This is not going to be a long post, nor is it going to teach much. I am putting it out as a way of an early warning system for thin affiliate sites that survived the panda effect.
Basics Of Thin Affiliates
I run a few data collecting (and money making) thin affiliate sites. I dont hide the fact and I dont overly try and push them either. I build them and let them run. Most of these survived the Panda 1.0 update. Panda 2.0 was a different matter.
For those who dont know what a thin affiliate site is, Its pretty much a thematic site put together with a series of affiliate feeds on related products that automatically create product pages. The game here is to try and rank for the long tail – often Google would give priority to thematic sites built on Exact Match Domains, over the original retailer. The other advantage to date has been that some ecommerce sites are so huge that they only concentrate on the larger volume, money making SERPs, and tend to ignore smaller volume products.
This is where a number of thin affiliates who make money play at. The SERP competition is low, and it is often easy enough to outstrip the original retailer in the SERPs for their own products. Its nothing new and many have made a living out of it comfortably. (Sadly not I – I get bored too easily).
In essence, though not exactly “scraping”, these sites often tend to be repetition of content that exists on other sites, passed on through the blessings of the original content producer.
So what happened?
Initially Panda 2.0 halved the traffic to the sites. Literally. and I thought to myself, well 50% aint so bad. And I thought that Panda updates are going to be periodic, bulk algo changes. However, if what I am seeing is the norm, then the roll out is far from finished. Here is the aftermath as of yesterday:
Panda 2.0 isnt a one of release, and can potentially affect sites weeks after its roll out – just because you survived, or partially survived the aftermath, doesnt mean your sites are safe if the content isnt great.
I lost the HOMPAGE. Thats right – the home page does not rank. In this example and 5 other hit sites. In fact, an inner page ranks for some of the KWs that the home page used to rank for. Is this a signal? I dont know. but I know that the home page of a blog based site tends to be the strongest part of a site – and often short term content that appears on it helps sites rank for KWs even before the inner post pages are indexed. Whats the easiest way to stop sites ranking quickly for constant low quality content? Kill the home page.
I dont think that the site is worth recovering, despite the volume of traffic it used to drive. Why? Because I know that it was a crappy affiliate site, I knew that there wasn’t much content on it that was original, and I know it deserved to die. So I will let it R.I.P .
So what will I do? If you are new to my writings, you should head over and read about SERP Sniffing. But in essence, this is a strategy that allows you to capture long tail keywords that drive volume, AND are easy to rank for. Thus armed with this data I intend to build this site on a new domain, without all the crappy element, write custom content for it, make it useful, and hopefully make it pay off.
What should you do? Be wary and keep an eye out – it isnt over yet.
Image Source http://forums.voogru.com/off-topic/13741-red-white-pandas-4.html
Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile