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Is Amazon Associates or social bookmarking hurting my SEO?

     
9:08 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Apologies if this a stupid n00b question... I'm still learning SEO.

I only now heard that Google will snub your site if they think it's too affiliate-heavy. At a glance about 40% of my articles come with an Amazon Associates product link, but since my niche site uses a blog-style format with multiple entries (including ones with affiliate links) on the home page, I'm afraid that could be killing my SEO.

Also read in another WW thread ([webmasterworld.com ]) that Google doesn't like seeing AdSense and affiliate links on the same page.

To support that theory, I once had to fight with AdWords staff because they had flagged my site for "bridge" issues. In other words, their algorithm had picked up too many AMZ affiliate links, and they assumed I was just a portal site with low-quality content. In fact, I spend hours each day writing original media-rich content. Once they did a human scan of my site I got my AdWords flags cleared, but I still wonder if the AMZ stuff is killing my SEO?

1. Can anybody confirm that affiliate links (with or without simultaneous AdSense) can seriously hurt your Google traffic? If so, how severe is it? And if I stop using affiliates, how can I inform Google of this?

2. P.S. Started using a social bookmarking (?) site to submit one article per day to 25 sites. It's supposedly above-board, and supposedly 25 is too few for Google to get suspicious about unnatural link building, but what little traffic I had has been cut in half since I started using it. Coincidence, or is this a -50 penalty? P.P.S is this considered gray hat or black hat? In either case, worth abandoning?


Sorry if any of this is too n00b or even shady-sounding--if the consensus is that it's stupid or wrong I'll drop the practice; I'm still pretty new to web dev/etiquette/strategy and wide open for feedback/criticism. Thanks.
11:55 pm on May 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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1. Can anybody confirm that affiliate links (with or without simultaneous AdSense) can seriously hurt your Google traffic? If so, how severe is it? And if I stop using affiliates, how can I inform Google of this?


I had 7-8 affiliate links on a single page with about 2k worth of words (content).

Got dinged by Penguin.

P.S. Started using a social bookmarking (?) site to submit one article per day to 25 sites. It's supposedly above-board, and supposedly 25 is too few for Google to get suspicious about unnatural link building, but what little traffic I had has been cut in half since I started using it.



That's a pattern right there. It screams un natural.
12:05 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have 17 out of 22 OBL aff links on my home page, never been better with my rankings.
1:31 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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BaseballGuy: come to think of it, my lower-than-low traffic more or less coincides with the release of Penguin... Anyway, noted. Looking around on the web, looks like other affiliate users are getting hit too. No outrage here, but it's good to know for sure that some people are getting sunk for those practices, among other things.

And to clarify, the 25 site submissions are staggered--not all at once. Not that this is "natural," but it's more natural than 25 all at once.

Donna: OBL? Is that like ForEx?
1:46 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@chipdougles

OBL = Outbound link OR Osama Bin Laden , whatever rocks your boat.
8:46 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It seems from what I have seen recently that affiliate sites are having a hard time from google at the moment - they have to be very clean to have a chance of success - and I mean very clean.

If you use affiliate links for monitorization then any of the following factors will kill the site.

Thin onsite content - short articles wrote without expert insight - bit like Panda demotions.

Lots of on page optimisation - and I mean what would have been ok and still looks reasonable is now not so good. Stuff that a brand would get away with an affiliate would not.

Web2.0, article marketing and social bookmark type backlinks - if you are an affiliate then chuck those tools in the bin.

If you have some these factors the site is history under Penguin.

You also mention Adsense, I can not comment on Adsense as I never use it - only Affiliate income models.
9:52 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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chipdouglas, build your site for your visitors. If it makes sense for them then you've accomplished your goal. Google has never been more bent out of shape and at this point it's almost certain that one of their claimed 500 changes a year will just change things again, and again, and again. Save your creative energies for writing content and let Google figure it out, or not. Time wasted chasing vague guidelines that change anyway is lost forever. Besides, Google seems committed to pushing G+ right now and until they figure out how to beat Facebook everything else will continue getting canceled or re-worked. Stay the course, hopefully Google starts placing value in stability again soon.

Question - do you post the article you send out to article directories on your site too? You don't want to post those on your site if they are elsewhere, you'll outrank yourself from one of those services anyway.
 

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