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An SEO question for senior SEOs and affiliate marketers. Looking for some good help.

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization' started by Mr_Kumar, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. #1
    Hi all,

    I wish you a very good day.

    I am struggling with affiliate marketing for last few years, specially the last year when Google's panda update started hitting my sites. I am into health product affiliate. Here is my current strategy.

    1. I register domains having product name in it. One domain for one product.
    [Reason: SEO benefits and higher conversion rate as guys who search with product name are already familiar with product and are in interested in it.]

    2. I write most obvious pages like -- home for main product info, reviews page, side effects page, ingredients page, order now, FAQ page etc.
    [Reason: these are most popular keywords with product name in it, and again conversion chances are higher]

    3. I write blog posts with relevant content. These posts are based on top keywords. Ex- erectile dysfunction, ED treatment, Weight loss. skin care and whatever, but top keywords. I also write some medium keyword based posts.
    [Reason: an attempt to show my site talking about relevant topics seriously. I try to make these posts through with complete info in one post. Generally post length reaches to 1K to 3K words]
    SEMrush
    ---- only this much with on-site work. All tags, image, html, sitemap, webmaster tool settings, robots.txt, htaccess, speed tests etc are done nicely ---

    4. Link development via... directories (both free and paid), article syndicate, forums, blog comments, press release, third party mini sites (squidoo, hub pages, blogspot, etc), tracing competitors backlink profile etc. In other words... links are wide spread-ed with nice variation in anchor texts. Absolutely white hat work. NO bulk submissions, no bulk links and nothing spammy. I understand all this stuff very well.

    5. I do little bit of social media, but due to the nature of products there is little or no response on facebook, Google+, etc..

    Results I have seen:

    1. In few attempts.. I got lot of wrong pages ranking for keywords. For example-- Page1 ranking for KeyW2, Page2 ranking for KeyW3, Page3 ranking for KeyW4, Page4 ranking for KeyW1. Or even more horrible. Sometimes... a page ranked when only a part of keyword is mentioned only once on that page when there is a complete page for that keyword on website. These ranks were 500+ positions.

    I re-written whole website making sure any given page do not contain keyword of other page (in full or in partial). In few days.. wrong page ranking problem get solved. But I noticed the problem was solved in competitors website as well without making any change in their content. So I assume it was not my success, but a google's algo change, correctly.

    2. Keywords started ranking on either 1st page or second page. I kept on increasing pages and blog posts on website. Comments started coming in. Ranks push upwords by 1-2 position everyday. I kept on working. But suddenly all ranks lots, and started showing in 800s, 900s positions.

    3. Website got PR3 in last pagerank update. For keywords ranking in top 5 positions (in country specific google) I got deep links associated with my website in SERPs.

    4. To me it seems... I get ranks slowly with hard work, but suddenly google throw me back. Again I make lot of changes and I get ranks again (slowly)... but again google throw me back. This is happening again and again.

    ==============
    My current thinking:

    1. I think it is time to change the whole strategy. May be one big website with lot of products? I am not sure what should be new strategy.

    2. The thin content problem is big for me. What the hell remaining to write about erectile dysfunction? I mean.. what to write unique, and how? It seems like health researchers can get ranks, so we should also open our own research labs. The helping hints which google gave about affiliate sites like.. make comparison pages etc. are also popular things to do. Nothing new with me and I think every affiliate marketer to write. Looking for some good help around it.

    3. My service based websites don't show such behavior. If I work... I get ranks. It happen only with affiliate sites. OR something wrong is set either on server side or wordpress setting side.

    4. Adsense websites got penalty on 20th jan (page layout algo update) for placing ads top of the content. Which I have already fixed for long time... all pages get indexed after that. But not recovering. I am little bit puzzled here.

