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Can you do affiliate links and do well in Google?

     
7:12 pm on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys and Gals,

I have been doing affilate sales for years online, my sites have just began to do well...I am white hat with content driven sites, I beleive them to be "fat"

anyway after trying to see why my one site dived in Google, I am running into a lot saying Google hates affilaite sites and is weeding them out, though it seems mainly "thin" sites as Google seems to say they perfer merchant sites over affilaite sites but as long as the affilaite sites provide resources they are ok...

SO... My sites are content sites built to drive traffic to my main website for the sale, My main sale (product) site is simply not a good site for web search results as it is loaded with java and other things that would not do well in Google, so I built sites to explain products and reviews all original helpful content, then on each page I put a link to the product I explain in detauil and so forth, all original content....

Do you think this is ok? The problem is I have many links going to my main site and I have to link to the main site from my content or know one gets to my products...this is not an affilaite site, noone esle goes to this site or URL for a commision sale at all..

SO...

for the long term...

do I just continue as I have? building content and linking to my main merchant account?

OR

do I try to redirect the links so Google does not feel it is an affilaite site (by building pages on my content sites and nofollow and robot them so Google does not index them, so the link clicks wto an un indexed page within my content site and then when they click to it it redirects to my merchant site?)

OR

do i try to plug in my shopping cart into my content sites so that the purchasing can be done on my content sites alone (although for the actual purchase , the last step, it will still redirect to my checkout shopping cart?

PLEASE help, as I am very nervous of the long term success and do not want to be knocked out of Google so the best option for the long term is much needed advice for me...

Thanks for any and all help!

[edited by: tedster at 9:56 pm (utc) on May 2, 2008]

10:10 pm on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Many affiliate sites do quite well in Google - just, as you said, not the thin affiliate sites. Google defnitely went after sites that were affiliate based unless they offer significant content to their visitor that is unique and valuable.

It is not that Google wants to eliminate ALL sites that participate in an affiliate program. But they do want to eliminate the lazy ones that don't add significant value compared to other sites in the same space. If your current set-up is working for you, why make a change?

10:13 pm on May 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've found affiliate links that aren't redirected on new sites with a thin backlink profile have a negative impact on ranking.
1:12 am on May 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well, my older site does well, but my more new site (just over a year) just took a bad dive and I am trying to figure it out...I think it is just because I did to aggresive of an linking for one keyword that tanked it...

But I am worried that Google may have penalized it for being set up for an affiliate site....

so I guess I am thinking, if Google is going to get tired of my type of websites for it's linking to products perhaps I should do it another way now?

also, what is funny is that all the top spots and first page are ALL taken by identical sites which offer not even one tiny piece of information, they all look the same and are nothing more than merchant sites with a checkout for products, no reviews no write ups just a picture and a checkout button....

I just think Google should not mind what a site is doing (affiliates, selling ad space and so on) so long as the webmaster is ethical and white hat and if they are building a quality site that conforms to their TOS or standards why should they care what the webmaster does to fund is sites and his living online?

I mean the good webmaster is the backbone of the web, and without a good webmaster Google has nothing to look to bring to it's searchers, so I just do not understand why they would care as long as the site is one of quality....

I did read that Matt Cuffs said Google does not hat affilaites or their sites as long as they provide quality to the web, so I guess this means as long as you stay white hat and build sweet content driven sites that provide entertainment and information it does not matter if you have an outgoing link to a product on the pages of content?

I am just wworried as my one site got driven out of Google hard it just makes me want to make sure I am not risking a ton of work and going to lose it all in one clean swoop over this...

Thanks and please keep the thread going!

1:18 am on May 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Oh also, sorry for calling out a name...guess that is a no-no?

Does my creating a page on my site and tagging it to not be indexed with robots and nofollow and then having that page redirect to the affiliate page make sence or would Google consider this a "sneaky - tricky" redirect? and would it hide the affiliate link from Google?

also, I guess I could plug in my products and do the same thing (robots and nofollow for no indexing) and then just have the viewer click the link for the product from the review and information page and have them go to the product to purchase it internally on my original site without leaving?

any help is always appreciated....