The Affiliate Lab Review From A Verified Buyer
Meet Emery Bowles, Verified Course Buyer
I am a World Traveler and Remote Work expert. I love craft beer, electronics, classic rock and road trips. Read my blog at https://emerybowles.com
I first learned about Matt Diggity and what he's accomplished in the affiliate marketing world through his highly popular YouTube channel (highly recommended!).
What better way to build my own blog than to learn from a master, a guy who's already accomplished what I want to accomplish and then created a comprehensive affiliate marketing course to pass on what he's learned?
No need to twist my arm; I got in - and now I’m writing an in-depth Affiliate lab review to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Key takeaways from my Affiliate Lab review:
- Diggity-sensei knows his stuff. I already knew he had knowledge from his YouTube channel, but after looking at even just a small fraction of the course material (before I even watched any of them!), I'm in AWE about what he knows.
- No matter your experience level, no matter how much success you've had doing affiliate marketing, I guarantee you'll learn something new from this course.
- Be prepared to do a VIOLENT amount of work to implement some of Matt's strategies. This is a deep dive into the depths of SEO, and yes I bolded that on purpose. Some things won't be easy to accomplish, but Matt and his team are with you to show you the way.
Pros & Cons
What Is The Affiliate Lab?
The Affiliate Lab is a series of courses for affiliate marketers who want to learn the ins and outs of SEO and create a serious affiliate marketing business.
It's taught by Matt Diggity, one of the top SEO masters online, and is packed with detailed strategies and techniques to build authority sites and generate profits from affiliate programs.
Some examples of what you'll learn as part of TAL are Onsite SEO and Off-Site SEO, Keyword Research, and how to identify what kind of niche makes a good affiliate site, to name just a few.
The on-demand course is delivered via dozens of videos and accompanying resources in an online membership platform.
Who’s Behind The Affiliate Lab?
Matt Diggity is a household name when it comes to SEO and a successful affiliate marketer. A former electrical engineer, he's been in the business for over 10 years, and his success as an affiliate marketer led to the establishment of diggitymarketing.com, authority.builders, thesearchinitiative.com, and is a founder of the annual Chiang Mai SEO Conference in Thailand.
His experience and expertise have been successfully applied to the Affiliate Lab, which is one of the most comprehensive affiliate SEO courses on the market today.
What Exactly is Included in The Affiliate Lab?
Strictly speaking, TAL isn't just a single course, but a series of courses bundled together each with its own modules.
The primary affiliate lab course module is indeed called "The Affiliate Lab", but that's not all you get.
As of the time I write this article, there are 14 different modules that make up the TAL course. There's also a private Facebook group where members can communicate and ask questions. Matt himself is known to drop in from time to time and add his input.
The format of each course module varies. Some of them are Matt himself speaking to us as a voiceover with graphics in the video to support the talking points, some are other members of Matt's team speaking in a similar fashion, and some are Matt speaking with a colleague in an interview-style format.
Let's take a detailed look at each course module:
The Affiliate Lab
This is the bread and butter module of TAL, and it also has the most content. The Affiliate Lab module mostly deals with onsite and offsite SEO tactics, niche selection, social media, and monetization.
(A quick word on video lengths throughout each module: some of the vids are quite long, with over an hour of running time [although those are uncommon] and some are only a couple minutes long. Chances are you'll watch some of these more than once anyway, which is the whole point of a video series--to have the content always available as a reference.)
Website Flipping Masterclass
Matt is known for creating affiliate websites in a single niche, building it up, and then selling it ("flipping" it) for a profit. If this is also your business model, then it's for you. Matt demonstrated how the sale (the flip) of a niche site can be more profitable than the revenue the site brings in.
It's no secret that Matt has flipped multiple affiliate sites, and there's even a 'leaderboard' of the Six Figure Flipper Club for extra motivation. Entry into that esteemed group has but one membership requirement: one must have sold a web business for at least $100k. Do you have what it takes to join those elites?
A couple of detailed case studies are included in this curriculum, including the sale (flip) of an affiliate site for six figures, and the flip of an e-commerce store for another six figures. Wow.
The Beginner Lab
Beginners, this is your first stop. But before I go further, let me stop and say that if TAL had a glaring weakness, this would be it.
