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  1. #1
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    Google top results dominated by physical stores only - few affiliates.
    On Google.....

    Has anyone noticed that many of the top twenty results for products have no affiliate sites listed - only major and regional department stores, Yahoo stores and other online stores with a physical store location. There are very few affiliates, some searches yielded zero affiliates in the top twenty.

    Any thoughts on this? Or is anyone seeing the opposite?

  2. #2
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    What kind of searches are you doing, product searches? If so, then somebody actually selling the product is more relevant than someone linking to someone selling the product.

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    and other online stores with a physical store location.
    What about online stores that are "real" merchants, but who *don't* have any physical location (ie, a storefront that people can walk into)?

    Or did you just mean merchants are showing above affiliates? (Most Yahoo merchants that I know of don't have any offline retail location.) If so, than what Trust said, but only where it applies to what I'm selling as a merchant. For all other products, my affiliate site is most relevant, due to a TwilightZone-like reasoning warp.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    For all other products, my affiliate site is most relevant, due to a TwilightZone-like reasoning warp.
    Hey, mine too. That reasoning warp must have some weird boundaries. String theory and all that...

  5. #5
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    Google seems to be curently gradually updating its database, so I am seeing pages that were very high gradually trickling back up the ratings after they were pushed right down aroun the 20th.

    This is exactly what happened before in February.

    My suspicion that after a major Google update, some information in itds databases gets carried across automatically and some has to get re-built.

    It is possible that the information that gets carried across automatically more often benefits stores with a physical presence than those without.

    Anyhow thats my theory.

    Les

  6. #6
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I agree with Websmith - we've seen this pattern before, especially with Amazon links dominating the SERPs after a major update, but then the affiliates and other merchants start to come back.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  7. #7
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    What's the difference in the kind of inbound links the different types of sites have or can get? ODP isn't exactly clamoring to include hard-core affiliate sites in the directory and a lot of the smaller directories (real and farces) won't include aff sites either.

    I'm thinking TrustRank - having links from trustworthy sources. World of difference in what an actual product site that's good can get.

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I think TrustRank is pure dreaming on the part of content-is-kingers longing for a vestige of their old empire

    Consider this...how does a site get known as "trusted?" By who links in, and how many link in...
    How did Google "used to" rank sites? By who links in, and how many link in...

    Same CD different spin.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
    Devil's Reject Electropulse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kco
    On Google.....

    Has anyone noticed that many of the top twenty results for products have no affiliate sites listed - only major and regional department stores, Yahoo stores and other online stores with a physical store location. There are very few affiliates, some searches yielded zero affiliates in the top twenty.

    Any thoughts on this? Or is anyone seeing the opposite?
    that's the way it should be.

  10. #10
    Member Chocolate_Chicken's Avatar
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    In a perfect world, the results on a search for a product should have the manufacturer on top, major dealers and distributors near the top, and affiliates/garbage clamoring for the crumbs on the curb.

    We've got to be prepared to accept and deal with being relegated to a fringe existence. Face the reality that we are third-tier marketers, as we will always be treated as such. This is our neighborhood. Learn to live in it.

  11. #11
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chocolate_Chicken
    Face the reality that we are third-tier marketers, as we will always be treated as such. This is our neighborhood. Learn to live in it.
    Not so sure about this statement, I have spoken to many merchants that don't have a clue how on how to market to an online audience.

    Yes, that is your neighborhood, and if merchants want to play in it, then they need to pay.....

    or hire someone that knows and that's much more expensive....

    What's the trick?

    Find a merchant that will pay you, have respect for your expertise and won't scr*w you in the process....

    Tough to do because of greed....but they are out there...
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  12. #12
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I can quite a few top positions in my sector... trouble is that it's a blooming CONTENT site, but it shows it can be done with the right site.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    Yes, google has taken away the need for merchants to know SEO. The affiliate used to be able to rank first because they knew SEO.

    So you have 10 merchants selling the same product that come up first and they all have pretty much the same product description. I thought google didn't like duplicate content?

    People looking for more in depth product info will learn to skip over the first page results I guess.

    I started seeing these type of results over a year ago.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I've actually seen an increase in product searches from Google in the past week or so. The site getting the most product traffic is an 8 year old content site with quite a few incoming links. What's nice here is I rank better than the merchant because Google simply finds my pages first. I only focus on a small % of the products and nothing else, so they're much more prominent on my site than the merchant's.

    Jane, as much as duplicate content plays a role, I don't think it's as big as we think. My guess is we started blaming duplicate content as a scapegoat to the real fact of the matter. We just need stronger links. Sites that don't offer some sort of free value to users just won't get linked to like a content site. If everything you offer is for sale, you'll have a hard time getting the incoming links to get on Google's good side.

    I don't blame Google for what they're doing and while I hate to say it, I think it's a good thing. They're making us try harder to add value and really create something special. Google wants to give us traffic, but we need to provide something that nobody else provides. I believe it's most important to become an authority site, first and foremost. This was my original goal coming into affiliate marketing, but the route to easy money detoured me for a while. The easy money was nice while it lasted, but now I'm back to plan A: making a fun, interesting and meaningful internet experience.

