One question I am getting a lot from Affiliates of all types is how do I pull out of the hits I got from Penguin and Panda. Everyone from coupon sites to loyalty sites, content sites, bloggers, forums, etc… seems to have issues. Here are things I found in common with a majority (not a huge one but still a decent majority) that you may want to look at. Some of it might be repetitive of what you’ve read elsewhere and other things might be new. Feel free to leave your own tips and advice in the comments section if you’d like to share what did or did not work for you. On a quick side note, not all of these are perfect or good and they might not be relevant for your specific issue. They are just some of the easier things I have done with new clients and Affiliates that have come to me looking for help, and these seemed to begin to help them remove the things that caused them to lose their traffic. (This is also going out to many of the Affiliate Programs I manage. If you want updates like this monthly, join the programs I manage and I’ll help to give you ideas on how to make money online with examples for those specific programs.)
Bad Linking Structures:
One of the things that caused many sites to get hit are really bad linking structures. Linking structures are the links pointing into your site as well as the internal links within your site to help guide the search engines and tell them what to rank your pages for. This is an easy, but time consuming fix. The first thing to do is go into Google Webmaster Tools and use the Disavow tool to no longer allow a backlink to count for your site. By getting rid of the bad ones and having a mix of good and decent quality backlinks you can begin to fix the issue. For internal links you’ll need to go through every page on your site and blog and reorganize the structure.
The next thing I would do is review the pages that lost their traffic. Read the content and try to figure out what the purpose of the content and the page is. The job of the search engine is to answer a question or query. You should read the content and ask yourself questions about it. Have I answered a question or solved a problem? Did I provide actual information or just fluffy filler content? Is it readable and easy to understand? Is my copy hidden under, behind, around or blocked in any way by products or ads? This also means having ads above the fold and the majority of your content or even the main section of copy starting below the fold of your page. Here is my post about creating value adding copy for your site.
The next thing to think about is the design of your posts and pages. Are Affiliate and other ads above the fold? Do you have ads, product links and banners all over the top and tons of copy below them? One thing that has helped some of the sites I worked on was reorganizing the page design. We took the page and moved the links and banners out of the top or moved some of them. I then moved the value adding copy to start above the page and make it easier to find. The products, banners and ads all moved to become secondary making the page more likely to answer a question instead of just trying to sell a product. This not only helps you build loyalty, but it also helped to get some of the pages to start to rank again.
Orphaning off pages:
If your content is thin, the links pointing to it are bad and you over-optimized the page, orphan it off of your site so nothing links to it and eventually 404 the page. Now create a new page that has quality content, isn’t focused on having products and ads everywhere and has quality original content. This can help show your site is now focusing on delivering quality designs and content that help the end user find information and advice instead of just trying to sell products.
The goal of your site to make money with Affiliate Marketing is to presell the product. It could be by explaining the benefits of the products, talking about why it is better than others or even just why the product is useful. Some Affiliates even create an entire page about the specs, compare it to other products and also give the entire life of how the product was created. Doing this helps to show Google what answers your site can provide and gives it a reason to add you back to the SERPs for different queries.
Stop using easy backlinks:
No more article sites, lenses, directories, etc… for backlinks. The search engines know you can get them easily and will now penalize your for them. The same goes with blog and forum comments. They know the major softwares and know you can give yourself links. Although you can write a post or article that will rank well and use your affiliate links in them, you may want to avoid linking back to your main sites since these are very low quality links with only a few small exceptions. By building real links and not using spamming techniques you can help to repair the damage done by going after backlinks anyone can get.
Start building quality links and stop taking shortcuts:
If you have done anything to automate link building, stop. Disavow the links, even if it is 100,000 of them and start over. Spambots don’t work for the long run and will get your site penalized and make recovery almost impossible. Don’t spin content, Google is now going further into content to see if it makes sense. If a keyword is randomly placed or multiple variations of them in the article, it will look like you probably spun the content because the keywords and phrases don’t make sense in the article or post. If the article doesn’t even read well and the keywords you linked from don’t make sense when you read the post out loud, you have now given yourself away as a spammer and your site may no longer be thought of as a quality site since the links are fake and not high quality.
Doing things like getting rid of the bad backlinks, orphaning pages and even redesigning the pages of your site can all help to show your site is there to answer questions and add value. You may want to move around ads, rethink about your copy and even try removing all of the crappy links you built to yourself or that exist to your site using the disavow tool. If you have any other tips for helping Affiliates and Bloggers recover from Penguin and Panda, please feel free to share them below.