    5. I see many crap website rank well which don't deserve it. For example -- one website is ranking #1 or #2 for last 1+ year and that website is having just 200-300 words content (8-9 pages in all), and few spam kind blog posts, and above all its product ingredient page is ranking continuously in top 5 which is 100% copy paste from product's official website. Another example-- one website (a blog) have product name 168 times on home page (which show 8 posts). Whole website is full of keyword stuffing and nothing new content, nor even a try like i do.

    I don't understand why google hate my affiliate websites. Will you guys like to share your experiences around it? Please.

    Many thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 3, 2012 IP
    SEMrush
  2. ashokpatidar

    ashokpatidar Greenhorn

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    #2
    It is indeed clear that you are a very good content writer as you have written all of your story in a good way...appreciable. By the way, Google is certainly unfair with you. I have also seen Google's unfamiliarity with many people, but complaining and cursing to Google will not work for you. You have to certainly analyze your site very carefully. First of all as you told your wrong website pages are ranked for your right keywords, I think you should check your No-follow/Do-follow attribution of these pages. If you think some pages in your website have no use with SERPs give them no-follow attribute, hence you can prevent SE robots to access and index these pages.

    Another think I suspect is your selection of paid directories. Google and other major search engines strictly avoid paid backlinks and they punish you if they notice any such instance. Hope this might not with your case.

    One more think, as your site sells products for sexual health, it might be possible for Google to have notice your any of wrong SEO strategy like for sexual content sites Google has other guidelines and regulation.

    After all you should send Google a message asking them if they have your site in Sand Box. Sand Box is process of Google in which it scrutinizes any suspected website. They will certainly reply you if your website is going through this process. And also prepare back up strategy that can get you back at the top with little efforts.
    Hope this could help you.....
     
    ashokpatidar, Mar 3, 2012 IP
    Mr_Kumar likes this.
  3. Mr_Kumar

    Mr_Kumar Notable Member

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    #3
    I made all blog categories noindex to avoid duplicate content. But i see other websites don't get any penalty for having same paragraphs in category pages and then in posts. I followed the advice of some big SEO company and Panda suggestions. Can you comment on having category pages noindex? besides this everything is very neat and clear and available to google.

    I agree, it may happen. The reason is... the site(s) in question get google's slap only after few days I took paid dir links. These directories are high PR directories and have links from high PR sites. The directories don't contain much websites in it. These are those directories, if you can comment on them:
    http://www.laikee.com
    http://www.littlew.net
    http://www.trailace.com
    http://www.korekom.org
    http://www.kofoti.org
    http://www.indexlogic.org

    I have taken special care for that. Not even a single adult word is there in whole website. No pics.. nothing rubbish. Only and only respective words for saying the matter.

    I'll surely contact. Nice suggest. Thanks a lot. May be Sand Box still exist. But my other non-affiliate new sites get ranks as i expect. I'll still contact to know what Google thinks about my these sites.
     
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 3, 2012 IP
  4. Mr_Kumar

    Mr_Kumar Notable Member

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    #4
    Another important thinking:

    As I said.. my blog posts are based on big topics like "erectile dysfunction", "erectile dysfunction treatment", "premature ejaculation" etc., making these keywords as prime keyword for the post. Every post is based on single big keyword. In other words.... my blog posts are a just a collection of information from top 2-3 websites about topic. Like - Wikipedia. Means... I can say that my blog posts are re-written & merged into one version of info on top websites.

    Does it counts towards duplicate content? Panda update is against it? I think... I got answer of my question. "YES".. google panda will not like it. Right?

    But my question still remains there... How to deal with thin content problem with affiliate sites? Some light will be most appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Edit: I have given link to those top websites from blog post as reference sites.
     
