I am sure you know what affiliate marketing is. In short it involves promoting a companies offerings in return for a commission when users complete a specific action or make a purchase.
Many marketers have been able to build successful online businesses and receive healthy commissions from the affiliate marketing business model. I myself own several niche sites that review products in return for a commission.
Google’s recent updates, have however hit many website owners extremely hard and most affiliates are no exception.
It all started in February 2011 with what is now known as the Panda Update.
Panda Update aimed to lower the ranking of low quality websites, sites which Google considered to be built around “thin content”.
What is “thin content”? Quality of website content is quite a subjective matter really, what one person considers to be low quality content another might find really useful.
A general rule of thumb would be to avoid duplicate and ad heavy content. Consider looking at your sites and asking yourself, “would I find this information useful?” If the answer is no and you can find very similar information from other sources, you probably have “thin content”.
After the panda, in April 2012, just as many sites had taken steps to speed up their page load speed, reduced the amount of ads and duplicate content on their websites and had started to recover their rankings.
Penguin and EMD Update
Google released another algorithm update. Originally this update was simply called the web spam update, as I am sure you know it later became known as the Penguin update.
Penguin attacked sites with unnatural link profiles, sites that had been buying links from private blog networks and other bad neighbourhoods.
Has your site recovered from the Google penguin yet? I am sure you are also aware, Google is regularly updating and re-running the Panda and Penguin algorithms.
Google’s latest update, released at the end of last month is the EMD, this update targets exact match domains.
So the question many affiliate marketers are no doubt asking themselves is, “how can we perform SEO and maintain rankings after Google’s recent updates?”
Performing Affiliate SEO from Start to Finish in 2012
1 . Choose your keywords wisely
Make sure you spend some time performing keyword research, try to find high volume low competition keywords before you even purchase a domain name, even after the recent EMD update I would still consider and recommend you look for a domain that contains your main target keyword, not an EMD though.
2 . Consider other search engines
Bing and Yahoo still seem to highly value exact match domains, having a domain name that contains your keywords could work wonders when it comes to Bing and Yahoo SEO.
3 . Add an XML sitemap
Sitemaps help search engine spiders index your websites content both quickly and easily. If you use a content management system like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, there are many plugins or modules that will create a sitemap for your site. If not just do a quick search for “free XML sitemap generator”.
4 . Create a webmaster tools account
5 . Create videos
Creating videos and optimising your YouTube channel will do wonders for website traffic. Google seems to like showing YouTube videos in search results and a good video optimised for your keywords may rank with very little work.
6 . Speed up
Speed up your sites load speed. Again if you use any major CMS their will be at least one plugin for this.
7 . Optimize for conversions
Look to optimise your website for conversions. Try and get the most out of your visitors. Could you make your email subscription form more prevalent and build your mailing list to insulate yourself from any future issues?
8 . Set Authorship
Use the Google rich snippets mark-up. Another big trend at the moment is to include the rich snippets mark-up on your website, this can increase click through rate. Google is hinting that it could be used as a ranking factor in the future.
Have any of your affiliate sites been hit by Google’s recent algorithm updates?