Affiliate websites can be great for consumers, producers and the person running the site. However, they rely on getting traffic from search engines so here are a few things that you need to know before you embark on your affiliate adventure.
1. Google Doesn’t Like Duplicate Content
Unfortunately the purpose of an affiliate website is to present users with content that is available on other websites, i.e. duplicate content. Google recognises this problem and has a specific Affiliate Programs Webmaster Quality Guidelines. This says, in summary, that if your website content relies on the affiliate information and you don’t add any additional value then it will not rank well.
You may think that you can get away with it, and you might for a while, but Google is constantly refreshing its algorithms to ensure that search results are as useful to users as possible. Here is an example of what happened to an affiliate site on 25th October 2014, the day after the Google Panda 4.1 Update:
2. Users Don’t Like Duplicate Content
This is really the reason that Google doesn’t like it. You don’t want to see 10 search results showing you broadly the same content just hosted on different domains. If the first site you clicked on didn’t do it for you and you head back to the search results you want an alternative, not the same thing in different wrappings. So even if you do still rank, a user is unlikely to convert on your website when they have looked at 2 or more sites saying the same thing and haven’t converted on those. If users won’t convert then what is the point of the site?
How To Create Your Content Strategy
- Research your sector and identify a niche
- Do keyword research to see what users are searching for
- Structure your website based on the niche your content fills, not based on the products/services you are promoting
- Focus on writing really good, unique pages around your niche
- Promote your really good niche content pages to build their authority
You ultimately want traffic to come from the niche you identified, not from the products or services that you are promoting.