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  1. #1
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Affiliate Programs and Added Value
    Had this passed along by the iNet SEO guy and thought we would start up this conversation again.

    Our quality guidelines warn against running a site with thin or scraped content without adding substantial added value to the user. Recently, we’ve seen this behavior on many video sites, particularly in the adult industry, but also elsewhere. These sites display content provided by an affiliate program—the same content that is available across hundreds or even thousands of other sites.

    If your site syndicates content that’s available elsewhere, a good question to ask is: “Does this site provide significant added benefits that would make a user want to visit this site in search results instead of the original source of the content?” If the answer is “No,” the site may frustrate searchers and violate our quality guidelines. As with any violation of our quality guidelines, we may take action, including removal from our index, in order to maintain the quality of our users’ search results. If you have any questions about our guidelines, you can ask them in our Webmaster Help Forum. Article here:
    Is everything that Google says to be taken as propaganda?

    I think the first comment is worth noting:
    I would hope Google is smart enough to recognize the value that "collections" bring. A site like Amazon will have millions of products to sift through, yet affiliates will often create a niche-specific site showcasing specific products (and doing so using their affiliate link for purchase). For example you can find thousands of solar products on Amazon, and tons are crap or generic/white label. If an affiliate takes the time to pick out a few hundred that are decent and creates an "affiliate store" (essentially taking the photos, descriptions, etc. directly from Amazon, then using their affiliate link to lead to Amazon's cart) there is tremendous value for the user there. By finding that affiliate store, thin "original" content or not, the fact that it cut out a ton of clutter and only showed me a limited selection is potentially a good thing. But from what you're saying here, that site wouldn't be included in the index because you would rather just send the visitor to Amazon? That doesn't make any sense.

  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Great timing - was going to post this in the "Is SEO Dead" thread, but this is more appropriate.

    What is "Unique/Good Content"?

    What is "Added Value"?

    Your second quote above I agree with. To answer my own questions: Only the visitors to your site can answer them. Not every visitor wants to read a review. Not every visitor wants to read a tome. Sometimes they just want to compare prices. Sometimes they just want an uncluttered selection. Sometimes they just want a coupon, etc.

    Thoughts?...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  3. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Affiliates with the exception of shopping feed sites (CPM) are unique in the ability to create price comparison sites. In doing so they are using the datafeed information that should be exactly what is represented on the product page. That is thin content but offers the consumer unique and specific information not available on a merchant site. In that vein I would expect that G would index it for the consumer. Have you taken significant hits in the SERPs on your sites?

  4. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Have you taken significant hits in the SERPs on your sites?
    Took hits in 2012 and again in the 3rd quarter of 2013. However, seems to have rebounded since November. January numbers are near Decembers (However, the last few days have been really slow).

    It's about building to your target base and marketing outside of the Google. Treat traffic from the Google as a "bonus", if you will. Lot less stressful...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  6. #5
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Affiliates with the exception of shopping feed sites (CPM) are unique in the ability to create price comparison sites. In doing so they are using the datafeed information that should be exactly what is represented on the product page. That is thin content but offers the consumer unique and specific information not available on a merchant site. In that vein I would expect that G would index it for the consumer.
    We do have the ability to modify product descriptions, not always identical. Yes, also the ability to add additional information not offered by a specific merchant but often times a merge of information specific to that product. Also, the ability to offer reviews, coupons applied to prices, and more...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  8. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    That to me is a value add.

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  10. #7
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    You guys must be happy, where Google has "only" a market share from around 67% (?). In my country it's about 95% !
    Nevertheless : Google want's to see a price comparison, or a wide review wich cost about 6 month's to arrange.
    So I work with at least 6 network-companies and at least 20 smaller webshops per branche, compared to Amazon.
    And that is often not enough, because there are too much affiliate/publishers related to the number of buying people. ;-)

    Oh yeah, did I mention, some small webshops have in the background the same owner ? :-)

  11. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Question ?
    I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're trying to say...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  12. #9
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Did Google / Cutts really change anything?