This module includes a basic introduction to what domains are and how to get them, setting up web hosting and WordPress, configuring Google Analytics, and a basic overview of a couple of top SEO tools, AHrefs and SEMrush.
But that's about it.
If I was a COMPLETE noob (which I'm not, but I'm not a grizzled vet either) I'd be scratching my head as to what I should be doing here. There's just so much more that could be here, like picking a WordPress template or which web hosting is best for a noob. Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but I just expect a Beginner module to be a bit more beginner friendly.
No videos here; instead this module includes two downloadable PDF cheat sheets for Onsite SEO Checklist and Offsite SEO Checklist.
Both lists seem rather thin, but it's to be understood that the real meat and potatoes are in the other modules with in-depth videos. Still, they're nice to have and it would be nice to see a dedicated onsite SEO module with more detailed checklists.
The Truth About Penalties
Here Matt tells us about how websites he's worked on, his own sites and his client's sites, were penalized by Google for having toxic links and what was able to be done about them.
Specifically, Matt breaks down how to handle Manual Penalties and Pure Spam Penalties. He also demonstrates how to use disavow tools and other methods for cleaning up bad links.
Here's a module taught by a guest host, specifically Mark Samms from NinjaOutreach.com. Mark explains Outreach Marketing as working with influencers to promote your site or product. Social media email marketing, guest post creation, and using specific tools such as Gmail and NinjaOutreach are covered.
More than just tactics or using tools, this module stresses building relationships with your customers, influencers, and industry leaders to build your brands.
The Affiliate Email Marketing Masterclass
Matt returns to the microphone in the next module on Email Marketing. He stresses how to build marketing funnels via an opt-in email subscriber list, and how email marketing integrates with a holistic marketing plan including website traffic.
He covers what to look for when choosing email software, what kind of autoresponder series to create when getting started, and how to create the actual emails.
The Affiliate Portfolio Playbook
I think this module is misnamed, or at least I thought this module would be about something totally different than what it turned out to be. I thought it would be simply about managing multiple affiliate sites.
How wrong I was. It's about much more than that. I was thinking too small. (I told you this pool was deep.)
This module focuses on outsourcing tasks to other people in order to scale up your business. Matt discusses the gains you'll get when offloading tasks to others, and the difficulties in maintaining a staff.
This is definitely not a module for beginners. One of the first concepts Matt teaches us is how to know when you're ready to outsource. This particular slide caught my attention:
Those are three pretty good indicators. Having hired writers and teachers myself, I know how difficult it can be to get the right people for the job you need done. Get ready for a whole new set of headaches when you begin interviewing and hiring people, so Matt wants you to be damn sure you're ready for it.
I'm glad he pointed this out early and didn't sugarcoat it. Bravo.
Optimize Your Life
This one was another surprise. In it, Matt does not talk about SEO or affiliate marketing or niche sites or anything else he's commonly known for; instead he talks about your health and the concept of "biohacking". Topics such as getting enough sleep and health testing are included.
This is another one of those topics that nobody thinks about until it becomes a raging problem. Managing your business is one thing; managing yourself is another.
It is so easy, TOO easy really, to take on more than you can handle or what you're capable of. The previous module talked about outsourcing those tasks that you're sick of doing or don't do well. But you can't outsource your HEALTH. I'm glad Matt brought up what works for him and I appreciate how he encourages us to find what can work best for us.
Maybe this module and The Affiliate Portfolio Playbook should have been combined. At least they are side by side.
The SEO Testing Guidebook
Some people might make a beeline to this section first. Understandable, given Matt's background and reputation for being an SEO testing guru. But that might lead to some disappointment, as this is probably the shortest module in the entire course and the least valuable, at least for me.
The module focuses solely on doing your own testing for SEO on your sites, but I don't think that's really why people would invest in TAL. For myself, I bought it to see what OTHER testing was done, not so I could do it myself. I'm here for Matt's testing, not my own.
The slides are also quite thin on information compared to the other modules, not really providing a lot of actionable info.
I get why this module is here, and it might do well for some people, but I don't think people are going to take their own website and subject it to a lot of SEO testing, especially (as the module indicates) there's a good chance your tests could result in a DECREASE in traffic.
But hey folks, you do you.
