Panda was a major update by Google. By now everyone worth his or her salt knows this. Most of us also know that article directories took a huge hit and are still licking their wounds. But very few know that Panda also bit into the affiliate business, maybe because affiliates are not big enough to raise a big enough stink. This post is for those who got bitten but want to know the how and why.
Understanding Google search philosophy
The business of Google is completely, totally and effectively dependent on search results. If people don’t get relevant content for their search word or keyword they might not Google again and this would kill Google. Providing the right content to Googlers is therefore important to Google. Imagine that you key-in search word ‘Health’ and the first ten search results lead to affiliate sites. What would be your response? Bah, Google is only selling affiliate links. Google doesn’t want this. This is the primary reason why Google has demolished affiliates through their Panda weapon. But I am sure that affiliates are not likely to take this lying down.
Affiliate links are the biggest culprits
Now you know why Google is against affiliates. To me affiliate marketing is a legitimate business, whether Google agrees with me or not. When you can’t argue with the guys at Google you might as well join them and find a workaround. The best way is to remove all affiliate links from your blog or website. You might cry that it’s like cutting the nose to spite your face. Well, it’s not. What I am suggesting is to add a link which takes people to your affiliate page – sort of eating the cake and having it too. Your main website or blog is fully optimized for search engines while your one page blog (which your link leads to) is the affiliate page. Of course your affiliate page would not draw any traffic directly, which is not the purpose anyway.
Affiliate link cloaking
You would have noticed that thousands of sites have mushroomed which provide link cloaking. I have personally not tried any of them because I am skeptical about it. In the first place affiliate links have certain characteristics which are difficult to cloak or hide. I would rather opt for my technique which I have explained in the earlier paragraph.
Problem with landing pages
All affiliate landing pages are actually a one page website. These one page wonders obviously have no internal links which makes it suspect to Google crawler. I might even go to the extent to claim that one page landing affiliate sites would be automatically awarded negative points by Google. Obviously affiliate sites must avoid this trap. They must contain multiple pages. I would recommend a minimum of fifty static web pages which would be just about right for Panda to chew on.
Affiliates can still come out of the panda trap by adopting techniques I have written about. Maybe you can avoid getting bitten by the Panda. One has to change and adopt quickly in this jungle or perish. Good luck.