    They've pretty much been saying the same thing for the past ten years. The only thing that changes is their algorithm (a measuring instrument for what they've said they are going to do).

    Perhaps this would be a good time to remind people:

    -Don't rely on SEO on Google for your revenue.
    -Google will probably make a change that will have a negative effect on you at some point.
    -You can't say you weren't warned.
    -News Flash: Google prefers big brands, well-known sites, and sites with a lot of good content.
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

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  14. #10
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt McWilliams View Post
    -News Flash: Google prefers big brands, well-known sites, and sites with a lot of good content.
    Care to share what you consider "good content"?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  15. #11
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Care to share what you consider "good content"?
    I think we agree that it's a broad net. In other words, we all know bad content. We're not nitpicking over rather "Viagra more sex today is good" is good or bad.

    Beyond that, you know when you see it. It's keyword rich by design, not through random insertion of keywords, it links in, it links out, and it makes sense about a topic.

    That being said, if you write something awesome and no one shares it on social media, no links to it, and it's one of 8 pages on your entire site, it's probably not going to go very far.
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  16. #12
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    So your definition of "content" is words written by the webmaster - and that price comparison sites are not content?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  17. #13
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    So your definition of "content" is words written by the webmaster - and that price comparison sites are not content?
    Not as a generality. But the answer is "it depends."
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  18. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  19. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    News Flash: Google prefers big brands, well-known sites, and sites with a lot of good content.
    Who spend a lot of money on advertising versus affiliate sites that spend nothing!

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  21. #16
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I think Goog.... in wrong... on so many levels

    Matt is correct that G prefers the big places like Amazon. In the gift niche, no matter what I search for, the top 3 results are basically always Amazon and 2 other biggies.

    What's wrong with that is that the Internet isn't supposed to be TV, which is dominated by the big players like McDonalds. It was supposed to be a level playing field, so that "Joe's Burgers" was the equal of the Golden Arches.

    As already stated, an affiliate can put all of Amazon's penny loafer shoes onto a website, along with penny loafers from all the other shoe merchants, create a one-stop shop for penny loafers... and Goog would consider that thin and available elsewhere

    And ooodles of fresh content????

    That forces people to write tons of worthless babble on the Sperri Docksider shoes I'm searching for. I just need to know they're brown, real leather and hopefully on sale. I don't want a blogger to give me 2 pages of "content" on everywhere I can wear these shoes.

    And Goog wants all our sites to have social shares for FB, Twitter, etc.

    Seriously, does anyone enjoy reading comments from the masses? By the 3rd response, people have resorted to 4-letter words, blaming Republicans and somehow bringing in Justen beiber into the mix.

    The Internet that Goog wants (and forces us to build to) is not what I enjoy doing.

    All My Best,
    Billy Kay


  22. #17
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    +1

    Get out of my head, BK...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  23. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're trying to say...
    quote: Affiliate Programs and Added Value

    quote: If an affiliate takes the time to pick out a few hundred that are decent and creates an "affiliate store" (essentially taking the photos, descriptions, etc. directly from Amazon, then using their affiliate link to lead to Amazon's cart) there is tremendous value for the user there.

    although I basicly agree to that,

    quote: Yes, also the ability to add additional information not offered by a specific merchant but often times a merge of information specific to that product. Also, the ability to offer reviews, coupons applied to prices, and more...

    quote : That to me is a value add.

    imho not in the line of Google.
    If Google recognize the url of Amazon ( no matter it's one or 20 url's ) , ok, let's take the short way and passes your website, running directly to Amazon or Google Shopping (because of the ppc from Amazon).


    my quote: So I work with at least 6 network-companies and at least 20 smaller webshops per branche, compared to Amazon.

    What Amazon is not : pricecomparison against itself
    what Amazon is not : pricecomparison against others

    what google wants : show the visitor the lowest price next to 'some' review, quality score and - if possible - social network comments.

    Solution :

    [1] split Amazon into more than one webshop so you will have more/other url's, or work with a lot of smaller webshops other than Amazon

    [2] try to make a comparison, not used by other afilliates

    [3] try to combine it with a review
    [2] and [3] mostly not possible with standard affiliate-software.