The Content Scaling Playbook
This module could have been combined with The Affiliate Portfolio Playbook, since it deals with hiring writers and good copywriting. Although if it was, that combined module might be the biggest in all of TAL. Maybe it's better that they separated them, but those module names...
Hosted by Kevin Meng, a professional copywriter, The Content Scaling Playbook emphasizes how important it is to create good copy, and lots of it if you're looking to scale up. He stresses how to find the best writers for the content your blog needs, and how to write good content yourself if you're not ready to hire anyone yet. Kevin wants you to know what to look for when you are ready.
This is another module that definitely isn't for beginners, although given all the trouble I've personally had with editing other writer's copy, I did appreciate this slide:
No wonder Matt dedicated an entire module on maintaining your health.
We can make the argument that blogging is a science, not an art. Blogging as a business can be quantified and entire courses are oriented around that concept. But copywriting definitely falls into the art category, and like any form of art, there are some Masters out there.
I'm going to keep coming back to this one. Kevin definitely has something to say.
Topical Authority Masterclass
This authority site module is all about establishing topical authority in order to make successful affiliate websites. Our host for this module is Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR, who is the founder of holisticseo.digital and an expert in SEO case studies.
Personally, I didn't get much out of this one, given how far away I am from achieving topical authority in my niche, but when I'm ready, I'll be back.
301 Redirect Mastery
This module addresses 301 redirects and how to transfer the backlink authority from an old, aged domain to a newer domain. If done properly, traffic from the old domain can be used to give a huge jump start to a new or alternate domain.
This can be a complicated and expensive process, so Matt breaks it down into multiple steps in order to retain "link equity". Matt mentions that these techniques are advanced and should be considered as a last resort, which is why they are included only as a separate module away from the core training.
AI Content Generation Playbook
This is the most recent module to be added to TAL, and thus it has the most recent content. Matt covers how AI writers like Jasper.ai work and how Google feels about them, what AI does and doesn't do well, and using AI content generation at scale. He goes into detail about how to 'train' AI writers and provides case studies from his own experience.
Finally, Matt talks about the implications of using AI writers and how to make sure to keep your content fresh and interesting for your visitors. Overall this module is a great introduction to AI content generation and provides some valuable insights into using AI writers in the long run.
The Affiliate Lab Pricing - Is it Worth The Cost?
Most definitely! There is a lot of value here, no matter if you are a total beginner or a seasoned, bloodied SEO veteran. For a one-time price (no subscriptions or recurring costs), you get the whole package and lifetime updates when new content is added to the course or old content is revised.
There are two pricing options for The Affiliate Lab: a one-time fee of $997, or two payments of $597 (second payment is due 30 days after the first).
Since I bought the course in November 2022, there's already been one addition: the AI Content Generation Module which highlights the new AI writers and how Google feels about them. This is a very fresh take on how Matt uses AI and his vision for its future in affiliate marketing.
My Experience & Results With The Affiliate Lab
When I was first considering buying into a blogging/SEO course, TAL was at the top of my list.
The biggest reason was my familiarity with Matt's teaching style through his YouTube channel. I figured if the course is an expansion of what I've learned from YouTube and provided content not available from there, it would be worthwhile.
I was not disappointed. On the contrary, I still feel overwhelmed at how much this guy knows. Even if I'm not in a position to use a lot of what is taught here, I'm glad to have it as a reference for when I am ready.
Here's the main menu of TAL showing each module:
It’s so long, I had to break it up into separate screenshots. Here’s more:
I've bought other courses before, and I've always felt worried just before buying them, hoping that I'm not wasting my money. I did NOT get that feeling after opening up the course and seeing all the topics that are covered in TAL.
Like I said before, there is a MASSIVE amount of information here, and it will take you a good amount of time to go through it all, never mind putting any of it into use.
Affiliate Lab Vs Blog Growth Engine
I am a paid member of both the Blog Growth Engine and The Affiliate Lab. Both of these courses are designed for the complete neophyte blogger who's never created a blog or written a word, and for the successful affiliate marketer who wants to know what they don't already know.
I do think that BGE is a better fit for the complete beginner blogger. It's more of a look-over-my-shoulder kind of teaching approach. The videos tend to hold your hand a bit more which is great for beginners. You can check out the free Blog Growth Engine masterclass here to get an idea of the teaching style and content you'll learn.