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 4, 2012 IP
  5. ashokpatidar

    ashokpatidar Greenhorn

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    #5
    It looks like all of your above directories are general. They have very good PR i.e. 5, but all are general in terms of relation with your website's content. Google always prefers natural linking i.e. linking coming with relation to website's content. You should have tried to get backlink from a more relevant directory. In other words, getting backlink from a most relevant directory (for you any health related directory, more closely any directory that deals with only sexual health) with good PR like 5 would be more preferable and countable than a general directory with a PR of 8. If you have a paid backlink from a highly relevant directory then chances are that Google and most search engines tend to avoid any serious consequences of paid directory submission despite the fact that Paid Backlinking is a black hat seo strategy. It is because the backlink coming from such directory are highly relevant with your website.

    Content duplication is always a matter of concern for many search engines specially when we have such a smart search engine Google. Your blog should always have content different than what you do have in your product pages. It is good to use certain amount of content from product pages in blog posts, but it should always be tweaked.
    As you are taking certain amount of content from other major sites, it is good to let them know that you are also referring them by giving a link back to them and so as Search Engines are getting know that you are not copying anything. But be aware sometimes Search Engines don't see this as they just avoid this if they don't find backlink from these top sites to you too. For example, you are giving reference to wikepedia (or anyone) by placing a link back to them, but Google might look for their reference too (from Wikepedia to you) by searching any back linking from them to you.

    Other thing is as you told you have given 'no-index' attribution to category pages, my concern is why you have given these pages non-index-able status? Categories are something what SE's look in a way to see deep pages of websites and it is also directly related with website's internal linking. It might be possible for SE robots to not index further pages i.e. the pages that are going through these category pages.

    It is pretty unclear on a point about thin content on Affiliate pages. Can you explain this in more detail??

    Hope this could get you on right track.
     
    ashokpatidar, Mar 4, 2012 IP
  6. Freddy8

    Freddy8 Peon

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    #6

    As far as I know google never acknowledged the existence of sandbox algorithm. So there will no use in inquiring about it, rather you will have to experiment it yourself
     
    Freddy8, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  7. Mr_Kumar

    Mr_Kumar Notable Member

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    #7
    Thank you ashok for replying.
    You are right. Here my point was... can these paid directories be culprit for throwing my site back in SERPs?

    Yes, but my site is new and CANNOT be that big site or that great to receive backlink from top information sources. So, should I remove those blog posts?

    It was very difficult for me to be convinced with no-indexing category pages. I am still not fully convinced. I did so as I saw no problem with making them no-index. The thought in my mind while making them no-index is fully explained by someone at https://www.keywordstrategy.org/613/seo-tip-21-noindex-tag-category-pages-wordpress/ [I am seeing this post now, but I made up the mind while reading google's webmaster forum, and SEOMoz blog posts]

    By "thin content" i mean... no additional value on website. Imagine a product "XYZ". This product is launched by a company "ABC". Then this company will publish ALL information on product's website. We as an affiliate... have to read all details from that website, and make up our own website. To promote that product..we have to write the same details on official website on our affiliate website as well. So.. nothing new we can produce about that product. We can just re-phrase the details, manipulate the whole presentation and pass the copyscape, even give user completely new experience by looks of website etc. But from user point of view... there is nothing new info on affiliate website. We can write our own point of view for that product, some reviews, or comparison of that product with other in same industry. Thats it.

    So, we left with only few original content on affiliate website. This is what I mean by "Thin Content".

    This is very very common problem with affiliate website. At least.. this is biggest problem with me when it comes to affiliate websites.

    Thank you once again for your input, Ashok.
     
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  8. ashokpatidar

    ashokpatidar Greenhorn

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    #8
    It doesn't that harmful. You are at the right corner as you have already given referring link to them. You do not need to remove your blog posts. As the phrase 'content is always king', it is better to market with your own content regardless to what Wikepedia or anyone else wrote saying. Search engines always look for new and fresh content. If you still prefer to incarnate their content in your posts then try to tweak that content enough to make it look like unique and your own.

    You can still posts their content as it is with referring them, but try to let them know that you are promoting their content as well in your website/blog and in reward if they could give you backlink. It will be like a milestone for you if you could get a backlink from such a precious site.

