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  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    Help for an affiliate losing traffic
    We have an affiliate who used to be gangbusters 2 years ago. Slowly over time he has lost all his traffic...mostly to Google changes. He used to be #4-5 for many competitive terms but is now lucky to be on page #4-5.

    Admitedly, he doesn't change his site very often, but what can an affiliate like this do to reclaim some of their traffic?...or is it too late?

    In short, what is the secret for keeping an affiliate site on top once Google loses interest?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I think you already nailed the problem on the head. If they're not updating the site, that's most likely the reason. Not only does Google like sites that are frequently updated, but people won't link to a dead site. The incoming links are key and lately Google just loves sites being linked to from blogs. It's becoming more and more important to get your site into the blogosphere.

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

  3. #3
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    What Snib said, it helps to update the site and get some nice fresh links in.

    "The incoming links are key and lately Google just loves sites being linked to from blogs. It's becoming more and more important to get your site into the blogosphere."

    Now that I'm not sure of. If you have any more info on that. I think Google likes links period and better from an authority type site, not sure how many blogs are "authority sites" but they can be. I don't see Google having a preference from blogs over a regular site. Having any info on that?

  4. #4
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    I have a couple of older sites that never, ever get updated (haven't for several years except for something very minor on one) and they're both nicely "aged" and sitting right up top for their main keyword phrases. No link development done and it's unlikely there have been spontaneous one way inbound links.

    If the affiliate ranked high and the rankings have been dropping, the reason for ranking well probably lay with the backlinks and anchor text of IBLs, but what used to work has been working less and less with changing backlink requirements and criteria.

    Sight unseen, my guess would be that it'll take some sitewide and on-page optimization to move up again and some checking for potential problem areas on the site.

  5. #5
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I agree with Snib's first 2 1/2 sentences but not the last part (people WILL link to ancient nonupdated sites under certain conditions).

    (S)He's likely crossed the line of "just enough" updates and hit the territory of "not enough" updates.

    The thing is, if G loses interest, it's even harder to get motivated to update than usual. Or, if you do update regularly but Goofle continually insists on listing that site's 2-year-old dead sheet anyway, you begin to wonder, "what. is. the. point!!?"

    Also, sometimes even regular updates are just plain ignored by G.
    Then maybe throwing a few zillion more links at it will get a clue across! Or not! Depends what's in the vents at the GooflePlex today!

    In short, what is the secret for keeping an affiliate site on top once Google loses interest?
    MSN, Yahoo...Overture...

    ...or is it too late?
    Might be too late to motivate 'em to update...
    Algos change, though, so it's never "too late" all around (IMO).
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Now that I'm not sure of. If you have any more info on that. I think Google likes links period and better from an authority type site, not sure how many blogs are "authority sites" but they can be. I don't see Google having a preference from blogs over a regular site. Having any info on that?
    I wouldn't say Google has a preference, but since blogs are becoming the norm for media and news they're extremely important. I also believe Google likes them because they do garner a great deal of links and they're normally updated frequently. I've been linked to in blogs and seen traffic increases as much as 4x from Google because of it.

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

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I have a couple of older sites that never, ever get updated (haven't for several years except for something very minor on one) and they're both nicely "aged" and sitting right up top for their main keyword phrases.
    Some sites can sit up there forever. However, if you don't update the site and a new site comes along with better, more relevant information, I'd say you are going to see a fall off really quickly. If you keep things updated, it is easier to get back into the game when you start to fall for two reasons: First, you are already in the habit of updating. Second, Google knows you like to update, so it comes back for more.

    But in this case it may be too late for that. Can the affiliate specify or diversify his targeted keywords anymore? If he was ranked well before then his site has potential. If he is no longer ranking well for "widgets" maybe he can still rank well for "blue widgets" with some minimal SEO.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Great suggestions.

    Can we clarify a couple of things? When we talk about updating a site...what is most important...

    1. adding new pages
    2. changing existing pages
    3. getting more inbound links

    Also in regard to inbound links...which is most powerful...
    1. articles on other sites
    2. inbound links with reciprocation
    3. inbound links without reciprocation
    4. posts on forums related to the niche

    Also if the niche is very competitive does it change the importance of any of the above factors?

    Thanks

  9. #9
    15 years and counting
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    Rick - We have an affiliate who used to be gangbusters 2 years ago. Slowly over time he has lost all his traffic...mostly to Google changes.
    The success of your affiliate program could be one of the main reasons why your affiliate is not anymore in the top 10 for competitive keywords. How many affiliates did you have 2 years ago, how many do you have now? I guess you have at least 10 times more affiliates than 2 years ago. People here don't like it to hear it but Google penalizes duplicate content, if you increase your number of affiliates, some of them (or most of them) are going to drop from the SERPs.
    I don't say other SEO tips listed here don't have an effect but it's nothing compare to duplicate content. If your affiliate is still on page 4 or 5 he may still recover by working on the content.

