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  1. #1
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    Getting away from "thin" affiliate sites
    Hi all,

    I recently discovered that my site had dropped quite a bit in rankings and was not sure why. When I talked to the people at the Google forum, they mentioned that my site was nothing more than a thin affiliate site. I didn't realize that Google penalized you on this and have decided to take a different approach and make my site better. I do have some questions though about what I should do to get my site back on track:

    1 - I use Wordpress so should I delete all of my "thin" affiliate marketing posts and write new ones. Or would it be better to leave them in (to avoid getting not found errors from Google) and just create better posts from here on in.

    2 - One complaint the users on Google has was that I was using many of the same item descriptions on my site. With that being said if I want to promote a product, would the product image, and product title be considered as duplicate information if I place them on my site? For instance, lets say the product I wanted to promote had a title on the producers site of "ACB123". Would it be best for me to remove that title from my promotion of the product as well?

    I hope people can consider this a post as an attempt for me to become a more successful affiliate marketer. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager BlogBonnieBlog's Avatar
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    I think if you do a few google searches you could find lots of info on duplicate content issues and help on that.

    Content content content is what google loves. You didn't say what your site did, but do people have a reason to come to your site, or are you only pushing them from say, a ppc ad to your site to resend them to the merchant site. Does a person have a reason to come hang out on your site everyday and refer friends and family because of great articles you're writing. What is YOUR value to the internet world? From what I understand, google is getting pickier because people are often looking for answers and if all you are is redirecting them to "the answers" then google will just save the searcher a step and rank "the answer" higher, thus skipping you.

    hope that makes sense.

  3. #3
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Google does not penalize affiliate sites.

    Thin sites effectively penalize themselves though, by virtue of the fact that they have little or no unique content to set themselves apart from and rise above a gazillion other "thin" sites.
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  4. #4
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    Sorry, I should explain that I do understand why my rankings dropped and why my site is considered as a thin affiliate site. I know I have to fix it and that google does not penalize affiliate site. The purpose of my post is to try and determine a few confusing points that would better help me become a good affiliate marketer.

    My guess is that it would be best to remove my current posts that serve not much other purpose than re-direction. Should I just delete them completley?

    As for the product title, i've tried searching Google, but have not come across the specific thing I am looking for. I realize that duplicate content is bad. If I add the product description to my website that is not good. But i'm wondering if a simple product title would cause problems?

    Let's say I go to BestBuy and see a list of GPS devices. One of them in the list is "Garmin - nüvi 255W GPS". If I were promoting GPS devices, and wanted my user to goto this item, would using a title of "Garmin - nüvi 255W GPS" on my site be considered duplicate content?

    Hope that makes sense!

    Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by adammo
    Let's say I go to BestBuy and see a list of GPS devices. One of them in the list is "Garmin - nüvi 255W GPS". If I were promoting GPS devices, and wanted my user to goto this item, would using a title of "Garmin - nüvi 255W GPS" on my site be considered duplicate content?

    Hope that makes sense!

    Thanks!
    If you take out the description, what are you left with? You should use the title, or else how is anyone going to know what you are promoting?

    Write your own description for each product that you display

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julian
    If you take out the description, what are you left with? You should use the title, or else how is anyone going to know what you are promoting?

    Write your own description for each product that you display
    Perfect, I was hoping that would be ok. So essentially, I can keep the same product title, but need to find a way to write a post surrounding the topic of interest?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by adammo
    Perfect, I was hoping that would be ok. So essentially, I can keep the same product title, but need to find a way to write a post surrounding the topic of interest?
    Exactly, you got it!

  8. #8
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Don't delete your posts, embellish them. A blog can add strong links to a site but if you site looks like a single page then it does little to create backlinks to itself.

    Try a tool like this to analyze the top sites in your niche and then compare it to your sites numbers: http://www.linkdiagnosis.com/

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador beachcom's Avatar
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    All excellent suggestions. Work with what you have and make it better.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Don't delete your posts, embellish them. A blog can add strong links to a site but if you site looks like a single page then it does little to create backlinks to itself.

    Try a tool like this to analyze the top sites in your niche and then compare it to your sites numbers: http://www.linkdiagnosis.com/
    Thanks for the suggestion! My thought was that if Google already considers my posts as being "thin" that they would not come back to the posts. Is that not the case?

    Thanks for your help!

  11. #11
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    Last question, so that I can hopefully graduate from affiliate marketing dummy to affiliate marketing novice .

    I enjoy sports, especially hockey and would enjoy promoting products like jerseys. Before making this thread I would have simply took the product descriptions, made a post with my keyword in the title and in the post and be done with it.

    Now, I want to take a better approach but am having trouble figuring out a way that will make my users happy and satisfy the Google requirements. If I discuss all of the features within a jersey, I am bound to be repeating things. Would creating a Wordpress post with my keywords in the title, followed by a team history (Championships, Famous Players, Jersey History - Home/Away, etc) be a good way to provide users with useful info while still being able to be picked up by Google and promote products?

    Thanks!

