Join Evgenii "Geno" Prussakov for an in-depth discussion in this video Ensuring you are adding value, part of Affiliate Marketing Foundations.
Let's talk about value. In late 2009, Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, gave CNBC an interesting interview. When asked about the competition, namely whether too much was being made of Microsoft competing with Google on the search front, or with Apple on the other fronts, he said that it is important to understand what creates the real value of a business project or product for the consumer.
Ballmer said the truth is value gets created by innovation widely adopted. Somehow Apple comes to mind here. The statement also brought my thoughts back to Jason Calacanis's affiliate summit keynote speech in January of 2008. It is also available on YouTube now. While being infamously aggressive in his speech, which did create the resonance that he was hoping for, he also brought up the subject of value.
He rigorously spoke out against thin affiliates, or affiliate websites that add no real value, but pollute the internet. While I did disagree with much of Calacanis' verbiage, there was a very important point behind his words. As an affiliate program manager, I have to review close to 100 different affiliate websites daily. Some of them look like banner farms. Overstuffed with banners and providing a very negative user experience.
Is having a banner or a link on a website like that really beneficial for the merchant's that are being represented there? This is your question of value to the merchant and speaking of the value to the end consumer, is visiting such a website really helping the end-user in some new and constructive way, substantially contributing to the pre-sell process. The answers to both questions are evident. Now let's take a look at two important documents, which make it crystal clear what Google thinks of thin affiliates.
On January 27th, 2014 Google published an important post on their Webmaster Central Blog. Let's take a look at it. In this post they say, a good question to ask is, does the site provide significant added benefits that would make a user want to visit this site and search results instead of their original source of the content. If the answer is no, the site may frustrate searchers and violate our quality guidelines.
As with any violation of our quality guidelines, we may take action including removal from our index. Additionally, it is imperative for every affiliate to fully understand Google's quality guidelines regarding affiliate websites. Let's jump to that document now. In the very first paragraph here, they say that the webmaster guidelines advise you to create websites with original content that adds value for users.
This is particularly important for sites that participate in affiliate programs. The second paragraph starts with Google believes that pure or thin affiliate web sites do not provide value for web sites, especially if they are a part of a program that distributes its content to several hundred affiliates. If you participate in an affiliate program, they say, there are a number of steps you can take to have your site stand out, and to help improve your rankings.
And they give you very practical bullet points to follow. We are providing links to both of these documents in the exercise files for this video. It's not affiliate websites like those, like banner forms, or ones without original content that make super affiliates. And it's not websites like those that are being visited, bookmarked and revisited again and again. Having observed dozens of super-affiliates get to the heights of their success, I have not seen one that didn't do something that aimed at providing value, often by creating an innovation and ultimately strove for a wide adoption.
So there is something that affiliates can learn from Ballmer, Calicanis and Google. There are still many opportunities out there. We just need to look at things through the consumers eyes, see the needs, turn them into opportunities, we need to do everything we can to come up with such solutions that would be widely adopted and continuously needed.
- Understanding core affiliate marketing concepts
- Opening affiliate account(s)
- Selecting and applying to affiliate programs
- Monetizing blogs
- Using affiliate data feeds
- Using coupons and discounts
- Adding email, video, and social marketing to the mix