misrepresentation. Instead, it facilitates a vibrant environment where creators can earn a living by offering genuine, trustworthy insights. Criticising affiliate marketing overlooks its substantial contributions to content variety, quality, and the broader digital economy, providing essential information that helps consumers make well-informed purchasing decisions.

Is it advisable for new affiliate marketers to start with topics they are passionate about?

Ideally, I'd encourage new affiliate marketers to pursue areas they're genuinely interested in, fostering an environment where independent creators can excel in their niches. Nevertheless, the stark reality is that Google's algorithms don't necessarily prioritise or distinguish between high-quality, authentic reviews and those lacking in genuine product testing. Creating excellent content does not guarantee visibility or success in the current digital landscape, although it can serve as a solid foundation for community building. Despite this, developing a multifaceted brand presence across various channels could enhance organic visibility indirectly through social and brand signals. While I wish the scenario were different, especially for reviews, it's clear that the current state of affairs rewards those who can navigate the intricacies of Google's ranking mechanisms, regardless of their expertise or authenticity in a given niche.

How significant are links compared to content?

My experience with high-domain-rating (DR) sites that focus on authentic brand-building and genuine reviews, despite significant investment, suggests that links remain critically important. High DR sites, particularly those exceeding DR 70, appear to enjoy a marked advantage, indicating that at a certain threshold, links become a crucial determinant of a site's authority and ranking potential. However, this advantage seems less pronounced at mid-range DR levels, where quality content and brand-building efforts do not necessarily translate to improved rankings. This dichotomy highlights that while links are not the sole factor influencing rankings, their importance escalates substantially for sites achieving exceptionally high authority levels. Thus, for those aiming to build a robust online presence, prioritising a strategic link-building approach alongside quality content creation is essential.

What type of links should affiliate marketers focus on building?

The longevity of your site's ranking hinges on the quality and strategy behind your link-building efforts. For those committed to establishing a credible brand, prioritising links from traffic-bearing posts with substantial internal linking is key. These should be complemented by digital PR efforts that not only enhance your site's foundational link profile but also protect against potential penalties associated with more aggressive link-building tactics. Innovative strategies, such as leveraging quotes from your authors in link insertions on relevant pages, can subtly enhance your site's authority and relevance. While quick-win approaches exist, they often carry significant risks and are not conducive to long-term brand building. Thus, a balanced approach that incorporates both defensive and strategic link-building tactics is advisable for those looking to establish a durable online presence.

What are your key learnings in the affiliate and SaaS marketing sectors?

My key takeaways are centred around the importance of focus and the judicious allocation of resources. In the era of AI and digital proliferation, the temptation to juggle numerous projects is stronger than ever. However, spreading oneself too thin often results in mediocrity across the board rather than excellence in a singular focus. The lesson here is to concentrate one's efforts on a niche or project where they can outperform the competition significantly and thus command a premium in the market. Furthermore, the rapid changes in SEO since September have rendered many traditional strategies obsolete, highlighting the need for adaptability and a results-driven approach. This shift necessitates a more ruthless efficiency, prioritising actions that directly contribute to desired outcomes over those that adhere to personal philosophies of content creation. Lastly, the experience underscores the reality that success in these fields often demands a willingness to pivot strategies based on what is demonstrably effective rather than what ideally should be.

What level of investment is advisable for affiliate marketers before seeing a return?

Determining the exact investment necessary before an affiliate site turns profitable is complex and varies widely by niche and competitive landscape. However, a case study from attempting to elevate a high DR50 site to compete with the top site in its niche illustrates the scale of investment that might be needed. Estimations suggest an investment close to £200,000 in link-building alone to match the authority and reach of the leading site. This does not account for additional expenses related to content creation, multi-channel marketing, and product development. Such a figure underscores the competitive intensity of ranking at the top of Google's SERPs and the substantial resources required to achieve and maintain a leading position. It emphasises the importance of strategic planning and resource allocation in the quest to become the dominant brand within a niche.

Why should the SEO community pay attention to insights from affiliate marketers?

Affiliate marketers, particularly those engaged in content site development, offer invaluable perspectives on navigating the complexities of Google's algorithm and achieving visibility in highly competitive niches. Their hands-on experience with ranking strategies, content optimization, and adaptive marketing techniques provides a rich source of knowledge that can benefit the wider SEO community. The perceived divide between agency professionals and affiliate marketers often leads to missed opportunities for collaboration and learning. Both groups possess unique strengths: strategic insight and creative execution from agencies, and tactical, algorithm-savvy approaches from affiliate marketers. Bridging this gap can foster mutual understanding and enhance the overall effectiveness of SEO practices, encouraging a more holistic approach to digital marketing challenges.

bottom of page