2012 was a very important year. You can call it the year of SEO with all the changes and updates that have been made. But what does this in particular mean for you as an affiliate marketer?
I am writing this article for Affiliates (and of course it applies to vendors too for that matter) who are worried about the undeniable impact that Google Panda‘s update has on the way and methods in which they should be optimizing their sites for the search engines going forward.
Since February 24 2012, Google has pushed thru several Panda updates. Firstly I want you to know that Google Panda is and always was just an update, not an entirely new ranking algorithm like many people seem to think. Many of the efforts you did to try to achieve the high search engine rankings still apply as how they used to.
The very first Panda update did in fact effect approximately 12% of the total websites in Google. But the overall effects were much larger than Google stated because the majority of the sites that were affected by the Panda update were websites that rank in the top pages of Google.
In addition, Google have also publicly stated on their Google Webmaster Central Blog that Google Panda was not the only significant update that they have been running, and that there will be a lot more than 500 tweaks to their algorithms throughout the year 2012. Furthermore, Google also stated “Some publishers have fixated on the prior Panda algorithm change, but Panda was just one of about roughly 500 search result improvements we expected to roll out in 2012.”
But that is not all that the Google representative has to say, “In fact, since we launched Google Panda, we have rolled out over a dozen additional tweaks to our Google ranking algorithms, and some sites incorrectly assumed that changes in their rankings were directly related to the Google Panda Update. SEO still is a complicated and daily evolving art and science, so rather than just focusing on specific algorithmic tweaks, we want to encourage you to focus on delivering the best possible experience and content for audience.”
Google’s representative continued with listing the following as questions that you can use to assess the quality of an certain article or a page:
- Would you honestly trust the information given in this article?
- Is this particular article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it depthless in nature?
- Does the site contain duplicate, overlapping, or redundant content articles on the same or similar topics with just slightly different keyword variations?
- If it was you visiting the website, would you feel comfortable giving your credit card information to this website?
- Does the article have stylistic, spelling, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by purely genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site only generate content by attempting to simply guess what might rank well in different search engines?
- Does your article provide unique content or information, original research, original reporting or a original analysis?
- Does the page provide readers with substantial value when it is compared to other pages in search results?
- How much of quality control is done on the content?
- Does the article describe at least both sides of a story?
- Is the site a related and recognized authority on its topic?
- Is the created content mass-produced by or outsourced to larger number of creators, or spread across a numerous network of sites, so that individual pages or sites do not get as much attention or care?
- Was the complete article edited well, or does it appear as sloppy or hastily produced?
- For a health related search query, would you trust the information from this site?
- Would you recognize this site as a authoritative source when it is mentioned by name?
- Does your article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the chosen topic?
- Does this article contain a insightful analysis or very interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you would like to bookmark, share with your (social) friends, or recommend to someone?
- Does the article contain an excessive amount of advertisements that distract from or interfere with the core content?
- Would you expect that this article can be published in a printed magazine or book?
- Is the complete article short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specific content?
- Are the pages produced with excellent care and attention to details vs. less attention to details?
- Would users consider to complain when they see pages from this site?
As you can judge based on the questions above, Panda is an bigger attempt for Google to assess websites that have too much low quality pages. If your site has got a Panda penalty, that will not mean your site is out of the Google ranking, but it does mean that your site pages carry a penalty that will make it a lot harder for them to get near to the top of Google’s search results.
Also remember this, if you going to make changes to your pages based on the information stated above, it might take at least several weeks before you notice changes to your rankings as Google will only run the Panda filter periodically to calculate the required values it needs (estimated about every 5 to 7 weeks).
Going forward, the key takeaway from this big change is that when you build your affiliate marketing websites you always need to start out with picturing your potential visitors in mind. This is THE key distinction from those who have been creating affiliate marketing sites based on highly searched for keywords and on securing the low quality writers to throw up content based on those keywords.
You now have to think really about producing content that users actually want to read before they will take interest in your website.
Before this was always a good practice, but it has become even more important for those wanting to thrive with their affiliate marketing sites (and vendor sites in that matter) going forward.