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  1. #1
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    Terminate affiliate programs??
    One of our sites was impacted by the Penguin update. When questioned why, google responded with "no manual spam" actions found and referred me to the Google forum.

    This was one of their suggestions:

    Affiliate programs are big issue because


    A) are often lazy and duplicate your content (tsk, tsk, tsk) rather than generating their own.


    B) The usually have follow links.... which penalize your site for engaging in a paid link scheme. And yes affiliate links are a paid link scheme as the other sites receive compensation in exchange for the link. Nofollowing those links or better yet just cutting off the affiliate program are your only options.


    "or better yet just cutting off the affiliate program"

    Has it come to this?? Is this my best option?? We have over 10 years invested in our affiliate program with some really great affiliates. But it now seems this is considered spam.

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Are you an affiliate or a merchant? You say you have years invested in your program with great affiliates.

  3. #3
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    Both really, but I was referring to our merchant program.

  4. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    nevermind...
    Last edited by Convergence; June 13th, 2012 at 04:07 PM. Reason: brain fart...
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    nevermind...
    That is exactly how I feel about it.

  6. #6
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    If I may ask - what network or platform are you on?

    Just curious if your links provided can encode the rel=nofollow tag before the affiliates get it. We don't put up a link without one - but most affiliates use what is available. Cut and paste.

    Trying to figure out the logic here - really no reason for the Google to penalize a merchant for having affiliates. Most links are a go between and show a 302 redirect with the network being in the middle. No link juice is being passed from the affiliate > network > merchant.

    How are your links constructed?
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  7. #7
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    We are using SAS.

    "rel=nofollow tag before the affiliates get it"

    I checked this and you are correct - most affiliates copy and paste the SAS code, and it does not have the nofollow.

    However, thankfully our top affiliates are using the nofollow.

    another good point that I have not found an answer:

    "No link juice is being passed from the affiliate > network > merchant"

    Exactely, why would google penalize for this anyway?? The response seems to be it is considered a paid link and that is a no-no.

  8. #8
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    Who told you about your A & B statements above? Someone from Google or people just speculating in the Google forum?

    I'm just curious, Google rarely gives you a direct response regarding a website. It's ususally just the generic statements.

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  10. #9
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msladybug View Post
    Who told you about your A & B statements above? Someone from Google or people just speculating in the Google forum?

    I'm just curious, Google rarely gives you a direct response regarding a website. It's ususally just the generic statements.
    The more I read the A & B statements, the more I have to say it's looking like more opinion than fact. The wording doesn't sound like any suggestions the Google would make - more like it's coming from trolls...
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  12. #10
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Paid links - Webmaster Tools Help

    Shareasale's affiliate URLs contain characters that are blocked in their robots.txt file.

    You were given ill advise on A & B.

    Affiliate links were probably not your cause of any drop in the SERPs.

    Affiliates adding rel=nofollow protects them as well as it shows there is no intent. The Google STILL follows the links. rel=nofollow is a misnomer - It means I'm a good guy and I don't try to pass pass link juice...
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  13. #11
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    "I'm just curious, Google rarely gives you a direct response regarding a website. It's ususally just the generic statements."

    Isn't everything about Google "speculating"

    The answer is both. You are correct, Google gave me a crumb (I requested a review), and I am trying hard to figure this out from there.

  14. #12
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    "Shareasale's affiliate URLs contain characters that are blocked in their robots.txt file."

    Great info I was not aware of.

    Question, then why would the top affiliates still be using the nofollow if the issue is already being addressed by SAS??

  15. #13
    ABW Ambassador I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbwtws View Post
    Question, then why would the top affiliates still be using the nofollow if the issue is already being addressed by SAS??
    Good form? Whenever I do web code I try to depend on best practices, without relying on 3rd parties who practices may change without my knowledge.
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  17. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    +1, Matt...
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  18. #15
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    You may want to take a gander at this regarding "manual spam". Basic stuff that has a lot to do with your content...

    Webmaster Guidelines - Webmaster Tools Help
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  19. #16
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    cbwtws - Since your impact from Penguin, have you tried making adjustments to your website SEO to rebound?