  12. #12
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adammo View Post
    Now, I want to take a better approach but am having trouble figuring out a way that will make my users happy and satisfy the Google requirements. If I discuss all of the features within a jersey, I am bound to be repeating things. Would creating a Wordpress post with my keywords in the title, followed by a team history (Championships, Famous Players, Jersey History - Home/Away, etc) be a good way to provide users with useful info while still being able to be picked up by Google and promote products?
    Why on earth would users want to read a discussion about the features of a jersey? Start a discussion on your blog about a team, game or player. Keep it current and add your honest opinions about the subject. Invite your readers to reply and add their views. You can include a link to a jersey for the team/player in your post without it looking like an obvious attempt to sell.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    Why on earth would users want to read a discussion about the features of a jersey? Start a discussion on your blog about a team, game or player. Keep it current and add your honest opinions about the subject. Invite your readers to reply and add their views. You can include a link to a jersey for the team/player in your post without it looking like an obvious attempt to sell.

    -rematt
    Ya that is what I was trying to get at . The old me (of 2 days ago) thought the best approach was to just place the features on a website and provide links to buy it. I was thinking providing team information would be useful to readers.

    Thanks!

  14. #14
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I agree with Rematt, look up anchor text and use that technique with you content. Become a reader of Matt Cutt's blog: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/type/googleseo/

    SEO takes time to learn. I know affiliates who build a page today and don't expect it to turn a sale for a year. Its all about building content, getting it indexed, ranked and receiving traffic.

    Have you searched in Google for specific product keywords to see how those pages are created?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Have you searched in Google for specific product keywords to see how those pages are created?
    Could you elaborate on this question please? Do you mean have I looked how other web sites are getting indexed using the keywords I researched?

    Thanks!

  16. #16
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adammo View Post
    The old me (of 2 days ago) thought the best approach was to just place the features on a website and provide links to buy it. I was thinking providing team information would be useful to readers.
    Keep thinking as a reader and try to imagine what would keep you coming back to your site. If you create posts with the intention of "selling" something, you probably won't. But if you create your posts with the intent of providing a fresh look at an issue with some "interesting product links" you'll get much better traction.

    It's also OK to have a discussion about a product if you happen to run across a "unique" or interesting product that you think your readers would also be interested in. Just remember to talk about what makes it interesting and relevant.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  17. #17
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    rematt and I are on the same page. Have been a long term fan of Jill Whalen and her approach to optimizing pages to be found in search: http://www.highrankings.com/

    She uses the same philosophy that you write for the reader.

  18. #18
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    Thanks again to you both. Looking forward to the website renovations .

    I did some keyword searching I came accross this site: ( Removed Link To Affiliate Site - Cannot List Other People's Affiliate Sites Here ) . I hope this is no ones sites from around here, but is this considered to be a thin site, or becuase he/she added their own description Google considers it ok?

    thanks!
    Last edited by BurgerBoy; March 11th, 2010 at 01:21 PM. Reason: Removed link to affiliate site.

  19. #19
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Yes the site is thin, one page with links out to affiliate redirects. Check site:domain.com & link:http://domain.com -site:domain.com

  20. #20
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    Thanks Chuck,

    the page in question (sorry for posting the link) was found on Pg 1 of google. I was kind if surprised as I thought google didn't like these sites?

    Thanks!

  21. #21
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    If you run those tests for that site you will see that they have significant backlinks which is a different part of the equation. Google see those as referrers that give the site more authority.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    If you run those tests for that site you will see that they have significant backlinks which is a different part of the equation. Google see those as referrers that give the site more authority.
    Perhaps I used the formulas wrong but when I tried link:http://sitename.com -site:sitename.com, I found 312 results but the first few at least were not displaying any backlinks to the site in question. At least I couldn't figure out where the site was being linked, did I miss something?

    Also you mentioned that backlinks are a different part of the equation. If I run a Wordpress blog and have quite a few posts, would I want to get backlinks to each post, or would backlinks to the main domain suffice?

    Thanks again!

  23. #23
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Was using the toolset for SearchStatus for FireFox. You can try http://www.linkdiagnosis.com/

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Was using the toolset for SearchStatus for FireFox. You can try http://www.linkdiagnosis.com/
    Thanks again for your help. Any idea how various Wordpress posts would work for backlinks? Just wondering if I would only need backlinks to my main domain, or if I should try and attempt backlinks to all of my different posts.

    Thanks!

  25. #25
    Member BeepBeep's Avatar
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    Before you accept, at face value, the wisdom about Google taking issue with the ranking of "thin" sites - be that affiliate OR whatever - do a study of EHow.com.

    Look for recent discussions and reports about EHow's strategy.

    Look who monetizes EHow. (Spoiler Alert! It's Google Adsense)

    Look for EHow's shoddy little "thin articles" about how to . . anything, even fairly complex procedures/processes/decisions.

    Sure, 10,000 websites all hosting the exact same product descriptions makes for problematic search results but so does shoddy, superficial writing of any kind . . and G does not have an issue with that.

    So, thin is in. Duplication is out. Keep your thin site, if that's all your time, talent, and/or resources allows, just hunt for the long-tail of thin . . . like the other content factories.

    And, yes, thin affiliate sites are not going to gain great love or traction or have a vibrant community or be vital, but . . at least for now . . don't forget to ask yourself "How does EHow do it?". How do their thin pages rank . . besides clever crafting of link juice. (Read the articles and other forum posts.)
    I'll get the hang of it eventually. :0)

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