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Is the affiliate business model a SEO no go?

Discussion in 'SEO & SEM Discussions' started by Alex, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    Context:

    So am of the opinion the SEO drain from a site of mine is due to all the eBay affiliate links. To combat this have placed no follow tags on all links to eBay.

    Concern:

    My concern / question is in regards to two no follow diagrams on this page ---> http://moz.com/blog/google-says-yes-you-can-still-sculpt-pagerank-no-you-cant-do-it-with-nofollow <--- that give indication of how no follow use to work and how it supposedly works now.

    Google indicates ---> https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en <--- In general, we don't follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web. However, the target pages may still appear in our index if other sites link to them without using nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap. Also, it's important to note that other search engines may handle nofollow in slightly different ways.

    Question:

    How does Google handle no follow links?

    If I am reading the MOZ.org chart correctly (I have a tendency to think this is the case) any SEO value I receive from quality links is being substantially reduced by every no follow affiliate link to eBay? Google's indication says in genreal... As have read Google does not really support the affiliate model well then it is not outside of my imagination they are even penalizing me for the links even with no follow.

    Possible Conclusion:

    This kinda will make or break this website + in my view the affiliate model in general if a site of this nature cannot rank. And I hate to admit it, but snoopy's advice in the very beginning may be %100 accurate. :p

    Kind Regards,
    Alex
     
  2. Ashman

    Ashman Membership: Trader

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    Are you making any money via affiliates as it is now? If so just leave it as it is.

    If not then you should change your business model from affiliate marketing to direct sales or drop ship and create your own unique company rather than promoting products already on the most popular sales platform in the world.
     
  3. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    Hi thanks for the response Ashman... I guess changing the business model is always a possibility.

    Am really looking for some specific information about the follow / no follow tag. Do I trust MOZ or Google.

    What are people experience about the no follow tag... Does it negatively effect a sites SEO, by reducing the value of the quality incoming links?
     
  4. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    I think I finally have found my answer about the no follow links in regards to the links above...

    Basically, if am reading between the lines with this ---> http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/pagerank-sculpting/ <--- specifically Matt Cutt's answer to this question.

    Q: If I run a blog and add the nofollow attribute to links left by my commenters, doesn’t that mean less PageRank flows within my site?
    A: If you think about it, that’s the way that PageRank worked even before the nofollow attribute.

    Pretty much think the current Hipster site design in regards to SEO is a dead duck... <--- It has been my experience Hipster is 12 times as expensive / difficult to rank than OpShop.

    Can any SEO confirm my thoughts on this?

    Kind Regards,
    Alex
     
  5. petermeadit

    petermeadit Membership: VIP

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    auDA Member:
    Yes
    Hi Alex, by now you are starting to see that there is lots of Voodoo going on in Google land. I don't feel there are any hard and fast answers. Only ideas based on experiences.

    To be honest I don't think most of your problems have much to do with follow or no follow links.

    I feel that the design and content of your site is probably the biggest problem, and then also the quality and quantity of your existing backlinks.

    So far as the site design goes here is my take. When I go to the front page, I can see a heap of items for sale, this is all thin content. This is encouraging a high bounce rate. One way you could lower this a little is mix up some more content on the home page, like some actual content, say a blog post or two, a video or something that people want to consume to keep them on the site longer than 30 seconds if possible. This will offset the high bounce rate caused by people hitting the site and clicking straight through an item to ebay.

    When it comes to the links to your site, so to http://majesticseo.com and figure out where most of your links are coming from. So I can already see that your link profile is not serving you.

    So affiliate sites are not for the feint of heart, and you will need to do it right for it to work. It will also take a lot of time, as you can guess.

    Just to give you an idea of one of my own low performing affiliate sites, here are some details:

    • Themeforest affiliate site
    • running since Sept 13
    • 3,245 clickthroughs
    • 3 registrations
    • 1 deposit
    • $14.10 total earnings
    The above site has follow links to the affiliate items, and also has a featured blog, where I give reviews on each of the Themes. I also take sponsored blog posts. And have advertising options too.



    There is a lot more I can do with this site, and I probably look at it about once every two weeks. So I could be doing a lot more.



    But the point here is, having a variety of content and monetization options.


