Affiliates Must Deliver Real Value – By Wade Tonkin

by Colleen on April 20, 2012


Affiliates relying on Google as a traffic source are being challenged more and more each day as Matt Cutts and his team attempt to deliver more valuable search results. Every month, I hear from long-time affiliates who had relied on “content farm” strategies.

These strategies offered up thousands of pages of content and affiliate links to Google. They lacked content that was helpful to real people, and because of this, the Google algorithm dramatically cut their traffic (and the affiliate’s commission revenue) significantly.

These affiliates ask me for a solution to get their traffic back and my answer is simple – deliver REAL VALUE to the consumer, and to your merchants.

How can you deliver real value?

Can you help a reader solve a problem? Help them find a product they are looking for in a crowded marketplace? Do you have personal experience that you can share to help someone else? Do you have a passion for something that you can share that will engage, inform, inspire, or amuse?

As Google shifts more importance in their algorithms to metrics, like time spent on site; depth of navigation; bounce rate and backlinks; sites that are “thin” in depth and depend on a slick domain name and data feed content are not going to work. Existing sites like this will get dropped out of the top results and revenue will vanish.

If you generate or curate valuable content, provide easy to use social sharing, and participate in the online discussion through topical comments and guests posts on other related sites you’ll build a brand, reputation, backlinks, and trust with your audience that you can leverage into affiliate sales.

Here’s a short list of practices that DON’T add real value:

• Don’t engage in shady practices, such as spam, forced clicks or cookie stuffing.
• Don’t lie to the search engines and your visitors by saying you have deals from merchants that you don’t have and hide behind “click to reveal.” It’s bad user experience.
• Don’t steal other sites’ content or coupon codes, or use codes that aren’t provided by the merchant directly to you or through a deal feed.
• Don’t use parasitic tools that steal sales and commissions from other affiliates or cannibalize existing merchant traffic.
• Don’t attempt to cause confusion by copying the look and feel from other sites and using deceptive or trademarked domain names. This can cost you HUGE down the line.
• Don’t violate terms and conditions with your merchants to make a quick buck. It will quickly earn you a bad reputation. Affiliate Managers talk to each other and word gets around.

No one ever said making a living online would be quick or easy. But if you take it on yourself to deliver real value to your visitors and your merchant partners, you can build more than just a site that makes you some money. You can build a business, and develop some good Karma along the way.

Wade Tonkin is the Affiliate Manager at Fanatics.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Khushbaht (Lucky) April 23, 2012 at 12:12 am

Thank you Wade!  Next time a force-click loving cookie stuffer tries to argue that their way is the right way and that our program is doomed for kicking them out – I’ll point them to this link 🙂 

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