    Cheers,
    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  15. #15
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    I'm also seeing Amazon come up first for a lot of product searches, even if when you click on the link it says "this item is no longer stocked."

    Something I just now noticed at Amazon was a promotion for their new A9 search engine, which offers to discount all your amazon purchases if you use A9 regularly. The strange thing is, when I do a search at A9, the results are identical to the search results at google. And the sponsored links are also google ads.

    I'm not current on all the search engine stuff like a lot of people here, but I sure do wonder what the relationship is between Google and Amazon. I mean back when there was the big discussion over the new toolbar additions at Google creating links to Amazon books if an ISBN number is detected on a page, they didn't even offer a choice to use B&N or any other online book retailer, but they offered a choice for which map program you wanted to use. And B&N had to go in and create a link to all their ISBN numbers.

    Just seems strange ...

  16. #16
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    "but I sure do wonder what the relationship is between Google and Amazon."

    "A9.comís Web Search Results are enhanced by Google."

  17. #17
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    My guess is we started blaming duplicate content as a scapegoat to the real fact of the matter. We just need stronger links.~Snib
    *Falls off chair*

    I actually agree!!

    I think that people (ie, affiliates) started doing so well at getting huge amounts of fair/poor links from different C-classes, that G's raised the link bar. I think of it as "link inflation." Now that so many PR1-PR4 links are in circulation, they're nearly worthless...

    (I'll ignore most of that last paragraph of pure Google-kissing I'll just say I don't think it's a good thing at all--no more than monetary inflation is!)
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  18. #18
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    I think that people (ie, affiliates) started doing so well at getting huge amounts of fair/poor links from different C-classes, that G's raised the link bar. I think of it as "link inflation." Now that so many PR1-PR4 links are in circulation, they're nearly worthless...
    Yeah, my gut feeling at the moment is that sites with links from AUTHORITY sites are definitely doing better. Unfortunately, the biggest authority site I can think of is the ODP.. which isn't good news for affiliates.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  19. #19
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamoo
    Yeah, my gut feeling at the moment is that sites with links from AUTHORITY sites are definitely doing better. Unfortunately, the biggest authority site I can think of is the ODP.. which isn't good news for affiliates.
    My site has been listed in the ODP since before I discovered affiliate marketing, when my site was strictly information. It hasn't helped me any. My google ranking as dropped drastically and I can't figure out why. I'll do a search on a three word search phrase, and the first three listings will be the merchants I link to. Then, just to add insult to injury, these are followed by about 20 to 30 irrelevant search results. I mean sites that only have one or two of the three words and nothing about the product in question. Finally down about the the third or fourth page, is my page with all three words in the page title and vivid descriptions of the product on the page.

    I don't understand at all what Google has done. I could understand if the results above mine were on topic, but to move pure junk ahead of my listing?

    All I have to say, is thank goodness for Yahoo! I'm so sick of Google, that I removed the search box that has been at the bottom of my pages for five years and replaced it with Yahoo! I had no idea that Yahoo! also offered a search box with site-search. It took me 15 minutes to figure out where they had buried it, but after I finally found it, I was thrilled. It works like a charm. And the best part. When you do a search of your site, NO ADVERTISEMENTS for other sites to detract your traffic away from your site.

  20. #20
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    My site has been listed in the ODP since before I discovered affiliate marketing, when my site was strictly information. It hasn't helped me any.
    There was a time when the sites I got in there did have a boost from it. But I've watched the "value" of my ODP links degrade to apparently zero over the last couple of years. Now it doesn't seem to help either SERP rank or PR.

    I'm thinking that Google may think a site is more of an "authority" if it doesn't try to cover so many bases as the ODP. For every category, there's a site or 2 that are "THE places" to go--and the ODP isn't it. If you want to know about Subject X, 99.9999% chance you don't say, "I must go to DMOZ and find out..."

    The problem with real authority sites is the same as it's always been: Usually those places don't link out! They're like black holes of linkage; they get lots of links to them but if you look on one (unless it's a forum) there usually aren't outlinks. I don't see any "link exchange page" on Amazon, for instance! Nor do I see pages of outlinks on these merchants who have risen to the top of the engine.

    So the pendulum seems to have swung back to trying to get lots of links in without giving any up.

    Blogs seem to be extremely link-crazy, and get traffic. I was tempted to call them an exception to the rule--but, I don't see many blogs coming up under truly competitive, commercial keywords.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    Link inflation? Is that a nice way of saying link spam? One of my few sites that google still loves has very few links to it but it has been around since 1999. It doesn't have as much content as my sites that have been buried. It is larger than all my other sites. I have several sites listed in ODP and Yahoo directory that google doesn't much care for anymore.

  22. #22
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Is that a nice way of saying link spam?
    Partly (provided you mean, generating zillions of low-quality links to a site for the purpose of attaining high rankings). But I think there's more to it, and that the "more" is a purely natural part of the Internet's growth.

