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Does Google intend to destroy affiliate marketing?

8:46 am on Nov 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Search terms that include a brand name are now completely dominated by the brand name owner's pages, even though many of these (in the products I handle, at least) are scarcely relevant to the query. Affiliate sites, even those containing masses of good, relevant content can hope for no better than 5th place. I'm now hearing more and more complaints from people whose Adsense accounts have been closed because G sees them as containing bridge pages which exist just to send the visitor to another site; in other words they are affiliates.

Now on the face of it this is perverse logic; most of the Adsense ads in my sectors are placed by affiliates and banning all of these will reduce Google's income to an enormous degree so why are they doing this? Is this the biggest corporate suicide this century - or is there another reason?

Google, with their purchase of boutiques.com is now, itself, an affiliate. Perhaps they intend to drive the rest of us out of business, and replace us? Surely not, they 'do no evil'.
6:40 am on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google can't just kill affiliates because many affiliate sites provide some of the best information that users want.

And that is what Google wants. The relationship between Google and good affiliate sites is a symbiotic relationship. A good user experience is good for Google. Users like a search engine that helps them find what they want.

I think Google is interested in removing "thin" content, regardless of business model. It's pretty clear when you look at the serps. Really excellent affiliate sites consistently do well in the rankings, often outranking manufacturer sites on branded searches. If you're simply trying to get visitors to your site, though, and then get them off quickly by tricking them into clicking an affiliate link, you've probably got a problem, either now or in the making.

Google wants "engagement" with content. Note that engagement is not the same as time on site, though there obviously must be a component of interest or involvement. There's probably no single way to define it. Generally, though, sites with duplicate or cookie cutter content don't tend to be involving.
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