    The post is exactly correct, but this is a canonical issue. You know you have many pages with same keywords, but you only know what these individual pages are referring for. Here, long tail keywords comes in existence. Lets take a example describes in that wordpress posts. You have 4 pages with all are having 'dogs' keyword in their content, but the all 4 pages would surely be having different purpose with website. Like one page would be for dog related product, so it would be like:
    site.com/dog-products.

    second would be having information for dog's health, so it would be like:
    site.com/dog-health-information.

    third might be having dog's cloth related information, so it would be like:
    site.com/dog-clothes.

    and fourth might be having anything like dog feeding guidelines, so it would undoubtedly be like:
    site.com/dog-feeding-guidelines.

    In such a way you still have same keywords in all pages, but it is clear for Search Engines as well as human visitors that all 4 pages have different content within them. In nutshell, it's all but content which drive SE robots to crawl and index your pages accordingly.

    That's how affiliate marketing goes. You have to promote others service/product, but it's not always necessary to use only content that is in your merchant's website. You can use your own content too. If this has to do only with affiliate marketing, then merchants would have been doing this by their own. Merchants search for affiliates who can effectively promote their service or products and can get potential customer at the end. You need to apply completely different approach here. You can always use new content for the promotion of your affiliates, but it must be merchant's product centric..

    Hope this could help you!
     
    ashokpatidar, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  9. Mr_Kumar

    Mr_Kumar Notable Member

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    #9
    @ashok, Thank you once again.

    I completely agree with you on thin content thing. I need to learn some more things and improve some skills to fight it.

    About no-indexing the categories... it is not the case of canonical thing. In categories only excerpts is placed, so no need to point correct url. And categories do contain excerpts for several posts. The point here is... category pages don't contains any content of their own... hence not worthy pages to show in SERPs. Category pages are important for users to navigate the blog, but category pages don't seems worthy pages to show in SERPs against any query.

    There might be some cases where some part of a searched query is written in one post and remaining part of search query in other post. In that case category pages can be ranked higher. But this again seems not correct page to be shown as SERPs for whole query, as the user is search for whole query i.e. whole info should be there on one page, and not split into 2-3 posts.

    Keeping this logic in mind... I made them no-indexing.

    Regarding crawling of blog posts... I have xml sitemap which informs google immediately as the new post is made. It only take few minutes (less than 5 minutes) to get new posts indexed.

    But there is one valid thing which make me consider making categories "DO-index". The blog posts are NOT reachable from home page through all indexable pages. I.e scene is:

    Home (indexable) ---> categories (non-indexable) ----> blog posts (indexable).

    For this.. I think I should make HTML sitemap (explicitly) as well. Right now there are only 22 pages in whole blog, and only 10 blog posts. What do you think?
     
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  10. ashokpatidar

    ashokpatidar Greenhorn

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    #10
    Category pages are not worthy enough to show in SERPS, because they do not have content. Search Engine's algorithmic process is so smart that they will automatically calculate what searcher are looking for (this is referring to Google's latest update of user behavior tracking facility ) and will show results accordingly regardless to searcher's search query that might contain two different streak. Whichever page of your website is highly relevant to the search queries, the winner would be that page in Search Engines auction. Don't worry if visitor finds the information interesting to them, they are likely to go into further pages of your website by seeing bread crumbs of your website.

    You should make categories 'do-index' because it makes crawling process not only easy, but also allow users to quickly navigate into anywhere section of your website.

    You should always place a HTML site map into your website, because it further helps users to jump on wherever section of your website.

    Hope this could help you!
     
    ashokpatidar, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  11. Mr_Kumar

    Mr_Kumar Notable Member

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    #11
    Dear Ashok, I'll make categories do-index again. Lets see if this can be some help. BTW.. do you think my site was thrown back into last pages of SERPs because of category no-index?

    Besides this... I have removed all paid dirs links. Hope now site come back out of the ditch.