    Don't forget those people using Chrome : they deliver for us unvisible behavior (reject / bounce ), = important information to Google.

    ............................................................................
    and yes, this is translated with Google

  24. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Kay View Post
    The Internet that Goog wants (and forces us to build to) is not what I enjoy doing.
    I strongly agree to that.

    "small problem" added by Google since 'hummingbird' and before:

    Google is replacing the search keywords / keyword string in a way , Google predicts what the user intends.

    We have to predict one mile further.

  25. #20
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Who spend a lot of money on advertising versus affiliate sites that spend nothing!
    As well they should.

    Advertising = recognition.

    Recognition = warm fuzzies when I search.

    ConsumerReports.com > really-cool-gadgets-for-home.net (extreme example)

    Thus a well-written article by Consumer Reports (recognized) will naturally generate 250X the links as the affiliate site, no matter how hard the affiliate tries. Google should and will rank it higher.
    Matt McWilliams
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  26. #21
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Kay View Post
    I think Goog.... in wrong... on so many levels

    The Internet that Goog wants (and forces us to build to) ihttp://www.abestweb.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=1172363s not what I enjoy doing.
    Amen, Billy. Yep, the "worthless babble" the G thinks everyone is looking for. Oy. +1

    Speaking of which, the only social button The G truly cares about is their +1 button, which of course, no shopper uses (or rarely, if it's a cool gadget). And yes, we must use +1 because Google told us it is good for us.

    Remember, don't put ads/banners above the fold (except Adsense). Of course, Google places ads top + right side. All that is left is to replace every other business on the face of the earth with G properties or those that pay G.

    Oh, that already happened.

    So just waiting for them to create a left column of sponsored ads. Oops, don't want to give them any ideas!
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  27. #22
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Speaking of which, the only social button The G truly cares about is their +1 button, which of course, no shopper uses (or rarely, if it's a cool gadget). And yes, we must use +1 because Google told us it is good for us.
    +1 is such a POS can't believe G made such a lame competitor to Facebook.

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  29. #23
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    +1 is such a POS can't believe G made such a lame competitor to Facebook.
    This was attempt #2 or #3...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  31. #24
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    This is expected but not for the reasons that come to most peoples mind at a macro level. Take ShopStyle.com, 1.5million unique visitors per month with similar number of products and static year on year numbers. Google at an enterprise level sees it as a valid platform due to size, amount of content, authority, platform architecture. Now take a smaller site built on WordPress or another platform and it will not have the same 'enterprise' feel that ShopStyle has so Google will by default lower its rankings. Very niche sites are at the other end of the spectrum for products, then you have the same on the content level (Vogue, NYTimes) and very niche content.

    Previously this could all be minimised by hard work and manual ranking, but that is progressively no longer working, so going forward Google will increase the pressure on 95% middle sites which will push them in two ways, towards enterprise or towards niche.

    Some multi-national consultants designed an architecture which puts a 1million product ShopStyle equivalent site live in 1month based on Magento using a similar hosting cluster to ShopStyle, but scaled. They ranked a test affiliate site within 6wks first page next to Amazon, eBay, Selfridges, Net-A-Porter, Saks with 50% of the pages indexed.

    The reason that Amazon and eBay with zero PR pages can rank first page, it is to do with architecture on the technical side and number of products - quality on the business site. Most smaller businesses do not have access to this so will progressively be pushed down to niche with lower revenues, you can scale up with multiple sites but the resource saturation point is much lower. We get to license some of the technology so have seen it in action, Google thinks the site is multi-national enterprise grade due to the number of products, platform, automated feed loads, data cleansing, high quality platform.

    So their guidance is correct but remember, Google generate 70% of all revenue via Adwords which means they do not want organic ranking except for the enterprise grade or niche sites, it means the other 95% of sites need to pay for advertising, just look at their quarterly revenue stagnating and then release updates lowering ranking. You cannot beat Google, but if you can play on a level playing field by using enterprise or niche, you bypass most of these problems.

  32. #25
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    i prefer actual site visitors rather than Google to judge the site's value.

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