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OUCH!! Is Google Slapping Product Review Sites?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by AboutBizz, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. AboutBizz

    AboutBizz Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    (this from Perry Marshall... thoughts appreciated)

    News Flash from Dr. Glenn Livingston of Rocket Clicks:

    I got word from several affiliate marketers that Google dropped the hammer today on affiliate review pages. Many pages went from quality scores of 10 ?> 1 overnight.

    And these were NOT skinny sites, rather well build out, consistently updated blogs with good navigation above the fold, xml site maps, high click through, hyper-relevant keyword mapping, low bounce rates, long average time on page ? everything else Google loves.

    When we analyzed which pages survived, and we take it in combination with other information, it seems pretty clear they've added code which screens for affiliate links on the landing pages.

    At the moment it seems cloaking and PHP redirects are untouched, ? but I can't imagine these are far behind. (I'm guessing they're just avoiding this in order to decrease their server burden ? takes some CPU cycles to visit every link on the page and evaluate for affiliate code)

    I'd say it's safe to conclude Google's on the war path against affiliate review sites, and we should be advising clients towards a different business model? at minimum it seems necessary to avoid placing affiliate links on landing pages, but ideally, I think people need to move towards a deeper list building/relationship building strategy and/or a strong e-commerce model.

    Time to stop "building on sand".

    Glenn

    Many affiliates make their living creating product review sites.

    Many product review sites are trash.

    Many times the affiliates don't even own the product and it's a big pump and dump.

    Savvy web surfers quickly recognize these sites and don't trust their advice. Worse yet, it tarnishes the reputation of even a good product, because it's cheesy and sleazy.

    Google is on a mission to stamp out the "me-too rug-merchants" of the affiliate world and only give credence to quality advertisers who build their own personality and reputation and content.

    If your identity on the Internet is merely borrowed from other people, you're headed for extinction.

    I've been saying this for 5 years, by the way.

    In the $97 edition of the Definitive Guide to Google AdWords there's a classic, must-listen MP3 for affiliates called "Jet Fuel for Google Cash." In that MP3 I define a path for moving from "me-too" affiliate to full-fledged e-commerce vendor with a strong identity and sound reputation. It's just as valid today as it was the day I recorded it.

    Dude, if you're an affiliate, you'd better add value to the equation, and FAST, because just squeezing yourself into the middle of transactions is getting harder by the month.

    And? there's a larger point to be made here:

    The Internet used to be some fringe phenomenon where only geeks, social rejects and vagabonds hung out.

    That was, maybe, 10 years ago. (Which is probably why I liked it so much.)

    Now it's center stage of the world.

    Which means the Internet is no longer an easy place for digital vermin to make a quick buck. Online you need to demonstrate substance. This is what Google now expects of you.

    Sorry? this is no 'get rich quick' notice. Instead I'm serving a warning: "If you're looking for get rich quick, go somewhere else. Google doesn't want your money."

    However - this is GOOD news for everyone else. If you're an original voice, it just got that much easier to be heard in the sea of noise that's out there.

    IF YOU ARE AN AFFILIATE - here is my advice to you:

    You need to take control of the sale. Now.

    At the very least you need to be in control of the entire conversation.

    Fact: Google doesn't like affiliate links all that much. They don't like anyone who's doing "me too."

    Fortunately it's possible to be a "Value Added Affiliate" who adds a unique contribution to the product of whatever person you are promoting.

    It's also possible to take complete control of the conversation. Build an email list.

    What if you?

    -Directed Google ads to a content rich website
    -Followed up with email and autoresponders
    -Closed the sale with a killer teleseminar - just like Michael Cage taught us how to do a couple of weeks ago?

    Nice recipe for success, methinks. Come to think of it, what I do isn't all that terribly different.

    People appreciate quality content and so does Google. Give 'em what they want and you'll get plenty of airtime.

    Perry Marshall

    (Again, special thanks to Glenn Livingston for shaking down the data and bringing it to my attention.)
     
  2. Micallef

    Micallef Supreme Member

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    My humble opinion: scaremongering for ebook sales. If I find myself being forced to go white hat like this guy says, i'll just get a career instead!
     
  3. jonnyh431

    jonnyh431 Junior Member

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    Lol, I just made a review site for golf ebooks.
     
  4. youngguy

    youngguy Senior Member

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    Yes, google did it ;) because many of you and me (affiliates) claimed as an expert in the niche but we're truly not.
     
  5. herron

    herron Regular Member

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    You have to use some logic (and a lot of common sense) to realise this is rubbish. Is the Google bot somehow passing judgment on a review site based on various keyword phrasing and html formatting? This can't be done without manual review. If it is just for adword campaigns then who determines the value of a site? Do several google staff look at the site and then discuss whether your site is of real value? There a lot of real business advertising their products online and you can't hurt affiliates without hurting the retailers. Google can't distinguish affiliate links either. Variable parsing through the URL isn't limited to internet marketing...
     
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  6. AboutBizz

    AboutBizz Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    @herron... "Google can't distinguish affiliate links either. Variable parsing through the URL isn't limited to internet marketing..." true but as you mentioned earlier, there is the component of the HUMAN EDITOR. I sense G is using more... but I'd love to be wrong.
     
  7. jvmarket

    jvmarket Regular Member

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    hmmmm....this is primarily for adwords if memory serves me right. Google will continue to try and raise the bar so that the end user (the people searching) can find what they are looking for.

    My partner brought this up to me this afternoon so I look at a few of our PPC campaigns. So far no penalties....but we add lots of value to our review sites not just rehashed stuff.

