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Pages with affiliate links receiving less traffic

   
4:34 pm on Feb 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



My site is "thick" in nature with guides and how-to's and a section of my site offers affiliate links to various related products as well as image, descriptions(written by me), ratings and discussion on those pages.

Starting sometime around Feb 14th the traffic to the affiliate pages on my site began to dry up, seemingly more pages being affected each day. Traffic is now down roughly 90% to my affiliate pages since feb 14th which was already a reduced amount from a previous lowering of traffic to these types of pages.

Today I'm getting 1 visitor for what would have been roughly 200 just 9 months ago, or roughly 0.5% of the traffic, but only to these pages. The rest of the site was not affected and remains strong.

Are pages with more than 1-2 affiliate links now poisonous to traffic received from Google? Is anyone experiencing the same?
10:41 pm on Feb 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Are pages with more than 1-2 affiliate links now poisonous to traffic received from Google?

in my opinion, not this
11:39 pm on Feb 25, 2012 (gmt 0)



Hi, I noticed a connection between aff links and de-ranking back in October.

[webmasterworld.com...]

Are you using CJ and Linkshare? Amazon has a kind of different aff links, they don't redirect. CJ and LS do redirect.
11:59 pm on Feb 25, 2012 (gmt 0)



@Sgt_Kickaxe
i've just noticed that you participated in that discussion.
3:01 am on Feb 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Yup, that was "wave 1" that I mentioned above, this seems to have been a second wave to reduce traffic to this type of page even more.

Whatever the case may be my visitors find them helpful and so they are staying even if Google doesn't approve.

I just wanted to know if it's my site being singled out or it's on a more widespread scale right now.
3:10 am on Feb 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Update: in looking at the stats the falloff is dramatic when you look at before and after figures but it is extremely gradual, almost as if the pages were falling down the ranks a place or two at a time instead of simply vanishing from page one.

Is Google watching downstream traffic and gradually downgrading pages that send too many visitors to other online stores? It really doesn't have the feel of something on my site, it's too slow and methodical a reduction, and watching downstream clicks would make more sense.
6:46 pm on Feb 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Sgt_Kickaxe, you left out some important information here.

How many times are you linking to this affiliate offer on each page?

Can you tell me, how exactly are you linking to these affiliate programs? through a folder redirect that is nofollowed? Using an ad server? direct url to the offer?

Can you please explain what type of media you're using? Are you using a simple hyperlink, a banner, icon etc...

And lastly, where is the affiliate ads located? Are they incorporated into your content, on a side column...etc
9:29 pm on Feb 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



It would not surprise me if many (if not most) of the participants at this venue utilize some sort of affiliate marketing; and it would not surprise me if many (if not most) of the people who saw a drop in rankings post-Panda utilize affiliate linking.

My question is where did the traffic go? I'm wondering if Google/Panda is simply bypassing the sites with the affiliate links and sending the websurfers directly to the merchants?

So let's say I have an informative site about Blue Widgets and I am an affiliate of the BWInc company; and pre-Panda I got decent traffic from the keyword search "blue widgets". I know my own visitor stats dropped after the Day of Infamy (the Panda Release), so I wonder if, without BWInc doing anything, Google simply leapfrogged me and sent my previous visitors directly onto the merchant?

There is no way for me to prove or disprove that because I have no access to their traffic logs, but I do think it's a reasonable suspicion, given what we have read about the winners & losers in the Panda Wars.

.........................
10:30 pm on Feb 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



There is no way for me to prove or disprove that because I have no access to their traffic logs

But you can see which websites no rank higher for the keywords that used to send you traffic - right? That would be better than just trying to guess, which can take you off in directions that won't help.
11:00 pm on Feb 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Except it's become increasingly more difficult to gauge comparative position with Google post-Panda, due to personalization, the rise of "local results", the placement of YouTube videos, the insertion of news, et al. So yes, I agree, it tells me something to look at position from my own computer, but to do it right, I feel I'd need a few other people checking with me from their parts of the country, then compare results. I'm one guy and everyone else is as busy as me, so they may do it once or even twice, but not with any frequency. In that sense I miss the nice clean search results page of 2004-5, when my results for a specific phrase would reflect those of others, no matter where they were located and no matter what search history they'd accumulated. Those days are gone and I admittedly can not gather the same level of data in 2012, for the reasons stated, and to my detriment.

....................
12:09 am on Feb 27, 2012 (gmt 0)



Guys, just taking a wild guess here, but do a search for

"i want to buy a expresso coffee machine now"

compare with

"what is an expresso machine"

I suspect you'll find that the contents of the search window is significantly different

how easy is it to define where the organic results start
in both cases?

also, if the 45 % for clickthru thing holds for p1 still with only 10% getting as far as page 2,,,,
7:50 pm on Feb 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Informational vs transactional is what you're suggesting scooterdude? On my site I have many more informational pages than transactional ones (Google includes pages with affiliate links into this group).

To answer another question - My informational pages have no affiliate links (and are rocking in serps) but my transactional pages have anywhere between 1 and 5-6 affiliate links depending on number of related items. These pages Google is now nearly completely ignoring despite the fact that they also have information on them, written by me. That wasn't the case not too long ago.

I'm thinking a human downgraded this section of my site, there isn't much that could have been an "algo" besides the fact that yes there are links to a store on another site.

edit: links pass through a redirect page that filters bots and clicks from blacklisted IPs.
9:09 pm on Feb 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Google might be looking at the amount of affiliate links to content ratio and think it might be affiliate heavy. Its stupid, but I wouldn't put that passed google.

You might have to change your strategy, I would start experimenting with one of these pages, slowly decrease the number of affiliate links on that 1 page, keep reducing, see if you can find a magic number.

Maybe try experimenting in the way you link to the affiliates as well without hiding it from google. Or changing the placement of the affiliate links can really go a long way. Try putting the affiliate links outside of your content like in a column, give it some separation from your content. Or you can maybe try to put a border around your affiliate links, google may see that as a separation from the content, label the border div "advertisement" or something so it looks like you're being transparent about the ads on your site.

Best of luck.
 

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