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Big 3 SEO for Affiliates? Link Building Whores???

Linda Buquet

The search engine algos, as always, are a changin. A big part of the recent changes, especially due to Big Daddy, affects affiliate sites and the traditional link building strategies we have become accustomed to. Time to re-think! As many of you know <a target="_new" href="">Text Link Ads</a> is a 5 Star Affiliate Program, so I was checking out their Link Building Blog today which lucky for me, just happened to be related to affiliate marketing.

Andy Hagan discusses the need for affiliates to re-think their link building strategy, considering all the changes and havoc Google's Big Daddy update has created for affiliate sites. He also questions whether it's wise for affiliates to continue to try to optimize for the big 3 - Google, Yahoo and MSN. He makes some great points, asks affiliates what their strategy is - then shares his own. He also refers to a related article I discovered earlier this morning that has a great 'link baiting' subject line - "Are You A Link Whore? I admit I am a link whore, but not for Page Rank. Read below for my comments on that topic.

<blockquote><strong><a target="_new" href="">Google Doesn't Like Linking Streetwalkers & the End of 'Tri-engine' SEO for Affiliates? </a></strong>"Are we getting to a point where it's more cost effective for affiliates to take an either/or approach to ranking in Google or MSN/Yahoo! ? In my experience, if you target both, it's hard to do GREAT in either (For simplicity's sake I'm lumping Yahoo! and MSN together as they both seem to reward linking in the same general way.)"</blockquote>
Andy links out and references another story that caught my eye earlier today from Eric Ward, with an attention grabbing title that I of course re-used in my headline today. ;-)
<blockquote><strong><a target="_new" href="">Are You A Link Whore?</a></strong> "Have you used trackbacks just for the link? Do you have a reciprocal links page that you only created so the engines might give you credit for it? Have you gone back to existing links and changed the anchor text just to look nice for the bots? Do you send out press releases every week about absolutely nothing just so you can fill them with so many deep links they look like site maps? <strong>You slut</strong>."</blockquote>
Hey Eric... you calling me a slut??? Yes I do many of the things you talk about. But almost everything I do is to generate traffic, to get in the serps and to get real visitors, not for Page Rank or inbound links. "Do you send out press releases... fill them with so many deep links they look like site maps?" Err... ya, I guess that's what I did in this <a target="_new" href="">Press Release</a>. (Sheepish grin). But all those links seriously were to get exposure for clients and to help readers more easily get to the program info they may be interested in. I also do most of the other whorish activities you mentioned. I've DUGG my own stories, posted my links on social sites, I do blog trackbacks and I also post at lots of forums with a well crafted link-filled sig - but I do it for real eyeballs and traffic, not for back links.

Maybe what I am doing is working since my traffic keeps going WAY up but my PR has been stuck at 5 forever!!! :rolleyes:

So how do you distinguish a link whore from a guerilla marketer? More importantly - can a bot tell the difference???