  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    Thanks Zeus. Our program has gotten bigger but I'm not sure if that was it.

    I was guessing the reason that he went down was because Google was rewarding retail sites a bit more than 2 years ago. In the golf marketplace more actual retailers are jockeying for the SERPs so affiliates have more competition from them. Google seems to give them the upper hand...and position. I might be wrong. That's why I'm asking you guys.

    If it is true, and Google is being harder on affiliate sites...the real question becomes...what does an affiliate do to fight back? Are they forced into doing PPC or can they still find a way to get good natural traffic?

  11. #11
    Internet Cowboy
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    Rick,
    You should preach to your affiliates to diversify their promotion model so they do not rely on Google.

    For instance, there are golf tournaments all over the place with nice promotional opportunities. If they advertise at charity golf tournaments their ad cost is most likely fully deductable. I advertise in a golf tournament once a year and generally get my ad cost back 5 or 6 times and get to deduct the cost of it.

    There are SO MANY ways to promote a web site. They require work and thinking outside of the box. Some of them actually require you to get out and pound the pavement a little bit, but once this work is done the results can be permanent

    I would suggest you encourage them to pursue other activities and not spend all of their time chasing Google. Google will only break your heart in the end. Any affiliate who spends all their effort on one traffic source is only setting himself up for failure.


  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    Thanks UncleScooter. We sure do seem to get hung up on Google and the SEs. When you see how much power they have it's hard not to. But you are right...diversification is always important in any business.

    By the way...are you one of our affiliates? If so...please send me an email so I can add you to our database. If not...well what do I need to do?

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    I have site that also started to lose traffic as described in the first post. I had been ignoring link exchanges for a while and decided to start again. My first step was to review all my outgoing links. Most of them went to dead or parked sites. After cleaning the outgoing links I noticed a nice PR jump and went back up in the SERPS as well. The home page is now #1 for my main keywords. We hear a lot of advice about obtaining quality incoming links, just don't forget about maintaining your outgoing links as well.
    ~Ernie

  14. #14
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    When you live by Google, you die by Google. You can get some tremendous traffic from them, but it can all disappear in a short time when their algorithms change.

    I totally agree with Scoot. Diversification is the key. The one type of traffic that is most stable and less likely to be influenced by external factors is word of mouth. I prefer to focus there and supplement with PPC and SEO.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    In regard to your questions Rick, I don't know really what kind of updates Google likes to see, but one way inbound links (no reciprocation) are much more valuable than reciprocated links.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the help.

    So to try and paraphrase everyone.

    1. Update your site frequently
    2. Get fresh inbound and outbound links
    3. Look for offline and outside-the-box ways to promote

    Anything else?

  17. #17
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by GigaGolf
    Anything else?
    Find a merchant with no parasites.
    Find a merchant with no leaks.
    Find a merchant with a good site that converts and no stupid policies that frequently piss off customers.
    Find a merchant who pays realistic commission for the vertical.
    Find a merchant with no less than 60 return days.
    Find a merchant with an AM who is reachable and answers his/her emails and phone calls.
    Find a merchant who stocks and ships the products instead of dealing with some third party drop shipper.

    Given the fact that this is your affiliate you are talking about, I am not insinuating that your program/site does not posess these qualities. It is just good, basic advice for affiliates.


  18. #18
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    ? He was asking how to stay on top in the Google results not for things to look for in a good merchant

  19. #19
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    Still appreciated UncleScooter. Us AMs are always trying to figure out what affiliates want. This just reinforces things I've already heard.

  20. #20
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    As far as what affiliates want, Geno has a big thread you can read.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    "When you live by Google, you die by Google. You can get some tremendous traffic from them, but it can all disappear in a short time when their algorithms change." - Michael Coley

    I agree with Michael on this one. Your advertising should include more than one way of generating traffic. Offline retailers use multiple sources of advertising to generate foot traffic. Online affiliates need to cultivate mutiple sources of traffic too.

    Remember retaining your current customer base is a great way to generate sales. So keep them happy.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  22. #22
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    Also, alongside in your Search Engine Marketing, you also want to remember that google and the other major playwers are not always the key players. Too many people forget about the aggregator engines and third teir which can drive traffic and sometimes be more powerfull if your competitors are not focusing on their algorithms or the way they pull from other sites and choose their own rankings.

    As far as the blogs go, I don;t think anyone answered one of his questions which was
    "Also in regard to inbound links...which is most powerful...
    1. articles on other sites
    2. inbound links with reciprocation
    3. inbound links without reciprocation
    4. posts on forums related to the niche"

    I am very curious too see what people have to say about the links from blogs as well. I always get myself lost on those.

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