When it comes to SEO, it's just a matter of building the right type and right amount of backlinks to your site in order to improve that sites ranking in the SERP's. Obviously it's not quite as simple and straight forward as that but that's about it in a nutshell.
But when it comes to Affiliate Marketing, it's a whole different ball game. Because in order to promote and sell the products you're an affiliate for, it might involve advertising such as through Adwords PPC or on other sites, as well as, doing SEO on a site that promotes/sells the products/services that you're actually an affiliate for. Not to mention SMM/SMO which is basically another form of advertising except its free.
That said, being an (and doing) SEO doesn't make you an affiliate marketer. And doing affiliate marketing doesn't always involve doing (or being an) SEO either.
So in effect, can affiliate marketing be compared to SEO? Seeing as even though they are two separate things, they are often intertwined or go hand-in-hand with each other.
Which can be more effective in a shorter time and which has the most pay off over a longer period? Doing affiliate marketing (advertising etc) or doing SEO?
Personally, depending on where I'm promoting my affiliate products I'm an affiliate for, or promoting my affiliate link for somewhere like SEOClerks, I can see results quicker because I can get an ad up much quicker where as with SEO it takes more time, it doesn't happen overnight, but the end results can be better rankings which means more traffic and less money you need to spend on advertising (PPC etc).
What do you think? Which do you prefer to do, SEO or A/M? What are the pros and cons to each as far as you're concerned and which work best in your opinion?