Sun 16 Dec 2012
Posted by tel under Affiliate Marketing
The days of writing short reviews of affiliate products and then blasting them with links to get them ranked in the main search engine (Google) for any kind of long term money making have been over for quite some time. Sure you can still do it using churn and burn tactics for some short term gains, but if you manage to rank a page or a thin site, you can bet it won’t last.
Google are all out to kill any small affiliate marketers who use their own self hosted domains. They don’t want you making money off their search index if you’re not giving them any!
That’s why you see a lot of adsense sites dominating the serps for a lot of the search terms that used to be dominated by affiliate sites. That’s also why you see a lot of the same old faces dominating many terms – webmd.com in first place for just about every health keyword worth ranking for example.
You see Amazon in first place for just about every buying keyword you can imagine, with a few other big name stores (Wal-Mart, eBay etc) behind them effectively squeezing out smaller affiliate sites that used to clean up. That even goes for a lot of the long tails that “bum marketers” used to target as being “low hanging fruit”.
How to Get Past this Wall of Stone?
If you are trying to get past this virtually unassailable barrier with your own site, no matter how great it is and how much time you put into it, if it has affiliate links in product reviews, you are working against the flow. And it’s a pretty damn strong flow.
I’m going to put to you an idea that a few years ago would have been laughed off the stage.
Take all the affiliate links off your site and concentrate on making it great in the eyes of Google and for real visitors. Stop writing articles that hint at answering a question but that don’t really answer it (how we used to write articles for adsense) and answer the damn questions! And answer them well – better than anyone else has answered them.
That will help your site rank better and attract more traffic. “But it won’t make any money if its not monetized!” I hear you scream.
True, it won’t make a dime. But look at it this way. If you kept the affiliate links on there, it wouldn’t rank and you wouldn’t get the traffic so it wouldn’t make a dime either!
Sure, you can get trickle traffic from Bing and Yahoo and maybe from the lower places you might be lucky enough to occupy in Google’s holy tome. And you might make a few sales here and there. But you won’t make anything like what you could (and should) be making if you had one of those coveted top spots for keywords that convert into $$.
Using Your Site
But if you turn your site into an authority on its subject, what you can use it for is links.
Use something else for hosting your affiliate links and then link your relevant review article on your main site to these external pages. They can be web 2.0 properties or self hosted domains of your own that you don’t care if they don’t rank for anything.
Yep, you’ll lose some sales that way, but you’ll also gain some you wouldn’t have otherwise attracted. The trick is to move the pages that Google hates (the ones with those nasty affiliate banners) off your main, squeaky clean site and onto someplace else. You then divert your traffic to the external sales page via a link that perhaps continues your excellent review with a hook that’ll make most visitors want to click thorough to see what else you have to say on the subject.
Like a clever CTA (Call to Action) that uses the same trick a TV show uses to get you to tune in to the next episode.
Using Web 2.0
You can build some Squidoo lenses and put as many affiliate banners on them as you like. Those buggers rank just fine and with a few authority links, they rank very well. Some other web 2.0 properties also rank ok if you link them, like tumblr, weebly etc, You can put your banners on then and they will rank better than your own site because they have massive site authority that you probably don’t have.
So there it is. How to keep making affiliate sales in the current climate of anti-affiliate measures by Google designed to stop you ranking your own sites to sell stuff that you keep all the commission and don’t give any to the greedy!