    I could keep going.... But it comes back to the same points again and again.
    You need good quality content, you need to engage with an audience, and gain referrals (often known as backlinks..?) You also need to consider a variety of monetization options.



    As Ashman said why not try to sell some items directly yourself?
     
  6. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    Thank you info Peter... Been a little nutty trying to figure out the no follow / follow stuff.

    Got a few ideas !!!

    Am going to get the blog content re-written / made better. Removing the bad links.

    Improving the About Us video. Put a pop up for first time visitors of the About Us video over the homepage.

    Am likely going to remove the direct eBay links from the photos and possibly require a user to log in to click the buy now or bid now button. This in theory should stop Google from picking up the affiliate links

    I actually think it's against eBay policy for me to list non eBay items for sale on an eBay affiliate.
     
  7. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    Just to give clarification why I think it's the no follow links...

    Site A of mine a month ago changed all affiliate links to no follow (did nothing)... I also been posting key optimized blog content religiously for a year every week.

    Site B of mine has no outgoing links and have targeted the same keywords for 1 month of blog posts... Site B is kicking Site A's ass in the rankings. :eek:

    There of course is more considerations to this, but if I had an opinion about no-follow links they may not pass SEO, but they do evaporate it.
     
  8. eBranding.com.au

    eBranding.com.au Membership: VIP

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    auDA Member:
    Yes
    I run a few affiliate sites and have made some decent money from them.

    I don't bother with any of the 'no follow' stuff, I just make sure the sites have useful content for visitors and it seems to work ok.

    I think the key is developing sites that have substance, something more than just product links. If the site has interesting material people will like it and Google will like it.

    That's one of the reasons why I only go for topics/markets that interest me and that I think can be written about on an ongoing basis. Some topics are shallow, they don't have a very long lifespan for creating new content time and time again.

    I've tried and failed in a few niches, some of those were because the topic just wasn't suited to long term coverage. After some articles and other material - the topic had been well and truly covered.

    I think your sites need some more content beyond just product affiliate links. Have a think about content or features that your visitors would be interested in. Maybe you could have a directory of opshop locations in Australia or maybe you could have a history of how opshops came about? They're just random examples, I'm sure you can come up with better ideas. My point is that you need to diversify your sites.
     
    3 people like this.
  9. findtim

    findtim Membership: VIP

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    auDA Member:
    Yes
    this is the point in a nut shell
    you are not giving anything for google to GRAB onto, its getting flipped straight out.

    you have a few domains so do some testing, how about you create one that targets the "op shops" key words and place some images WITHOUT links out on the homepage and add some text and then link it into your affiliate link sections.

    basically putting a google friendly homepage INFRONT of you homepage.

    bottom line is you need "stickyness" , the 2nd click is always the hardest, get the user involved......... then sell

    tim
     
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  10. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    Will work on this... I think the easiest thing I can do is make the blog the homepage... Everything else would stay the same more or less.
     
  11. findtim

    findtim Membership: VIP

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    auDA Member:
    Yes
    easiest but not the best, don't kneejerk, on this, use a different domain to test first.

    www.kangaroopinkshortsandtops.com.au can rank number 1 for the search term "hipster" or "opshop"

    yes I loveeeeeeeeeeeee EMD's but get some balance, a blog homepage content may help but will increase your bounce rate IMO

    my opinion is blogs are blogs and a homepage leads you to the blog and blogs are for google and nobody reads blogs when they want to buy stuff, and a whole heap more I won't bore you with.
    read this:
    HTML:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/02/20/the-9-on-page-seo-elements-you-need-in-2014/
    tim
     
  12. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    I just typed this long explanation / idea (30 minutes), but for whatever reason my DnTrade log in got messed up and made me loose the post. Not Cool...
     
  13. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    In short think I have figured out a way do resolve all considerations... Lot or work / a bit of money.
     
  14. findtim

    findtim Membership: VIP

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    auDA Member:
    Yes
    s##t happens, if i'm going to rant then i do it in notepage as you can timeout

    tim
     
  15. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    The notepad idea is a good idea thank you Tim.

    So...

    Am already getting the blog posts improved / About US video reworked a little.

    ***I might put a pop up w/ About Us video on the homepage for first time visitors? <--- Not a big fan of this though!

    To fix the design considerations I can semi easily make the ten items on the slider into blog posts (likely will need to be made static so Google can read it) can be about artists / musicians / etc.