    Looking forward to seeing how this plays out...may eliminate some of my competition...lol

    j
     
  8. mbceo

    mbceo Junior Member

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    Agreed. There should only be concern if you are using adwords. Otherwise, who cares?

    I just finished a review site for a CB product 3 weeks ago, and the sales ratio went from 1.1% to 3.7%. Uhhhh ..... that's about an extra $1000 per month.

    But all my traffic comes from free sources, so I could care less what g00gle does.
     
  9. AboutBizz

    AboutBizz Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    becuz G00gle rulz the world muwhahaha, muahahaha, bwahahaha
     
  10. richlondon18

    richlondon18 Junior Member

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    The usual scare mongering for a product launch. Just watch and Either Perry or the guy who is sending out copies of the email will be launching a "how to beat the review site slap" real soon.

    The only way google can detect a review site is by manual review and lets face it most "whitehat" sites will get clobbered by a human reviewer, they are pure power junkies!

    I have 10 or so review sites and have seen no drop in traffic or rankings but admittedly I don't waste money on adwords so can't comment on that side.
     
  11. jimbobo2779

    jimbobo2779 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Not seen a bean on any of my review sites. Gotta say that even though the post was relatively well written it was mostly bunk. Why would google slap these sites? If they serve an actually purpose and give genuine reviews why would they be slapped? How would google distinguish a review site from a "regular" site or blog. Why review sites?

    Is google gonna delist pricegrabber, pricerunner, newegg and the like. What about "genuine" review sites like anandtech.com or tomshardware.com? How does google know the difference between these sites and the likes of my crappy review sites?

    I don't wanna say this guy is talking shit but he must be a lil misinformed
     
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  12. JustinW3

    JustinW3 Newbie

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    Even as a newbie, I think this 'warning' or 'advice', or whatever it's meant to be, should be taken with a modicum of salt. If PM has "been saying this for 5 years" (surely at least a generation in IM terms) and it's still not proven to have happened yet, I have my doubts it ever will.

    Or is PM just trying to start a new internet marketing myth, I wonder?

    There are several reasons I for one find it hard to give much credence to this alarm call. First, there must be thousands, if not many hundreds of thousands, of such review sites out there. How, prey tell, is even the mighty G going to manually review all such sites one by one? Secondly, surely if G were indeed moving the goalposts in the manner suggested, it would issue some sort of notification -- either via a press release or through amendments to its TOS -- or other clarification to that effect. Which raises the question, has PM or anyone else even actually bothered to ask Googe about this alledged new policy aka 'slap'?

    Finally, PM stresses G now requires more value be added to a review site, and that just having questionable plugs of affiliate products won't do anymore. While I see nothing wrong with that sentiment, isn't it curious how the one starting this myth/rumour just happens to have an ebook 'cure' for the problem lying around? And how fortunate for me, as a naive newbie still wet behind the ears, that he'll let me have it for a mere $97. Um...

    I think I'll take that pinch of salt instead, thanks. ;)
     
  13. Entrepreneur

    Entrepreneur Regular Member

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    I didn't read the whole article, but this reminds me how much i wanna see price comparison review sites slapped.

    Nothing pisses me off more at the moment than typing in something i want to buy and finding the first page of Google is almost entirely price comparison websites that sell fuck all, just have a page with no actual reviews, some simple product info and links to places that sell the product at a good price. (Which is some cases don't even sell the product.)

    To name a few sites i would love to see getting slapped or sandboxed, as i hope these sites are considered review sites (here's hoping). shopping.com, ciao, dealtime, kelkoo, caboodle, nextag, pricegrabber, pricerunner, shopzilla. I fucking hate those sites and they ruin my shopping experience! :)
     
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  14. Micallef

    Micallef Supreme Member

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    The following is taken from a leaked document from Google - their guide to their team of quality raters.

    Apparently, they hesitate to mark price comparison sites as spam.

     
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  15. bluerickshaw

    bluerickshaw Junior Member

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    If you get slapped is there any appeal process with google? It looks like its open to interpretation so one manualy reviewer could slap you whereas another would be happy with your site.
     
  16. jvmarket

    jvmarket Regular Member

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    The only way google can detect a review site is by manual review - not true

    If you get slapped is there any appeal process with google? - not with any success....lol

    j
     
  17. Yukinari84

    Yukinari84 Elite Member

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    All I have to say about this one is this:

    If you follow the crowd and make your review sites like everyone else, Google will show you less love.

    If you want Google to really love your sites(any site)make sure you:

    1. Make your review page(or any page for that matter) unique
    2. Offer some REAL VALUE. None of those shitty PLR ebooks thrown together and packaged as a "$1997 bonus".

    That's all it really takes. With all the product launches, everyone is making the exact same review page. Pretending to be an insider, an anti-guru, or something of the sort.

    Then they all offer the same bonuses.

    I'm not saying these types of review pages don't work. They do. I use them effectively all the time. You just have to make sure you make yourself stand out from the crowd.
     
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  18. jvmarket

    jvmarket Regular Member

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    well said Yukinai84
     
  19. herron

    herron Regular Member

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    I thought I would include this after reading a thread on the warrior site...


    Code:
    http://www.warriorforum.com/adsense-ppc-seo-discussion-forum/95891-6-months-later-300-daily-w-adsense-lessons-learned-16.html#post1006402
     
  20. blackdan

    blackdan BANNED BANNED

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    I wanted to post some rant (attacking lots of people) but I might get in trouble, if someone say to go ahead and post, I will post.