What Google Wants From Affiliate Marketers

Last week Google spilled the beans on how you can take advantage of their secret formula to get better rankings. They wrote an important post on their blog that I think all affiliate marketers need to know about.

It discusses what they want from webmasters and content writers and gives you a clear understanding of how they “think”. If you follow the principles behind their questions, you can’t go too wrong when creating a website or content that ranks.

For many years, we have been saying that to get ongoing search engine traffic you need to provide quality original content that is useful to searchers and to your readers. During that time, there have been many Google updates but their goal has never really changed: quality answers to search questions.

In Google’s words, “Our advice for publishers continues to be to focus on delivering the best possible user experience on your websites and not to focus too much on what they think are Google’s current ranking algorithms or signals.”

In simple terms, Google is saying that you should write for people, not for them.

If you’re looking at building long term cash flow from your sites, you need to write for people first. People read your content, they make assumptions about you from it and they decide whether you’re a trusted source BEFORE they even consider buying from your links.

Google says to ask yourself:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Google’s message to affiliate marketers

As you read through that list, you may have noticed one thing that stands out again and again:

“Search is a complicated and evolving art and science, so rather than focusing on specific algorithmic tweaks, we encourage you to focus on delivering the best possible experience for users.”

I suggest you print this post out and put that list of questions next to your computer until they are ingrained in your thinking. Every time you go to add content or plan a new affiliate site, read them again and consider them before you put fingers to keys.

After all, if you can’t take Google’s word on what they want to see, whose word can you take?

Click here to read all that Google has to say.

Additional Information worth reading:

Ken Evoy has put together a great article that follows on from mine that you might find interesting. It was definitely worth the read and a second point of view is always great. Click here to read Ken's post.

May 10, 2011

Comments (19)

Said this on May 11, 2011 At 06:11 pm
Thanks for the article, Brad. It's nice to see Google opening up a tiny bit. However, I'd like to see the site that can run through that entire list with all the boxes checked "yes."
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 10:32 am
I think the first and last are the most important and I thought this line, "Does the article describe both sides of a story?" was pretty darn funny. I guess G does have a sense of humor.

They left out the part about G wanting lots of authoritative links into the specific article and then your site. I could write the best article/report anywhere and if I'm not getting links, on my own, no one will ever see or read it. No one's going to link to it unless I'm promoting it or unless it's part of a well-trafficed, authoritative site.

Not even if it's on Wiki. Unless there's plenty of linkage to that article. Of course, sending the link to that article out to a very large email list should result in at least a couple or bookmarks, tweets, etc., right? ;)

Well, that's my .01 cent's worth. Thanks for posting that.
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 10:50 am
thanks , good post!
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 10:51 am
It's true, content is KING, but to write quality content the whole time is very challenging. I think the days of creating lots of sites are gone. It will be much better to focus all your attention on one or two sites. This way you can build an authority site like AssociatePrograms.com.
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 10:55 am
The following is a question posed in a forum I belong to and my response to that question -

"How many pages would one expect me to write about foot fungus? And how many links do you think I will be getting from other sites. Or what about genital warts, now there is a link I want on my Facebook fan page."

My reply post - THANK YOU for raising the very questions I have had for years.

In regards to 'how many pages' could one expect to publish about a single subject before the information becomes redundant?

Google pushes the issue of publishing more, more and even more because in the end Google as an entity does not care about the publisher, they care about filling up their SERPS that help them sell advertising.

If you have 100 or 1000 people publishing about foot fungus, Google now has 100-1000 potential views of their advertising, Google has no feelings, they are a corporation that must maintain or grow their revenues and publishers are what helps feed their beastly appetite.

Let's carry the Google kool aid a bit further - they say how if you write great content other website publishers will want to link to it. Yeah, right! Other competing web publishers have that thought foremost in their minds "to give you linkjuice" for your page or site.

Consider also, how many people have websites who use the Internet? Probably in the single digits percentagewise so here again the Google kool aid - who are these people who are going to massively "link" to your foot fungus page if they are simply some poor soul suffering from this condition who has no website to link from or who does not care to let the world know they have been looking for a source to cure their condition.

And how about ecommerce sites that describe a specific model of an item, be it electronic or other type, how many pages must be written about this specific model before it becomes redundant?

Google cares only about Google's bottom line and all publishers do is feed their beastly appetite. Do whatever you have to do to rank your pages and sites and stop drinking the Google Kool Aid with Matt Cutts or Amit Singhal sweetener.
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 11:11 am
"After all, if you can
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 12:34 pm
Wow! What a revelation! If you've been playing by the "rules" you've known this for years. It ain't exactly rocket science - it boils down to delivering exceptionally credible, high-quality customer-focused content to your visitors. Now, if Google actually started building some of this into its algorithym, that would be a good thing...
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 01:28 pm
I have been an avid follower of Associate Programs for years and in answer to your "show me a site that meets all this criteria" I reply... See my Vanabode site. I built it using the principles Allan Gardyne suggests and it meets all the criteria in the Google list.
Jethrow Tull
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 04:58 pm
In a fantasy world. Please. If you are not structuring your content to rank, you won't rank. it's that simple.

If you think all you have to do is write articles and even using the advice above and they will somehow rank. Wrong again.

Google is a hypocrite. They do not create content, they organize the content of others and then profit from selling ads based on that content. Then in turn they criticize affiliates who are using the same model.

Google is the worst thing that ever happened to affiliate marketing. We were much better off in the "old days" where there were a variety of search options.

I'm not here to leave a link back to any of my sites. I'm hear to add a bit of reality to this subject.
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 05:07 pm
Thanks guys.

This is spot on.
The most useful information I've seen this week!

Keep up the great work.


Larry T.
Said this on May 12, 2011 At 05:50 pm
What kind of a site does Google want?

To me it sounds like they want an authoratative site

If so what would it consist of?

How does article marketing fit into this?

Said this on May 12, 2011 At 07:32 pm
I agree with much of what is covered in the article but I also understand the concerns expressed in many of the comments. I get annoyed by many shallow or repetitive sites when I am looking for information. On the other hand, addressing a problem from a number of perspectives must mean that you will end up with some content duplication.

Say you are starting a new site. Even though you may have the best content in the world, how are others going to find out about it? It won't rank in the search engines because no-one is linking to it since it is new. Given the number of websites out there, your site is unlikely to be unique so older sites are already in the SERPs.

I think G is being a little simplistic in saying that the content is basically all that matters. If that were so they would not be using other metrics such as load speed, links, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I am all in favour of quality sites. I just think that there is a lot more to getting them ranked than G implies.
Said this on May 13, 2011 At 10:54 am
Very usefull information. Tnx.
Said this on May 13, 2011 At 12:11 pm
From the article by Matt Cutts
"Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don
Said this on May 14, 2011 At 10:39 pm
Thanks for the article It really helped me out on what i need to do on my site.
Said this on May 15, 2011 At 05:57 pm
It's always great to have guidelines and stay informed.
Said this on May 18, 2011 At 09:23 am
I agree there is some opposition between inbound linking and the idea of high-quality content. Moreover during many years a balance was setting between these things. The current balance satisfied more or less all the webmasters. The balance will be always. Maybe Google decided a little to displace the equilibrium to the side needed them now? If so, we
Said this on May 19, 2011 At 10:57 pm
OK - maybe it's just me, but does this "requirement" seem odd in today's world?

"Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?"

I'd hoped we'd dropped that yardstick a long time ago.
Said this on June 5, 2011 At 03:35 am
"Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?"

If I only trust sites I already know the name of, why do I need a search engine?

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