    ***I could even insert the About Us video into the first post rather than the pop up?

    Facilitating this can be done by having a WordPress log in on the blog (different that the current log in) that allows users to submit blog posts for points / recognition.

    ***Few technical considerations would be to make sure users photos stay the same over both CMS along with points accumulating correctly.

    Next to blog posts will need to include a photo of the user / a point button next to their post for them to accumulate points. I think I will need to rework the blog a bit as this method would create duplicate snippets of the first paragraph paragraphs (homepage / blog homepage).

    ***Could be alleviated by making the Editor Picks into the featured posts on the homepage and not indicated on blog homepage.

    I still think there is SEO evaporation going on from all the no follow affiliate links. Just as reference I believe giving follow links leak PR. Please refer to ---> http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/pagerank-sculpting/ <--- Currently the first diagram indicates how I believe the site is working in relation to PR.

    I think if I use .htaccess as indicated ---> http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/htaccess-101/ and in video here ---> https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/93708?hl=en

    To make the affiliate links only clickable if logged it will make the sites PR flow in similarity to the 2nd diagram as indicated on ---> http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/pagerank-sculpting/ ...

    Essentially making affiliate websites seem as if a password protected directory to google of the website in question. PR when not logged in would flow from external links ---> (through homepage / entire website -> affiliate link would direct PR when not logged in to registration pop-up - > registration -> through homepage / entire website) <--- making PR Flow cyclic and not evaporate.

    Does this theory make sense? After figuring this out a website I look to for inspiration on the project seems to be doing exactly this. I now seemingly understand why to purchase you must be logged into their site. Never made sense before to me.

    ***Design wise I would remove affiliate links from all images. The titles currently link to a second product description page and could easily be moved to the image making the titles not link.

    Quite a lot of info here (kinda in between development / SEO) but if am correct the general principles / references in this post are primary considerations to getting a website with many affiliate links to rank.

    Kind Regards,
    Alex
     
  16. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    lol - just realized it's Sunday. I think SEO has properly done my head in this week. Like I am even waking up at 9am to post about it. WEIRD
     
  17. findtim

    findtim Membership: VIP

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    auDA Member:
    Yes
    HA :eek: , you aren't there yet......... just wait till you start dreaming you are programming only to realise when you wake up all that work you did " hasn't been done" :eek:

    then you are close

    and then you go S^^T, what was that code i did in my dreams....... bugger.

    as i say, working 100% makes you only 30% effective, so go for walks, watch the footy, spend time with your kids, sleep in.

    thats why i don't start work till 10am

    but work till midnight !!!

    tim
     
  18. chris

    chris Administrator

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    auDA Member:
    Yes
    That would depend though right? Maybe not...
     
  19. findtim

    findtim Membership: VIP

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    auDA Member:
    Yes
    i meant switching to a FULL blog layout on homepage

    you need a balance of both i believe

    words/information so google can GRAB onto it, images so people can engage with the site, promotional areas/sliders/ to keep the website dynamic.

    its just plainly obvious and keeps being said " content content content"

    bloody good content, unique content, but a homepage with just wordsssssssssssssssssss means you will not get that "2nd click" which is what you need to make "the sales"

    tim
     
  20. Alex

    Alex Membership: Community

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    Agree with Tim on this... I possibly could use the blog, but would force me to make all blog posts into sales pitches and might not work.

    Have previously figured out how to do it as indicated 5 posts ago, but there is some engineering I need to get a few specifics on.

    I had put this final stage off as requires a final large development to implement. Possibly a month or two of work and somewhere between 1,000 - 2,000 to implement. And would force me to start moderating user submitted blog posts.

    Has anyone moderated user submitted blog posts? I talked myself out of it before as figured after keyword optimizing, checking for duplicated content, deciding which to post and which not to it seemed like a headache.

    I guess financially speaking if (a big if) a quality post were submitted every week for 6 months of the first year it would cover the costs of development in saving of content.

    Probably is worth it (but was trying to get away with what I currently have) which seemingly isn't enough to make Google happy or a user base make the 2nd click.

    Am gonna do it in a smart way checking improvements as I go. Hope this works as really is the final few things I can think of to make the site work.

    I gotta say regardless this is the best thing I have done in my 15 yeas of working creatively.
     
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