Also, BGE uses the Skool platform which I think is the best courseware out there, and comments from other students are visible for virtually every topic, adding to the value of the content. TAL does not have such a feature, relying on a Facebook group for student communication.
One thing that surprised me about TAL is that there is no dedicated module for backlinking. Especially for beginning bloggers, the two most important things for any new blog to focus on are creating content and creating backlinks for them. Backlinking is included in the Outreach Masterclass, but it's lumped in together with influencer outreach and email outreach.
On the contrary, backlinking is featured prominently in BGE and a generous amount of attention is dedicated to explaining thoroughly what it is, how important it is, and how to do it well.
As a student desperately trying to solve the affiliate marketing business puzzle, I like to think of BGE as my everyday notebook with my own experiences, and TAL as the encyclopedia. BGE has more of an actionable what-can-I-get-done-today approach, while TAL is better for understanding WHY you're doing what you're doing.
Affiliate Lab Alternatives - How Does Matt’s Course Stack Up?
From Authority Hacker Pro, to The Authority Site System, we’ve reviewed all the top affiliate courses online.
Or, check out our detailed breakdown of the best affiliate marketing courses for 2023.
Here are the three closest alternatives to The Affiliate Lab that we've reviewed:
Blog Growth Engine
Overall Rating: 5/5
Adam Enfroy's course will help you go from zero to blogging hero in no time with proven strategies to scale and monetize a brand new blog.
The Affiliate Lab
Overall Rating: 5/5
Learn the fundamentals of Affiliate SEO and authority sites from Matt Diggity, one of the foremost authority site builders in the industry.
The Authority Site System
Overall Rating: 5/5
TASS by Authority Hackers is without a doubt one of the best blogging courses out there. Start and scale an authority site into the $1k - $5K range.
The Affiliate Lab Online Reviews & Ratings
Are there verified results from actual students of these teachings? You bet.
On the main landing page that promotes TAL, there is a large section dedicated to user testimonials. Many of these include screenshots of traffic results gained after following the teachings within TAL.
And these results are impressive indeed. If I can get even a fraction of what these guys have achieved, I'll be quite happy.
Sure. But is it the BEST course for a complete beginner? Not sure.
I've seen other affiliate marketing courses that have specific lists of tools to get, certain ways of configuring and using them, even sample budgets of what you can expect to pay to get set up.
There's not much of that here. For someone with zero experience blogging, affiliate marketing, or SEO, they would be in for a steep learning curve if this was the only course they bought into
Yes, and the course attempts to quantify how to do it with some simple formulas. Matt gives us a Niche Grading tool and walks us through how to use it in order to identify if a niche is worth pursuing.
No, not that I am aware of. I do know that there is a no-refunds policy. Make sure this course is the right fit for you before you buy in.
Matt's course clearly states that all information in TAL is relevant regardless of when a particular video was made. "If it's in the course, it's still relevant". This implies that the course modules are constantly checked for relevancy, and removed or augmented when new information comes to light.
Yes, you can get $200 off the price of the Affiliate Lab when you use our special link to sign up. Get your discount here.
Verdict: Is Affiliate Lab Still Relevant in 2023?
So is the Affiliate Lab legit and still relevant for 2023 and beyond?
YES! For sheer comprehensiveness and breadth of topics, TAL is a great value. It's not perfect, and by that I mean it could be improved in some areas (but what course IS perfect?) but there's definitely something for everyone here, and it's obvious that a lot of time and care went into its development.
Relevance implies that the content will (or won't) retain its value over time. I don't think that will be an issue here. Matt Diggity has been a powerful and influential force in the SEO and Affiliate Marketing world for years, and I don't see him letting this course wither away into irrelevance, not with his name attached to it.
It's a great investment for those looking to learn about affiliate marketing and blogging, regardless of experience level. If you want to learn more about search engine optimization even if you don't have an affiliate business yet or are just starting out, TAL has value for you.
However, I think this course is best suited to folks who already have some experience building niche and authority sites and either want to take them to the next level or have problems with their sites and need troubleshooting. If this describes you, then do not hesitate. Run (do not walk) and get this course!