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300-500 page views per day.
75-80% of the page views are under 2 minutes.
Most of the articles are 1 page long and can be read in 2 minutes.
Is there any advantage to splitting the article onto multiple pages to move the affiliate advertising closer to "above the fold"?
1) Are the pages currently performing well in search engines, i.e., ranking well for relevant keywords. If they are, you may not want to tinker with the content in a major way. If not, splitting them may give you a chance to do some different targeting.
2) Why are the affiliate links below the fold (if you are hoping for clicks). Why not embed them in a box in the article, for example, in the same way many news sites display their ads?
3) I think average page views under 2 minutes is typical, as many users will not read an entire article. Think of your own surfing habits - I know that I click on a lot of news site articles, but often click away after getting the gist of the story or when I realize the article wasn't what I expected.
For instance I had one article about christmas. In it I mentioned "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. The text was a link and went to a page where you could purchase the book. This link was the most popular for all of Christmas. Now I didn't expect to convert many people, but none of them converted.
I showed the link to a friend who said that wasn't what he expected to happen. If the link brought him to a page about the book and on that page were links to buy the book or popular versions of the movie he wouldn't have felt disoriented (in a navigational sense) and might have been more inclined to purchased something.
In it I mentioned "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. The text was a link and went to a page where you could purchase the book.
Do you mean the book title was a link, and the link was to Amazon to buy it? If so, I think that would throw off a lot of people. Perhaps if you'd put the link in parentheses after the title and said "buy this book at Amazon" you would've had less confusion.
When you're throwing commerce at people -- especially in a place where they don't expect it -- I think you have to let them know ahead of time. Surprising your readers is generally not a good thing. :)
We're kind of straying from the content aspect here, but the type and location of the link may be the major factors.
To attract visitors who are looking to buy widgets, not just information about widgets, you might have to make some changes to your copy. Your copy has to sell the widget to the visitor, don't trust an affiliate link to do that for you.