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Google Signals: What Matters for Affiliates?

19 October 2011 BY

Next we have a host of well-known names talking on what really matter for affiliates when it comes to Google signals…

  • Will Critchlow, Distilled
  • Razvan Gavrilas, cognitiveSEO
  • David Naylor, Bronco
  • Marcus Tandler, Tandler.Doerje.Partner

First up is Dave.. So Panda. What happened? Panda hit sites with weak content pages, that had links from sites that got hit, were over affiliated or generally had poor user experience. So what if Dave were building a site today… In short:

  • Good brandable domain with equity
  • Build a clean site that will allow me to build authority
  • Good structure, well SEO’d, unique content
  • No monetisation intially

The initial focus is all about content, structure, what fits where and good solid information.  The next step is all about content.

  • Extensive keyword research
  • Get into Google News – scrape the content, be ready to have content going up 24/7.
  • Set up triggers for topical articles to be written and published quickly.
  • Pick social circles carefully, think about niches
  • Use brand only link building – look at how newspapers and real people actually link. Stop thinking like an SEO.
  • Run with this until around 20,000 visitors per day

Then finally, when all the set up is ready to go:

  • Continue to engage with social media
  • Really push the big traffic terms with on and off page SEO.
  • Build more authority through link building but let the content do the ranking.  If you focus on links alone, it will hurt at some point.

What is the future? Google profiling? Or should I say Google Profiling!! They know us, they can see us, they are watching us.

Now up is Marcus..

First message: It’s all about the brand.  It’s not that Google hate affiliates, but they aren’t exactly keen on sites that don’t add anything to the SERPs. Consider for example the backlink profile of a brand’s website – the vast majority of the links will contain the brand. Compare that to an affiliate’s website and the vast majority will be commercial keyword anchor text.

The more people search for a specific keyword, the more attention it will get from Google’s Engineers. Links are only one of the methods Google can use to determine if your site is a brand. Become a brand (or at least look like one!).

Moving onto Razvan now who initally runs through exactly what Panda focused on and moved onto a quick list of Don’t Do’s that would be wise to follow as an affiliate:

  • Don’t use too many ads
  • Don’t use duplicate content
  • Don’t replicate product feeds
  • Don’t use cheap content
  • Don’t auto generate content on a mass scale
  • Don’t redirect
  • Don’t think short term

And of course no don’t do list would be complete unless it was swiftly followed by a Do Do list so of course, here we go:

  • Do write good and shareable content
  • Write original prooduct descriptions (at least for best sellers)
  • Make your content easy to share (include widgets)
  • Provide additional content to improve user experience
  • Make a brand out of our site.

Are you following a theme here? Starts with BR, ends with AND.

And finally up, we have Will whose first focus is the idea of the Black Box algorithm. Panda was the first time Google tried out an extension of  machine controlled algorithms rather than editorial decisions.

Machines are therefore looking for correlations with user happiness, they don’t necessarily find sites that truly create user happiness. Consider your biggest competitor – what do they have? Brand advertising and deep pockets for marketing. They do everything at once, not a little here and there. People prefer to do business with brands that they know, like and trust.

This is what people are trying to find. However the robot simply finds ‘no holds barred marketing” as this directly correlates with user happiness. On the current web, robots will simply see that no holds barred marketing = user happiness. There is a risk that machines will see that dodgy tactics create good signals.

Will’s prediction: The next version of machine learning/Panda will be link related. It will be article marketing. Why? It’s easy to detect , and is a demonstration of classic poor link building.

We wait with bated breath to see…

Image from Deviantart.

The coverage of A4U Expo on State of Search in part made possible by a sponsoring from Majestic SEO who have the largest Link Intelligence database in Search. To get your free trial, give a card to this blogger or Bas van den Beld in person at the conference or drop us an e-mail.

AUTHORED BY:
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Originally from the UK via France and Malaysia, Annabel Hodges is a digital marketer with long experience in the industry now residing in Sydney. She heads up the Digital Marketing at Next Commerce, working across an array of products, channels and brands.
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