    Another thing (apart from whatever is discussed). My site was having geo-target to USA, as the product is basically USA based and have highest search count there. But whois info of website is India based. Do you think this may the cause of the problem?

    I have already remove the geo-target thing from webmaster tool.
     
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  12. madison37

    madison37 Greenhorn

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    #12
    Very Informative and nice post here. Thanks for sharing with us.
     
    madison37, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  13. ashokpatidar

    ashokpatidar Greenhorn

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    #13
     
    ashokpatidar, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  14. Mr_Kumar

    Mr_Kumar Notable Member

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    #14
    @ashok, Thanks again.

    Referring back to thin content thing on my site. i.e. the blog posts (information is taken from top sites, no new info as such, just written in my way by re-diving the topics, info merging, putting most of the info at one place which is even lacking with those top sites). Should I delete them, as I don't have anything else which google Panda or some other algo can point. In google's speed test tool... I score 93 out of 100, which I consider is very good.
     
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  15. ashokpatidar

    ashokpatidar Greenhorn

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    #15
    It depends upon the content you have posted in your blog posts. If you have posted content as it was on those sites, then there might be an issue. But if you have re-written in your own words with inclusion of their certain part of content along with referring link, then don't worry it's not a case of copying.

    Simply send Google a message asking them what went wrong with your site so as it is dropped so away. The chances of Google's reply is very less, but sometimes they do respond to any queries.

    Your 93 Google speed test score is good. It says your website's page downloading speed is very good.

    Hope this could help you!
     
    ashokpatidar, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  16. Mr_Kumar

    Mr_Kumar Notable Member

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    #16
    Update:

    @Ashok, I have taken your all advises. I did categories do-index and removed all outgoing links (advised via PM) from xml sitemap. already removed paid dir links (100%). But today the ranks are even worse.

    I am mentioning here the main website in question. It is http://www.vigrxplus.bz

    Yesterday my site was ranking for keyword "vigrx plus" at #4 in India, #31 in USA and #19 in google.com. But today... even these ranks are gone.

    Looking for further investigation from experts and help me fight this frustrating issue.
     
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 5, 2012 IP
  17. Grobbulus

    Grobbulus Peon

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    #17
    Same as this. Do you check the content that it is not an exact duplicate of the original content?
     
    Grobbulus, Mar 6, 2012 IP
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  18. Mr_Kumar

    Mr_Kumar Notable Member

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    #18
    Content on my site is much far from caught by copyscape or any other tool. I read the topic in-depth, make note of details, arranged (into para, points, sub-points etc) the whole topic according to me. And then I wrote every bit of word without looking at those sites from where I have get the knowledge of topic.

    And above all, I have given link to those sites as reference sites.
     
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 6, 2012 IP
  19. Mr_Kumar

    Mr_Kumar Notable Member

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    #19
    Update:

    My main website in question is now back in SERPs. Many Many thanks to you all, specially @ashokpatidar.

    I made below changes:

    (1) Removed paid directory links.
    (2) Made categories index-able.
    (3) Set geo targetting to neutral.
    (4) Throughly check and fixed grammar mistakes (thrice).
    (5) Made Google+ profile and linked it with the website.
    (6) Removed "All in one SEO Pack" and "XML sitemap" plugins.
    (7) Installed "wordpress SEO" from yoast.
    (8) Removed ads from prominent places.
    (9) Provide reference links on blog posts.
    (10) Take website Google's speed test score to 94 out of 100.
    (11) Removed all affiliate redirects made by me.
    (12) and few (minor) adjustments in content of home page.

    And my website is now back in google, and ranking better than ever.

    Many thanks once again.
     
    Mr_Kumar, Mar 18, 2012 IP
  20. ashokpatidar

    ashokpatidar Greenhorn

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    #20
    That's a great news. Your efforts got paid. Keep it up.........
     
    ashokpatidar, Mar 19, 2012 IP