    I don't think this is totally a link-spam thing, because now it seems that everybody and his aunt is able come up with 10,000 legit links with ease.

    For one example, all you have to do to get a lots of links RIGHT NOW is drop your URL into your sig on a forum (that has dynamic sig updating, so all your posts show the new sig when you change it) where you've been a member for a decent amount of time, and presto, you've got 1k, 5k, or more links in an instant (depending on how many posts you have). You don't have to be a spammer to do that--in fact, chances are that most people who do that would just be wanting the members to see their sites! [most people = those not on SEO or on marketing forums. Most forums are not about marketing or SEO, but have more "average" of an audience, that's most likely not going, "here's another 1500 links...".]

    That's just one example. Compound that with other common ways of nonspam site advertising, like writing free articles (with the clause that a link back be given), and it doesn't take much for Average Joe Webmaster to come up with what used to be considered oceans of linkage.

    The thing is, when Google made their first algo, the modern Internet was a lot newer! There simply weren't many people out there who had lots of posts, there weren't as many forums period, there weren't as many sites that ran free articles, etc. Now all of these proliferate--and so do low-level links from and to all of it.

    So, I think there is a genuine inflation principle at work, along with the effects of intentional link spamming. 100 links used to be enough to bolt you to the top. Then it was 1000. Then it was 10,000. As the Net grows, so does the number of links.

    As for link spamming, I think it's lost its effectiveness in part because now, if you "spam" 10,000 links in, you're merely keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak!

    I think that Google is recognizing that the "link currency" has become diluted. It has always been *claimed* that it was a matter of link quality over quantity, but that used to be BS. But now, it seems that they MIGHT finally be working that "quality" factor in. I'm hesitant to say that they "are," for sure, because I've caught them (and the "Google watcher" type people) putting out mis-and-disinformation so much.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    The problem with real authority sites is the same as it's always been: Usually those places don't link out! They're like black holes of linkage; they get lots of links to them but if you look on one (unless it's a forum) there usually aren't outlinks. I don't see any "link exchange page" on Amazon, for instance! Nor do I see pages of outlinks on these merchants who have risen to the top of the engine.

    So the pendulum seems to have swung back to trying to get lots of links in without giving any up.

    Blogs seem to be extremely link-crazy, and get traffic. I was tempted to call them an exception to the rule--but, I don't see many blogs coming up under truly competitive, commercial keywords.
    Now how well do the sites these blogs are linking to rank? Google needs to be following links to survive so if they can't find them in merchant sites, they'll find them elsewhere. I imagine certain blogs have incredible link power. Remember 'miserable failure'? It was popularized by blogs and is still maintained today:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...re&btnG=Search

    Google respects blogs.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  24. #24
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I imagine certain blogs have incredible link power.
    But so do some non-blogs! The basic fundamentals appear to be the same. "Powerhouse" sites get more links in, so when they link out, they have a better chance of influencing the rank of the link's target. I'd expect the same thing to happen whether the site doing the linking was CNN, or some similarly popular blog.

    Remember 'miserable failure'? It was popularized by blogs and is still maintained today:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...ure&btnG=Search

    Google respects blogs.
    Or, would they respect a huge amount of links, all with the same anchor text, from ANY similar number of sites (regardless of their type)? I can't see any real reason that blogs would have any advantage over other kinds of sites, link-wise. The reason that blogs make things like "miserable failure" happen is probably just a function of the number of them that are willing to make an oddball linkage like that.

    Don't get me wrong--I don't think Google disrespects blogs. I just don't think they have *extra* respect for them over other types of sites, when doing a true comparison (same popularity, same amount of links in/out, etc).
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  25. #25
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    Consider this...how does a site get known as "trusted?" By who links in, and how many link in...
    How did Google "used to" rank sites? By who links in, and how many link in...
    I personally think "trustrank" is slwoly being integrated with each new update. Google is slowly identifying it's "authority" sites in each sector (using actual humans no less), and allowing the index to reshuffle each time it has added X amount of new authority "seed" sites.

    Unfortunately, the biggest authority site I can think of is the ODP.. which isn't good news for affiliates.
    I think DMOZ has been discounted considerably. After all, if google is intent on freshness and accuracy, they can hardly rely on a directory that can take literally YEARS for even the best sites to make it in (I personally think they are a bunch of elitist scum -but that's just me).

    Having said that, the roadmap to becoming an authority site is a relativley simple one -if you're patient that is, as it can take 1-3 years (depending on the niche you're targeting). Develop 1000-1500 pages of solid on-theme content, go after at least 50% of the sites that link to the other "authority" sites in your sector, add a forum, etc etc. Ocne you've got the forum traffic going (and you've made your forum spider-friendly), then the content pretty much gets built for you (as do the links, traffic via word of mouth, etc.).

    From there, it's just a matter of using your new authority site to link to other more focused sites in your affiliate network (one way links).

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