    Sorry, without seeing the website in question I would be offering empty advice. I think somewhere on the forum, merchants can request a website review. A mod can probably direct you to that part of the forum. Just remember it's hard not to do it but chasing Google will drive you insane. Good Luck!

  20. #17
    ABW Ambassador I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msladybug View Post
    cbwtws - Since your impact from Penguin, have you tried making adjustments to your website SEO to rebound?

    Sorry, without seeing the website in question I would be offering empty advice. I think somewhere on the forum, merchants can request a website review. A mod can probably direct you to that part of the forum. Just remember it's hard not to do it but chasing Google with drive you insane. Good Luck!
    Take a gander at the homepage if you haven't recently. It actually may be interpreted as having a sense of logical organization now.

    Here's the site review section you referenced:
    http://www.abestweb.com/forums/site-...er-review-146/
    Matt Bidinger
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  22. #18
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    "You may want to take a gander at this regarding "manual spam". Basic stuff that has a lot to do with your content..."

    That has been the real challenge - Google, not the trolls, said they found no spam. We have not errors in webmaster tools, no warnings, no unnatural link warnings. Nothing to sink our teeth in.

    So, I am just blindly seaching.

    "Since your impact from Penguin, have you tried making adjustments to your website SEO to rebound?

    Yes, but again, there were no known issues to begin with, so we have just removed some interlinking between sites and removed all interlinking off the home pages. Not much, but a few. Time will tell.

    I do feel better about our affiliate program. Actually, our affiliate traffic went up as much as our google traffic went down. The graphhs look like an inverse relationship. Strange

  23. #19
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbwtws View Post
    One of our sites was impacted by the Penguin update. When questioned why, google responded with "no manual spam" actions found and referred me to the Google forum.
    What lead you to ask, and what did you ask, and of whom?
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  24. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbwtws View Post
    Yes, but again, there were no known issues to begin with, so we have just removed some interlinking between sites and removed all interlinking off the home pages. Not much, but a few. Time will tell.
    May not be the case but you might want to look at the actual content on your website and not just the linking factor. Your content may not be strong enough to beat out your competitors or your affiliates. Revising some of it may help, you might test that on a few of your pages.

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  26. #21
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msladybug View Post
    May not be the case but you might want to look at the actual content on your website and not just the linking factor. Your content may not be strong enough to beat out your competitors or your affiliates. Revising some of it may help, you might test that on a few of your pages.
    Correct. It's normal for website owners to say "Hey, I'm not getting the traffic I did before xyz update and I haven't done anything wrong!"

    The case may very well be - others are doing something better. After all, unless you are are in a super small niche with only a handful of competitors you're competing with the world...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  27. #22
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    "What lead you to ask, and what did you ask, and of whom?"

    We saw a large drop in our traffic - graphs. Narrowed it down to goggle. started searching for goggle changes, found out penguin in other forums, read post where to ask for review, sent review request, goggle responded, referred me to goggle forums for additional info, found lots of info there. Most did not apply, as our site has original content, no spam or purchased seo efforts or linking spam ever done. One of the trolls did provide some helpful info. We removed some interlinking.

    **The site is in my "view users home page" in my profile.

    "May not be the case but you might want to look at the actual content on your website and not just the linking factor."

    I used copyscape to look for issues, did not really find much duplicate content out there. I only ever submitted articles to ehow and associated content, but not much - years ago.

  28. #23
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    I should add that the decrease in traffic occurred on April 24 - big drop, the day that penguin was implemented - that is what you were asking, sorry for the long previous answer.

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  30. #24
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbwtws View Post
    I used copyscape to look for issues, did not really find much duplicate content out there. I only ever submitted articles to ehow and associated content, but not much - years ago.
    Took me only about 10 seconds to find multiple websites using your content. Bad thing is - your site is not showing up...

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  31. #25
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    oscarseek is a search engine and the other two sites are ours. One being phased out, but both being the interlinking discussed above. Done correctly with good intent, interlinking is reportedly ok.

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