Software Testing in the Affiliate Marketing & SEO industry

Coming from the iGaming industry, my switch to the affiliate marketing and SEO world was quite a significant change. They are two completely different worlds, especially for a QA Engineer, but who doesn’t like a new challenge occasionally? 🙂

How are they so different?

Firstly, an iGaming company would have a range of 1 to 5 products that it would offer to its users. The software tester is usually assigned to 1 (maybe 2) of those products. This will create focus, ownership, and accountability. The QA will know the assigned products inside out, knowing which part of the product could be affected when a new feature is developed, which test cases to automate and include in smoke tests, and also have a feel of how users interact with the product on a daily basis. Every product is different and has its unique requirements for testing.

On the other hand, in the affiliate marketing industry, a big company operates hundreds if not thousands of websites. This makes it unfeasible to assign a Software Tester to just 1 or 2 of these sites. Such a challenge led me to adopt a new approach and mindset in my day-to-day testing efforts.

The first thing to keep in mind is that company objectives are entirely different in the two industries. An iGaming company strives for a more loyal and Engaging customer base. A customer switching to another company is very expensive and acquiring new customers is no easy feat. An Affiliate Marketing company’s primary goal is to increase traffic and the number of unique users on a daily basis. Although, I must say that a loyal customer base seems to be gaining vital importance in the industry.

The second main difference to consider is user behaviour. While a sportsbook or casino product aims for its users to use their product for an extended period, an Affiliate site hopes to lead the user to another website/product listed on their page.

So what does an Affiliate marketing company expect from the Software Testing team?

As a QA I’m not expected to find the traditional bugs or point out UX improvements. My primary focus is to guarantee that all our sites are safeguarded and comply with specific SEO and industry standards. Standards will result in users selecting our websites over other millions of affiliate sites out there. There are many online tools available which I use on a daily basis, and the real challenge is to use these tools for thousands of domains.

The following are some of the topics which I encounter on a daily basis:

1. UpTime — Maybe the most crucial of all points. Just imagine a website that has a number one ranking in your google search, only for it to be unavailable. It kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it 🙂 Tool used for Bulk monitoring of websites: Zabbix.

2. Security — Education regarding online security is rising. Such knowledge makes it easy for users to choose one site over another due to security issues. Google has also released a statement concerning SSL Certificates. Such statements highlight the importance of security in a Software Testing role. Tools used for security: NodeJS HTTPS library, and in-house developed tools for vulnerability checks. Checks include outdated plugin and theme versions.

3. Expiring Domains — Just imagine working night and day on a website, getting high traffic and ranking number 1 on Google, only to lose your domain name because you missed a notification. Scary right? The tool used for expiring domains: An in-house developed tool that connects to Registrar API’s and provides domain information.

4. Links — Backlinks, external Links, Internal Links, shall I go on? Links should redirect to the appropriate websites and never return a 404 error. The tool used for Links: An opensource NPM package that crawls sites and searches for any broken links.

And how do I link them all together to test thousands of websites?

Connect everything to Jenkins(except Zabbix) of course. Jenkins will immediately open a Jira ticket in the appropriate project when it encounters a problem. Issues will contain the appropriate title, priority and description. Keeping all websites safeguarded and quality assured.

Want to know more about some of the tools mentioned above? Or perhaps you have any questions regarding anything mentioned above? Leave a comment below.

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