Search Engine Strategies for Affiliate Websites
The major search engines are always on the lookout to improve their search results and to weed out websites with duplicate content. They are also weeding out websites that mainly contain affiliate links. This is going to affect quite a few businesses on the Internet that depend on affiliate links to generate revenue.
Especially the last Google update kicked some major affiliate players out the index - leaving those websites out in the rain. Loss of traffic was immediate and loss of revenue was dramatic. Future updates can be even more dramatic - therefore threatening the existence of online businesses depending on affiliate marketing. It can also affect the actual company running the affiliate program as their sales would go down if affiliates fail to generate leads.
There are certain strategies affiliates can implement to reduce the risk of being de-listed from Google, Yahoo! or MSN. No affiliate website should match another one to avoid being punished for duplicate content. Each and every link to sub-pages should have a different URL and the naming convention for pages should be different. This will be very important for template websites that usually match each other like one egg the other.
Building up incoming links is still the most critical piece. Avoid building up a huge number of links in a very short time-frame as it could actually cause a red flag for search engines. Building up links should be a slow but steady process. From my own observation I think it is safe to say that 50 incoming links per month should be the upper limit for the first 3-6 months of the existence of a website.
If your affiliate website is build from a template its links to pages will match with other websites build from the same template. This will raise a red flag with search engines. If a web server supports mod_rewrite the affiliate should go and re-write the URLs to change their appearance to the outside. Apache web server and mod_rewrite even allow the affiliate to create keyword enriched URLs this way.
Adding random content to web pages containing affiliate links and products is another step to disguise the actual purpose of the web site/web page. If a website is build using PHP, I highly recommend to implement a random text include for the pages in question. Start with a quote of the day script and modify it for your needs.
The steps lined out in this article will not guarantee that your website stays in the search engine index but it is certainly a step into the right direction to implement each one.
About the Author
Christoph Puetz is a successful entrepreneur and international book author. Examples of his search engine optimization work can be found at http://www.vitaminassociates.com and http://www.beefkabobs.com
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