This is a guest post by Roberto. You can read the guidelines to guest posting at our write for us page.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most commonly used methods of earning online income, especially amongst those who are good at internet marketing. Because product creation is difficult and costly, so the people who’re good at marketing and not interested in creating and working on their own products, usually go for marketing other businesses and earning commission on each sale.
While not a walk in the park, but once it gets going affiliate marketing can be a very good source of passive income, hence an ideal choice for people looking to make money online without worrying about anything else like customer service, product delivery, etc.
The Past of Affiliate Marketing:
In its early days, Affiliate marketing used to be a pretty straight forward job. Those who had the “first mover’s advantage” didn’t have to do much. They selected a niche with low competition but rising demand, bought some keyword rich domains, authored a sales page, and did some marketing while using quite inexpensive methods (e.g. article marketing). Most of these one page websites, with very little investment, worked out quite well for affiliate marketers.
Going one step ahead, they started targeting the entire niche (weight loss, online money making, online degrees, etc). They made websites with lots of affiliate links for different products, and invested heavily on link building to get on the first page of Google, for a variety of industry specific keywords.
Things were going pretty smooth until Google released Panda into the arena. Contrary to its delightful name (i.e. Panda), the update turned out to be a raging bull, knocking out many affiliate websites with thin content, along with the content farms.
The Future of Affiliate Marketing:
So, does the affiliate marketing future looks gloomy just because Google has ditched the websites with lots of affiliate links and thin content? Certainly not, true that Google has came down hard on those websites, but the primary reason for the penalty are not affiliate links but thin content. The thing is that the majority of affiliate marketers were busy investing in link building (or off-page optimization to be precise), while paying absolutely no attention to their on-site content, using the same description and price comparisons being used on hundreds of similar websites. All these factors worked like indicators for Google that the website is adding no value to the web, hence deserves penalty.
So, what are we supposed to do?
Our Stance in Affiliate Marketing
The penalty has changed the way you are supposed to run a website meant for affiliate marketing. To keep it short and practical, you’ll have to create lots of unique and quality content in order to rank well in SERP’s. Take the example of a TV channel that shows lots and lots of advertisement and fewer programs as compared to a channel that airs more programs and fewer ads. Which one would you prefer? Google wants the same, serve more content and lesser ads (affiliate links), and everything will be fine.
For any business looking for good rankings and traffic, social media is fast becoming a necessity, and affiliate marketing is no different. If you want more traffic, more buzz, more sales, and better rankings (note that social signals are now considered a search engine ranking factor), you’ve got to make the most of social media. Again keep the “value” thing in mind, just posting your website’s links and doing “like exchanges” won’t really cut it for you.
All in all, the future of affiliate marketing is still promising, especially with a number of new markets shaping up, though you might have to settle for a little less profits (given that you will have to invest more on quality content and enhancing your on-site experience) but still the rewards are worth the investment.